Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
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Monday, January 4, 2010
Erik has been home 4 months now and I thought it would be nice to put an update on his progress since being home!! His developmental changes have been much different than the other three kids, but they were all cognitively "okay", and of course, Erik has Down's. Still, he has shown a lot of improvement and I see a lot more improvement in the short months to come!

When Erik first came home, he:
  • Made poor eye contact, and when he did make eye contact it was never for more than a second or so.
  • Got angry very easily and would grab, pinch, bite and scream! This usually was related to food - he had NO patience when it came to food - he wanted it and wanted it NOW.
  • Refused to walk or stand without a FIRM grasp on both of our hands, and he hated it!!
  • Ignored toys, but loved to look at stuffed animals - he wouldn't touch them, though.
  • Had a few "words", which were mainly, "la la la", "va va va" and "dih dih dih".
  • Would not do ANYTHING for himself, which included trying to feed himself, push his arms through the sleeves of his shirts when getting dressed, or holding toys. He DID like to splash in water in the bathtub, and would drink from a bottle without help, though.
  • Smiled and got excited at things like food, bath, and having lotion rubbed on him, but not much else.
  • Did not like TV at all and wouldn't really look at it much. If he did, it was only for a moment.
As of TODAY, he:
  • Makes really good eye contact, and will even look at you when you are talking to him or trying to get something across to him.
  • Responds to discipline!!! If corrected for something, like if he is playing with pictures on the wall, he will instantly stop without a fight, then later, if he does it again, he pauses and looks to see if you are watching! LOL If you are, he stops!! If not, well... he's not perfect!
  • Hardly ever shows anger anymore. He has learned that when he makes his version of the sign for "more" or "please", he gets more! He doesn't have to grab and scream to get more. Once about 2 weeks ago, he bit me on the back of the shoulder so hard it brought tears to my eyes, but it was not in anger, only in wild excitement over something, and that was the only time that he's really gotten me.
  • Fake cries. This is HILARIOUS! He did this at the beginning some, but he's perfecting his skills these days. If he reaches for something he shouldn't, I'll give him a gentle "no". He stops reaching for it (such a good boy!) and deliberately scoots WAY away from me, and will take a second to work up a good WAIL!! It's the funniest thing you've seen, and very ineffective!! LOL
  • walks!! He still hates to do it, and much prefers scooting, but he can walk up to 8 feet without ANY support at all! His hands go WAY up in the sky, he puts his feet far apart and waddles like a duck, but he's doing it!! Yesterday in the church nursery I witnessed another "first": he was standing at one table, and he took 2 steps and "transferred" to another table all on his own!! I was so shocked!! I LOVE these "first"'s!!! I was so proud. :o)
  • Holds toys and has begun to PLAY with them. His favorites are still stuffed animals, but while before he'd just sit and look at them and talk to them, now he picks them up and holds them (while talking to them), and even shakes them on his own! If he has too many of them in his crib, he now actually picks them up and throws them out! (This is a purposeful movement that is new!) He plays with toys with buttons, as long as they light up and make music or talk. He really enjoys those!! It's SO much fun to watch him learn to PLAY!!
  • His "vocabulary" hasn't changed much, but he is adding new "words" and now says, "unya unya unya" and "gee gee" (hard "g"), and "ma ma ma" (my favorite!). We love to "speak 'Erik'" and will often go around the house saying "Va va va va" to ourselves - and believe it or not, Reese started this!! LOL
  • He is starting to DO stuff for himself! He's still pretty rough using a spoon, but at least he's trying!! And he will help push his arms through his sleeves about 75% of the time now (still keeps his legs dead and limp though and won't help at ALL with pants). He loves to get his arms out of the straps of his carseat when it's time to get out and likes to be dramatic about it, too! (He's SO CUTE!) He takes his shoes and socks off (so that he can suck on his socks) and throws anything that he sees as rubbish (like his glasses, an empty bottle of water, a lemon at a restaurant, a toy that doesn't meet his expectations anymore, etc.).
  • He will now transport himself! Believe me, this is a big thing: he can now sit on one couch, slide off at will, scoot across the floor (remember, he hates walking), and sit on another couch! He also will slide off of one couch and scoot over to an object that he wants and gets it! Honestly, these things sound so trivial, but trust me when I say they are a big deal!!
  • He likes Sesame Street and will watch for almost the whole episode, enjoying only those parts with puppets (he doesn't like cartoons, computer animation or real people).
  • He knows what the potty seat is for!! He'll actually "go" on it about 70% of the time, but he has no clue that that's what he is SUPPOSED to do; he just thinks that he will go as long as he's there. But it'll come!!
  • And my favorite: he INTERACTS with us, now!! He loves to sit on the floor and will actually PLAY with you! He hands toys to you, plays "back and forth" games, and last week he did my very favorite thing of all: He was sitting on the floor in front of me, and he purposefully stood up (pulling on my arm), looked right at me, smiled, and leaned in and hugged me. I thought I was going to faint from happiness. :o)
Things that we are hoping to work on this year are:
  • Getting some WORDS on him! I'd love for him to be able to say our names and basic things like "eat", "bath", etc.
  • Potty training. He'll start school in a couple of weeks, and it sure would be nice if he'd be potty trained.
  • Doing more independent walking and less scooting.
  • Helping get dressed, even doing things independently, like putting on socks and shoes.
  • Eat neater (but Reese is still working on that himself, and he's 15, so...!)
  • Enjoy more types of toys. Do more imaginative playing, like pretending to talk on the phone, etc.
Honestly, we are just so happy and in love with our little guy, that if he never does the above things, it will be okay!! He's such a lovebug and so happy and funny! We are all in love with him, and I think he and Reese are going to have a special relationship - Reese is smitten with him (much to my surprise, to be honest!) and Erik adores him!! I'm so glad that they are going to be close. :o)

Thanks for reading my VERY long update! It's as much for me as it is for you, as in 4 months time I hope to do another and will use this as a reference!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

10 comments:

Milena said...

Is it only four months? I wonder why I thought he came home in June? Maybe because he has made such progress since coming home!

BTW, you have a blog award to pick up at my blog for Nadya!

Amy L said...

Sounds like Erik is doing great! Cracks me about the fake cry! They can be so funny! I am hoping that Elijah's vocabulary will increase too. As of right now, I may change my name to "Elmo" or "Hey". He does say those pretty well!!:)Amy

Mom/Gram said...

Oh, that's my boy!! He is doing so good and I am SO proud of him too! You are doing a great job honey! I'm proud of you as always!
Give him a kiss and hug from Gram!

Lyndi said...

Ok, got a bit teary eyed when you talked about him pulling up and giving you a hug...how awesome those hugs are!!! He sounds like he is doing so good, keep it up Erik!

soontobemomof9 said...

He sounds like he is thriving in his mamas love and the love of family!

He just gets cuter and cute in every picture... I dont' know how he does it, but he does! :)

ashley said...

Way to go, Erik!
We love speaking "Mason-ese" around here. My new favorite is "lum-lup," which means "clean up!"

Brigitte said...

Awesome! Erik is doing great! I can't wait to meet him when you guys come to Iowa for a visit!!!

Brigitte said...

BTW... I updated my blogpost from yesterday so you should be able to view it now! Sorry about that! LOL

Molly said...

Ahhh the fake cry! I work with a litttl boy who does it to, and oyu have to say "willzie are you crying for fake or for real?" and he'll say "for fake!" and look up and grin at you.

I'm thinking about Erik and WIll side by side, hahaa, Will would TOWER over Erik. He's 7 and loves his food.

I think we need the fake cry on video!

Adoption Adventure said...

Time, time, time it is amazing what can happen in a short period. Even without your descriptions of Erik's progress you can look at the pictures and see a totally different child. His face radiates happiness. Those hugs are worth every second of everything else! So thrilled to see all his progress and love your blog even though I don't get to read as often as I like. When I do get on here I ge a cup of tea and really enjoy all your Erik stories and pictures. Rhonda

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My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9

Daisy

Daisy

Mary

Mary

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