Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Transition update

I decided it's about time to write a post about how the transition is going in general. So lets talk about the areas that are issues, shall we?

Axel is 10, and pretty set in his ways how he does stuff, and not all of those ways are in sync with our house. Most of them have to do with doing whatever the heck he wants, but laughing while he's doing it because surely that laugh is cute and we will let him get by with whatever. I learned what "the laugh" meant very quickly. Oh, it's an ADORABLE laugh. If you didn't know him you'd think I was the meanest mom in the world when I quickly put a stop to the laugh. That's because you don't know what comes AFTER the laugh! I rarely get "the laugh" anymore, but Dean gets it quite a bit if I leave the house, or he gets brave enough to take Axel out in public.

Yes, I said brave enough. Axel can be quite the little pill when Dean takes him out. Go back and read this post, written after the first day I had Axel. He's not QUITE this naughty for Dean. He's not pulling hair or glasses, but he's not all that far off. Dean hasn't had many opportunities to get out in public with Axel alone to break some of this behavior, but believe me, it's getting arranged now!  He's getting better, and really he doesn't have that far to go. It's just a matter of Dean taking the time to work on it. With me Axel is fantastic about 98% of the time, but I expect that to change a little when he starts school. I expect to see some regression at that point.

When Axel starts school we're going to have to have a behavioral plan as part of his IEP from the beginning, because when we did his assessments last week it was easy to see how quickly he can escalate into total naughtiness! And yes, they are going to be warned about "the laugh"!

There are certain habits Axel has that many 10 year old BOYS have, that...well...when they're done in public the living room...are not really welcome at all! It's clear this is a well established habit, because there is a whole "set up" routine that goes along with it. It took me about 2 days in Serbia to realize exactly what was going on. (Something about his eyes glazing over that gave it away!) I don't know if his foster family just didn't realize what he was actually doing at this time, or if they just chose to not say anything about it. Well, that doesn't fly here very well. There is a time and a place for that, and it's NOT in my living room! This week in particular I've noticed a dramatic decrease in this behavior. THANK YOU GOD!

We are not having any toileting issues anymore. Well, what we had was only minimal to begin with, and really just had to do with Axel wanting control over the situation. Once he realized he didn't have it, that problem went away. He does lie that he has gone to the bathroom when he's sent in. Fortunately he hasn't yet figured out that there is visible evidence in the toilet if he's gone. LOL And, now that we know what his guilty face looks like, it's easy to know when he's done (or not done) something he's supposed to. Even so, I would put this in the category of very age-typical behavior because he does it when he knows after he goes to the bathroom there is a fun thing coming up, like going somewhere in the car.

Like brothers around the world, Axel waits until I'm out of sight to pester his sister. She responds very well to him ("I'm gonna move away Axel!", or "I'm not gonna play with you Axel!" he pushes her too far and she just leaves the area. One of these days he's going to discover what happens when you go to far in pestering someone who is twice your size! But, since he is still new to the family, it's very rare that they're together out of my sight except for times like this morning when I ran out to start the car. As soon as I came back in the door I heard "the laugh" and Angela telling him to stop touching the computer. LOL

So how is Dean doing? I don't know. I'm going to let Dean respond for himself in his blog. (umm...Hello Dean? Did you forget you have a blog?)

How am I doing?

Exactly one month before I left to get Axel, I wrote this post. I have had to go back and re-read that post a time or two to refresh my memory how this all works, and that I'm not crazy. Parenting a child who you do not have a biological connection to is not difficult. It's the "having patience" part that is tough. Patience to wait out those things that are annoying but not truly issues, and acceptance of some things that cannot be changed. Sometimes determining which is which is the hardest part. But we're coming along, and I can honestly say I love this child.

I've found that my expectations for Axel are higher than they are for Angela for some things. It is very hard for me to see that Axel is going to very quickly bypass Angela. In fact, he already has in many areas. It is very hard to not compare them. They are SO different from each other in what motivates them to succeed. They are so different in the rate that they learn. (Axel learned to zip his jacket last weekend after spending 10 minutes showing him. Angela has been working on this for SIX YEARS) This difference has been a push for Angela, making her want to do things independently that she hasn't been able to, or hasn't wanted to until now (like fold all her laundry and put it away) Funny, that's exactly why I wanted one more baby after I had Angela. Funny, God knew we needed to wait and have Axel here instead!

Dean and I are having to make some adjustments that we knew about before we brought Axel home. We were used to having every-other weekend to ourselves when Angela went to her dads. That is gone now. We are now like every other parent who doesn't get a break. We need to find a couple sitters who are willing to come to the house for both kids, or maybe after Axel is in bed for the night since he NEVER EVER EVER gets out of bed once he's in there. (this is one welcomed left-over orphanage behavior!)

All in all, Axel is a very typical little boy. The behavior we're seeing here is VERY typical behavior for a child his age. And when you take into consideration his very typical behavior....well...Axel is a pretty easy kid! He is very easy to redirect, and he responds quickly to redirection. He is soaking up the world as fast as we can expose him to it, and ALL of us are loving watching him experience it.  Life with Axel is good.

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