Late New Year post

I’m a little late to talk about the New Year (been busy, sorry!) but I have to acknowledge the fact that this marks the first year that the kids will be completely with us. 2009 was half and half but the beginning of 2010 marks a new chapter in their lives.

On December 31st we went to Sugar Land’s New Year celebration. It was quite cold so we bundled up and after a dinner at a pricey restaurant that wasn’t worth the charge, we headed to Town Square for the party. Lori didn’t think we should do anything, citing “they’re too young Dave!” but I wasn’t going to have any of that. So what if they’re young? I wanted to make the start of the new year memorable and I think we succeeded. They loved the loud music and wouldn’t quit blowing the whistles on those horns!

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They were in awe when the fireworks started. It wasn’t a big show but for them it was truly fascinating. The expressions on their faces were a lot more precious than the fireworks themselves.

We left soon after and at around 12:35am we made it home. Lori took them in and I stayed in the car waiting for them to go inside through the garage so I could pull in. I did and as soon as I got out, I heard loud shrieking and crying from Isabella. Great, 40 minutes into the New Year and we have a tantrum? So I approached the door and it felt like a scene from a scary Halloween movie….there were bloody smudges all over the door!! I rushed in to find Lori attending to Isabella with a busted lip. Turns out she ran towards the door amidst warnings from her mom to not run, but being Isabella she ignored her and carried on, finally tripping and busting her lip against the door knob. Now that’s what I call memorable!

Isabella has been getting more and more hard headed. We see a lot of new-found independence in her, but we know this will get her in trouble. Needless to say we’ve also been getting a lot more strict with her. We like seeing her independent spirit but she has to learn to listen, judge and then act. Right now that’s not the case and she acts very impulsively. And she ignores authority in most cases, such as when we or the teachers at school tell her not to do something. She always finds a method to get her way. She’s learning that we’re not about to put up with that though. Ignoring her tantrums has slowly been yielding some results. We also have found a few things to trigger her brain to think before acting, such as threatening to not send her to school and put her in the closet under the stair instead ;) Just last night she was doing fine, Lori took them to bed and all of a sudden she goes into a tantrum, shrieking and crying and making a ruckus. After a while I calmly went upstairs and told my wife “don’t worry, I’ll take her down to sleep in the closet”. She continued crying saying “no no not the closet!” and I took her up to the top of the stairs. Then after stopping, I asked her if she was going to quit crying and after confirming, took her back to bed. I fixed her sheets and tucked her in, gave her a kiss and the crying stopped. Mission accomplished! I think we’re finally beginning to make some connections between actions and consequences. And no, we’re not seriously going to lock her up in the closet!

IMG_3619 Now Isabella has her ears pierced. She’s very strong and didn’t even flinch when they pressed those ear-rings through. Lori couldn’t believe it. She tried to take them off a few times but didn’t have much trouble with her keeping them on after that. Which is surprising given her fixation sometimes.

Isaac has started PPCD and he’s been doing quite well. He’s getting a lot of one on one attention from his teacher, who’s really nice and loves kids a lot. Going in the afternoon turned out to be a positive move as he’s the only one in class. There are times when he’s also in the company of one or two more kids, but that’s still a really good student to teacher ratio. He is getting speech therapy twice a week and seems to be enjoying himself. It was a bit of an adjustment due to him being used to an afternoon nap but on the whole it’s been a smooth transition.

Changing Isaac’s medication has not yielded the expected results. His seizures have actually increased and his behavior has really degraded in pre-school with a large group and receiving no one-to-one attention. Because of that Isabella has also been losing control. Nothing has changed at home and Isaac still acts fine with us, is very affectionate, funny, etc. We have no attachment issues with both of them, but at pre-school all of a sudden he has become more aggressive and unsocial. So we’re thinking it’s his medication that is to blame. Coupled with the fact that seizures have increased and he’s now exhibiting a new type too, the Neurologist is switching him to a new drug which we’ll start on Monday. It’ll take a few weeks to take him off of it and switched completely to the new one.

We have started weekly Occupational Therapy sessions for Isaac and those have been going quite well too. In the coming month we plan on starting speech therapy for both. Isaac’s receptive language continues to improve, but his expressive language has not developed much. He’s slowly able to make some new sounds and mumbles, probably thanks to S.T. in PPCD. This coming Tuesday we have an ABR test which will hopefully reveal some new things with respect to his hearing. We’re obviously hoping there is a fix, but I’m not holding my breath. On a positive note, Isaac seems to be getting the hang of cycling now and can do it on his own on a tiled floor. We’re going to keep practicing on the tricycle as he’s still not yet ready for cycling on a bicycle. Isabella on the other hand is ready to bite the dust and she’s very dangerous already! She has a lot of balance and strength.

At pre-school they have been keeping Isaac away from his class and a lady’s been spending more time with him. He acts just fine that way, so we’re quite confused. We also found out (let’s say “confirmed”) that Isaac was being restrained quite regularly at the orphanage. This came from an account of a foreign adoptive family who adopted from the same orphanage back in 2007 and knew the twins. They sent us a couple of photos of the kids when they were 2 1/2 years old, which is quite nice to have. It’s remarkable how much they looked alike when younger! Anyway, they said they saw Isaac tied up to the fence when the other kids were running around. I’m actually surprised that Isaac isn’t more mad at people in general and is still such a happy kid. Hopefully he’ll forget about those years and those experiences won’t result in long term effects.

Not seeing her brother acting up has improved Isabella’s attention and behavior in her class. She can become a little obsessive about things (like wanting to constantly change out of dirty clothes!) and she knows the rules and how everyone else should abide by them…except herself. Funny little thing.

Isaac & IsabellaAnd then the glasses…Isaac finally made the first pair vanish. They looked for them at school all over the place, but couldn’t find them. I wouldn’t be surprised if he flushed them! So we got a new pair and they fit much better. We also clip them to his shirt to try avoid such accidents. I think these are more comfortable and he hasn’t tried to get rid of them except the first few days. I think he got the message loud and clear that Mama and Papa are not gonna buy glasses every 3 months! Here’s a photo of both just before we got the new glasses.

We also got some great photos of Nikopol in winter from Carol. It’s amazing to see the change in landscape from the time we were there to now. We don’t think the kids changed that much in the same period, but for us it’s difficult to see those changes since we’re there every day. So here are some shots of places you might recognize from previous images we posted. Until the next post!

Coldest day so far -24c. 24th Jan 2010 015

I can’t believe the kids and I went for a swim right in the area between those trees! Click here to refresh your memory.



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This was the ATB super market that we visited pretty much daily. I’ve witnessed a lot of water on this road one day but never pictured it looking like this in winter.



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I really know why they named it “The Penguin” restaurant now!!




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Can’t remember how many weddings we’ve seen at this hall or how many times we crossed the street here. Where are the fruit vendors?? Oh, now I also understand what that white paint-looking substance on the tree trunks is for. Didn’t make much sense when seen in summer!

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So many hours spent here chasing “Maxim" after constantly running away from the area. So many encounters with kids to play with and snacks consumed.



Snowy orphanage. Feb 5th. 10 005

Too bad kids aren’t allowed to go out and play! But then again, I’m freezing just thinking about it. Gotta go make me a nice hot cup of cappuccino :)

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