For Those Who Have Asked

Sorry I’ve been a little behind.  It’s been a while since I updated you all on Ayub.  The last you heard, we had scheduled surgery and were planning to start ADHD meds.  So, here’s what’s happened:


The week of Thanksgiving, Ayub had his tonsils and adenoids out.  I have to say, this was a much tougher process than I expected.  It took a good eight days before he was feeling well again.  Poor thing was pitiful.  For a kid who never complains about pain, he had a tough time.  Once healed, we did begin to see a minor difference in his behavior, mainly that he could sit through dinner more calmly.  However, it wasn’t a big enough difference to stop there.

Despite the massive ice storm that left us without power the week of Christmas, we headed off to the pediatrician to get some ADHD medication.  We started it over Christmas break and saw an immediate difference.  Although he was still hyped up about the holidays and Santa and new toys, he was manageable.  We sent him back to school expecting rave reviews from his teacher.  Results were not as great as we had hoped.  She saw a slight difference, but not enough to help him academically.  He still struggled with behavior and was still disrupting the classroom.  So, after a month, we raised the dosage of medication.  TA-DA!! Suddenly the fidgeting lessoned, he was able to concentrate and he started bringing home completed work from school.  His teacher was thrilled.  One day he brought home a very complicated drawing of a dragon for Chinese New Year.  He spent a total of four hours over the weekend coloring it in.  Every.  Single.  Detail.  It was amazing.  He has never liked to draw or color, yet the time he devoted to this was massive.  I was floored.

I will say that as much as we are enjoying the calm, there are some down sides to the medication.  He really isn’t the same kid he was before.  He’s still funny and a bit of a clown, but lately he has seemed more sad.  There are days when he just looks unhappy.  We’ve also seen a huge shift in his emotions.  Prior to his tonsillectomy, we had seen him cry four times.  That’s right, in almost two years, he had cried only four times.  Now there are some days when he cries four times in one day.  That may be an exaggeration, but he is definitely much more emotional.  I’m not writing this off as a bad thing.  It is tiring and can really slow things down when you have to stop and deal with the waterworks, but it is showing us some of the things that upset him.  Before, he must have been just closing off those emotions.  Now we get to see them, which is interesting.

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Somewhere in the middle of all this, his teacher asked whether we’d ever ruled out Sensory Processing Disorder.  I have to be honest, I had heard about this from a lot of other adoptive parents, and I thought it was just kids who don’t like tags in their clothes to rub or have to have a certain kind of bath towel.  I had no idea how encompassing it could be.  I went online and found the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, which had some online checklists.  My jaw hit the floor when I realized that we were dealing with a sensory seeking kid.  We made an appointment with an Occupational Therapist who specialized in SPD (whew…lucky to have that handy) and she confirmed my online diagnosis.  He does have sensory seeking SPD, but she says it is secondary to ADHD in his case.  So, we will continue with the ADHD meds and have an OT visit every week.  I will say that just receiving this diagnosis makes it much easier for me to deal with his behaviors.  Now when he climbs all over me, I understand why and try to find appropriate ways to give him touch.  When he hums or makes nonsense noises, I try to find music or something else to give him an audio input.  It suddenly makes so much more sense.

Bottom line – he is doing much better at school and we are all doing much better at home.

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Birthday Reflections

I’m a little behind, but someone around here had a birthday.  A big one.  Ending in the digit “0.”  That’s right, Eleanor has joined the ranks of the double digits.

For some reason, Eleanor’s birthday always sends me into flashback mode.   I remember my pregnancy and her birth much more than  Sam’s.  Maybe it’s the eight weeks I spent on bed rest thinking she wasn’t going to make it.  Whatever the reason, I always seem more nostalgic.

_DSC4608Eleanor is an amazing kid.  She is super-smart.  And for those of you who have smart kids, you know what I mean when I say that it’s hard to parent a super-smart kid.  She remembers everything.  And argues about everything.  Even when she’s wrong.  She can drive me absolutely bonkers, but at the same time, it makes me proud to see her intelligence shine through.  (Which in turn makes me even more bonkers…)

_DSC4650Eleanor is tall.  She has always been tall.  I think that has worked against her in some ways. People have always expected her to be more mature than her age, just because she looks older.  I’m guilty of it, even though I try very hard to keep her real age in mind.  But sometimes she acts even younger than her real age, which is even harder.

DSC_3939-2This year, Eleanor finally got a chance to play basketball.  Because she was in gymnastics, tennis, and then swimming, we’d never been able to put her on a team before.  This year was her first chance.  I was a little leery about the whole thing, as she doesn’t really enjoy physical activity, and definitely likes lots of breaks, which isn’t consistent with basketball.  But she has LOVED it.  She was a little behind, since most of her teammates had played before, but she has learned a lot and come a long way.  I have to say…I’m impressed.

Eleanor has probably done the best of any of us since moving at making new friends.  Our next door neighbor has become a constant fixture in her life, with one of them spending the night at the others’ house at least once a weekend.  And, she has more friends at school who have welcomed her to a new place.  She’s a lot like her (fundraiser) dad…she can talk to anyone and as soon as she’s met them, she considers them a life-long friend.


So now she’s ten.  Which is exciting and scary at the same time.  She’s at the age where she is starting to be critical of the way she looks, which breaks my heart because I think she’s so beautiful.  She isn’t happy about her weight, doesn’t like the space between her teeth, and doesn’t want to be the tallest kid in the 4th grade.  So I’m savoring these last moment of childhood while fully aware that we are entering into adolescence.  Happy birthday, Eleanor.