Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kapahuka Noah

Noah takes part in his school kapahuka group learning about traditional Maori dance and singing. He came home after kapahuka, looked at Heidi and decided to teach her about her heritage. I said "That's a good idea, sing your songs to her." But he had to disappear downstairs first. He went to the dressing up box and came back up dressed in a pirate hat and striped T-shirt and said "I am a mouldy lady" - he wouldn't be persuaded that the word is Maori (actually the the pronunciation is like mouldy with the 'd' changed for an 'r')
Luckily Heidi didn't seem to find it racist or offensive but rather enjoyed joining in with Noah's songs!
Today we went to ABCD group and six children with DS were there.
It is such a supportive group, I will really miss it when Isaac starts morning Kindy which he will do in the next few weeks to get him ready for school. Music time was great and it was wonderful to see how much Heidi enjoyed herself. It was also quite reassuring to see that at this group her usual group behaviour changed somewhat. She preferred to stay close to me and steered well clear of the only man in the room. This is in contrast to her usual enforced gaiety and arms out to everyone, so maybe just slowly she is beginning to bond to us.
Of course we are beginning to bond to her too. (Even Paul thinks she's cute although she won't go to him) Already we know it's going to be hard when she leaves.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Heidi took some steps

Little Heidi is making immense progress. I am so used the the slow planned and 'hard worked for' steps that children with Down syndrome make that she seems amazing - although according to the book on baby care I got out the library (havigng forgotten how to look after babies!) she is a bit behind.
She took about four steps in a row yesterday and of course wouldn't repeat them when I got the camera.
We stood there applauding and Isaac looked at us as though we were crazy "I can walk and you don't clap me!"
She investigates everything - the photo is her amazement at he tumble drier. She also climbs stairs too fast.
We just need her now to adapt to Paul - she still literally shakes with fear if he comes close to her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

toddler havoc

Our foster baby seems to be becoming a cheeky toddler - as soon as she feels really safe she is off exploring everywhere. She can't quite walk but crawls very fast - she made it all the way up our stairs as I was answering the phone yesterday. She has managed to work the photocopier and screw up lots of photocopier paper. I thought our house was baby proofed but she showing me what's lacking.
This morning I was dressing her on the bed in the spare room, turned my back to find her a cardigan, heard a crash and she'd fallen off the bed onto Hannah's "Ab circle pro" (if you are thinking of buying one of these be warned they take up lots of space and are very inconvenient!). She screamed and immediately developed an egg on her forehead - this is of course an access day so it has to be explained to her social worker and mum.
She'd recovered in a minute or two so it obviously looks worse than it is.
Heidi's security is very fragile though, as soon as the situation changes at all she's on high alert, people coming into the room frighten her and she's still very wary of Paul. She let him hold her for a few seconds yesterday but today was back to crying and running to me if he came near. He even had her bottle to offer her today but she just cried when he offered it to her. Every foster child we've had has been a bit wary of men but not to this extent.
Isaac is just beginning to come round a bit, he stroked rather than scratched Heidi this morning and even offered her a half chewed cheese ball!
Noah is rather taken with her especially as he fed her half her bottle yesterday. She finds him quite a novelty as a male who's not frightening.
Heidi likes Hannah too as her voice is similar to mine. Hannah moves out on Sunday though so we'll have to get used to life without all the support she offers the family.
She is only moving to the centre of town and intends to come back for quite a few meals and to care for the kids to get their carer support money (In NZ children with disabilities tend to get around 21 days a year of 'carer support' this is basically babysitting money of $64 a day - 24 hour day it's not great pay - which is paid to a carer so mum can get a little time off) So I hope we'll still see a lot of her.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

clinging baby

all the time she's awake baby Heidi wants me to hold her. I can do a lot of things with one hand but not everything!
Isaac is of course very jealous. He had Paul holding him in church today which he usually loves, but instead kept holding his arms out to me. I tried to give Heidi to Paul but she just screamed.
Last night I put her in her cot to sleep and came downstairs for my pizza even though she was crying. She cried herself into a distraught state so I went back up and she'd cried so much the bed and her were covered with vomit (time to bring in Paul!)
Then I remembered the social worker mentioning (among the horrendous other history) that she had been left alone for 9 hours one day. SO I guess being alone brings real thoughts of abandonment for her and I now have an excuse to leave all the housework and sit on the bed while she falls off to sleep.
I so hope the baby sling I ordered from trade me arrives tomorrow!
I have just discovered that sitting her in a high chair in front of a praise baby DVD also keeps her happy for a while - long enough for me to type this post with two hands.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

pretty in pink

Our little one is here and looks lovely in her pink babygro and bobux shoes.
She clings to me which is wonderfully rewarding to me although I know it's just because she's frightened and needs someone. At the same time she scratches quite viciously = a great example of disorganised attachment - she drew blood scratching her social worker.
It won't be long before the novelty wears off of having to type one-handed as she screams if I put her down. Meanwhile we'll have a blissfully boring day of cuddles, milk and sleep.
She is tiny, her little hands are so cute and thin (mind you I'm used to the chubby starfish hands of DS) - hope you like the photo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

baby girl Heidi

The social workers are bringing round a one year old baby girl in about an hour. It is about 20 years since I had a baby girl to look after so I am really looking forward to pink, pink, pink!
We heard on Monday that she might be coming so I spent a lovely time yesterday going round some second hand shops choosing cute girly clothes (the four boys I had with me - Noah Isaac and 11 and 13 year old brothers I was looking after while their grandma worked- didn't seem to enjoy it quite so much!!)
We know the baby can't walk yet but don't know much else about her except that she goes to people very easily - far more easily than a baby of that age should.
Paul is trying to remind me of the stresses the last two toddlers caused, but before she's here we can just dream that this will be a cute needy child ready to soak up all the nurturing we have to offer.
Noah has helped Paul move a cot into our bedroom and I've dug out the double pushchair, the baby car seat and baby milk and bottles. I think I will call the baby Heidi in this blog (this is actually not her name in case you were surprised at a Swiss name in NZ!) after one of my childhood heroines.
I can not imagine just how scary this move will be for baby Heidi, I am trying to think of calming, nurturing things to do when she arrives. I need to find Isaac's praise baby DVD and some nice scented baby bath then I think we'll have a quiet few days at home so she has a chance to get used to us and recover from her injuries.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wellington weekend

We just livened the school holidays up with a weekend away with the boys staying at the holiday inn in Wellington. (We may be about to liven things up still more as we've just heard about a baby girl who needs fostering but we'll wait and see on that)
It felt like a good break much longer than a night.
Lily didn't want to come as she had her High School Musical dance group and she stayed the night with her boyfriend (and his family!) instead.
We went to the Weta cave and saw a few of the bits from Peter Jackson's movies - this was much more fun for Paul and me that the boys so we didn't last long there - plus its only a small place.
Then we went to the Zoo. It was probably one of the coldest days of the year but at least not windy or raining. The boys were able to feed the giraffes which they both loved, they showed less interest in the tigers and lions though and search as we did we couldn't find any zebras (which Isaac loves) even though their website seemed to show some.
We had a swim at the hotel (and I moaned and moaned about my heavy cold and made Paul do all the work) then went to find a great pizza take-away - pizza pomandero which was advertised in our guidebook.
Next morning there was a doctor Dolittle movie on Sky and Isaac was entranced by the talking dogs. Then we had an enormous breakfast as part of our hotel package and walked down Lambton Quay (via a great magazine shop and Borders) to the cable cars. We had lunch at Kircaldie and Stains (which was surprisingly cheap) then drove straight back to Palmy for a special evening service at church where Daniel Rodreguiz was singing.
All in all a lovely weekend and it means we don't need to do anything today but let the boys rest!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

cold school holidays

The winter school holidays often seems to have the kind of weather where you just want ot wrap up warm and stay home.
Luckily Noah and Isaac are happy to do just that, so I can sit and nurse my cold and feel sorry for myself.
Yesterday the boys didn't even get bathed and dressed till lunch time! Hannah is back for Australia and bought us all some lovely presents along with birthday presents for me and Noah from Beth and James. I got a lovely glass apple to add to my collection which they had bought in Berry while they were visiting Jon (my brother) and Bev. Noah has some great toy story games - he has just got the confidence to try the Wii game for himself after sitting and watching Lily play it yesterday. He has finished the first level himself and is SO excited - it is a real first for him to play a computer game properly.

He also got a Buzz board game where Buzz races round knocking off players tokens. It caused some amusement for members of our church homegroup that meets here as we discovered that Noah had been trying to set up the game during our group (while he should have been asleep) but had a few of the stickers in the wrong place - very interestign to see who wanted to ge the stickers totally smooth and in the right place.
Today we got it all made and luckily all the bits are still there (even if we had to unlock the garage to find the middle bit which Noah had taken into the garage to try to find a screwdriver to insert the needed battery)
I can report that the game is much faster to play than mousetrap and it is possible to cheat a bit by having stickers not properly stuck onto the tokens so they don't drop out when they should!!
During the writing of the last paragraph we saw the opposite of Noah's delight at playing the computer game as the control no longer seems to do what he wants it to! I may have to go and intervene!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Isaac the lightweight destroyer

Isaac may be tiny (87cm and clothed weight 12.2kg at nearly five) but he can inflict massive damage on the house. He has just pulled the game of 'mousetrap' (see my last post) on the floor and whenever he can gets into Lily's room and pulls out all her DVDs.
He is quite a different boy now compared to the four years he was tube fed. No more pain and a real cheeky character - he loves to pick up a toy (usually a toy animal) and just carry it round and round the house.
We still worry a lot about his feeding, trying to find ways to slip in calories or teach him to drink, but he is content enough with just the small amount he eats and has no desire to learn to drink. He learnt to eat jellies in the UK which is a great help with getting in fluid and sometimes surprises us by eating something new like in these photos where he's trying ravioli.

It was a relief at paediatric clinic today that although he hasn't gained any weight since December and has lost 2cm in height (that was actually because they measured him standing rather than lying down but it give a better weight to height ration so who cares?) the paediatrician doesn't think he needs a naso-gastric tube or other intervention. He has prescribed some nutrini drink that has 1.5 calories per ml which I think I can mix with weetbix so hopefully that will help.
Isaac turns five in October so his early intervention teacher has started his ORRS application (this is the school funding for children with special needs in NZ). We were talking about his progress at his kindy IEP and once you start thinking about ORRS you suddenly realise just how behind your child is. No toilet training (what a joke he only wees about twice a day anyway as he doesn't drink!) Only uses three words spontaneously to communicate - 'up', 'walk' and' dog', can't recognise his name on the board etc etc. Still he is our cheeky well loved boy - we just think of him as a toddler really.
I know some parents choose not even to read their child's ORRS application - I'm not like that, I want to help write Isaac's just to be sure he gets funding - but it's still tough, even after already doing it for Lily and Noah it's still hard to think about everything your child CAN"T do.

Noah doesn't 'hit' puberty

Yesterday was Noah's 11th birthday - he was expecting to 'hit' puberty then, like one of his books suggests. Unfortunately (for him not for me - I want him to stay my little boy) he did not wake up with a voice gone squeaky and needing to shave! That aside he had a good birthday. It was a bit of a quiet start as Paul was in Auckland (for the NZ trade and enterprise awards which he didn't win) and Hannah was in Sydney with Beth. I'd been up in the night with Isaac so when I woke at 6.15 thought I'd allow myself a few more minutes to doze - next thing I knew it was half past seven, so a big rush downstairs to open his presents before Lily left for work at five past eight.
I'd tried to explain that going on holiday to UK and Disneyland really counted as birthday presents but Noah wouldn't believe that so I ended up getting as many little presents as I could for him then buying some others in the toy sale that only started that day. This meant presents in the morning and at tea time which suited him well.
Eleven is a great age to be regarding making a number cake - just cut a rectangular cake vertically in half and there you are! Paul also picked up some Dunkin Donuts on his way back from Auckland so Noah was very happy.
He especially likes the mouse trap game and the watch we got with money from grandparents and the book of mazes he got from Sam.
I am already remembering why I held off 'mousetrap' for so long - It is very fiddly to put together if you have poor fine motor skills (and leads to angry frustrated outbursts) there are loads of little pieces to loose and the game takes ages to play! Still it kept Lily and Noah occupied for about 40 minutes this morning and I now have to leave it on the table for them to finish tonight.