Friday, April 30, 2010

Not breathing too easily around here!

Just a quick update to let you know what has been happening around the "Stress" household. I can tell you that what there has not been a lot of and that is "easy breathing!" Katie's asthma has been acting up and it has been a really tough week for her and for all that love her.

About ten days ago, she started in with the early signs of an asthma flare up and we immediately began the prescribed regimen of breathing treatments. It continued on in a very mild form for a couple of days until a week ago Friday evening when she had a severe attack overnight into Saturday morning which would not abate. Marc rushed her to the ER and for the next few hours I was a freaking mess while I waited for her at home as Ethan was sleeping, willing her to get the breathing under control which they did with a steroid shot. They sent sent her home with heavier meds. She was actually sent home on my birthday which we celebrated by the children giving me the gifts that they had lovingly chosen for me in the wee was so sweet.

At about the same time I contracted an upper respiratory infection; which over this past week was made worse by stress and lack of sleep, since Katie's asthma was not going anywhere fast. This past week has brought three more doctor appointments; two for her and one for me. Her meds have been changed again and we are hoping for the best tonight. Asthma is relentless at night. To complicate matters, I was diagnosed with walking Pneumonia after I realized that I was not breathing too easily either.

Thank goodness for the loving men here at "Stress", especially the older one, who as always is a pillar of strength and love. My amazing husband, who is such a beautiful father, actually took our daughter to school today since she has been begging to go all week and came back two hours later to give her a breathing treatment. This all so that she could stay and have lunch with her friends. I am so grateful to have a man like that.

Next week we have an appointment with a Pediatric Pulmonologist who we have heard is excellent and can hopefully help us better understand the triggers and how to control Katie's asthma.


It is horrible thing to watch your child not be able to catch her breathe. I pray that her suffering abates soon and she can once again enjoy her days and sleep all night.

Friday, April 23, 2010

So are mean girls a product of nature or nurture?

This evening, Katie sadly recounted a tale to me that plays out everyday in every school around this country and probably the world....two girls excluding a third in a mean way. Katie was the odd man out this time and it was the first time that this has happened to her or I should say it was the first time that she expressed it to me.

What is it about girls and meanness? Do they have to go hand in hand? Of course I was once a young girl and I remember being in the same position. Both on the receiving end and to my own shame, I also remember excluding others in order to fit into a clique of girls. This is her first taste of what she will find to be the unfortunate rite of passage for most, if not all girls. Why must we be this mean? Friends tell me about their children's experiences, some of which are horrifying! These acts run the gamut from the childish one that my daughter just experienced, to the pointing out of physical differences, such as children pulling on the outside of their eyes to make them look like the eyes of my beautiful children, while yelling "chink, chink", all the way up to physical and mental torture of even greater lengths. One of my co-workers children just experienced extreme cyber bullying in the fifth grade. It was actually pulled off at this tender age in a pathological fashion to cover the crime. That is just crazy to me!

Are we pre-programmed as females to perpetrate these acts of hurt upon each other or are they a learned behavior passed down from mom to daughter, sister to sister or from older girl to younger girl? It may even be that girls overhear and see the mean words and acts that occur between and behind the backs of grown women. Adults have become overly loose about allowing children to hear "adult" talk and their children have become witness to their mean and petty behavior.

Why then, does it seem to be more prevalent within the ranks of girls? Boys are not quite as concerned as girls are about the "fitting in" equation is my guess. I think that goes to lack of self esteem that girls feel and that subject is much bigger than this forum, at least for now. It does seem though that girls are being raised to be clones of each other and not themselves...a huge problem.

Since the day that the children each came into our lives, I have made it my personal agenda to not speak of peoples differences to or in front of my children. I know for a fact that I have become more sensitive in this regard since we are raising two children of a different race than we are, thus making us a multi-racial family. I do not discuss weight or physical attributes in any way shape or form and yet, my daughter has asked me if she can remove her glasses before school since she would be "prettier" without them. I remind her how beautiful she is, both inside and out and that is she did not wear her glasses she could not see all of the wonderful people and surroundings in her life. She then put those glasses right back on her face. Why are children expressing these thoughts at the ages of 4 and 5? Am I out of touch or is this just as shocking to you as well?

Thankfully, Katie seemed to accept my remedy for the situation that she experienced. After telling me that her two girlfriends on the playground at school did not want to play with her and kept running away, I told her that if they chose not to play with her that it was their choice, although not a very good one. She should seek out children that DID want to play with her and I reminded her how many children in her class would fit that bill. My "beautiful on the inside and out" daughter smiled at me and said "I try to be nice to everyone and sometimes if I hurt someones feelings it is because I do not mean it and then I say I am sorry." My girl is not perfect just as her mama is not but beneath that sweet exterior is an even sweeter soul.
Courtesy of nature and nurture.


oh and one more thing...wouldn't the world be a lot better place if we all took Katie's advice and carried it out?

I refuse to raise a mean about you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - Angel Face

Today is Black and White Wednesday over at my friend Lisa's blog and I thought of this picture to convert to black and white as it captures my sweet little "angel face" very well. She looks so happy and peaceful here. It is VERY uncommon to see her look any other way. She is the type of person who takes on the world each day with a huge smile that lights up her face. If Katie is cranky then I know something is wrong just as I did yesterday when her asthma blew up again. This morning she looks miserable and she is home for the day.

IMG_3699 bandw

I love my little angel face and I just hate to see her or any of my children suffer.

Damn Asthma....leave my little girl alone!!!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The many faces of The Dynamic Duo

Sometimes, I walk around the house with my camera at in order to catch a moment that I do not want to forget. These were a few shots I took over the course of a day at home this past weekend. Being home for the day is as rare around here as the gloomy look that you will find in one of the pictures but as I always say, there has to be some rain to enjoy the sunshine! Enjoy a little rain and a lot of sunshine!









Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Milestone!

Today is my five year Blogoversary. What a great milestone! Thank you to Teena in Toronto for pointing it out to me. I was not even thinking about this anniversary until I got that reminder from Teena on my blackberry as we were leaving Katie's birthday party!

I started this blog on April 10, 2005, which was the month that our dossier was sent to China for Katie Starr. Little did I know that 3 days later, on the other side of the world, our baby was being born. Fate was being played out on two sides of the globe and the end result would change our lives in the best way possible. I hope that our precious Katie Starr Hong Shan feels the same way when she understands her story.

The name of my blog back then was "Journey of a Lifetime" and it truly was. Since then, the blog has morphed into so much more than a diary for a waiting mother; it is a diary our lives , a view into our life as a family and a much needed outlet for me.

Once Katie came home, the blog was renamed "Three and a Highchair" but the addition of Ethan soon changed that name into "Stress is the New Black."

So much has happened in that period of time, for us and for you! My adult son who gave me the present name for this blog (guess he thought I was a tad bit stressed!) has since graduated from The University of Florida, worked awhile, got engaged, married his beautiful wife and is about to graduate from Law School. His little sister Katie Starr has blossomed from a traumatized baby into a beautiful, bright and well adjusted five year old girl and their little brother Ethan is right there with her and continues to amaze us with his resilient personality and kind hearted nature.

We have been through great joy and as life will have it, also great sorrow and it is pretty much all chronicled here. It is a great place to reflect on where we have been and it gives us the clarity to see how we can continue to persevere.

The Blogisphere, which I am a proud member of, has brought me friendships from around the globe. Some of you I have had the honor to meet and sadly, many I have not. One thing is certain though, whether you blog yourself or read along and have never blogged, you are all an important part of this story. Hopefully, one that will continue on for many years to come.

If you want to take a look back at those first few posts in April of 2005 then please click here and enjoy the ride down memory lane. I sure did.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Siblings and Best Friends

IMG_3679 70s

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Back to work!

When Ethan came home we immediately contacted both early intervention as well as a private occupational and speech therapists. Our biggest concern was that Ethan was not eating and he had severe oral aversion. His pediatrician labeled him as failure to thrive and at 2 1/2 years old and 17 pounds that label seemed to hit the nail on the head.

His first six months home, Ethan had speech, occupational and developmental therapies several times a week. He then transitioned into the Three and up program, which is an all day preschool based program housed in the Elementary school. It is speech and development intensive. A few months later his wonderful OT, Miss Roni discharged him with words of caution. She had taken him pretty much as far as she could at that stage of the game but there may be times in the future that he would need to see her or another OT again as issues warranted

Well, the time to go back seems to have come; we are back in OT again. We have noticed that his strength is not what it should be and it affects so much of his day to day life. It was obvious that we needed to have him assessed again. He has a strange and labored gait as he runs, his balance is very poor, he cannot throw a ball properly and he cannot hop on one foot among other deficiencies. The final straw was dropped this past weekend as we took the kids to a local field to ride bikes and they wanted to try to ride without their training wheels. Katie did great and Ethan....well, not so much. He could not even keep the bike up for a fraction of a second on his own. He is so tenacious though and he kept trying. We had to explain to him that we would work on strengthening his muscles so that he could do it too. Poor little guy looked so sad....

The bright side is that Miss Roni assessed him and she feels that she can help him build all of these skills pretty quickly. The other bright side is that I have been working for Miss Roni and her partner, Miss Sandra the speech therapist for about three months as their office manager, so I know what magic is worked in that clinic on a daily basis. She was also nice enough to provide these services as a benefit to me and not charge for them. I was so touched and grateful since money is still a concern.

When we first brought Ethan home, our biggest worry was his health and even his life. He was in such sad shape. Now we get to see him become a active participant in his own treatment. He has such a zest for life and we know that this will allow him to build his strength and his confidence very quickly. Roni has also suggested that some of his super mischievous behavior may be a coping technique that he has adapted to compensate for his not feeling a very strong sense of himself and his own power. We love his fun loving personality but know that helping him to tone it down will serve him well as he gets older.

Onward and Upward is the motto for the day! I will keep you updated on his progress.