Monday, July 18, 2011

A big (as in important) week for Quinn

Please keep Quinn in your thoughts this week.

Tuesday morning he starts a play group with "normal" kids - something I know he needs, and something I have avoided because it's so hard to sit there and listen to the bragging about how Jimmy is already reading Shakespeare and how Susie has mastered long division. My issue, not Quinn's - and it's high time I get over it.

On Tuesday afternoon he meets a new therapist who has been recommended to us by our doctor and Quinn's speech therapist. She is a PT, but works with kids with sensory processing disorder. I'm happy with the help he's been getting for SPD, but I'm sort of starting to feel like I'm not learning anything at therapy that I'm not already doing at home. So even though I'm sad to leave our current place (owned by a fellow adoptive mom) a change feels right.

On Wednesday we go for Quinn's long-awaited evaluation at a local university-affiliated preschool that specializes in kids with speech issues. I took him for a visit last spring and LOVED the place. Such a high level of teaching and such an impressive place. They were less impressed with Quinn's sky-high energy level, however. The director indicated his lack of ability to sit and listen may render him more than the school can handle. However, she agreed to test him at the end of the summer to give him more time to mature. Amazingly, here we are at the end of the summer - school starts here in mid- August.

This is a big week for Quinn - please think of him, especially at 8:45 a.m. west-coast time Wednesday!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Gotta go poo-poo on the potty, get Lightning McQueen!"

Yes, friends, we have resorted to full-scale bribery to get Quinn to poop on the potty. Why? Because he's 4 years old and fully capable of using the potty. Because his sensory-seeking tendencies make him unusually nonplussed about sitting around in a stinky diaper. And mostly because, well, it works.

Yes, indeed. On Wednesday I told him that if he went poo-poo on  the potty he could go to Target and pick out a toy. "Blue Star?" he negotiated. That's what he calls Toys R Us, whose logo is, yup, a blue star. In other words, the kid won't poop for a trip to Target, but if we up the ante to Toys R Us, he's in. And he was. On Friday, bingo. He was VERY proud of himself and we got off fairly easy with a $16.99 Lightning McQueen car. Of course, now each time he heads to the bathroom, we hear a very excited boy tell himself, "Gotta go poo-poo on the potty, get Lightning McQueen!"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One stupid study

Well, here's a headline sure to give adoptive parents a little panic attack:

"Study: Adopted kids more susceptible to mental, physical woes,"

The researchers determined that adopted kids are three times more likely to have physical and mental-health disabilities than kids raised by their biological parents. BUT... all the kids in the study were adopted from foster care, so likely suffered some abuse and/or neglect in their early months or years, plus the likely trauma of moving from one foster home to another. As I know so well from Quinn, early neglect - even in the fairly benign form of a lack of stimulation - leaves a lasting impact. So are those kids likely to have problems down the line? Absolutely. Would they have those problems whether they were with biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents or in a group home? Absolutely.

I'm no researcher, but it seems to me that this study measured the long-term impact of a rough beginning, but attributed that impact not to the rough beginning, but to adoption.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A (fleeting) wish for a sis

We have pretty much decided that Quinn will be an only child. So of course, when I told him this morning that his friend Nate was going to have a baby sister soon, he said, "We gotta go get a baby sister! Quinn want a baby sister." Just how deep is his desire? This afternoon, I was looking at a blog by the mom of a boy from Quinn's orphanage - they're in China now and welcomed a beautiful, smiling baby girl just yesterday. "Look!" I showed Quinn when he came to see what I was doing. "Matthew got a baby sister!" He leaned in close, squinted at the screen and proclaimed, "All done baby sister!" Then he went to play with his toy garbage truck. And that - at least for today... - was that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The boy and the arm

This month has been so busy - and so blisteringly hot - that I totally neglected to post a report from the doctor who operated on Quinn's brachial plexus injury last year.

The good news is that Dr. Waters is very happy with Quinn's progress. He has almost complete "passive" use of his right arm - if someone moves it around for him - which is a good indication he'll have good "active" use as he gets stronger and stronger. We have to have him checked every year (a good excuse for an annual trip to Boston!) and there is always a chance he'll have problems when he has a growth spurt. The biggest challenge is that he continues to favor the right arm quite strongly, so we need to work on that. We worked with Dr. Waters' physical therapist to tweak his twice-daily exercises, and we learned that he'll probably never be able to reach behind his back with his right arm because the tendon that does that is one of the tendons they transferred to give him the ability to lift and rotate his arm. A good trade-off, I think.

So the news was good. But the visit itself? Not so much. We had a longish wait, during which Quinn was quite angelic, playing games happily in the waiting room. But the minute we went into the examination room - the same one he was in that horribly traumatic day last year that his cast was sawed off - he pretty much freaked out. The physical therapist came in right away, and he cried every time she looked at him. He wouldn't let her touch him, he wouldn't do anything she asked and he kept either hiding behind the curtain separating the room into half or hurling himself on the floor. Then he started spinning uncontrollably. Not a good scene. Eventually, the PT gave up and left the room. It wasn't until then that it hit me: Pull out the puzzles. Thankfully, that worked as well as it always does and Quinn sat on the floor happily doing his puzzles, even after Dr. Waters came in. In fact, when he wanted Quinn to lift his arm or reach in a particular direction, he just held up a puzzle piece. Worked like a charm. Surprisingly, Dr. Waters knew a ton about sensory processing disorder and we talked a lot about how to integrate his treatment and his arm exercises. My goodness, how grateful I am for that man.

In short, the visit got better, we learned what we wanted to learn, and we left and had a good rest of the day. But the next morning as were eating breakfast, I noticed that Quinn - who is NEVER cold - was shivering. And he was not eating, which is equally odd for him. I thought maybe he was sick, and then it hit me what was wrong. I bent down, looked right in his eyes and told him he didn't have any doctor's visits that day. Boom. New kid. He started chattering away, ate his breakfast, put on his shoes and announced he was ready to get on with the day. I just felt horrible. I knew that we were finished, but it didn't even dawn on me that he didn't know that. Poor little guy was just plain terrified. Definitely not one of my best moments in parenting...