Wednesday, September 30
Unfortunately, the waiting list is 3+ years! And a child must be 3 years old before being allowed to apply. When Brianna turned 3 our current caseworker for home-based infant and toddler services sent a referral for both Brianna and Emma for them to be able to apply. Timing there was awful. Right at that time I was really sick with the pregnancy and had a few other things in the air and I totally dropped the ball. I had 30 days to fill out the paperwork in duplicate and turn it in. I found out that I just had to have the referral resent and I could still apply... but then after having our little friend coming and all the busyness of summertime I decided to wait until Micah's birthday and take care of the paperwork x3 instead. After all, I didn't want the 30 days to expire a second time.
Well, the paperwork was dated 9.8.09. Which means it sat at my house for a full week before I even opened it after getting home from the hospital and having a day or two to get back on my feet. Now it's been three weeks and I am finally able to sit down and fill it out. The timing on this one wasn't so great either!! I'm honestly not sure that there ever really is a GOOD time to have to fill out triplicate of paperwork tho. It's just time consuming.
So now the paperwork is filled out except the release of information pages. It says that for "mental retardation" (which is what my children qualify under) they need the IQ and adaptive testing. It says this is often in a school psychological evaluation. Hmm... Not sure we had them do an IQ test? So I'm sending the release of information for both our pediatrician and their school. And I'll also request a copy of this from the school-- and hope and pray that there's something on file at one place or another that will 'count' toward proving that yes, the children are delayed. Isn't it weird how one minute you hope they don't test low and the next you hope there's proof they're behind?
Not that you want your child to be behind... but I know they ARE. And I know that having this waiver will allow us to provide much more for the kids than we can right now. And that long-term it will benefit them even more. But it all has to be pretty on paper.
Off to get copies of the kids' SS cards, birth certificates, certificates of citizenship for my two Ukrainians, and my own driver's license. Oh, and Emma's Florida ID card since it asks for it... weird to send my 6 yr old's "driver's license" :)
Here's to a successful application going in the mail before the end of the week so that the APD gets it before my 30 days are up!!
Tuesday, September 29
But the past few days I've been trying to think of the 'next thing' to do as far as behavior management and modification at our house. I know that we need something in place aside from just consequences for inappropriate behaviors so that some sort of 'reward' is given for good behavior as well and we haven't been really good at doing that. Mostly because some of the behaviors we're seeing that are 'bad' are things like being greedy and overly hyper. So giving physical prizes or 'treat' incentives haven't sounded like a good idea. We also weren't being super consistent with the positive things. We have been with the negative consequences though...
So I decided this morning that we are doing a physical incentive at the house. I was going to buy some 'charts' for stickers ($1 for 36 individual charts and $1 for 300+ stickers) and some assorted items to put in a 'treasure box' similar to what they do at school. After all, Kristopher seems to be thrilled by getting to go to treasure box and get a 'prize', so maybe it will work at home too?? And let's not kid ourselves, 90% of the reason we need this is for Kristopher. Brianna a little as well, but Emma and Micah- though we'll do it with them as well- could really not care any less about a treasure box, a sticker, a chart, or anything like that... yet. But we'll still use it for them as well for consistency.
I lucked out :) I found simple stories of Elmo, Sesame Street coloring and activity books, tiny board books, tape measurer that has a plastic retractable tape, Star Wars small notebook, 6-pack of Star Wars "push pencils", Star Wars magnets, sheet of holographic Star Wars stickers, a 'squishy' ball that we've been trying to buy to help Micah with sensory stuff, and animals that have buttons to make their sounds... all $1 each!
Not only that, but my sister, Elizabeth, left us a bag full of Happy Meal toys when she was here. Those will be the 'toys' we add to the treasure box. And lastly, some activity incentives will go in there as well. A movie with mom or dad after bedtime, a 'date' for a frosty with a parent, or a surprise outing with both parents. All in all... a nice assortment of all kinds of prizes that are appropriate for all the different 'levels' that the kids are at. And I won't have to restock this bin for a LONG time.
Now, how to do the incentives?? I keep going back and forth on it. Do I want to have all the kids need the same # of stickers to get a prize? Should they be different amounts? Should they have to have a certain # by a specific day of the week and always do it for everyone (that earned it) together, or should it be as soon as they earn a certain # then get the prize right then? Still working on that.
With Kristopher we want to encourage the idea that being good at school is important. Though there's already a reward system at school, and we will not give him a negative consequence other than practicing the 'good' skill needed to overcome whatever difficulty he's having at school, I do think that a GOOD day at school could be rewarded at home. Remembering not to talk back or argue his point when he's gotten a firm answer... another area we're working on. And being considerate of his siblings during playtime. So somehow we'll work those in.
For Brianna we're working on not sitting down and laughing when we're walking places in the house with her (she doesn't do it in public tho thankfully!). We're also working on potty training, so maybe we'll roll that in, tho it depends more on US than her some days. And we're working on her listening to instructions and not saying "no" with a smile and walking away :)
Micah... and Emma... let's face it, they have "goals" but they don't understand the reward of a sticker on a paper or a toy or book being the result of good behavior. So I'm not sure how to do that yet. Would love any suggestions about that though-- since I do want to include them in this!!
What kind of positive reinforcement do you use at home? Is it more formal or informal? Do you do it different for your kids or the same for everyone?
Monday, September 28
"No problem." I replied and handed her a napkin. Turning back to Micah and feeding him...
clack clack, "oops!" I hear and see Brianna's spoon travel across the kitchen floor.
CLUNK, SPLAT "oops!" and there goes the bowl of yogurt.
Somehow the 'oops' escalated throughout the meal. Who'd have known that wiping her own mess up would make so much of a bigger mess for me? (she knocked the other things off while 'cleaning').
Oh, and someone remind me next time I set her own for a morning snack and I don't supervise... I really should move the salt and pepper shakers out of reach first...
But, motivation... the kitchen table has been thoroughly wiped, the floor swept, and a nice area around Brianna's chair has even been cleaned with a wet rag. :)
Sunday, September 27
Kids are fun :)
Saturday, September 26
Mike was able to come! He was helping out at Give Kids the World today but got done just in time to get home and join us! His mom ended up being sick so his dad came instead and we had 5 adults with the 5 kids. Alyssa is the young lady in this first pic with Micah and Mike and she came to help us out today. We had a great time! And all the help meant that I… sat with Lynae and watched. Which was really all I was up for and I’m grateful for all the help!
Emma's gotten the idea that the baby is ok, but 'gentle' isn't in her dictionary. She's gotten much better though.
Micah's pretty standoffish with me now, but he's being good in general. He'll come around :)
Kristopher's been doing well but gets super hyper when he's excited about the baby- which doesn't work so well!
The recovery from a c-section is harder than I remember it. Or maybe it's those 3 more kids I have now than I did after my last c-section?
"Kisses on her knees" is a great rule when you have kids with sniffly noses.
Showers don't take as long when there's a newborn screaming through them.
Screaming is good exercise for the lungs. It shouldn't be immediately stopped EVERY time!
Immediate gratification is necessary when you're 2 weeks old. And I love that my kids all want her to have it too.
Babies with good tone and 'independent' nursing are pretty portable when eating! What a lifesaver :)
Lynae doesn't like her bassinet. I'm convinced. We lay her down- she wakes up. Even if she was in a limp sleep before that. She sleeps great on my couch pillows, tho, but only when she's either on my lap or right next to me. I don't like her sleeping on them otherwise.
The swing is fine if she's asleep, but she's not figured out that it's fun to be in the swing awake. That will be a milestone!
There's nothing quite as sweet as watching your kids snuggle with each other and send one another kisses.
I wonder why this baby has hiccups at least 3-4 times/day. Doesn't seem my other two got them nearly as often!
Kids can have just as much fun with 20 toys between the 4 of them as they can with 40. I have some big bags set aside for a garage sale soon. Less is more. More time to play because you don't have to CLEAN UP all the toys.
When a child loves empty bins, filling them is pointless. They just get dumped. Why do we have those bins in the playroom anyway? Maybe time for re-allocating.
Why do we have a TV in the playroom when 1- we don't have cable, 2- we don't have a digital converter box for that set, 3- the built in VCR died about 9 years ago, 4- the DVD/VCR that used to be with it was moved to our room when ours died... so there's NOTHING you can watch on it!
We might call it a "guest room" but when it stores the kids' weekly clothes bins, the diaper 'pantry' where I store extra boxes of diapers, the BIG bookshelf with all the paper-page books on the top 5 feet of it and toys with many pieces are stored on the bottom 3 feet of it, the spare parts to the wheelchairs, Emma's pony walker... need I go on? There is a queen size bed in there and a nightstand though. So guests DO sleep there. It's just... a bit... crowded.
September is a good time to have a baby. At least I think so. Yes, it was HOT during my pregnancy, but now that I'm recovering it's still too hot to really want to be outside much. This is a good thing! It is the only thing keeping me inside and not out and about. And by the time that it starts cooling off here I should be ready to go for those wonderful long walks and playing at the park and those fun things that fall-temperatures bring back to Florida.
A 5 yr old that doesn't get enough sleep is much like having 2 more 3 yr olds.
A mommy and a daddy that don't get enough sleep doesn't help the situation either! :)
Why do babies sleep great during the day- even laying in the playpen or somewhere 'still', but as soon as I lay in my bed she is AWAKE and wanting to be held?
Thursday, September 24
Our days have changed a lot here lately with the addition of Lynae. It's not necessarily her presence at all that has changed things though! She is fairly easy going and when she's not, she's really portable :) So having her in one hand while I make lunches or unload the dishwasher or whatever isn't that big of a deal. And I understand that crying is like exercise for a newborn and they need a little bit of that too! LOL
The biggest things that have impacted our days are my not being able to drive until the dr officially gave me a green light yesterday and I still cannot lift much. This means that with 2 kids that don't get in and out of their beds alone, up and down from their highchairs alone, in and out of the house alone, up and down out of the van/ carseats alone... and even the wheelchair weighs 30 lbs... I can't do a whole lot that I used to do every day.
Now I get up with Mike in the morning and instead of getting the kids up, dressed, shoes on, and to the breakfast table while he takes a shower... I get up and make breakfast, get medicines ready, finish up lunches and add cold packs, finish up backpacks by adding lunches and anything else that wasn't put in the night before, and brush the kids' teeth then sometimes help bring backpacks out to the car or walk one of the little ones out to the car holding their hand. Mike's had to get all 3 little ones up, dressed, diapered, and to the breakfast table then out the door and in the car. He's been bringing them to school (right around the corner from his work, thankfully) and walking the preschoolers to their classroom. Most days he's been picking them all up as well with my mom filling in where he can't or where it just makes sense for her to get them if she's helping me right after.
It's been a great blessing to have both sets of grandparents close by. Though I know we would have made things work if we didn't have any help, it has been great to not have to do that. Our family is not the 'traditional' family where the kids are at least a year apart and more like 2-3 years... and the older child is walking and somewhat independent in some areas of life. Instead I have two blessings that came to me through means other than birth that depend on me for their every need. And they're heavy. :) So an extra set of hands with the kids has been great.
I can honestly say I've not been the 'star mommy' this past few days though... now that I'm home more with the 5 kids on my own whenever there's not a meal or nap happening that I need help with. Yesterday I was sore from a doctor's appointment and after school my kids came in the house and... played. That's it! I sat on the couch and watched them play. Eventually Brianna asked for Signing Time and I turned that on for her. For the other 2 hours I watched the 4 older kids play from the vantage point of the couch and did nothing.
I am also very grateful that many at our church have stepped up and provided meals for us. Many families have brought enough for 3-4 dinners! I have frozen dishes so we can have them again and nothing will go bad. Days like yesterday knowing that I didn't need to get up and make dinner is a great relief.
I remember after having Brianna that when she was about 2 weeks old I felt badly that people were still bringing us dinner. I was up and around, I had just a newborn and almost-2 yr old to take care of, I'd had a c-section then as well so I couldn't lift, but Kristopher was at about the developmental level that Brianna is now and I could handle everything I needed to with him. What a difference it makes when it's the second baby than when it's the 5th :) I'm so grateful to God that He's given us each and every one of our babies and our 'big kids' in the way and the time that He has and that He's surrounded us with a support system that has enabled us to enjoy each of them as they joined our family.
Yes, we are blessed and very much so!
Tuesday, September 22
Monday, September 21
Considering I just had a baby... I'm thinking the tummy tuck doesn't sound so bad! LOL But do I want to be in the top 5 hits from Google about it?? I don't think so!!
Friday, September 18
You all are so sweet. I've had a few comments over the last few days asking how I'm doing. I am recovering well :) I'm still on pain meds, of course, since it's been only 8 days since surgery. But I am thankful that I have not used the 'heavy' pain meds since coming home except the one day that I was going to have my staples out and knew I'd have to be walking, riding in the car, climbing on the exam table, and... having the staples taken out :) But thankfully otherwise I've been able to use a minimal amount of pain control to keep it manageable. Granted... I haven't been 'pushing it' either. I would much rather be tender and useless than on pain meds that may be transferring to the baby through breast milk and... useless anyway :)
I cannot drive for another week and can't lift for at least another 3-5 weeks. Those make it hard since we have school runs and 3 preschoolers and 2 kids that need a lot of carrying/lifting. I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband and our parents that have picked up where I cannot (literally!). We also have a great church family and friends that have provided us with meals this week with a generous amount of leftovers for lunches and dinners on days we didn't have anything coming. Another blessing.
I've found little things I CAN do and will stick to those the next few weeks until I get the all-clear to go back to normal activities. I know that if I do push it and end up hurt I will be COMPLETELY useless from a hospital bed where I'd be required to recover.
Thank you all for the sweet remarks about our baby girl. I have to say, she's one of the two most beautiful newborn baby girls I've ever seen (and Brianna would be the other) and one of the 3 sweetest little girls I know (with Brianna and Emma :) ). And no, I'm not partial! :D :D
So, all that good stuff... and a little "real life" about the kids and their transitions too...
Emma is having the hardest time. She's very obviously jealous and as I mentioned before she has hit/grabbed at Lynae a lot. That has lessened tho she's still interested in this little stranger. She will do it if we're not careful, but she's listening to reprimands and is stopping before she tries to 'strike'. She's had lots of extra rough time with Daddy and extra cuddle time with mommy (sitting next to me while I protect myself with a strategically placed pillow) and has enjoyed those as well!
Kristopher absolutely LOVES his baby sister and wants to know where she is and wants to be near her, hold her, love on her, show her his toys, and is very interested in why her "tinkler" is red (her umbilical cord LOL), why she is biting mommy's tummy (nursing), and how the hospital visit was "thousands of years ago" "you mean last week?" "oh... yes...". We are seeing very helpful pleasing behavior one minute and very defiant behavior the next. We've also had some issues at school this week that are likely related. The "big issue" that came up right before the baby's birth has thankfully been resolved though! He's been getting lots of extra praise but no slacking on the consequences for his negative actions as well... if he gets an inch he takes a mile and we can't afford to let his behavior get ahead of us.
Brianna is doing the absolute BEST with the adjustment. She's had more issues with the flow of people through the house than she has with Lynae's arrival. Brianna LOVES her baby sister, sits with her, hugs on her, wants to be with her constantly and is so happy about her. She doesn't mind sharing her Mommy which we were concerned about. She's having the hardest time when we have other people in the house. Yesterday she wanted Daddy so badly and he finally got an evening to go run after work and have some time to himself. Bria sat by the front door and cried until I talked her into going to the rocking chair to sit with me a while then we turned on 101 Dalmatians. She wanted me to carry her... but decided walking was ok. Daddy spent the afternoon with us today :)
Micah is oblivious :) Seriously, at the hospital he looked at her then went to play... at the house he's not paid her ANY mind whatsoever. He doesn't mind that I'm not able to hold him. He doesn't mind the other people through the house. He's just pretty much taking it in stride and keeping going. Not to say he's had a perfect week, but it hasn't been anything out of the norm. He does, however, have some MAJOR feeding issues going on that have been happening for about 6 weeks. It has escalated in the last 3 weeks or so and is to the point where we are feeding him separate than our family meal times because it's too stressful for us ALL to have him eat with us.
And not to leave out Lynae... she is doing good, growing well, crying, eating, pooping, sleeping and repeat :) She's not doing too bad at night- granted we've only been home a few nights and some have been good some bad. I don't mind the newborn nights, though... I know they don't last forever and love every minute I spend with her even if it is from 2-5am :)
So, there you have it... life at the Cornish household :) Never boring- never the same- always something around the corner and no two days are ever the same :)
Wednesday, September 16
Think Brianna was happy to see Aunt Elizabeth? She laid on her shoulder for a good 20 minutes. I think she was especially glad to get some standing-rocking time in since I can’t do that right now… She was excited to see her Aunt tho!
Snuggly little one
The blankets above and below were a gift from a friend. They are SO soft! The one Lynae is laying on top of in both pic’s I’ve been using to protect my couch pillows :) It’s a burp cloth that the other side is a soft terry cloth. Right now it’s a burp cloth, couch protector, changing pad, and occasionally a light blanket too :) And the matching blanket has a sweet pink soft backing on it. I have used the 2 burp cloths and blanket a LOT in the 4 days we’ve been home! I’ll have to link over to her site later as I don’t have it handy, but she sells these along with other great handmade things for little ones :)
Brianna’s getting independent :) She asked for all her clothes to come off… only needed help with her shirt. Then she put her pullup in the diaper pail, her clothes on the changing table, and she went to the potty to go tinkle. She then came back, got a little assistance with her shirt, and diaper, and she put her shorts on RIGHT all by herself. Then she took them back OFF again, and put them on like this (below) and went to go play :)
Micah’s trying to be independent too! He really was interested in seeing about getting these shoes back on his feet :)
Here’s K showing a story in his High Five magazine (Highlights for younger kids). He likes that magazine!
Somehow Emma missed out on the pictures. She was having a great time on the OTHER end of the playroom and didn’t make it in while I had the camera out.
Tuesday, September 15
I think this 'season' is a great mixture of time with Lynae and time with everyone without having either 'lose out' at the expense of another. Granted, this is day ONE of this routine. Also, Mondays and Fridays will be special time with the 3 youngest since there's no preschool on those days.
I keep thinking I could do the dishes or move the laundry or accomplish SOMETHING rather than just SITTING here doing NOTHING... then I go to adjust and realize I just had major surgery and those things really aren't a good idea for a little while still. A walk around the house and getting up and getting some lunch are in order tho. It's not good to just SIT either.
Yesterday Lynae's first ped appointment was great. She looks good, healthy, all is well! And, guess what? She weighed 6 lbs 8 oz! Yes, that is MORE than her birthweight. She was 5 lbs 14oz coming home, so she gained 10 oz from Saturday to Monday. Somehow... I think the scales show a bit of a difference... Regardless, this was my 'ok' that she can now get the pacifier! She has been nursing a lot, and often for just a minute or two so I know she didn't really NEED to eat. But until I knew she is healthily gaining and my milk was in and doing well I didn't want to stop any attempts of hers to nurse. Yesterday she was introduced to what we call her 'nuk' (tho no, it's not that brand LOL). She loves it, I love it, and together the three of us (Mike included) are thanking God for the person that created them :) Lynae's not an especially fussy baby, but she now has a way to get calmed without nursing at every fuss. A good thing.
Because of this, she waited a little bit between feedings and she nursed nice and long at 10pm. She didn't wake again until 2! Then she slept until 5 or so and again until my mom woke her up at 8:00 or so... she was sleeping through their visit ;) I feel good to have gotten a fuller night's sleep than the last 2 where she was up every hour and a half-2 hours all night. I don't mind it, but this is definitely better :)
In my blog reading this morning I saw Christine Reed's post saying she has adoption window decals left over from their fundraiser to adopt little Alex. Christine adopted Dennis from the orphanage where my kids were last year and this year went back for little Alex. Both are boys I had the joy of meeting and advocating for and Dennis was Emma's room mate. I have a special place for both of those little guys and I'm so glad that they're home! Anyway... she's giving away the last of her adoption decals and to enter all you need to do is link back to her blog. Since I know many of my readers are also adoptive parents, I thought I'd send you back to her give-away so you can enter as well :)
Back to enjoying the munchkin. Oh, and lunch.
Sunday, September 13
Saturday, September 12
39 Weeks, the night before Lynae was born…
The kids meeting their new baby sister…
Friends and family at the hospital…
Mike’s aunt Terri
Our friend Jamie
Our friend Dan
The kids’ PT
Mike’s grandmother (Great-gram)
Meredith’s aunt Birgitt
Meredith’s brother Robert
Our friend Danny
Our friend Kathleen
Our friends Brooke and Jared with their 2 month old
Our friend Amber (with her baby due in a month)
Our friend Richie
Our friend Chris