Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 12-03-2012
So, I took a little break from writing in this blog. That break turned into a hibernation. Not hibernation from the world, just from the online world. It feels good to be writing again. I could tell that the universe was pointing me this way. I kept running into people in stores and online who wanted updates about the kids, and had questions about how we were doing and what services they should start to look into for their kids. It felt like I was telling our story over and over again and finding opportunities to share the things that worked and the things that we wished we had avoided. And things have changed. Some things have changed a lot. Let me give you the current rundown on our family.
Birdy–is our 11 year old daughter. She is one of my “typical” kids who is anything but typical (can a tween be considered “typical” anyway??). That is the word we use instead of “normal”. Parents like us tend to classify our kids in lots of ways (the loud ones and the quiet ones, the stinkers and the rule followers, the ones you can leave alone with a tv and be pretty sure it will still be intact when you get back and the ones you – well– can’t). Typical and developmentally delayed is who most families roll in terms of describing our kids that have special needs and those that don’t. She is in middle school and LOVING it (see, not totally normal, right?). Who loves middle school? She has a flair for drama, loves music, is a budding ice skating champ and my right hand man at home.
Cubby — is our 7 year old son. He is also adopted. This gives us a whole plate load of fun stuff to help him understand. We knew right away that he was dealing with some pretty significant issues from the time he was very small. Like many parents, we weren’t totally sure who to ask and where to turn for help. It took us awhile to find the right things for him. Most of his toddler years were spent with us thinking “he doesn’t seem like other kids” and doctors and friends telling us that “it was a boy thing”. Turns out both of us were right. He is a typical boy in many ways, and there are some things that make him different. The biggies right now are his sensory processing disorder (SPD), anxiety disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and some mental health issues. He is a fun, intense, freakishly strong, surprisingly tender little guy. He also has really thick eyelashes for miles, but don’t tell him you like them or he will find my scissors and cut them off (again). Stinker. Since I last updated on him, we have had great success treating many of his biggest issues and have started him on meds. He is a whole new kid. We have tweaked his therapies as well and are starting to address some of the issues that were smaller than the ones we were working on before. It feels good to start tackling some of the nit picky stuff because it means that we have the big stuff on a good program.
Tiny. Our 5 year old daughter. Also adopted. Also with some things that made her different than your average awesome tiny baby. First, she was premature, we weren’t totally sure how premature, but the doctors figured it was somewhere in the 8-9 week early mark. Second, she just had general failure to thrive and developmental delays. All across the board, this little one didn’t do much. She was slow to eat, slow to talk, slow to move. We were able to start her in early intervention programs when she was about a year old (we were more savvy about special needs by then) and she flourished. It took her awhile but currently, at 5 and a half, she is pretty much caught up. That is the timeline they give most preemies and for us it was right on. We spend many hours with her and speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, feeding therapists, early intervention classes, surgeries and more. The tiny little girl who conserved body energy and refused to get up and walk at age 2.5, is now our sassy (I like the term “spicy”), non stop child who moves, dances, sings and chatters all day long. It is hard for people who didn’t know her before to realize how far she has come. Those who worked with her before cannot believe she is the same child. Testimony that those programs work. They are important.
Ace. Our 4 year old daughter. Not adopted. Also has some things that make her different right off the bat. While she is also “spicy” like one of her older sisters, and she has white hair, pale skin and blue eyes like her other older sister. Lets not forget that, like her brother, she is as bossy as the day is long. She is the only one of my kids with a real sense of humor, or it least it seems that way since she is always being silly and has inside jokes with both her dad and I. She also came with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. In layman’s terms, she has Down Syndrome. It means she is a little bit slower to learn some things, a lot slower to learn others. She is pretty non verbal right now, but is getting more and more language all the time. Having Down Syndrome has also given her some great party tricks; like having really low tone and bendy joints..she can fold herself in half with no trouble and is often found watching tv with her feet in her ears. Actually IN her ears. Like Gumby. We also did all the early intervention stuff with her and have seen her grow in leaps and bounds. Luckily for us, Ace didn’t have any of the intestinal or heart issues that often accompany Down Syndrome so she has avoided hospitals and surgeries. For that we are eternally grateful. Even though she is about to turn 4, she is about 30 months developmentally. We are in the thick of the awesome 2 year old phase of “NO” and “I can do it myself”. Oh, and escaping. That child is so smooth, she will be out the door and down the road before you know it. Don’t worry, she is usually headed either to the school to play on the swings (4 blocks away….gulp) or the candy store (also 4 blocks away in the other direction. and across El Camino). Yikes. I am going to invent a child version of the dog collar that doesn’t let you cross an invisible line. One of her greatest goals in life is to get OUT OF THE YARD. At least she never quits trying. I hope she will use that same determination when it comes to potty training (you are on notice Ace, it’s time!!!).
Last is our tiny one, Minnie. She is 8 weeks old. Yes, I had a baby during the break from blogging. She is the greatest. 5 kids seems crazy but really it isn’t so bad. Minnie is, so far, a pretty easy going and happy little girl. She doesn’t sleep enough for my taste, but that will come with time. The kids adore her. Some of them show it by helping feed and change her. Some show it by “accidentally” sitting on her and stealing her bottles and climbing into her swing, breaking it, and making us have to by ANOTHER one. And then they do it again. I’m not naming names or anything (ahem, cough, ACE) but whatever, the love is there. And you might wonder why I don’t just keep that child out of the swing, but, you know, 5 kids!.
That is us. I am still doing the stay at home mom thing. I am blessed that it is something that I like to do and also am able to do. I know that isn’t always the case. My husband works hard to help make that happen. I occasionally think about going back to work or getting another degree at some point, but then I get really tired and take a nap. I am pretty sure that when thinking about those things doesn’t make me mind numbingly tired, it will be time to pursue those options. Either that or when we start to think about tuition costs for all the kids.
Lots of good stuff coming up. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for contributing your own wisdom You are all going to do that, right? Comment and let me know what works for you? I always need more insight and knowledge from those who know more than I do. And that is most of you. So don’t be shy.