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When your baby is not totally perfect

We all believe our babies are perfect. And we all want to have the best for our children. So how do you handle it when you get a report that your little diva has “Low muscle tone” and that she will need weekly therapy. Yes I cried. Yes I was devastated. But I never allow myself to dwell on things that can’t be fixed and if something can be fix, we fix it..

I just quickly want to add something here – As an adoptive parent you sometimes worry that you won’t have the same parental instincts as biological parents. But this again proved it wrong. A lot of people told me that I’m overreacting.. All children have their own time and she will crawl / move when she is ready for it. But my gut told me this is more. I knew that there was something else wrong.

Now we work on the solution. She will see the OT (Occupational Therapist) once a week. She will start swimming lessons soon. We are just in the research phase at the moment and I’m sure we will find a swim school that will suit our needs (Goodness I’ve not been in water in years! This should be interesting. Bring on the diet)

For those who don’t have an idea what this means, a quick summary:

My child has been diagnosed with low muscle tone. What does this mean?
Who gets a diagnosis of low muscle tone?
An infant or child will get a diagnosis of low muscle tone when:
• The muscles appear to be less firm than usual • The child appears to be floppy and to have loose joints • The child appears to be less alert and have poor posture and attention
For a more technical discussion please see webmanual.skillsforaction.com/low-muscle-tone
The difficulties experienced by children that lead to diagnosis of low muscle tone
• May be late learning to sit and walk – but not always • Have trouble sitting erect and working at a table – tend to sit with back rounded, may lean on one hand when drawing and writing • Have difficulty sitting still, tend to fidget, not complete school tasks • Have difficulties with handwriting and drawing • May t ire very quickly , not like walking far, have trouble going up stairs • May be good at games that involve short bursts of running, but have difficulty with posture in sitting, drawing and handwriting – these tasks require sustained activity in the postural muscles • Sit between legs on floor (w-sitting) , do not like cross legged sitting • Appear to have poor attention span or concentration, give up easily • Cannot hang on the monkey bars, do not like climbing on the jungle gym, are fearful

 

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More fun activities

Got this idea from a cute website 🙂

 

http://www.sweethappylife.com/2012/activities/art/painting-with-watercolors-glue-and-salt/

 

Ever since our adventure with “secret message watercolor painting” the munchkin has been enamored with his watercolors. So this week we decided to mix things up a bit by painting with watercolors, clear Elmer’s glue and salt.

Isn’t the final result neat?

The idea for using glue and salt with watercolors came from Pinterest. I kept seeing pins with notes about sprinkling salt on wet watercolors or using glue to create designs on top of the paint. Finally I saw this post about combining the two techniques and I was like, that’s it, we’re doing this.

As you can see in the photo above, the munchkin was super into this activity. Totally focused.

We used canvases for our paintings because I had some around, but watercolor paper would work equally well. Other materials included: Crayola watercolor paints, water, paint brushes, kosher salt and clear Elmer’s glue.

After setting everything up the process was simple and fun! The munchkin covered each canvas with as much color as he possibly could, then I showed him how to drizzle glue onto the painting. This was probably his favorite part. As he squeezed glue onto the colors he’d say things like “Look mommy! An excavator!” or “I’m making a biiig, biiig giraffe!”

So, kinda like cloud watching, the munchkin was all about seeing shapes in the blobs of glue. It’s amazing what an imagination he’s getting.

After adding the glue the final step was sprinkling salt around on the painting. The salt creates a pretty starburst effect by soaking up paint pigments as the painting dries. And as an extra bonus: the salt sparkles!

I put the finished paintings on the counter to dry, which took a few hours. Now only one question remains: which one does my husband get to take to work and which one can I hang up at home? The munchkin tells me he “needs to think about it.” (Apparently I don’t get to decide these things anymore.)

Frequently Asked Questions

I seem to get a lot of questions about this post so I thought it would be helpful to share some of the most common ones here. Keep in mind, this is just a simple activity the munchkin and I enjoy doing together! I’m not a professional artist and can’t give you advice on how to modify the activity or substitute materials.

My watercolor pigments don’t show up on the canvas.

We used a lot of water color paint on our canvases. As in, we would put paint on our brushes and go over an area several times until the color was as vibrant as we wanted.

The salt doesn’t have any effect on my watercolors.

You have to put a lot of watercolor paint on your canvas in order for there to be something for the salt to soak up. Our canvases had so much watercolor on them that if you moved the canvas around the colors would slide from one side to the other. You basically want a puddle of color before putting your salt on the paint.

Can I do this on _________ instead of canvas?

We have only done this on canvas and watercolor paper. I prefer the canvas because you can put more paint on the surface without worrying about the ripping paper. If you have another material you’d like to try, go for it! But I wouldn’t be able to give you advice on what results you may encounter.

Can I add _______ to this activity along with the salt?

I have no idea! (A few folks have asked about adding modge podge to the paint – this doesn’t strike me as a good idea since it will affect the consistency of the paint and hence the ability of your salt to soak up pigments.)

Can I use white glue instead of clear glue?

Yes.

What kind of salt did you use?

We used kosher salt, but regular table salt works too.

Can I do this on a wall?

No, because the paints would slide down the wall. Same with the salt. :/

What materials did you use?

We used Crayola watercolor paints and these canvases. 🙂

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Talk about it

I’ve been chatting to a few people the last few weeks. They have lots of questions about adoption and what it meant to us. And all of them can’t thank me enough for talking to them and all of them say the same thing – thank you for talking to us, most people don’t want to talk about it…

 

This puzzles me. Why not? Why won’t you share with people the joy that you have experienced. Yes it’s a hard road and frustrations set in. But if you have somebody that you can go to and talk to about it, it already helps. Do we still consider adoption an ‘taboo’ subject? Something that should not be spoken about? It’s a very strange concept to me. It’s not like we can hide the fact that we adopted Sky. And having people sharing in our joy just makes our joy so much more. Having people coming up to us in public and just wanting to get a laugh out of her or just ask us some questions is normal to us by now. We just accepted it as part of our lives. We don’t mind people asking questions, in fact we encourage it. The more people we can help get  a more positive attitude about adoption and specially transracial adoption, the better. People fear the unknown and if everybody that adopted just refuses to talk about their journey, it just alienates more people. So to all the parents out there that has adopted – share your story. It’s important! It might help somebody decide to also adopt and change a child’s life forever.

And those considering adoption – ask questions. As much as you need. Adopting is not buying a puppy – you can’t give the baby back if things gets to much for you. And yes, sometimes it does gets to much for you. You have to take the joy of everyday little things with the heartache of hearing somebody calling your baby a ‘boesman’ or the ‘k’ word or people just staring at you in public and accept the fact that most people will do a ‘double take’ when you walk past them. These are things that you have to be aware of and know that no amount of staring or hearing negative things against your child can take away the love, support and absolute joy you will experience. Because you have to deal with all of these things on top of normal parent problems like chickenpox, teething, moody baby, sleepless nights and the crawling stage where nothing is safe anymore.  So talk, share, ask…

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Moving forward – almost

We had to make a difficult decision and not allow Sky in the walker anymore. It seems to do nothing for her and she’s in ‘no need’ to start crawling or moving as she can get to where she wants to be in the walker. So for two days now she has been on the floor. She really struggles to move – even when we put her on her back she can’t move or turn. This is causing so much frustrations and tears. But we kept strong and last night I came into the room after putting her on her back and she was on her tummy! I got soooooooooooooooo excited!! But now also needs to remember I can’t leave her on the bed alone anymore! I spend all my free time with her over the weekend, doing ‘pull ups’ and roll overs. And it seems to be paying off!

 

We are seeing an OT on Wednesday. This will also help us in the right direction. We are sure it’s just the muscles that are stiff and no permanent damage.

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How to respond?

I seriously did not have a respond for somebody this morning, and those who knows me, know that I always have an answer. But I was just so stunned and maybe feeling a little defeated that we just can’t get people to see that a person is a person. No matter their skin colour.

I got asked this morning if it does not bother me that people say Sky looks like me. What if people think I am her biological mother. As this implicated that I slept with a black man…

I only said – so what if people think I slept with a black man. I sleep with my black baby and hug her and kiss her and love her…..

I just feel like throwing my hands in the air… And say NOTHING….

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The day has finally arrive!

Sky is officially ours 🙂 Words can’t describe our joy. To know that she is by law now ours and nothing can take her away from us again.. Now the only thing we still need is her birth certificate but that will take months. As long as we know that legally she is ours, we are happy

 

We had a little bit of a laugh as we went into the court building. The Xhosa female security guard looks at Sky and asks if she is my baby. I say yes. The security looks at her again and says: But how is it possible that she has your face but black person hair…. I just laughed and explained that she is adopted. But yes, Sky does look like me. Mommy’s nose, Daddy’s toes 🙂

Everybody (including the judge) can’t get over how happy Sky is. She was on her best behaviour. We are proud parents 🙂

She obviously had to dress the part. Little crown and all

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