Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Years Ago Today!

Today marks our two year anniversary! Time truly is flying by. Grace has changed so much in the two years we've had her home. Some things that have changed since last October- 1) completely potty trained. 2) knows all her colors and all her letters. 3) speech is coming along very nicely. We can pretty much understand everything she says. Of course, not all her words are pronounced all that clearly, but she's able to communicate quite nicely. 4) she is now over 20 pounds!!!! Huge success there. 5) She has grown another 6 inches. She is now up to 35 inches and 22 pounds. She wears 4t tops and 2t bottoms. 7) her gross motor skills have greatly improved.

She is very smart and very active. Right now we are working on memory verses for the Awana Cubbie year. Not only will she say the verse (I only give her the first word, and she says the whole verse)-she will remember all the previous verses! So far, she knows 8 verses. I don't make her memorize the chapter or book, though. I'm actually just happy she can say the verses.

This year for "Family Day" or "Gotcha Day", we went to the Morton Arboretum. It was a great day to be together. Although it was October, we actually had 80 degree weather. The trees are starting to turn, and it was great just to walk together, see the different trees turning colors and see the many plants still blooming. We walked in the Children's Garden, where Grace was able to do some crafts and paint a small pumpkin. We walked around one of the paths that goes around the lake and saw all the scarecrows the local Girl Scouts made. They were cute. Grace would run up to each one and say how pretty it was. Then she'd say "What's her name?" Each one was given a name by the troop girls that made her. She had a great time.

One thing I would like to say is that I finally found more information about a diagnoses that was in her medical records when we brought her home. The Russians call it "perinatal affection of the central nervous system". For two long years I have been trying to find out what it is. My doctor even showed it to a Russian-born doctor, but she didn't even know what it was supposed to mean. Finally, I found a post on-line this morning. Here is what I understand. Perinatal affection of the central nervous system is a very common diagnoses for orphaned children-particularly in Russia. Basically, it means that something happened to the child while in the mother's womb that could cause neurological issues. For instance; alcohol abuse or drug use while pregnant, poor prenatal care, poor social situation (poor nutrition) while pregnant, or prematurity are all indicators that they use to suggest this condition. They are concerned that any one of these situations could cause neurological problems (seizures, learning disabilities, or other neurological problems). From what I understand, most children in orphanages diagnosed whith this fully "recover" (or-never show any signs of this issue). With Grace-she was premature, her mother MAY have used alcohol, and she had no prenatal care-which is why Grace was "diagnosed" with this. There were no "symptoms" and her records indicate that she "recovered" (showed no signs of neurological problems). I am relieved to finally have found more information about this "condition". My purpose in mentioning this is that if you have found this blog by doing a search that you will be comforted to know that most children diagnosed with this really don't have any problems.

My final thought today: here are my goals for Grace for next year: 1) to get up to 26 pounds (or more), to be completely caught up in her speech, and for her to continue learning the Cubbie verses. It challenges me to know the verses, too. Enjoy the pictures! Some are of Grace's fall pictures I took at a local park, and some are from the Family Day at the Arboretum.

Friday, October 8, 2010

School Days

Grace absolutely loves school. She attends on MWF from 9:15-11:30. The teachers set up a routine for the coming in time. We enter, hang up her coat and backpack, wash hands and choose a job. I think choosing a job is the best part of her day. Perhaps it's time to set up a job chart at home...
She loves talking about school. There are a number of girls in her class that were in her playschool class, so she likes talking about her friends. She loves the days she goes to school.
The building she goes to is a community center, and they also have adult activities. One is a little room with gym equipment. For $20 a month, you have unlimited access to this room. Today I used the room for about 45 minutes. Seeing that this was my first "work out" in many years, I think that was pretty good! Eventually I would like to build up and work out the whole two hours she's in class. That would be ideal, but probably not very realistic at this point.
Anyway, our fall is in full swing. Next week we celebrate 2 years home with Grace! I can't believe it's been two years already. The time is flying by so quickly! This weekend, we will celebrate our Family Day by going to Morton Arboretum (if everything works out...). It's has great nature trails and lots of oportunities to see all kinds of trees and plants. I hope we will enjoy walking the trails together.