Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tootsie's Progress (and more)

This past week we celebrated being home for three months. YAY! We also sent in our second Progress Report and our $$ to begin the Finalization process. In the County we live in you don't have to have all three Progress Reports in to finalize, in case some were wondering. We should get a call with our Finalization date soon. Yay for THAT! It's just a piece of paper, which says what we already know - Joye is ours forever.

There is also something that I have been wanting to share for a while now, but haven't had the time. We are making BIG progress with the sleeping issue. Let me give you a little background first:

When we first brought Joye home, I was planning to parent just like I parented the boys. Same rules, same expectations. Although I had read MANY books on adoption and what to expect, I still had it in my mind that it all was the same. Relatively. I mean, I didn't expect her to be left with a stranger and be ok. I knew and planned for adoption-related issues and was planning on dealing with them as they arrived.

One thing I did NOT plan on was sleeping issues. I don't know why, I just never thought much about it. (I must have skipped that chapter in the books ;) I expected sleeping problems for the first month, when we were getting used to her and to allow for Jetlag. By month two, I was stumped and frustrated. "Sleeping and getting tired are an INSTINCT, like hunger and the ability to fill a diaper!" I told myself and others. What is the big deal?!
I was expecting her to be independent, fall asleep on her own, and be able to be secure when I wasn't in the room. Just like the boys were at 15-16 months of age. The boys didn't go through the loss that Joye has, and I began to realize other specific things that helped me be more compassionate.

I bought a book while we were waiting, "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" by Patty Cogen. I briefed through it and read a chapter here and there. I found it incredibly depressing at times. I put it down and decided that it wasn't positive enough, and my daughter was going to different than the child/children that she describes in the book. (To some point I still believe this, some of the material is pretty bleak, but the majority of it is very helpful)

After I fought Joye to sleep for an hour-and-a-half one night, I decided to crack it open. Turned right to the chapter about sleep. My eyes were opened. The reason why she cried 15 minutes after I put her down, was because she wanted to be near me and was getting attached to me. Never thought about that.

It's apparent that she had sleep issues in Korea, as well. She had NO nap and went to bed at 11pm and woke at 8am. FM said that she didn't like to go to sleep. I also think that she dreams about FM and Korea too. This is where she grieved.

"She needs to self-soothe!" I would tell myself. Then I read the chapter on self-soothing. After reading, I found that Joye didn't know how to self-soothe. She needed help to know what were good pre-bedtime habits and what were not. Pulling hair - NOT a good habit. Pinching herself - NOT a good habit.
I was told that Joye DID NOT accept "fake nipples" or pacifiers. However, I have picture from Korea with one in her mouth. ???? I never got a pacifier from FM. If it was vital, I KNOW FM would have given it to us. I think maybe she had one, and then weaned herself off and then maybe regressed a little when she came home. I don't know, just guessin'.

After she fell asleep (which took a while), she had the suckle thing going on. Well, she fell asleep with bottles in Korea, which I eliminated shortly after arriving home. Because once they were gone and out of her mouth, she would wake, FLIP OUT and scream because it was gone. It was making the sleep thing WAY WORSE.

I took all these pieces of the sleep puzzle and started putting them together.

For the record, I was adamantly opposed to introducing a pacifier at 16 months of age (before I read Cogen's chapter on self-soothing, and realized that she *might* have had one in Korea). I would have NEVER introduced a paci to the boys at 16 months! Neither of the boys had paci's past 12 months. Because they didn't NEED them. Joye needed something to help comfort her and put a different spin on falling to sleep.

So I relented, and busted a puggy out of the archives. Let's see what happens?

I *showed* her the pacifier and she pointed to it and went "uh, uh, uh!" She knew exactly what it was and wanted it REALLY bad. Ever since, we have absolutely NO problems going to sleep. I followed Cogen's advice and give it to her when we start the pre-sleep process. No fighting, no crying, just peaceful drift into restful sleep. !!!!!

She wakes up fewer times in the night (hardly ever). Rarely wakes from her naps and is sleeping 1.5 hours almost everyday! It's like a magic button! When she wakes, she hands it to me as if to say "here, take it, I'm done, for now."

The purpose of this post was to remind myself that sometimes I have to be more open-minded as a parent and as a person. I want to do what is best for Joye. If she needs a pacifier, then she needs one. Right now she needs A LOT. And I am totally ok with that. My expectations are more aligned with what is best for Joye and what she needs right now. I'm finding that parenting her is pretty different from when the boys were her age. But then the boys were (and still are) very different from each other and parenting them is still different.

Having Joye has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned SO much from her. She's made me a better mom (not meant to be a compliment to myself, just that I have had to think outside 'the box' and it's been good for me).

Another thing is that we have been home for only 3 months! A lot of progress has been made in this short time! Our Heavenly Father has taught me a lot about finding the good in the trials. As hard as it is to look past the bad, it's really encouraging to see the good.

- - - - - - - -
In other news . . .

Tootsie started standing, from a squat in the middle of the room, for the first time today! She will be walking VERY soon. Yikes! I'm not sure I'm ready for this! Batten down the hatch!

She caught her first cold, and the poor little thing is a trooper. Not much seems to get her down. That and she has the tiniest little nose on the planet! Where does all the green gooey stuff come from? (Probably TMI)

She can say "poo poo" which is our nickname for the dog.

She says "ow" for when she gets hurt, but says it when she's not.

She says "uh-oh" when something falls or drops.

"da da" for belly button.

When I hand her the prune juice bottle every morning she says "deet, deet" for thank you. Doesn't say it again until the next morning when I give her the same bottle.

When I look at her picture that we got from Korea, before we went to get her, I see a different baby. Even the pictures of us together as a family for the first time. She has changed SO much. Some good, some bad. The good is that she's growing like a weed and doing more things. The bad is that I feel her culture, language and a part of her is leaving. As she adapts to America, I feel less of Korea. It breaks my heart. It's inevitable, I guess. But it still makes me sad.


Steve and Karen said...

As for the pacifier thing, you have spent too much justifying it....girlfriend, I say you start looking to see how big they make them to give to her for as long as she needs them. It is totally different this time around. We're doing things that were just not even remotely considered "ok" with our boys. Congrats on getting more sleep!!!!

Allen and Kala said...

I love the name Tootsie! I'm glad that the sleeping is going better and I must say she gets cuter with every picture I see!

Brittany said...

I'm glad you have found something helpful for sleep! Life is just so much better with sleep. It is amazing how different things are and how much we learn each time we become a parent again. Keep doing what's best for Joye- the others of us in your boat totally understand and don't think it's weird to give a 16 month old a paci.

Kmoana said...

I'm just loving following "Tootsie's" progress...she is growing so fast and is soooooo adorable!!! In many ways she reminds me so much of Bella and they are so close in age. Bella just recently started making that furrowed brow look that Joye used to make and she looks so much like her! Bella has that suckle thing going on too, so I took your hint and today tried the paci before laying B to nap, I think it is working to help her have a longer and more restful sleep! :)

Christy said...

It sounds like you're doing pretty well. My (bio) son used a pacifier until he was 2 because DH was deployed from 1-2 and I refused to take it away from him during that time. While I wouldn't have introduced it to him at 16 months in your case I would have done the same. Definitely do what needs to be done to SLEEP! All family members are happier when Mom and baby are sleeping! :)

I agree with you on the Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child - great tool but a bit depressing and I think she blames EVERYTHING on adoption. Some issues are true for all kids and are not adoption related. Anyway, that's a post in itself.

Glad you're doing well!

Michelle said...

I am sooo glad that you did this post. First off - good for you! There are so many people out there that don't want to recognize or acknowledge that these kids are grieving and that it has nothing to do with our ability as parents. You saw what she needed and gave it to her. You are an awesome parent! Glad to read that the sleeping is improving - I've been there and back and there again and it's so hard! Hang in there. LOVE that face :)