Thursday, May 7, 2015

Quick Update

We are cruising along with all the usual bumps and crashes that are due course for my kind of family. Here are the highlights:

Blossom and Jie Jie are finally progressing in math. The secret is that they have to spend AT LEAST 1.5 hours on it per day! They need to be submersed in it or it doesn't sink in. Usually, they do 2-3 hours of math per day. Hard to imagine, but it's necessary for them, for now, to progress.

Sissy has always done well in math and is now working on 6th grade math using CTC Math and 3rd grade math using IXL. Apparently, even 2nd grade IXL is harder than public school 8th grade math here, so I know she's getting a great foundation and learning excellent skills.

Their writing is still weak, but progress is being made.

We are doing more art and I'll post about that soon, with pictures.

We've stepped up Apple's speech therapy, if that's possible, and continue to see progress, but it's still slower than we'd all like to see. She can put two words together now, like "poo out" (thanks to watching me with the kittens), "eat milk," "shoes on," "wake up," and she is saying about a new word a day, like rice, wait, heart and egg. Her new words are pronounced much closer to normal than the first words she learned, which she still segments. For example, she still says may-ake for make, but wake and wait are not segmented at all.

Jie Jie is making progress at speech therapy, too, as it relates to her auditory processing disorder. In the area of following 3 step instructions, she is improving by 5% each week and got 50% correct this last week.

In the behavior department, things still go up and down, a lot, but the downs are not quite as low as they were at the beginning of the year. One big issue is the division between what adults get to do and what kids get to do. My girls still see this difference as unjust to themselves and they get very resentful of me, even for staying up later and watching a video or eating a snack when they are sleeping.

They still don't have friends, just acquaintances from church. Honestly, they just don't know how to be a friend and kids their own ages are into so many things so far ahead of my girls, but everyone is kind and welcoming and I keep finding opportunities for the girls to be with others their own ages or slightly younger.

Sissy has been handling her anger very well and I'm very proud of the way she explains herself to Blossom when Blossom is at her most trying. For example, Sissy said the other day to Blossom, "I forgive Jie Jie because she says she is sorry and she won't do it again. You don't say you are sorry. You bother me more. You are mean to me. I want you to stop annoying me."

Very clear, yet Blossom still pushes and pushes until she's in pretty deep trouble.

Jie Jie will also push, but in a different way. She disguises it at being "helpful" even when she's in the way and asked several times to stop and get out of the way. She's my dominant child.

Apple is exerting her "no" and "help" lately. No, she will not pick up her toys. No, she will not cooperate with speech therapy. Help is what she says whenever she doesn't want to do anything herself, even speech, but also when she needs legitimate help. So during speech therapy I just say, "I am helping you, so say it," or, "The teacher is helping you."

It's hard to explain the hardest things without going into a lot of details and writing all night, but it's still the lack of common sense, inability to reason, lack of drive to learn just for the joy of knowledge, the need to be told what to do, how to do it and when, I guess the deep need for a super structured life (as in the orphanage), and the lack of understanding that I'm a good mom and that every kid in every home needs to learn and do chores and doesn't always get what they want and that their parents get cross, too. Another hard thing for me, one that is a personal struggle, is that they don't do much at all that is "normal" for their ages. Their skill sets are depressingly low compared to kids their own ages, but, again, this is more my problem than their own since they are acquiring skills and have come so far from where they were when I first got them.

I often don't feel like a mother as much as a therapist and teacher since those seem to be bigger hats, but the minute I need to advocate for one of my girls, those motherly protective loving instincts roar to life and I feel we'll be okay in the long run.


Anonymous said...

I understand completely. 3 of my 4 IA girls are much like yours. I think one of the hardest aspects to adjust to is the lack of reciprocal relationship. Even after years of providing every possible opportunity and support for emotional and intellectual growth, that aspect has not changed. I think their wiring has been permanently damaged in the area that allows for healthy 2-way relationships. I will always be viewed as the provider, and they will always respond with needy expectancy. It's not their fault, but it's a different long-term outcome than I had hoped for. I have had to learn to view the way they love me as being the way that they trust me. They truly trust that I will provide for them and always be there for them. I think that's the best they can do in embracing me as their mother. They do know I love them and I am glad for that.

Anonymous said...

Consistency is key. You are doing a great job giving the girls what they need. The hardest thing for me was to learn not to compare my DD to other children her age. Once I accepted that, it was very freeing for both of us and for our whole family.

Instead of thinking you are a therapist to your girls consider it Therapeutic Parenting. You are a great Mom.

For years my DD was very resentful of the fact that she didn't get her own car when she got here. Nevermind that she was too young to drive. I
sort of thought they told her everyone drives their own car in the USA in order for her to be excited for her adoption! She would constantly remind me that she was still waiting for her own car.

It's always interesting!