Well, this week has had it’s share of challenges and it’s share of victories!
When we first came home we learned that we needed t o get a nightlight in the girls room if anyone was going to sleep. We tried some of the motion sensor ones that auto-timed off, but Rosie would wake up when they turned off, every single time it turned off. She would cry, every single time it turned off. So, we hunted for one that wouldn’t turn off, found it, and bought it. It was adjustable and could be turned up very bright. (We are talking about 100 watt LED bright) I had duct tape on it so that it couldn’t be turned up too bright so that it didn’t interfere with their sleep and melatonin production. Also, Pippin doesn’t like it as bright and she will literally sleep with a blanket covering her face or use a sleep mask. Rosie, on the other hand, does not like the dark and wants it to be practically daylight when she sleeps. We discovered that recently, Rosie had started getting up and peeling back the tape and turning up the brightness. WAY UP! She is a very light sleeper and with the brightness up, she wakes up even easier than when it is at a more “normal” level. She really does sleep better when it is darker, even though she doesn’t like it when she is awake and can see that it isn’t as bright as she wants. So we decided to remove the light and put in one that can’t be altered and also won’t be activated by a motion sensor. It is a ball light that projects the globe on the ceiling. Bright enough to see in the room a little without being so bright it will interfere with sleep. Let me tell you what, Rosie did NOT like that. Not. One. Little. Bit. and she let us know it! Ohhhh the fits we had to work through for daysssssss. But we stood our ground. Comforted her when she was upset, and did everything we could help her with the adjustment. But the break through happened when Pippin, our normally quiet and passive kid, had had enough. On the third night of the new light being in the room, Rosie had been crying for her other light for about 2 hours when Pippin sat up and YELLED, “Rosie. Be quiet! Pippin is sleeping! Light? Or no light? Choose!” Rosie said, “Light” and Pippin said, “We light! GO TO SLEEP! Pippin TIRED and SLEEPING!” I am happy to report that we have not had one single fit after that and to add to the victory, Pippin seems to have found her voice, and is speaking in sentences. Praise the Lord! What is even better is that Rosie isn’t acting fearful at night at all anymore and likes her , “super cool light”. Change isn’t easy for our Rosie girl but she is learning and taking amazing steps everyday!
In school Rosie is progressing well. After school we have been practicing letters, letter sounds, and reading from our Aesop’s Fables book and letting her say her sight words. She is getting better and better everyday at recognizing words. I can’t believe that 4 months ago she didn’t have any English and now she is recognizing letters, sounds, and words. She LOVES the library and I can already tell she is going to be a reader! She loves flipping through books and looking at the pictures. Books give us a chance to cuddle, rock, and spend close time together. I love it! It was always one thing I loved when Esther and Micah were little too and I am so blessed to get to do it again with the girls.
Pippin is, as stated above, finding her voice. Literally. For so long she would just repeat the words you said. But now, she is initiating conversations, using new words, making connections, and gaining independence, and has started self regulating! She comes home from school and asks to jump on the trampoline! “Mommy, jump!” If it is raining, she asks to do “Pop See Ko” or spins around really fast or does jumping jacks, and all on her own! What a HUGE deal that is for our girl. If you don’t know about self regulation, please look it up. Our kids with sensory processing disorder can get dis-regulated easily where they can’t focus or feel overwhelmed easily and they need to move so their brain can come back into balance and process what is going on properly. And with both girls having it on some level we need lots of running and wiggle time to help them stay balanced. Otherwise their brain shuts down, they stop being able to learn and stop being able to process because everything is overwhelming. So for her to start doing things independently to regulate is a HUGE deal.
She knows the alphabet and most of the sight words they have learned in school and had a great week with no accidents at school. That is a win! She is coming out of her shell and I am amazed at the funny spunky girl that was hiding deep inside her this whole time. She isn’t letting Rosie talk over her as much anymore either and isn’t caving to other’s requests. So fun, (not fun) she has started telling us “no”. “Pippin, go wash your hands.” Pippin’s response, “No.” That goes over really well, as you can imagine. But, in the end, she is compliant and does it. I think she is just learning how to express what her desires are. She doesn’t say it defiantly and always obeys once we tell her she has to anyway. Oh, one more BIG thing… today she wrote the letter A. She wrote it properly and legibly. Her fine motor skills are really behind and she has trouble coloring and drawing. But for the past month she has been drawing a lot, every single day, buttoning buttons, bucking her seat belt, and other little things that help with those fine motor skills, and after working at home and all the hard work of her teacher, she is learning to write! I honestly didn’t think she would be able to do that for MUCH longer. But here she is, reading sight words in Aesop’s Fables every night, and legibly writing the letters of the alphabet.
Our girls keep blowing me away. They are really afraid of storms, and as we have had an incredibly wet week the girls have had to face those fears. While rain doesn’t invoke tears anymore, Pippin still jumps every time she hears thunder. And when the clouds start to come in she says, “Oh no! Sun! Where the sun go? Sun is all gone. I’m sad. No more sun.” It cracks me up! She will also say, “dun dun, thunder”. It is so stinking cute!
This week we finalized our Halloween Costumes. Esther is going to be Elizabeth Swan and recycle her Marie Antoinette Costume. Micah is going to be Robin Hood the cool one, not the kiddie one. Lloyd and I will be the Phantom and Christine. We have spent a lot of time over the past 2 weeks talking to the girls about Halloween, showing them pictures, practicing trick or treating, and explaining that we play dress up as a family. So after everyone else picked their costumes and we showed the girls our costume inspiration we asked the girls what they wanted to be. Rosie immediately said, “Rosie, be Elsa and Pippin be Anna.” Pippin retorted, “No, no Anna. Cinderella.” I double checked with her two more times and she said each time that she wants to be Cinderella for Halloween. I honestly didn’t think she understood what I meant when I was asking her, but she totally does! I am so excited for this year and grateful that the older two have really costumes because I will need a lot of time to work on the others.
Well, that is about it for this week. Hard days with good moments and hard moments with good days. Still a jumble and probably will be for a long time. But it is so worth it. I wouldn’t trade the hard days or hard moments that contain those girls for anything in the world. In fact, I am starting to forget what life was like before them. What a sweet God we have that knows what we needed in our family and to provide a way for us to get them. Final note, Rosie has been asking when we will get pictures of all 6 of us together up on the walls that are pretty. lol So we are looking for someone that has experience processing photos of black people (it is not the same as photographing white people) and has patience to photograph our busy girls so we can get some new family pictures up on the wall. Cheap is also a big selling point.