Keep On Swimming


So much time has passed since I blogged - hard to believe!    
So here is the latest news from my little spot in the world..

First of all, I am somewhat broken.  Literally.  
I had been running again.. getting back into my groove.. feeling good.  I love to run, as I find that it is the only activity that helps 'center' me.  Clears my mind, makes life take on a bit of a positive glow.  Allows me to eat more fattening food without causing tight-jean-syndrome.  :)  
The last run that I had was 3 weeks ago.   It was a normal run - a bit of right knee pain in the beginning until I truly warmed up.. and then smooth-going.  Later that day, however, I was holding Devika and had my foot planted - turned my body - and heard the dreaded 'pop' that no runner (or anyone else for that matter) wants to hear.  And so it began...

The past 3 weeks have been increasingly more painful.  My primary physician had examined me a few days post-injury and suggested we try physical therapy before contacting an orthopedic surgeon or getting an x-ray or mri.  I've endured many PT sessions now and each has become more hideously painful and less productive due to pain.  I'm convinced that 99% of physical therapists are fulfilling some form of a sadistic fetish!!!

I finally was able to get in with an orth surgeon this past Monday, who told me that I'm textbook for a meniscus tear - and he set me up for an MRI that took place yesterday.  This coming Monday, I will find out the details and likely be scheduling a surgery.  In the meantime, he told me to use crutches whenever possible.  
Have you ever tried to care for 2 small children and walk with crutches?  Not easy I tell you!  Quite the challenge.  Needless to say, the crutches spend most of their days leaning against the wall.

But enough about me.  

My girls are doing pretty well lately.  Maya is in kindergarten and is progressing amazingly well!  I am so very proud of her.  Today was a teacher/parent conference - my first!  Maya's teacher told me that Maya tested high - she should be in the 1st grade reading and math.. but her fine motor skills are a little delayed/slow.. so they kept her in the kindergarten level classes.  I agree that this is the right thing to do - she is very slow when writing/reading/thinking through her answers.  She LOVES homework, but it takes her ~2 hours instead of the probably 30 minutes that it should take.  We are working on this..

Maya also has made some good friends in kindergarten.  Her best buddy is a boy named Garret.  All day and night I hear stories about Garret.  :)  So cute!  They play in the dirt every day during recess.  The girl comes home from school simply covered in sand/dirt from head to foot!  Lately they have been 'building bonfires'.  
The only thing that Maya is constantly upset by at school (other than occasional random kindie drama) is that she can't run fast.  She claims to be the slowest kid in the class.  She also gets upset that she can't run as fast as Garret.  She is sure that it is her shoes - we are on the lookout for super-fast shoes to replace her 'slow' sneakers.  

Devika is enjoying her preschool class also.  We have experienced 2!! days of drop-offs where she did not scream and cry and try to hold on to my leg.  Baby steps..

I am, however, becoming concerned about Devi and some of her behaviors. 

Approximately 2 weeks ago, Devi began doing an odd self-soothing type of behavior.  At first it only seemed to occur when she was extremely tired.  Unfortunately, it seems to be becoming more and more frequent.  She lays on her tummy in what Maya calls her 'froggy' position (a fetal-type position but on her tummy).  She then rocks herself and makes a very odd and slightly loud breathing-noise.  She won't stop doing it - I really have to work at a distraction to get her up off of the floor.  I'm afraid she might even be doing this at school on occasion, though her teachers haven't mentioned it to me. Her nanny (2 days/week) told me that the teacher mentioned that Devi was very tired on Monday.  I assume she was doing her rocking and this is what prompted the teacher to say this.  She was rocking while her nanny was here that day - at Chik Fil A during lunch and then at home.
This seems to be a 'stimming' type behavior.  We haven't seen Devi do this type of thing since her first months at home with us.

Another odd thing that Devi does is to over-scratch any itchy spots she might have on her body.  I thought this might be just a bit more than normal, but her nanny has voiced concern over it also (her nanny was Maya's nanny a couple years ago and has been in childcare/daycare all her life - and is 50 yrs old).  If Devi has a little cut or itch, it takes forever to heal b/c she won't leave it alone.  Right now she has a small rash on her bum and she keeps scratching at it until it bleeds if we don't see her and make her stop.
The other worrisome behavior is Devi's repetitive behavior.  She will say the same word or phrase over and over and over.  Until I want to put my head through a wall.  I had asked her OT about this, back in June when it seemed to be getting very annoying (btw she no longer qualifies for at-home OT due to her age, so we don't have an OT to work with now - she gets OT at school but they never talk to us about it), and was told that this is a pretty normal 2/3-yr old behavior.  While I agree that it CAN be.. I don't think that what we are dealing with falls into this realm.  
Again, a friend of mine who runs a small daycare told me today that she felt this was something new (she has watched Devi on many occasions in the past) she is seeing with Devi and NOT something normal.  
All the time she does this.. 'Mommy.. mommy.. mommy.. mommy.. ' - and she doesn't need anything.  If I can get her to stop repeating this in order to find out if she needs to tell me something - she never has anything to say.  Sometimes she will just say 'I love you'.. and then start again.  She did this with my friend today also - 'Miss J.. Miss J.. Miss J.. Miss J.. '.  
Luckily, I have not heard that she does this at school.. yet.  At school she just can't sit still.  She often sits in a special chair at circle time that has 3 sides to keep her contained.. and she is flipping around inside the chair constantly.  I might have mentioned this once before.. her teachers took a short video of this for me.  

What scares me about all of this is that these all seem like autism-related behaviors.  Devi's previous OT had assured me that D was in no way autistic b/c she has pretty good verbal skills and does not have major social issues.  I was glad to hear that, but as these behaviors keep increasing, I am finding myself getting worried about this again.  And not that our family could not deal with it - 'autism' doesn't equate to something completely traumatic/hideous to us or anything.  I just want to ensure that Devi has the best care possible for whatever challenges she might be encountering.  If she needs further evaluation or therapy, I want to make sure that she gets it.

I am now in the process of completing the 'Getting Started' paperwork for the Star Center.  This is a therapy center in Denver that specializes in treating Sensory Processing Disorder.  D's pediatrician recommended we take her there, and we had actually been already considering it from the advice of a friend.  Now I am feeling a sense of urgency that we get her there and be sure we are getting all the help that we possibly can for her.  

So that is the latest.  So happy that it is getting cool and crisp outside now - it is time for pumpkin patches and apple cider - and pumpkin spice lattes!  Speaking of which, I think it is time for my 3:00 caffeinated pick-me-up.  :)

Love, Your Institutionalized Mother

Dear Maya & Devika,

Though I am not yet in a straight jacket, dictating this blog entry or typing with my toes.. nor am I creating this entry from the depths of a rehab facility.. I look at these future possible situations with a feeling of resignation and possibly a little anticipation.  
A nice, clean-white!, cozy room with upholstered walls.. and silence?  Hmm.. sounds quite spa-like to me at the moment!

If you girls are ever wondering - hm, what happened to mom?  If you are ever looking at pictures of mama prior to raising children and think, 'wow - mom looked so nice!  Clean clothes with no wrinkles (btw I was once a wrinke-phobe).. perfectly coiffed hair.. a relaxed smile on her face..' - well, today is one of those days that made the 'me-of-the-past' recede even further into the cobwebby-recesses of my memory.

Let's just take a little walk through our day together, and remember these special moments, shall we? :

12:00 am:  I fall asleep after being very worried about my brother, who is in a Chicago hospital with a major infection in his surgical incision area.  HIs jaw was reconstructed 2 wks ago (that's a long story - totally bizarre disease he has which has only ~138 known cases worldwide - most of them in Asia.  Caused a cancer-like issue that ate away at his jaw.  Had to be replaced w/a metal jaw and now reconstructed using bone from his hip.  Owch.).

12:30 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

3:45 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

5:30 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

6:10 am:  My alarm sadly awakens me from the partial sleep I had fallen back into.

8:40 am:  Maya and I are dropping Devika at her first day of preschool.  We are standing outside in a crowd of moms, dads, and grandparents (most kids seem to have extended families present plus video and still cameras to immortalize this moment.  No camera in MY hand.. for I know what is coming!), waiting for the preschool teachers to open the doors, have us sign the kids in, and then lead them from us into the classroom.

8:41 am:   Devika yells, "Mommy!  I TOOTED!!"
8:41:10 am:   Devika yells, "I TOOTED!  I TOOTED!!"
8:41:20 am:   Devika yells, "Mommy!  I talking to you!  I TOOTED!!  I TOOTED!!" 

8:45 am:  Teachers open the door and Devi realizes she now has to part from me.  She proceeds to melt down completely.  A look of terror appears on her face - she begins screaming and crying and running for me.  I pick her up and hand her to one of the teachers, trying to avoid the torrent of kicks and clawing of hands at my clothing.  "Bye-bye Devika!  You will have a fun day at school!  I love you!"  
8:45:10:  I maneuver myself and Maya thru the crowd of staring parents/grandparent/wide-eyed children.. smiling slightly and looking nonchalant.   Just wait, I think, for this to happen EVERY morning for lord-knows-how-many-months.  

9:30:  Maya and I are in Target, picking up a new booster carseat for her (the airline lost HALF of her booster seat in-transit a couple weeks ago).  We stop in the restroom.  I go into the stall and Maya asks to remain outside the door.  
Maya:  'are you ok in there honey?'   Me:  'I'm fine, thank you'
Maya then launches into one of her imagination games (as always.. and I do mean always).  Not sure what today's scenerio was exactly, but she was talking to an imaginery person and saying, 
"She isn't here yet, she is practicing her pole-dancing"
I note that there is one other woman in a stall.  All is silent other than Maya's non-stop chatter to her imaginery friend.  "She will be here soon, she WANTS to be here.. but she is pole-dancing.  She has to work on her pole-dancing."
She continues to say 'pole-dancing' at least 10x before I manage to flush and get out the stall door.  I ask her what she is talking about.. and just then the other occupied stall door opens and .. it is the mom of a girl that Maya went to school with last year.  
But of course it is, right?

3:30 pm:  Devika has an appmt at the pediatrician to have her left ear flushed.  She failed a hearing test in that ear a few weeks ago.  Turned out that it did have a good amt of wax build-up, which was covering the entire eardrum.  She did NOT like the flushing.  She might only weigh 20 lbs (actually 20.5 as of today).. but WOW.  She is strong!!  Small but mighty!!  She freaked out completely.  I seriously had to almost lay on top of her in order to hold her legs, arms, and head down.  She was kicking and twisting, etc.  And SCREAMING.  'I SCARED!!' and then just blood-curdling screams.  Like we were pulling out her fingernails or something!  It was hoooorrible.  
I understand that she did not quite understand what was happening, and it WAS scary for her.  I felt so bad!  Nothing I said or did would help her.  And it seemed to take forever for the nurse to flush it!  Meanwhile, Devi - the nurse- and I were all soaked in the peroxide/water mixture.  Lovely.
I would imagine that any child in that office was completely terrorized and traumatized by her today!  Not to mention Maya.  Poor thing was so upset by how upset Devika became, that she was bawling her head off.  I had to ask the nurse to let her sit outside the door with some books.  It helped only a little.  :(

So my dear little daughters.. much as I love you, you do cause me extra trips to the hair stylist to cover my ever-growing amount of gray hair.  You have caused me to give up my ironing and become one with my wrinkle-y clothes.  You have led to increased revenue at the local wine shoppe, which must be nice for them with the current economic conditions.

If you are bothered by the fact that someday you are forced to visit me inside an institution.. please remember why I am there, and know that I am probably enjoying myself.  

Much Love,  Mommy 

Get Shopping!


Maya (playing 'heart doctor'): Devi, we are going to activate your medicine. 

Devi: What?       

Mommy: I think Devi does not understand what you are saying.

Maya: Ok Devi, I mean we are going to acknowledge that you are sick. You have nitro-arelekalites in your stomach. You need an enema.

I so enjoy my daughter's expandng vocabulary and imagination!  Though I can say for sure that I would not want to be her patient in this game!


A few products that I feel the need to promote today:

GAP 1969 Super Skinny Jeans for girls  

O M G!  Super happy day when we discovered these.  Maya and I went school clothes shopping, and every pair of pants and pant-like-leggings at all of the stores were much too large for her.  Finally we pop into GAP.. and there they are.  Big display just inside the store:  SUPER SKINNY 1969 JEAN

I thought, hmm.. too good to be true?  We tried the jeans on - and - lo and behold!  They FIT!!  The legs fit perfectly, the butt didn't sag, and I only needed to adjust the waist a couple of button settings!!  WOW!  

If you have a skinny-skinny kiddo, you absolutely need to check these out immediately.  They are $29.50 each, but are currently buy one, get the 2nd for $10.  PLUS you will get a card (don't forget to request one, they seem to 'forget' this promo) to have stamped for each full-price pair that you purchase.  After purchasing 4 pair, you get the 5th for free!  The card promo is good through July of 2011.

My Creations - Personalized stories for unique families

Ok, I might be promoting this item a bit early, as I do not have an actual book in my hand.  I think that the web gallery of the books is adorable however, and I cannot wait to get the book I recently ordered for Devika!  I wanted it for her b-day, but it won't be here on time.  Oh well, she really doesn't understand the birthday concept yet anyhow.  She just knows that birthday = Barney cake.  :)  {yikes.. better get that cake ordered!!}

Anyhow, check this out!  I love how the books are made with cute cartoon people, and are personalized according to your family's situation.  I love how they have categories for domestic adoption (open and closed), international adoption, IVF, surrogate, etc.  Very very cool way to continue open discussion with your young child about the way your family was created.  Also a fun gift - I purchased a gift certificate for a friend who recently adopted a baby.

Custom Adoption Films - Oh and while we are plugging adoption-related items, don't forget that my photography and film-creation business creates adoption-story custom films!  My kids LOVE to watch their films.  It's another great way to share their story with them and with other friends/family members.  Check out my website for samples:


I Write Like

According to 'I Write Like' (, my blogging style of writing is that of David Foster Wallace.  Ok, pathetically, I do not know what David Foster Wallace has written.   My style is like his?  Poor guy..   ;)  Fun website though - if you blog or write, you should check it out.
I Googled Mr Wallace, and I have to say that I might like his writing.. just from the titles of his books!  'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men', Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments'

Sadly, Mr Wallace committed suicide in 2008.  Criminy.. the places you find yourself while surfing.  Now I'm a bit sad about some guy that I had never heard of 10 minutes ago.  What a tangled web the internet weaves. 

Constant Entertainment ..and Trauma

Ah the cuteness..
For some reason, every time I drive through a woodsy/high foliage area these days, Devi will yell:
"Watch for tiger paws!!"     
?  I have no idea where this came from.  A cartoon maybe?  But it is quite funny when you are used to being around her and not hearing her come up with imaginative or random thoughts - she usually only repeats people, screams 'NO!', or asks simple 2-4 word questions.  Anyhow, this always results in huge giggles and continued alerts from both girls until we are out of the area.  Funny!

I've been sick all week with a cold/sore throat - and someone in Maya's class has confirmed strep throat.
Maya:  "Mommy, I sure hope that you don't have Shrek throat!"       Hee..  me neither!

Maya:  "Mommy, could I have some cotton slobs please?"


Devika had a run-in with a rubber band today.  I turned away from her in the kitchen for 20 seconds to grab a ringing phone.. suddenly I hear screams and this is what I see:
After watching the welts appear and not seeing anything she could have hurt herself on or with - I am freaking out!  Finally I figure out she keeps yelling 'Foot!  Foot!' and holding up her foot.  Then I notice a small rubber band under the cabinet.  Obviously she put the rubber band around her foot and it flipped off into her face.
This kid could injure herself in a feather bed I think!  Poor boo!

To Everyone Who Complains That I Never Answer My Phone:


Social Stories

Have you ever heard of 'social stories'?

I had never heard of these until a recent visit we had with a behavioral specialist - discussing Devika's challenging behaviors.  One of the worst problems that I currently have with Devi is her ability to calm down when I put her to bed - nap and bedtime.  She is having horrible separation anxiety with me.  {And actually, this behavior is the same that she exhibits when left with a sitter or had been when she was dropped at preschool.  The weighted blanket worked for awhile with this, but hasn't been working lately.}

Every time that I put her to bed, we follow the same exact routine.  Unfortunately, it does not seem to matter to her.  When I am getting ready to lay her down, she starts repeating 'mommy? mommy? mommy?...I wake up? I wake up? I wake up?..' over and over.  When I begin moving away from her crib, she FREAKS out immediately.  Screams like she is being tortured and jumps up and down.  This only lasts for maybe 5 minutes (and if she is very tired, it lasts maybe 2-3 minutes).. but it is horrible!!  I know it is short-lived, but the girl acts completely terrorized.  This is not the normal 'don't leave me' cry.. we've seen that with both girls.  This is an all-out freakout.  If she isn't tired, this can last for ~10-15 minutes.
I'm mostly afraid that Devi will hurt herself with these fits.  Afraid she will bang her head or go flying out of the crib.  She jumps sooo high.  Poor thing.. I just can't find anything that will help her remain calm.  The only thing that helps is if Aj is home.  If he is here, he can put her down and she will not freak out like this.

So - the behavior analyst told us to try creating a 'social story' book and read it to her every night.  I was told to write out Devi's bedtime routine like a story with pictures of her in it (she is very visual), and add it to her nightly routine.  Or let her read it at other times also.  
I have put one together and am having it printed through (luv them btw).  I so hope this helps.  :(  We've been dealing with these anxiety issues for a couple of months now and it is just painful.  It also upsets Maya quite a bit and then I have to help calm HER down.

Once I began working on the book, I googled 'social stories' and found a ton of information.  These stories are an important tool in helping autistic children (well, not just children I guess, but any person having an autism spectrum disorder) interpret certain types of situations (social situations, etc).  
There are actually specifically designed styles and formats that should be used when creating one of these stories, though I did not actually follow the model very closely.  If I find the need to create others in the future, I will probably do so. 

You can check out my book through the following widget/link. 

*If you are interested in further info, you might want to check out this site (Carol Gray created the concept): .

One of 'Those Moms' ..Again

Sex In The City 2.. I have one word:
I spent most of the (much too long) movie being embarrassed for my girls.  And I LUV my SITC girls!  But alas, this movie was a bomb.

There was one bit of the movie, however, that rang-in near and dear to the hearts of both myself and the friend who joined me at the theater.  If you saw the movie, I am referring to the two scenes that dealt with Charlotte and her mommy-meltdowns. 

The first scene depicted a meltdown.  Charlotte was (wtf?!) making a gazillion pink-frosted cupcakes in her white kitchen.  Wearing a WHITE dress mind you.  An expensive, vintage white dress.  She was trying to talk on the phone at the same time.. and manage her two small children.  Needless to say, one child screamed incessantly the entire time {hmmm.. now THAT sounds familiar..} while the other got into the red food coloring and ended up making a huge red/pink mess - including red handprints on the butt of her mom's white vintage dress. 

OK, so there are so many things wrong with that scene - so many 'um - no - {freaking} - way' - things wrong with that scene.. that the scene looked like something out of a 'Count how many things are not right in this picture' child's game.

Where I am going with this, however, is into the pantry with Charlotte.  After the 'handprints' incident, mommy had to get away for a moment.  Time-out for mommy in the pantry.. as Charlotte dissolved into tears.  Now THIS I can relate to!  Not that I have cried in the closet..
but this could occur at any time. 

Mommy is stressed today!!  This job, my friends, is not for the faint-of-heart.  If you are childless and out there scoffing at harried-looking moms being screamed at in public venues by ungodly-loud toddlers.. if you are thinking (ok, I used to be this person!)..
'Good god woman - get a grip on your kids!!'..
well..  I don't blame you.  And I hope you are never in my shoes.

Seriously.. my almost-3-yr old daughter is starting to worry me.  At any time now, I expect her head to start whipping around in circles and pea-soup to spray across the room. 

So I guess maybe we are in the midst of the 'Terrible Two's and Three's'.  Add in the fact that Devika has sensory processing issues and likely will be diagnosed with ADHD (according to her OT).. and you might start to understand why mommy needs to ensure she is stocked up on wine prior to hubby traveling during the week!!  Good god, I can't imagine the havoc this child could create at a liquor store full of glass bottles.  {Someone needs to start a delivery service that focuses on evening-mommy-needs.  Wine runs, decent take-out food, anti-anxiety medications.  ;) }
I made the HUGE mistake this evening of stopping at Target with my girls, in order to pick up a pair of shoes for Maya.  It was 5 pm.. just before dinnertime.  Obviously not a good idea.  The entire time we were in the store - there might have been 5 minutes of not hearing Devika screaming 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!'.  And that 5 minutes occurred when I let her out of the cart and she took off sprinting down the aisles at full-speed.  Honestly, that girl is FAST.  She hit the ground running and did not even hesitate at the end of the aisle - just kept flying around the corner and down the next aisle, where I was able to intercept her. 
o m g.  Somehow I maintained myself (outwardly) and simply placed her (took a few minutes of corralling the kicking legs and flailing arms) back in the cart.  I ignored her tantrums and calmly helped Maya select her shoes.  Continued ignoring as we left the store and drove home.  I'm not even sure - I think she stopped yelling prior to check-out - but could be that my brain simply shut-down.

That is just a glimpse into my life as-of-late.  Devika is with me 24/7 now, as we had to pull her out of her preschool/day-care.  While I seriously do enjoy spending more time with her and having more 1:1 time, I am finding it a little challenging to change my mental focus.  I had been very involved and excited about some work-related opportunities and marketing avenues that I was embarking on.. but those have to go on the backburner.   I'm also not going to take more classes this upcoming school year.  Full dedication needed to getting the family life running smoothly and helping Devi adjust/etc.
I am still in the 'new' phase of adjusting to 100% full-time mom.  I need to get better at not being anxious about the non-mom things in my life and focus.  I'm getting there.
Maybe the ADD isn't Devi's issue.. ha!  

So our babysitter now refuses to sit for us, as she is afraid of Devi's tantrums and doesn't know how to handle them.  I do have a new sitter, but she is only available on day/wk for a few hours. 
Needless to say, I'm having to get used to not working much at all.  No way that I can take care of this child and work.  She sleeps well at night, but I am so exhausted by the end of the days that I cannot even focus on anything past 9 pm. 
Luckily D does not melt down too badly if she is given a constant change of activity and is 1:1 with me.  Gymnastics class is great for her - 45 minutes of constantly changing physical activities (only 2 tantrums in todays class).  She also loves water, so I let her play in a baby pool with some barbies today - big hit.  Very warm weather is my friend.

Ok I guess this sounds like a very whiney post, but .. well.. ok maybe it is.  :)  Long day. 
And don't get me wrong here.. (though I'm sure anyone who is a parent will understand).. I luv this kid to death!!  She is amazing, hilarious, incredibly loving (after she beats you over the head of course!), and has an infectious smile.  These issues are not her fault.. it is just up to her parents to help her figure out how to work past them.

Luckily our OT brought us a behavioral analyst last week and I am working on some ideas to try to help some of these tantrum-y issues.  Nothing working yet, but it is too soon.  I haven't finished all of my 'photo-taking' to create visual help for Devi.  She responds well to visual cues, so I am working on addressing many of her meltdown-triggers with photo-cards.  We will see how it goes.
If these ideas do not help, our OT has suggested that we seek further help for D.  She has given me a few names and numbers. 
Devi has also qualified for the special preschool service, so she will be starting that in early August.  Hopefully that will be helpful. 
In the meantime..  thank god for Maya being in a good phase, chik-lit audiobooks that make me laugh, and the fact that we have a pool so that I can swim on the days I cannot run.  Running sooo helps to keep my mood balanced.  Just can't run when Aj travels.  Thankfully he has started a new job/new company where his traveling should be much lighter.  Let's hope! 

If not, you might just look for me in the pantry.  :)

The Endless Loop

My life as a parent seems to be stuck in this endless loop:  
>>Start Loop
Routine, pleasant days.
Change to 'hm, could something be amiss?'
Change to 'omg someone in an 'expert' role has led me to believe that YES something IS amiss!'
Leading to 'research/stepping back to gain perspective/try not to over-worry'
Culminating in: 'ok was NOT as bad as the expert made it sound and everything is fine'. 
>>Goto Start Loop


So now you are wondering - what's new?  Are we at 'hm' or are we at 'omg expert.. blahblahblah yet again'.  Well, we are somewhere in between the two.  There should be support groups for this.  
Maybe there are.

The latest concern is Devi.  We have known for over a year that she has Sensory Processing Disorder, and she has qualified for OT and has been rec'ing in-home OT for a year now.  This week was our evaluation for potential termination of services.  She will be turning 3 in August, which means that if she does qualify for further services, it will be done through preschool and no longer thru at-home care.
She had been doing so great all year that her OT and I seriously thought, 2 months ago, that she would def. not qualify for further care.
But then, everything changed.
Honest to god.. how did this happen?  Everything had been sooo positive!!
What has been happening is this:
The past 2 months, Devi has taken many steps backward.  She has been throwing horrid tantrums at home, being aggressive with her sister (and trying with mom and dad), having sleep issues, and a few other odd new habits have arisen.  She has a series of questions 'where is mommy?' 'where is maya?' 'where is daddy?', 'where is Tasha?' - that she asks ALL the time, over and over.  When it is bedtime, she freaks out and just repeats 'mommy? mommy? mommy? mommy?' forever - inbetween complete terrified panic-attack-type-meltdowns.  There is no way to calm her (that I have found yet).
I kept asking at school (she goes to a preschool a few hours almost every day - mainly b/c this had been working great and leading to improvements in her behavior/speech/etc - and we were going for routine/consistancy) - and they kept telling me that she  was 'high-energy and loud, but happy and chatty'.  So no worries right?
Last week she was 'written up' for aggressive behavior, and we suddenly found out that there were MANY issues that she has had for quite some time.  Boiled down to one word 'uncontrollable'.

So her eval on Tuesday turned out to be 'Eval Part I', b/c the evaluating team thinks that she does need more therapy - and thinks she will qualify for this type of preschool environment.  
They are also quite concerned about some of her delays (not responding to verbal requests, unable to function in even small group situations).  Next week will be the big eval - they are bringing in a psychiatrist who will give the 'yes/no' decision on the preschool and give more input to what is being seen.

Poor Devi.  Just worried for her and her future.  Dam, parenting is never easy is it?  
For now, I have notified the current preschool that I'm pulling her out (they were awesome about this btw - probably bc her teachers are losing their minds).. and I'm going to start spending as much 1:1 time that I can with her, to see if we can achieve some of these milestones that she has missed and get her back to the great place she seemed to have been in a few months ago.  She does great 1:1, so I'm looking forward to helping her.  Also looking forward to advice and info resulting from next week's evaluation. 

Hoping to move on to the next steps of the loop and get back to 'calm routine'!!

Sea Level Is For Sissies!!

 On Monday, Aj and I (and my friend Jamie) joined 50,418 other runners in what Runner's World magazine has labeled 'America's Best 10K'.  Yes that's right.. we both actually entered a 10K race.. and finished in respectable time.  Of course Aj isn't happy with his time - but he is much more athletic and competitive than I (and to be noted.. he did not train for this at all).
I, however, am very happy - happy that I actually ran the entire course!  Yay!  I really thought I would have to walk a mile or 2.. but turned out that I did not.  I have never even jog/walked 10K during my training.. so wasn't anticipating a lot with this race.  I don't think any of the Elites were concerned about my entry!  

I actually could have gone faster, but was afraid that I would bonk if I did.. so took it slow and steady and never even ran short of breath.  Amazing!

The race was seriously fun - thousands of spectators who were partying along the sidelines (the race is a road race and runs through several neighborhoods).. spraying us with hoses (thank god).. and cheering us on.  Many people were in costume - I was actually quite annoyed by a banana who I think stayed ahead of me the entire race!  There were also 35 bands/dancing groups who entertained us in different sections of the race course.
The finish line was inside CU's stadium, which was filled with spectators.  It was a great feeling to run through that stadium toward the finish!  I felt like a football player.. haha!
Anyhow, check off another item on the list of 'Things I Never Thought I Could Do'.  :)  w00t!!!!

A very short slideshow with some photos of the event:  BolderBoulder 2010

Teachable Moments & Other Parenting Joys

There is nothing I love more than a Teachable Moment.  Seriously, these just do not come around quite often enough. 
Today, Maya and I were at the mall - grabbing a sandwich just prior to her tennis lesson (which, btw, is at a kids-only tennis & golf instruction place at the mall.. best concept ever!).  Suddenly, two police officers ran past us and into a jewelry store.  We continued with our sandwich purchase.  On our way out of the mall, we were fortunate enough to end up following one of the cops out - as he escorted a handcuffed teenage boy to the cruiser parked nearby.

BAM!  Teachable Moment.  

Is that perfect or what?!  A fantastic visual image that my 4-yr old will remember when we discuss 'the importance of following rules'.  I gave her a quick 'this is what happens when..' lecture as we watched the boy being escorted.  I could not have asked for a better scenario to drive home a point.  

Sadly, we had to discuss 'rules' again soon after her lesson.  I swear, Jeckyl and Hyde have nothing on my daughter.  Her mood swings are ridiculous these days!  I shudder to consider the future teenage years we will experience. 
One minute she is happy - strolling her babydoll in the stroller through the parking lot toward our car and chatting about how she wants to buy Bear-Bear a graduation present (new outfit) at a nearby uber-pricey baby store.  I nicely reply that Bear-Bear has an extensive wardrobe and that store is just much too pricey for baby bears.. and suddenly..
She turns. 
She pushes the doll stroller away as hard as she can (which surprisingly sent it flying pretty far.. too bad she can't hit a tennis ball like that) - and pushes herself away from me and starts throwing a fit in the middle of the parking-lot-road-area.  Of course a car starts barreling down the road towards her, while I'm trying to grab her and the careening stroller.  ARGH.

Yes, today.. again.. I was one of 'those' moms.

Maya is absolutely in a very challenging phase.  Yes, I will call it a phase, please don't correct me.  Just think it to yourself and don't share.  I know that it will not get easier.. but let me grasp onto the tiny ray of hope that I still hold.  ;)

So besides Maya's ungodly loud screaming fits and expectations that I will 'stop loving her' and throw her into a tree (where this came from I have no idea - a tree??) when she is naughty, she is becoming such a smart and entertaining child.  I love to talk to her - it is always interesting. 
A couple of days ago, she asked: 'Mom?  What sound does a fish make when it coughs?'   Hmm.  Not sure I can Google that one.

Maya recently graduated from preschool - sooo cute! 
Unfortunately, I'm finding that she really does not handle change well.  She barely kept herself from bursting into tears throughout the graduation ceremony b/c none of her friends were graduating and she didn't want to leave them or her teacher (she got stuck in a 3-4 yr old class after our Indiana trip instead of the pre-K class she should have been in).  On the last day of class, she crawled into a corner of the room and refused to join everyone else, their parents and her teachers, in a 'good-bye' song.  I had to give her my camcorder in order to get her to come out.  She then started hitting at me and throwing things b/c she was so upset. 
I haven't seen this behavior since she started at the Montessori school at age 3 and was super-overwhelmed.  Luckily I just held her in a hug while she was trying to beat the heck out of me, and she eventually calmed down and burst into tears.  Poor baby.  :(

Devika has also had her share of challenges lately.  She is VERY '2'.  She loves to scream 'NO!' and run away when asked to do anything. 
That is the funniest thing in the world to her.  She is loving to take power where she can get it - refusing to eat, use the toilet, etc. 
It is a lovely phase.

Unfortunately, Devi has taken a couple of steps backward lately in regard to her sensory processing disorder.  We've gone back to brushing her skin and joint compressions (she luvs this, thank goodness).  She has a very heavy weighted blanket that helps her to calm down and sleep. 
She gets extremely upset when Aj travels these days.  The first night he is gone, she freaks out.  This week was the worst ever.  This week was actually the worst tantrum-behavior I have ever seen from her.  She was screaming at the top of her lungs and thrashing her body/head for over an hour.  It may have been less time if I had been able to leave her to calm down w/o me.. but I truly was afraid for her safety.  It was ridiculous. 
Hopefully that does not happen again.  Yikes.

Needless to say, it has been one looong week for Mommy!  Looking forward to this weekend. 
Aj and I are running a 10k on Monday - should be interesting!  I have yet to run 10k during my training (if you can call it that), so I look forward to potentially walking parts of it.  Should be fun though.. I've heard this is one of the most fun 10k's in the country.  Bands.. post-race beers.. freebies..  Just hoping I can manage to actually run through the finish line!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

On Mother's Day

This post is a couple of days early, because I will not be available to blog on Mother's Day.. plans await. So here is my post, my tribute to my mama on this first Mother's Day without her (and my Nanny.. I have to include my grandmother). I am going to post today's 'daily meditation' from the book 'Healing After Loss' by Martha Whitmore Hickman. No words can express this feeling deep within the hole in my heart.. but this is close.  I could not say it any better:

"The warm air makes me dream of what was, and of what would be if you were here. I know that this dream is but an inaptitude to live the present. I allow myself to drift on this current without looking too far or too deep. I await the moment when I will find my strength again. It will come. -Anne Philipe
Our world is full of things that will take us back into the past, remind us of our loved one and what we have lost by his or her passing.  Old songs.  Fragrances.  Seasonal changes of weather.  Holidays.  Birthdays.  The list goes on.
Well, let them come, these reminders.  Sometimes they bear with them a poignant sweetness.  Sometimes we think they will break our hearts, so devastating is our sense of loss, brought into sharp focus again.
As time passes, these sieges will be more short-lived, easier to move through and come out on the other side.
It is well not to fight these images of a lost world, to let them pass through us - savoring their sweetness if it is there, bearing the pain while it lasts - knowing that in a little while we can lay claim to ourselves again.

The journeys into the past always include a way back into the present, which is where I live."

Mama and Nan.. I miss you both so much.  I hope that you are in a very, very good place and that you can see how much you are loved and missed.
All of my love to you.

Adoption Questions You Were Afraid To Ask!

International Adoption: Questions You Were Afraid To Ask! 

The following videos are the educational videocasts that I created, in part, for my final project in one of the grad courses I am taking.. and in part for purposes of helping to answer adoption-related questions that pre-adoptive families (particularly internationally-adopting families) may have.  
Please feel free to watch and share - I hope you enjoy!    Thank you to everyone who shared content ideas with me.  I hope that I have answered a few of your questions!

If you have any additional questions or feedback, please leave me a comment.  If you enjoy and would like to see (or hear, as I really am sick of watching myself talk on these videos.. ) me cover any different topics - please do not hesitate to leave a comment and let me know! 

Note that I gave out the incorrect blog address at the end of part II. {eye roll}

Wordle: Forever

How cool is this online tool that I found today?  I could (and did, to be honest) waste soo much time.. 

Questions For Upcoming Adoption Videocast??

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I am in the process of creating a videocast entitled, 'Adoption - Frequently UN-Asked Questions'.  I wanted to send out one last request for your questions.  I will not be taking any questions after Thursday, March 11th. 
Please limit your questions to more personal-type inquiries.  Though I might feel like an expert in the field of adoption (after adopting our two amazing little girls from India within the past 4 years).. I technically am not!  I will not be discussing current adoption timelines, paperwork questions, or financial aspects.  I am assuming that this videocast will appeal to pre-adoptive families, or families who are just considering or beginning the adoption process.  I am planning to answer questions that have been posed to me, as an adoptive parent, in the past.. from these types of families.  
I will be answering questions along the lines of.. 'why did you decide to adopt internationally?'.. 'were you afraid to meet your child for the first time, and can you describe the experience?'.. 'how did you choose your agency?'.. 'did you have problems bonding with your child?'..  'how do you handle the issue of race with your child?'.. 'are you going to/did you tell your child she was adopted'.. etc..etc..
So if there are questions that you have always had, but were afraid to ask (or just did not know WHO to ask).. here is your chance!!  Post your questions to the comments of this blog entry, or post your email address and I will get in contact with you.
Don't forget to spread the word to your friends and families!

Gender Issues?


Is Angelina Jolie Turning Shiloh Into a Boy? Parenting Experts Weigh In

 I saw this headline today.. and normally I would not even bat an eye, but would ignore the silly media headline and continue in my original surfing direction.  Today, however, I found the timing of this article to be somewhat coincidental and humorous (and still strikes me as very silly that people waste their time worrying about the haircut and wardrobe of a celebrity's 3-yr old child).

Let's rewind and play-back a conversation that I had with my 4-yr old daughter last night at the dinner table:

Maya:  Mom?  When are we going to heaven?

{Instantly I am on alert, and my 'try to give the appropriate response as indicated by recent psychological research' mom-mode kicks in.  Is she going to talk about Grandma and Grandma-Nanny?  Are we going to have a deep discussion (again) on dying and heaven?  What triggered this?  Did she have a dream about Grandma?  Is she scared?  Does she think she is going to die soon?  Is she afraid that I am going to die soon?}

Me:  I don't know sweetie, but I hope it isn't going to be for a long, long time.  

{Maya looks crest-fallen}

Maya:  Do you think that God can make me a boy in heaven?  I want to be a boy.

Me:  You want to be a boy in heaven?  I think that God can make you anything that you want to be in heaven.  

{Maya looks very happy.  I am a bit worried about my response, and hope that she doesn't try any type of quick detour to her 'boyhood' in heaven!  Good lord.}

For the rest of the evening, Maya talked occasionally about the fact that she likes boys and wants to turn into a boy (note that this child, since the inception of potty-training and learning about boy vs girl 'parts'.. has insisted that she is going to be a boy and wants to stand-up to pee).  She wants to wear boy clothes, and begged me to buy her a button-down shirt and tie from the catalog I was perusing for the girls' Easter dresses.  After I refused to buy her a 'boy' Easter outfit, she finally seemed to be satisfied with the selection of a blue dress with a blue bunny sweater.  'NO PINK!'  'I WANT BLUE!'

Criminy!  I was hoping to buy the girls very cute, matching Easter dresses in a tea-rose color with big bows on them.  SIGH.  Maybe next year.  Our Easter photo shoot is taking a new direction.

Shiloh and Maya should hang out.


Blonde Hair May Be Hazardous To Your Health


This woman does NOT represent the average blonde female intelligence level.  F Y I. 
She does, however, make it difficult for some of us, doesn't she?

Blonde jokes.  I don't hate them necessarily.. but they do get old.  Especially after hearing them for many, many, many years.  Occasionally they can be humorous, but usually they are just silly - predictable and worthy of only a slight eye-roll.  People sometimes throw them at me and expect some type of reaction.. and I really can barely bring myself to even fake-chuckle these days.  It's not that I'm feeling ridiculed and hurt (which yes, I know is the intent on certain occasions!).. it is because I appreciate fine humor, and this just isn't it.
That being said..  I think that I have become the embodiment of a very bad blonde joke this week. Maybe not an actual joke per-se.. but even I will admit that I have had a couple of 'blonde moments' this week.

{Setting:  Living room.  It is early on Saturday morning and I have a killer headache.  Flashback to the evening prior when I was selecting the bottle of wine at PF Chang's and said 'I think maybe that wine gives me headaches.  No, I don't think that is the one.'  It WAS the one.}
I am laying on the couch with a cold compress on my head (thank god - that was a moment of brilliance on my part b/c it actually helped more than the ibuprofen).  Devi brings me a toy 'fireman hose' that Maya rec'd for Xmas.  It holds 3 small blue balls.  After loading the balls, you pull back on a lever and they fly out - I guess they are supposed to look like water.  Not really sure where the toy manufacturer was going with that.
Anyhow, not surprisingly - the kids have lost all but one ball.  Devi does not understand why it will not work with only one ball (we have tried many times and it will not work - the ball or 2 balls will simply slide out of the hose and fall, anticlimactically onto the floor) and is beginning to throw an extremely loud 2-yr-old tantrum.
I take the gun.. oh I mean the 'fire hose' (psh) from her and look into the shooting end (that's the technical term.. ha).  I see that she has loaded the one lonely blue ball into the hose.  It seems to be stuck.
While eyeing the ball, trying to figure out what is holding it in place (it usually just falls out).. I pull back a bit on the lever.
Needless to say, the dam ball comes flying out of that gun at an ungodly speed and hits me directly in the right eye.

Fast-forward 2 days.  I'm in my office, prepping for an upcoming photo shoot.  I pull out my portable black backgrounds.  I haven't used them in awhile, and I need to fold them up from their 5'x7' size into their collapsed ~2' circular size.  I grab one, maneuver it a bit.. and it suddenly pops back into its full size, smacking me directly in the face at the same time.
If you are not a photographer or someone who has seen or used one of these stupid things.. you probably cannot fully appreciate that moment.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I was in front of a client at the time that happened.  {eye roll}
Here's a video of some other poor fools trying to fold a reflector (and bear in mind that my expandable background is heavier.. but same concept) so you can get the idea:

Maybe I should get some low-lights. 

Adoption Podcast/Videocast

Do you have questions about adoption that you have always been afraid to ask?   

Here is your chance!
I have received numerous emails, phone calls, and even personal visits to discuss questions surrounding adoption.  Most of these Q&A sessions begin with the same fact-based questions (what agency did you use, what country did you adopt from, what types of documents and information about my life will I be expected to provide).. and always lead to the more personal questions (how did you decide on your agency, were you terrified to meet your child for the first time, have you honestly bonded with your child, etc.etc.etc).  And of course, the personal questions are the ones that lead to page-long answers and coffee-into-lunch meetings.  The personal questions are the ones that everyone really wants to ask.. but often do not know who they can ask.  
Or if it is politically-correct to ask. 
Soo.. here is your chance!  Or here is the chance for that friend of yours who keeps mentioning that she is considering adoption but is feeling overwhelmed.  
Send me your questions!  I, of course, have many questions already noted from past email exchanges.. but who knows if it is the question that you have.  You can be anonymous.. just comment on this post with your question, send me a personal email, or Facebook me (if you are a FB friend, of course).  Direct any of your curious friends or family members over here.. no one will be turned away.  ;)  No worries about being uber-politically-correct also.  Believe me, I am pretty sure that I've heard them all.. or at least a good number of non-pc-questions.

I will be creating a podcast or videocast to discuss this topic.  I'm hoping to create this within the next week or two, so please send your questions ASAP.  
Don't forget to check back to watch/listen!  If you have a preference.. video or podcast (are you more apt to watch on your computer/phone or would you just like to listen while driving/working/etc) - please submit it.
Why I am doing this?  I am currently taking a graduate workshop on Distance Learning in Education.  This will fulfill one of the required activities for the course (though only if I have response.. so please respond.. whether it is to submit a question or to comment on the actual podcast).  This however, is not the only reason that I am doing this podcast.  As I had mentioned, I am asked these types of questions quite often.  I had already been giving this some thought.. as maybe this would be a good reply to the emails.  Maybe it would be nice to see and hear your questions answered than to just read a wordy email.  
If you have been following my blogs at all, you will also know that video is my fav mode of communication.  I love making films.. especially about my fav topics and people.  Here is a great excuse for another!

Who's White??

Well, come to find out.. it might be.. 
Have you read 'Stuff White People Like' by Christian Lander?  No?  Hm.. neither have I.  If you actually HAVE read this book.. I might need you to tell me if I have been insulted.
I did, actually, just order the book as I was told that it describes 'me' quite accurately.  
I scoffed, however, when I first heard this.  What?  Me?  'White'?  
Surely not.  
I don't mean to slam on the entire Caucasian race of course.  I have just never thought of myself being the personification of 'white people'.  That idea, truthfully, scares me.  Especially in my current state of mind - having just finished reading 'The Help' a couple of days ago (btw..GREAT book).
I have a bad feeling that I am NOT going to like this book.
Does that mean that I have an identity issue?  Will reading this book give me an identity crisis?
I have tried to deny that this idea could even potentially be true (without reading the book yet of course.. a daring feat I admit), but was then asked if I know who 'David Sedaris' is.  I guess there is an entire chapter entitled 'David Sedaris'.  I can't really hide the fact that I know this author.. it seems that I have four of his audiobooks on my ipod at the moment.  Yikes.
We will see if the entire book describes me, or if there might just be one or two (or 30) coincidental similarities.  Stay tuned next week for the (not so) thrilling conclusion.

Speaking of audiobooks.. I again have to plug 'The Help'.  I actually listened to the audiobook, and I believe it might be my favorite audiobook of all time.  It was sooo very good.  The writing, the characters, the readers.  Wow.  I could almost listen again, and I have never listened to an audiobook twice.
Oh wait, I did listen to Stephen King's Needful Things two times.  Over a very, very long period of time though.
Siiigh.  That was my mom's fav book and audiobook (and one of mine).  :(  She actually found a store in Canada that was called 'Needful Things' and was an antique-type store.  She bought me a hand mirror at that store.  If you have read the book, you will understand that reference.  That was one of those once-in-a-lifetime-awesome-purchases.  Perfection. 
{when will these memories stop causing instant sharp pains in my upper-abdomen??}

Ok, ok.. I've decided that I have to end every blog post with something happy.  There has been too much sorrow, pain, and anxiety in my life over the past several months.  I have always believed that some people just seem to be 'magnets' for unhappiness.. and I want to ensure that I never become that.  I'm starting to worry!!  So - in the manner of 'The Secret' (nope, never read it.. but a friend did and was so overcome by the message that he gave me a 2-hr dissertation on it over a long dinner one night) - I am going to send positive thoughts out into the universe in order to bring positivity into my life.  {one might also call that 'FAITH'.. but who am I to question the Secret}


Another Hole In My Heart

It's hard to believe, but we lost our grandmother (Dad's mom) today.  It's been a tough past few months.  Hope Mama and Nan are happily reunited today and watching over all of us.  They are going to be so, so very missed. 

It was so strange.. the other day I was getting my haircut and telling my hair-guy about Nan and how sick she was. For some reason the memory that came to my mind that I shared with him was how the first time that I saw Purple Rain was with Nan.  I always thought it was somewhat hilarious that my grandmother and I hung out and watched that movie together.  I would not have guessed that she would have enjoyed it - ha!  She was awesome.
Anyhow, I went home that evening and was cooking dinner. Ajay turned the TV on and was watching something.. all of a sudden I realized what it was.. Purple Rain!
How coincidental eh?
I can't believe that both my mom and Nan are gone now.  Life is going to be so wierd.. getting adjusted to being without both of them.  Everyone in our extended family was very close to Nan.. she was somewhat of a matriarch. She was always the only person who could tell me that my butt looked fat or my hair looked unflattering.. without hurting my feelings!  Such the grandmother.  :)  Of course.. it didn't hurt my feelings b/c usually she complimented the heck out of me.. so it was all good.  
Ah, the memories.  So many good ones.  It's the end of an era.


Getting By

My classes are now in full-swing, and o m g!  I had no idea that they would take this much time.  I am greatly enjoying both of them.. but wow.  Time-suckers.  No time for fun!  Oh well.  The price to pay for feeling cerebral.  

I'm wondering if anyone out there has advice for containing a lippy 4-yr old?  ;)  My god.. the girl turns 4 and you would think she has turned 13.  I shudder to even begin to think of her teenage years!  This is an interesting age for sure.  She will be in a great mood.. totally entertaining and just amazingly awesome.. and then BAM!  She is angry and lashing out and making horrible faces at me while punching at the air in front of me and spitting down the front of her shirt (an absolute NO-NO in my house thank you very much).  ?!?!  Hormones already?  
Time to pull out the parenting books again to get some new ideas for containing her craziness!  Seriously though, Maya is an uber-smart, amazing girl.  Just the latest phase.  Hope it is a short one!!  
 Ah where is my mom when I need to get advice! 
And on that note.. well, speaking of Maya and advice.. the girl was sick AGAIN last week.  She had a fever for a week.  During the day she was fine, but at night.. fever and forehead-headache plus the leg/joint pains she gets every time she is sick (and many days in between).  Her doctor gave me a little sh*t about not bringing her in after 3 days with a fever.  I'm like.. uh.. HELLO!  I brought her 3-4 other times when she had a fever of 106 for 3 days and you acted like I was a moron b/c she just had a virus!!  Good lord.  This time her fever wasn't that high, thank god.  
Anyhow.  Does a freaking day go by when you don't feel like a crappy parent???  I'm waiting for one of those days.  Really though.
So my in-laws think Maya must have caught something in India last year when we picked up Devika.  I actually wonder myself.  She never was sick.. nor did she ever have leg/joint pains prior to that trip.  I can remember the first leg pain day - we were in Goa.  It is a tad coincidental.  I've asked the pediatrician though, and she blows me off.  I think I'm going to request whatever info I can get on her med file and get a 2nd opinion.  If I don't, my in-laws will probably come here and do it for me.  They are highly irritated that I haven't done so yet.  
Remember how sick Maya was just before my mom got so sick.  Thank god that didn't all happen at the same time.  I had one week in between her finally recuping and mom falling uber-ill.  Seems odd that they really found nothing wrong with her after our 2 long ER visits, CAT scan, etc.. and then the strong antibiotic made her well.  She recovered ~24 hrs after starting the antibiotic this past week also.  
I have to wonder.  The girl is just always, always sick.  
Criminy, this mom-job just isn't easy, is it?  
Thankfully Devi has been healthy and happy.  She was re-assessed by her OT today.  Still lagging behind in certain things.  She doesn't have the hand-strength she should have (that a 24-mo child should have.. and she is 30 mo now).. can't stack the blocks high enough.. etc.  Soo.. the OT continues.  On a VERY happy note.. she is beginning potty-training!!  She used the potty for me one time yesterday and once today.  She has also been using it pretty consistently at school.  YAY!!  

Maya has a new favorite bedtime story that she would like to share with you: