About Me


I am a single mom of three amazing boys!  All three of my sons entered my family through adoption.  All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

IEP week

For those of you who do not know the complete Bloom boy story, I will catch you up before I go ahead with today's blog....all of my boys were adopted, and all of my boys were "typically developing" as far as I was aware at the time of their adoption. It wasn't until M was 15 months old that I realized hmmmmm something is just "off" here. Before then, I was in awe at my "amazing parenting abilities". He happily went to everyone, oohed and ahhed at everyone, was an easy baby etc..... Until he didnt babble, and never went through a "stranger anxiety" phase, he was the perfect baby, and I was happy living life as "the perfect mom".

I figured I had parented him so well that of course he wasnt afraid of people, that was because I did such a great job making his world feel safe. I figured he let anyone hold and comfort him because he was completely and totally secure that I was his mom, and therefore didn't need to act anxious because he wasn't anxious.

At around 15 months I realized there may be a problem and at 18 months he received special ed, speech, OT and PT. However, he was over the age of 3 before my parents, or others close to us recognized or agreed that he may be developing differently than other children. He was over 2 years old before he ever said anything close to mama or mom.....and he has never gone through those "typical" phases all kids go through no matter how amazing their parents are.

So I have always been a mom with my eyes wide open, and I have never missed a problem developmentally for D or M. However, receiving M's draft IEP from school yesterday still hit me like a punch in the stomach.

When my children were in preschool, I knew every step of their development, where they were in relation to their peers, and how they were gaining skills etc.... Now it is harder, I am not in touch with typical 8 year olds, because M has no friends and therefore we have no typical 8 year olds around for me to compare him to. We are around a lot of 5 and 6 year olds, and I am well aware that many of his skills are lower than their skills in different areas. However, being aware, and actually reading the facts on paper are 2 very different things.

M's attention and M's ability to focus are horrendous. He struggles in school across all areas. In some areas this year he is actually functioning lower than he was last year because he has been struggling behaviorally and has lost ground.

I know for the teacher's these things are not surprises. I konw in my heart of hearts that we have plateaud in some areas. However, it will never feel good, it will never be ok for me to read these things, and it will always break my heart.

I know in the upcoming week I will receive a similar report for D. I am more aware of what skills he is missing and where he struggles, but I konw it won't be any easier to read these things on paper in relation to him.

I have to go through the grieving process for the boys I thought I was adopting, and the reality of the boys I have adopted....there are no better boys out there, and absolutely positively these boys belong to me and were meant to be in my family and for that I am so thankful. I just wish their lives were a little easier. I wish there was a recipe book so I knew what would help them to grow as little people.

I wish they played with stuffed animals the way J does, I wish they had told me "no" when they were 3 like J does, I wish life for them was easier. I wish, I wish, I wish, and yet the reality is right there, in black and white on paper by the professionals.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stims and perseverations!

Ok anyone who knows a child with autism or an autism spectrum disorder can relate to this- a stim or a perseveration is basically the "thing" your child gets stuck on for a period of time. I am not talking about a brief period of time, and I am not talking about something that occupies your child for a little while....i am talking about that thing that is ALL ENCOMPASSING, that thing that OVERRIDES all else!

Right now both D and M have perseverations going on and both are about to DRIVE ME CRAZY. For M the question of the month is "is this a busy road?" I have tried to get him to define "busy road" I have tried to ask him to give me the answer. I have defined "busy road" for him....none of it does any good- it is a question he HAS to ask, and apparently a question I HAVE to answer at a minimum 100 times a day.

Now D's perseveration is moderately funny to me, but I think it is mostly because it is making M nuts- which is more funny because M is konwn for asking repetitive questions, so for him to get mad because someone else is doing it cracks me up!

But D's question of the day is "is it funny" asked about everything, and followed with a little high pitched chuckle. Unfortunatley, most of the time he asks the answer is NO! OF COURSE IT ISN'T FUNNY. Is a heart attack funny? Is hitting your funny bone funny? Of course it is not funny! But when he does that little chuckle and giggle, it becomes funny and so I laugh, thereby encouraging him to ask again!

We have survived 8 days of total togetherness! We have now cleaned the play room AND the family room and I cleaned up the dining room....however, if I have to hear "is this a busy road" or "is it funny" more than 10 more times each, I might really lose it!

Please, can I go back to work! Please can the boys go back to school- back to the structure and routine they love! Back to the world of other adults who can tend to their needs for a little while each day?

One more day...1 more day of togetherness and then we are back to routine for a month! And, I am sure as they get back on the bus on Monday morning, I will miss hanging out together for lazy mornings, and watching them play together and just being together the 4 of us....but I can say for certain, as M asks the bus driver if the road is busy....that will be something I DONT miss!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vacation week fun

As a single mom, often knowing that vacation week is coming is cause for concern. That means that 24/7 I am going to be ON. Unless I hire a babysitter, it will be me and the boys all day, everyday during break.

Over the past few years, my anxiety level for vacation weeks has not completely skyrocketed due to some good friends entering our lives, but as we headed into February vacation week, I was still moderately anxious.

See in Upstate NY the weather greatly impacts what you can do with 3 children. Assuming an endless amount of money, and the world is our oyster, but sadly our money has a limit, and so that has to be taken into account when planning for a week full of activity.

Thankfully one of our favorite programs, Project Link, was up and running this week. Project Link is sheer genuis- you take any children with special needs and their families and open up an indoor gymnastics studio complete with trampolines, balls, cars, trucks and an art room, and you have 2 hours of fun and entertainment. Add to it that this program is free and is held for 3 days during the week and you have one happy mom and 3 ecstatic little boys!

Additionally, this week we were lucky enough to get a little snow and also to have some decent weather so we have had 2 full afternoons of project link followed by sledding which creates the perfect recipe for exhausted little boys!

Now as I wrap up Wednesday night, we are in the home stretch and heading back towards routine. Tomorrow is the final day of Project Link and all of our good friends are bringing their children. So not only will the boys have a great time, but I will also get some quality mom time in! Then we end the day with a birthday party for one of D's little kindergarten friends!

I need to plan activities for Friday, Saturday and something calm to get us back into the routine for Sunday, and we can end this vacation week on a high! A trip to the library, maybe another day of sledding, and possibly a visit to an indoor play area and we will all head back to our routine and structure with good memories, and positive energy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

chocolate chip cookies

Sometimes my brilliance amazes even me! I needed the playroom cleaned- actually more than cleaned, i needed us to go through the toys. On Monday night we were at my parents house and the boys are able to play with the toys there, AND more importantly are able to put the toys away.

I am not sure what the malfunction is at our house- ok if I am being painfully honest, I could make a few guesses....
1. I am not an organized person, there I said it. I do not understand organization and I am too tired most of the time for organization.

2. I am never quite sure when is the right time for clean up.
If the kids have to clean up whenever they are done playing- then we would be cleaning up a lot...remember the boys have a 10 minute attention span on a good day- so often they go from playing, to watching tv, to playing music on the computer and back to playing....if we cleaned up each time we took a break from playing all we would be doing all day is "setting up to play".
So then when do we draw the line and make it clean up time? At the end of the day, we have 1.5 hours together and in that time we have to make dinner, eat dinner, clean up dinner and do homework and then on a good day we have time to play. I would rather take all of the playtime and let them PLAY rather then use half of the 15 minutes for clean up.

3. Clean up leads to fighting and stress and at the end of the day I am too tired for that.

So tonight....I stumbled upon it. I needed to go through the play room and according to M, the boys NEEDED to bake cookies.....so we made a deal. If they would clean, I mean REALLY clean, the playroom, then we would bake cookies.

So here we are, 3 garbage bags later, a positive experience cleaning the play room, AND 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies later....now all I am hoping is that when I wake up in the morning you can still tell that we spent almost an hour cleaning!

managing the evils of medication

M is taking a few different medications all with a different purpose...and I feel like recently they are working....he is sleeping at night. He is more at peace with himself, and seems happier. And most importantly, he is more redirectable- he is still having fits of anger and outbursts, but he can be calmed, and seems to have a few seconds between getting angry and acting out when i can still catch him and redirect him. Basically there are a few seconds where he and I can breathe and each change the outcome of his tantrum...that is GREAT.

However, every medication has a side effect, and right now one of his medications is making him eat like CRAZY.....I know growing boys need food, and I respect that he will likely eat more than I could ever imagine. However, his eating is unhealthy and out of control- he eats carbs from morning to night. Today by 10:00 he had 2 bowls of cereal, 5 pancakes and was still hungry. Then he ate 6 double stuffed oreos that he got from the neighbor, snuck some cheez its, and ate jelly by the spoonful while I took a shower.

Now tomorrow we are going back to the Psychiatrist and I have to balance what I tell her with what I think he needs. See if you havent been down this road before, you might say, "tell the doctor exactly what is happening, and she will help to figure out what he needs". However, we only have 10 minutes with the doctor. That is not nearly enough time to explain what is needed and what has gone on since our last visit.

So my struggle tonight is that I want the doctor to help to wean M off of his daytime doses of clonodine. I don't think he needs them and I think the Seraquel is calming him more appropriately. In addition, the school would really like him to be able to attend and focus more. So some form of medication that can help with this would be fabulous. Finally, I need to see what we can do to decrease the seraquel so he stops eating me out of house and home but balance that with him having enough to remain calm and redirectable.....

Balance all of this with my desire to have an 8 year old son who is not taking heavy duty medications, who doesn't need them because he is mentally healthy and safe to be around...and this will be an all important 10 minutes. It is up to me to figure out how we will all get through the next month in as positive a way as possible and for M that means giving him the medicaiton he needs to succeed without making him tired or irratable....I so wish he didnt need these medications to function, but I also thank god daily that these medications allow him to be happy, and smile and to feel good about himself.

Friday, February 12, 2010

what a week

Let me set the stage for you....
This is the last week before school vacation. I have exactly 5 days to get a ton of work done- registration for next year has started at my nursery school and we have 2 huge fundraisers that both are occurring as soon as we get back from vacation!

Needless to say this is a week that I HAVE to dedicate to WORK.

Somehow sensing my intense need for focus at work, God is again at work seeing how much stress he can throw my way before I throw in the towel.

Monday and Tuesday D comes home from school without earning "treasure". Now Treasure is something I detest- these are kids in a self contained special education classroom. My biggest hope for my son is that he will learn to do right because it feels good and makes others happy. I will be horribly distraught if my son learns to do right because some jackass is going to give him a 10 cent piece of crap. However, since the system in his classroom is that he will earn treasure daily for having proper behavior, it breaks my heart that the only time all year he mentions treasure to me is on Monday, when he doesnt get treasure.

Now if you read my previous blog, D has had a medication change, I am seeing all kinds of intense impulsive challenging behavior at home...this is the pattern for D- before a period of seizures, we see a behavior change. I have told his teaching team over and over and over again that this is the pattern....do I get a phone call? NO. Do they wonder....hmmmm could something be wrong with D? NO. Do they notice that his language is slower his processing time increased? NO....so needless to say, Monday and Tuesday go by and the little guy does not earn treasure.

Fast forward to Wed morning- we are now midweek in a stressful time- I am intensely aware that the end of the week is near and I want to be able to be on vacation and not think about work. Suddenly at 11:00 the phone rings and it is the school nurse- D has had 2 seizures.....I rush out of work to go see my little guy.

The only thing more pathetic than my guy having a seizure is my guy having a seizure without me there. I brought him home and he spent the rest of the day with my folks, after I spent an hour holding and loving him.He looked frail and scared all day long. At 3:00 I take D and J to the ENT for a check up- J's ear wax is so impacted that it takes over 30 minutes to vaccuum it all out- a nasty, disgusting process.....D is given a nose spray that will hopefully decrease the number of times he has a sinus infection and we get our stickers and head out the door.

No sooner are we in the car than I see that I have now missed a call from M's teacher. Luckily I check my message and it is enough to simply cause worry and concern for the night- nothing like a sleepless night after a crazy day like today!

Thursday AM I get in touch with M's teacher- basically she was calling to tell me that he seems super tired- thank you, he is very tired. The options are tired or overly rambunctious- no one was happy with the out of control, rambunctious M- even M was unhappy. Given that, our other choice is medication that help to calm him, but calming meds often make people tired! I note her concern, and promise to talk to the psychiatrist. I pull into the parking lot at school to drop off J and the cell phone rings- D has had another seizure on the bus and I need to come to school again.

Now let me please be very, very clear. If D is having seizures I want to always know about them. I want to most likely come and be with him, HOWEVER I cannot always take him home from school. Again, single mom, 3 kids, 2 with special needs. If I am not working, I am not being paid. If I am not being paid, I am not feeding the children....I have to work. D is a child with epilepsy. Children with epilepsy have seizures. After his seizures D usually rests for a while and returns to normal activities. So I rush back to his school again....my heart in my throat very worried about how he will be. Will he be able to walk? talk? Will he have more seizures?

I walk into the nurses office and he is happy, not easily communicating, but he is loooking at books and is very aware....so now comes the tough question- can he stay at school? Thankfully, after I agreed to hang out at school for another 15 minutes, they said he could go to class and see how he does.....and even better, D has not had another seizure since Thursday!

Today, Friday, I went with the entire school to a show, and then returned to school at noon to begin to work on the millions of tasks that had to be completed before vacation!

Thankfully, they are finished, the loose ends are tied up and we are on VACATION! Phew! A stressful, crazy week is over...now hopefully onto some rest and relaxation and recharging all of our batteries~!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You'll need to make an appointment to see the doctor

Let me start by stating that I completely and totally understand that doctors do not get paid for returning phone calls. Let me also state that in my job as a nursery school director- NEITHER DO I. I also don't make anywhere near the amount of money of any doctor- however, I do know and appreciate that part of having happy customers is ANSWERING THEIR PHONE CALLS!

I only call the doctor when I really believe that the problem can be solved over the telephone. I am also completely open to making an appointment to see the doctor if need be, AFTER I speak to the doctor on the phone. So, when I called David's neurologist this morning to ask about increasing his Topomax dose, the last thing I wanted to hear was that we needed to make an appointment.

Just a few short weeks ago, when I called regarding increasing David's medication dose because he was losing the use of his left hand, I was told we had to come in to see the doctor. As much as I begrudged that visit, I went without a fuss because I knew what the doctor was thinking----5 year old boy, losing the use of his hand equals EMERGENCY. However I also knew that this was a symptom of David's seizures, we had been down this road, so to me this was not an emergency and actually just a frustrating symptom- truth be told to me this is one of the more minor symptoms because it is easily visible, does not bother David and does not impact him behaviorally.

However the symptoms of this weekend were INTENSE. It was at the last appointment that the doctor decided we needed to decrease D's Topomax dose, and he really did not want to discuss this, but rather as the man who writes the script basically issued an edict- we would increase Depakote and decrease Topomax. While I understand that this man went to medical school, and I am completely willing to acknowledge that I did NOT go to medical school, I am also willing to let everyone know that I am currently enrolled in the school of D. I cannot tell you how I konw him as intimately as I do, it often surprises me how in tune with him I am, but when I place a bet on D I am correct 99% of the time. So this time when I was told to decrease his Topomax dose I just really did not want to do it. I waited before decreasing it, I hemmed and hawed and tried to find a way to express to the doctor why I felt this was a bad idea...unfortunately I finally determined we would have to lower the dose and see what happened.

Well I am here to tell you that lowering his dose WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA. For the first time in a long time D's behavior was a chalenge....he struggled at school, he struggled at home, and he struggled with his babysitter- so this morning, I called the Dr and after being placed on hold I was told we needed to come in to see the doctor.

Now, let me try to explain- the doctor is a half hour away from my job, D's school is 15 minutes away from my job in the opposite direction, so to get to the doctor would take at least half a day by the time I pick D up we get to the doctor, see the doctor and D is returned to school. Why am I wasting a half a day? To ask the doctor that given the symptoms I am seeing- seizures, increased negative behavior, decreased ability to express himself, and increased impulsivity- if we can please increase the Topomax. The chance of D having a seizure for the doctor are slim, so essentially the doctor is going to have to believe what I am telling him in order to make his medical decision regarding the medicine. So the only thing to be gained by us going to the doctor is money for the doctor and a loss of time at work for me. So, again I ask can I PLEASE leave a message for the doctor?

Sensing my frustration, but obviously distraught that I am being so insistent, the secretary agrees taht she will take my message, but stresses it is highly unlikely that I will get a return phone call. Luckily, today the gods are smiling on me, not only do I get a return phone call, BUT the doctor has a great idea- he increases the TOPOMAX dosage!

I am so glad that I was able to find such an amazing doctor- now if you don't tell him, and I won't tell him.....it really was my idea! but I will allow him to believe it was his and he is a genius!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A mothers gut

D is currently taking Topomax and Depakote for his seizures. I can't explain it, but in my mind Topomax is really his miracle drug. From the day we got his epilepsy diagnosis he has taken Topomax and while it hasnt cured him of seizures, it is the medication that gave me my little boy- it is the medicine that put the twinkle in his eye. It was the medicine that made it so he could speak again. It was our magic pill.

D has now taken 5 medicines for his seizures, but the one that has been constant has been his Topomax. To me it is the one that he needs, and it is the medication that should not be altered.

Well, a few weeks ago we saw the neurologist because D was losing the ability to use his left hand a few times a week. This was one of the symptoms that we noticed and that led us to do the testing that ended in the epilepsy diagnosis, so it wasnt really frightening, but it was concerning to see him unable to use his hand and the doctor recommended that we increase his depakote level. As we were going through his medications, the doctor recommended that we decrease his Topomax level.

I fought as hard as I could...it just didnt seem like a good idea, but in the end, I had to follow the doctor's orders- if for no other reason than he writes the prescription.....

Well Friday night, it all came back again....D was a monster out to dinner with my parents, he was non stop movement, scattered conversation, slow to respond, and then smacking his lips--- a movement that we only see when he is having seizures- a movement that to me is like being kicked in the stomach.

All weekend I have lived again with that "old" d. the one that can't stop himself, the one who's brain moves too fast for his body- the one who can't answer questions, who wants to do good things, but often is doing the wrong thing...the one who I hate to see. I try to be as patient as possible, but I am telling you, the Tazmanian Devil has nothing on the seizure version of D! He can destroy a room in a matter of seconds.

Why don't doctors listen to parents? I know my son more than any doctor ever will....I want him on as little medication as possible, but I also want him healthy, I want him feeling good, thinking clearly and not tortured by his brain!

I want my 6 year old seizure free- is that too much to ask for?

God and Racism

Well the Bloom boys have certainly questioned my ability to express the truth, in a form that they can understand, without oversimplifying but also without making the world too scary.

M has a book on Martin Luther King Jr that he keeps in the car with him. One of the first few pages, which is usually as far into it as he gets, states that "people with brown skin were not allowed to go to restaurants, school or other places with people with white skin". Now 9 times out of 10 a child would read this and his family would help him to understand, but his family would have the same color skin as him. However, in a caucasian family with adopted children who are black, this sentence is really causing M some drama and anxiety. He cannot figure out why he would not be allowed to do things with his bubbe- his beloved grandma. To him this makes life unlivable. And it certainly doesnt help when he asked how long ago this was, that all I can say is that my mom was a little girl when racism was still very prevalent.

Unfortunately, this is now the 3rd time we have had this talk, and each time we have been in the car, so instead of being able to snuggle with him and help him to make sense, I am doing some intense task, like driving on the highway, and he is hammering me with questions- questions that all I can hope for is to answer them in some way that put his mind at ease. Questions that are impossible for me to understand the answers too, so obviously really impossible for any 8 year old child. How do you explain racism? Stupidity? Judgement against others?

My answer- I basically decided that he needed to know that if he was being attacked that his family would go with him, so what did I do- I told him about the holocaust- cause that made sense right----hey M guess what, not only was there a time that people treated people with brown skin badly, but there was also a time where Jewish people were treated badly---so the only benefit is that if jewish people were treated badly today, we would all be treated badly as a family- better?

Oyyyy- in the end he and I decided that we would make an island so that people who were mean to other people would go live on the island- an island for bad people we called it.....now I am only hoping that if I bring this book in the house, we can read it together and maybe I will have a better explanation next time around!

Fast forward to Sunday morning.....D and J are in the tub, talking about pee, and water and washing themselves- all good topics when a 6 year old and a 3 year old are taking a bath. We had skipped Sunday school this morning, and I was feeling a little guilty but out of nowherer, D says- "what color is god". After I am done gushing that he even thinks about these things, again it is time for me to come up with an answer- "i have no idea" what color IS god????? So I turn it back around to him.....his answer "god is yellow" duh, of course god is yellow, why wouldnt he be?

I love that for him it was simplistic. I love even more that God is his favorite color. I love that on a day we skipped sunday school he was still thinking religiously....but I will remember next time, that if we go to Sunday school, someone else gets to struggle with these big life questions!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

progress

M played with figures today- he actually dumped out the little people we have and had them play a role in the zoom the car game he was playing.

He and D had built a runway, and had the toy airport and then M put luggage on the conveyor belt, and had a man take the luggage to the airplane, while D had a taxi come to the front of the airport and pick up passengers!

I cannot believe it! What an amazing step in the right direction.

When M was 3 I took him to a therapist to help do "floortime" with us. Basically, at that point in time the thought was that M was autistic and that he needed some specialized play that would help him to allow me into his world. So for an hour a week we sat in the therapists office and she would "teach" floortime to me and then she would critique how M and I played together- mostly how I played with M cause I was ALWAYS doing it wrong.

Now remember, at this point in time I was a 28 year old Nursery School director, who had always been told that I had a knack for working with children. My old director even used to criticize me because I "played too well" with the kids, and didnt let them guide their own play experiences enough.

So, to have to take my son for Play therapy was a smack in the face.....however to then sit through play therapy to be told that "I was not playing well" truly had me on the brink of a break down.

After 4 months of play therapy, I decided we were not doing any good for my self esteem AND M was not making any true progress, plus it was getting harder and harder to find child care for D while M and I had this horrific hour of therapy together, so Floortime was stopped. Sure I continued to play at home, and did my best to guide his play. We even tried a few other theraputic methods to teach M to play, but in reality, my guess is that play for M was something that he was going to do in his own time.

So tonight...I am announcing, apparently THIS WAS IT. IT WAS HIS TIME. Using the toys that we have had since he was 2, M created a play scheme, and used figurines to play through the theme of going to the airport!

We are on day number 4 and life is still really, really good!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

one of those good days

So as I start to write this, I am already screaming STOP, STOP DO NOT PUT THIS ON PAPTER....but I can't help myself, so I am going to quietly tell you, but please don't tell anyone else.....that we have had only good days since Saturday. Saturday was pretty rocky, but if I am being honest, it was really my fault. The kids were each pretty good- I just got up on the wrong side of the bed, and then wasn't motivated to do much. So, I had 3 high energy boys and me who didnt want to do much locked in the house until 4:45- creates a pretty fabulous recipe for disaster!

But back to the good news- I have felt like gloating for the past 3 days- there is something very special about hanging out on the couch watching tv with your children, or quietly watching them play that makes this whole parenthood thing really fun.

I have never been a mom of a typical child, but I have been an aunt of typical girls. For years now when they come to visit I have envied the way that they play and entertain each other and just say cute little things. They want to play board games, do art projects, enjoy all that stuff that actually allows the parent to have some fun along with their children.

For my boys that has just never been the way. Until you come to play with my guys, it is really hard to understand, but I am going to try to make sense of it for you. See, M has this thing he does. He calls it "making his wires". Essentially for more than 5 years he has focused on making electric wires with his toy blocks. He puts up 2 blocks, hangs a string in between them and that is the wires. Then he zooms his cars underneath and he can do this for hours.

Maybe it is just me, but this game just no longer holds any appeal. Crash the cars I could play! Going to the grocery store, I could play. Build the wires zoom the cars, build the wires zoom the cars, I CANNOT PLAY! I am bored.

So, after doing this for 5 years, to have had 3 days that my boys and I have simply enjoyed time together has been awesome. I cannot even tell you what show we watched on tv tonight, J and D and I, because that really didnt matter. What mattered is the snuggling we were doing, the way that we all were so much at peace that we almost fell asleep----that deep warm, feeling of love snuggled together!

I know, because it is the rhythm of our world that this peacefulness will not last long....but honestly, if I can have just a few days of those snuggle on the couch moments, my battery gets recharged, I can face more of the crazy that is our regular life......and in reality, all that crazy truly does make me appreciate the happy, snuggle on the couch kind of days.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who are the Bloom boys

An important part of understanding all of my stories will be in understanding what makes each of my guys so special and amazing.

I adopted my 2 oldest sons when they were each 6 days old. However, by the time they were 15 months, I was pretty concerned about both of them developmentally. They both just weren't on target with language and had some quirky other things going on.
Through the blessing of early intervention, both M and D were able to receive a variety of services including Special education, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy.

Through lots and lots of appointments and hours with specialists, the best guess for today is that M is diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is a horrible, horrible, completely preventable diagnosis that impacts essentially every aspect of M. From his ability to communicate, to his ability to relate to people, and his ability do simple things like brush his teeth, get dressed properly and remember to care for himself, all areas and aspects of M are impacted by the Fetal Alcohol syndrome. This past year and a half has been full of major ups and downs as M is getting older. Apparently the true impact of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome- FAS- begins to show as children are in the middle elementarty years. M's story is one of the things that has pushed me to want to blog and to tell about our life.

For D, the medical world around us thought that since he was 15 months old he was on the Autistic spectrum. But as an educator, it just didnt seem like the right diagnosis to me. D was in intensive special education classrooms at the age of 18 months and yet he was still struggling to learn even the most basic rules of life- ie you can't run into the road, you can't knock down the toy shelves in your classroom, and if there is a fish in a fish tank, you should not dump out the water! Through speech therapy and special education, D had learned to speak and was able to put together 2-3 word sentences, but at 3.5, he lost that ability again. At that point we had an EEG done and it was determined that D has epilepsy. The day he was diagnosed with Epilepsy was one of the happiest of my life- that was the day that we found out what was wrong with D and the day that D was born for the 2nd time!

D is now a 6 year old boy full of laughter and smiles and a fabulous sense of humor. He is still very, very delayed, but his goal in life is to please people. He loves to tell me that he is "a cooking boy" or a "cleaning boy" or " a grocery helper!" My son who for more than 3 years wouldnt hug me or say he loved me or snuggle me, now is the snuggliest 6 year old on the planet! Everyday he is gaining skills and showing me new things he has learned!

Finally J is my youngest. I adopted him at 3 months old. Because he wanted to be sure he had lots of helpers in his life, he too has a speech delay due to an overabudnance of wax in his ears.....YES, you read that right! I, AMIE BLOOM, am likely the only person on the planet who has a child with too much wax in their ears to the point that it truly limits his hearing and has created a huge speech delay!

So there you have it in a nutshell, beyond being amazing, busy, loving, energetic guys, my boys each have a diagnosis that makes them very special, and creates a variety of daily challenges, but also constantly makes life unique and extremely entertaining.

Fast Forward

I am realizing that my long term goal and my short term goal are not going to jive without me doing some explaining. Long term, I would like to find a way to write a book about my life and the life of my boys. I love to read about other families raising children like mine, it helps to put life in perspective and lets me know
"this too shall pass".
So, if all this blogging stuff goes well, the goal will be to one day compile it into a book for other adoptive moms who are singlehandedly raising 3 kids with special needs, who also work full time, or I guess for anyone else who wants to read about one crazy ladies life.

Short term however, my goal is just to document all the crazy fun things that happen in my life and the lives of my children. It is so funny to me that what had me tearing my hair out last week, is this week no big deal. By that I mean, last week when my oldest was having BM accidents and I was going nuts, it seemed like that was the end of the world. Fast forward though and today I found out that he took my credit card with him to school....so that REALLY seems like a big deal.

What I do have to fess up to loving is the fact that he told me about the credit card like a 3 year old will usually tell you where they are when they are playing hide and seek. You konw the famous- "I'm not in the closet. Whatever you do don't look for me in the closet" and lo and behold where do you find the child? Of course they were in the closet.

So tonight as the kids are getting ready for bed, my oldest comes up and says "i didnt bring your credit card to school today." hmmmmm, long pause on my part- what is in his hand? my credit card. where is it usually? in my room. Let's take a quick little vote- all in favor of Matthew just randomly finding the credit card around the house and bringing it to me? I think not....luckily he is super big today on telling the truth and quickly acknowledges that he goofed but "will never do that again!"

Today is one of those good days. I am back in the running for mom of the year. I was calm, I rationally laid on some guilt and told him how sad I was. He asked multiple times if I was mad, and I actually got to use the line "I'm too scared and sad to be mad". Not sure if any of what I say actually sinks in, but at least I responded with calmness and rational thoughts rather than anger! So maybe, if there is hope for him to learn that bringing my credit card to school was a super bad idea, maybe today we are on the path towards learning.