28 September 2009

sunny days and broken transmissions

Lest I be accused of blindly writing a blog that is all sunshine and rainbows, let me tell you here and now that it's not blind.

There are people reading this blog who will know Sasha in real life (irl). And, I'm just not sure how much I want to share with people who will meet her, see her, know her. Once I tell, I can't un-tell. And, there are things that I don't want lurking in the mind of the irl community.

That being said, things really are going well. Very well, all things considered, I'd say. And that's neither sunshine nor stardust. Today primarily consisted of play-dough and Sesame Street. It doesn't get much better than that.

("Oh, yes. Segues are for children," says my friend Suzanne when she's following my conversational leaps. Consider that your segue.)

It's like driving a car that in incapable of downshifting. You might try shifting up and up, waiting to downshift until there's a red light. But, at the red light, you find that there are no brakes, either. Your only choice is to crash.

If you don't want to crash, you just have to drive in first gear--paying careful, constant attention to the rpm's so that you can see when that needle's in the red so you don't burn out your engine (or whatever--it's an analogy). You can't shift up, because then you'd be stuck in a higher gear, so you need to slow back down. If it's getting dangerously close to needing to shift up, and you can't slow down, you need to remove the key from the ignition. You just need to turn it off. Not great for the car, but at least it's not crashed and requiring major body work.

Fortunately, I'd seen on earlier visits, we could call that a test drive, that there was no off switch on this model. I've been watching those rpm's carefully. On the days when we didn't have a choice, when we had to go and go and go we did indeed crash. Even a small, quiet dose of other people led to a "stuck in fourth gear" episode for hours. And that key wouldn't budge from the ignition!

So, it's first gear for us for the foreseeable future. It's okay (a phrase Sasha can say quite well, and use appropriately, thank you very much--it's in stiff competition with good girl for most-used English phrase at the moment). We're not in a hurry.

Tomorrow is the embassy appointment and the next morning we leave! On our way to where the air is sweet...


Anonymous said...

I totally understand - you may want to put up baby gates when you get home. Just tell her it's for the cats or somthing, because that REALLY helped my daughter from Russia calm down. Having the whole house to run through like a maniac was toooo much stimulation, but once we put up the baby gates, she would settle down and play with her toys. Without them up, she would never, ever sit still for 3 seconds - and I mean that literally, not for 3 seconds. Love your updates and we are thrilled for the two of you!

votemom said...

ditto to what anonymous said about the gates. also limit the toys to just 3 or 4. seriously.

i know you know this, but i'm just validating the merit behind it.

you, the rocking chair, and a couple of toys = a good formula.

also, letting her sit on the counter and help you with meal prep is GREAT attachment and language time.

The Holmes Crew said...

Ditto on the gates. ANY tiny stimulation in the form of a vistor, activity, sound, or new experience sent Harry into fast foward and it was near impossible to get in reverse/stop. The first two weeks we went nowhere and kept to a loose routine. We allowed a few visitors for short periods. (Each time he went into fast forward as soon as the doorbell rang.) Simply, we kept his world very small. Only when we saw progress did we expand his world - and even then - it was just a slight expansion. 9 months later he still goes into fast forward anytime he's in a new situation (especially when we have a vistor he doesn't know or when we go somewhere where he doesn't know anyone). We expected this, and we see progress each time. I am pleased with his progress and I know it will continue to get better. Just keep Lexi's world small and you'll be good. It will come, slowly!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I love that analogy! No turning corners either. If you try to make a sharp change into a new activity you will get your head blasted off and run up the curb. Gotta take the roundabout to change to something new or different. And you still might run up the curb! Let see, what else.
Keep the gas tank full but watch for leaks!
Don't open all the doors at once it will overload the sensory system. One door at a time!
I love how on top of it all you are. I think you are dead on. Take things as slow, calm and quiet as needed to keep her regulated and if it is too much for her, slow down more.

Katie said...

You know, John (three yrs later) still gets overstimulated a bit. He also knows about himself that he limits his belongings. He gives me toys to "take away" when he gets overwhelmed with this stuff. I know non- adoptive kids do this too,but with John...I almost feel like he is comfortable with some magic number of items that are "his" and past that just makes him feel nervous, twitchy. And he is very into keeping his room FREAKISHLY clean - very minimalist. But at Christmas, he is a nervous cat. Three years later.

Jim said...

At risk of overdoing it, I also agree on the gates. They worked wonders with our little first-gear wonder, at least for a while.

Enjoy the Emabssy appointment. It's usually a breeze after everything you've been through to adopt.

And best wishes for the flights!

Elle said...

To be honest, I wish someone had suggested gates for us. However, Oleg only wanted to sit in the front window and watch the world go by.

Our issue is that he wants to do things perfectly the first time and cannot calm down if he gets upset that it is not going the way his mind sees it. Had that happen this afternoon actually.

Taking it slow is all you can do at this point.

Maura said...

Sounds like you are right on with what you need to do for your little girl. :-)

Ditto on what everyone else said. We kept D's world small for a long time and it helped him adjust. We still had a few months of sleep issues but then he learned to trust us and it made all the difference. Like others have mentioned, he still gets overstimulated in certain situations, but we know how to prep him in advance now to try to minimize.

Maggie said...

That's not an analogy I've ever used, but I know it well! Slugger has very little ability to self regulate and I have to keep things very structured and know when he's had enough. It's hard, because I often have to have us back off of things before he's ready to stop. But when I see we're headed for "crash" mode, I have to turn the wheel, so to speak.

Rachael said...

Have a great flight! Great, of course, being relatively speaking.

Annie said...

Funny....how in one week you can provide insights that in four years I haven't quite mastered. Of course to me an ANALOGY IS an INSIGHT. If I don't have an analogy, I am not understanding. That's just me, so yours helped me.

Nastya is the same. People....doses of people do really get Nastya "going" too. The only thing is, perhaps because she is older, she has developed the ability to hid the strain on her engine until after the people are gone and then she revs up so high that explosions are usually impossible to prevent.

Oddly, she handles school very well. School is so orderly. And this year, in a VERY regulated school environment (twelve students; the children stand to speak and walk in nice lines) she is as happy as she has ever been. Very.safe.

I suppose you can see the pitfalls ahead - those times when even when you know the danger....you cannot drive this vehicle slowly. Terrible to know how it is going to turn out but have no option. Real life and other people do make it hard sometimes....but the regulation issues get better in time, too.

And....while I'd love to be as popular as you, I am actually grateful that for the most part people who know me IRL don't know about the blog. I have true friends that are absolutely "safe" to talk to. It is an enormous blessing.

Tammy said...

I don't know if this will help Lexi because I used this technique for kids with the opposite problems - too much chaos and no structure in their "previous" life. But I thought I'd throw it out there. If it doesn't apply, then it doesn't apply.

Anyways, I have found that kids do better if my directions are very concrete. Instead of saying, "Stay by me" I say "stand in this box (tile, etc) on the floor" or "stay close enough that you can touch me at all times". I once did visits with kids and they were literally running in the street while I was getting their baby sister out of the car. Not knowing what else to do, I told the kids that they had to stand on the curb and be able to touch my car at all times. To my surprise (and relief), it worked. And with concrete directions, the kids are easy to redirect. "Are you standing on the curb? No? Can you stand back on the curb, please" or whatever you say.

Lexi may not be there yet either - maybe only physical barriers will work. But I thought I'd throw it out there.

And don't worry about not sharing all the details. You are not writing a How To book. This is your life and your child.

Good luck with the embassy and the lllooonnnggg flight back to the US!

votemom said...

praying for today... and all that needs to be accomplished.