Thursday, February 28, 2008

SPD in the News

Great, short video on Sensory Processing Disorder, which Gwenn has been diagnosed with a few years back. This is a great overview for what we are dealing with. Too bad the STAR Center isn't here in WA - it has a great reputation!


Today I met with a nutritionist about Gwenn and her eating. She will be 9 in April, and today had a strong weigh in at 46 pounds - an all-time record. However, she used to be at the 20th percentile up until about 2 years ago, and has been declining ever since, and now is in the 1st percentile for weight. Obviously this is going the wrong way.

I learned some of what I knew - Gwenn is complex, and her eating issues are also complex. The nutritionist we saw is going to speak with a colleague about Gwenn - one who specializes in eating disorders in young children, to see what else we can do.

Our immediate goal is to add at least 500 calories a day to what Gwenn is eating. We'll do that through things like the Larabar (200 calories), ReLiv nutritional supplements (100 cals), moving back to whole milk (another 100 cals) - and trying to get more food like peanut butter into her. Personally, I feel the last one is a losing battle - all she ate for 2 years was peanut butter, and I think she is still full of it!

It's hard to watch your child not eat, and try everything to get her to take in food. Her situation is more complex, as her SPD issues make it so that she may not be getting pleasure receptors in her brain receiving the message of full or hungry, liking or loving foods, etc. So she just doesn't eat. It's pretty crazy, but my goal is that by next September she will have hit 50 pounds!

Pierced Ears

Well, last night was our big night. Ella got her ears pierced. Since then no one can touch her face, brush her hair, and get too close to her - since she has pierced ears and she wants to be sure there are no germs getting too close. I've tried to explain that it's ok, but so far no luck. I'll update with pictures later today, but in the meanwhile, I had some more Ella pics to have up here!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lucy: The Tattooed Toddler

Lucy loves dress up, and she and Maren (our international student from Germany) had a great time the other day - and not only dressed up, but tattooed. Here are some of the pics - Lucy loves the camera, and we had a great time with the pics..

Hippie Chicks

Thanks to Schmarr, who is on my team and got a bit crazy with her tie-dye last weekend. Thanks so much for these great shirts! They LOVED wearing them this weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Not to be left out...

Lilypie 6th to 18th Ticker


Thanks to a new mom who joined WCC today, I have learned about Lilypie - a great online company that is creating customized tickers for bio and adoptive parents!

Lilypie 3rd Birthday Ticker

Lilypie 6th to 18th Ticker

Lilypie 6th to 18th Ticker

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A guide to driving in Beijing during the Olympics

By Ken Wills

Tourists seeking their own Olympian challenge while attending the Beijing Games this August might be tempted to get behind the wheel of a rental car and take a spin on the roads of the Chinese capital.

For these intrepid tourists, here are some tips about how to drive in Beijing, a city with three million vehicles on its roads. Those who find the road rules overwhelming can ride the subway or take taxis, buses or limousines to sports venues. 1. Physics 101

Beijing drivers seem eager to challenge the physics principle that no two objects can simultaneously occupy the same point in space.

For instance, lane markers are largely ignored, serving no real purpose in keeping cars apart. When drivers want to get a good look down the road but the view is blocked by cars in front, drivers don't think twice about sliding halfway into the next lane and then straddling two lanes for as long as seems comfortable.

It's also not uncommon for drivers who have missed their exits to simply put the car in reverse and back up into traffic.

2. No-Look Turns

Some countries have rules allowing right turns on red lights. Beijing has something unique: No-look turns. That's right, they follow the maxim that "if you see me, you're responsible for not hitting me," and its corollary, "if I don't see you, it's not my fault if I hit you."

As a result, drivers regularly come flying into streets, merge onto highways or even switch lanes without the slightest attempt to check whether the way is clear.

This habit seems a direct extension of China's bicycle culture, whereby every move is a calculated negotiation among throngs of cyclists flowing at roughly the same speed and in the same direction.

Keep your eyes open.

3. Emergency Lights

Don't panic if you see a police vehicle's flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. As a Chinese friend explained, police and other emergency workers typically turn them on just to show they are on duty. If there's no accompanying siren or honking, you can ignore them. Everyone does.

China may be an authoritarian state, but that doesn't mean authorities get much respect. Certainly, on the road they have to fend for themselves. Ordinary drivers can be seen honking and flashing bright lights at patrol cars that were deemed to be going too slowly.

4. Lost in Beijing

Reading maps is critical for anyone navigating a foreign city. But newcomers to Beijing may want to familiarise themselves not just with Beijing's main streets but also its bridges. That's because major intersections are known by the names of the overpass bridges that link intersecting streets.

Strangely, English maps give only the names of the roads, not the bridges. Road signs, however, give distances to upcoming bridges, not the roads. Go figure.

5. Give An Inch

Perhaps it's understandable in a country of 1.3 billion people that you don't get ahead by patiently waiting your turn. On the road, as in other aspects of their lives, Beijingers tend to grab opportunities whenever they appear.

Such chances might come in the form of a few inches of space between cars in the next lane, just enough to squeeze in the car's nose and present the driver behind with the dilemma of giving way or causing a collision.

The good thing is that Chinese drivers are generally not aggressive, and the high-testosterone road rage that is common on many U.S. highways, for instance, is not typical in Beijing.

6. Now Exhale

To its credit, Beijing is trying to keep drunk drivers off the road by making random spot-checks. Officers armed with portable breathalyzers jump from the curb when cars stop for red lights, forcing drivers to exhale into the machines.

Unfortunately, the mouthpieces are used over and over as the officers move down a row of cars.

When this driver made a feeble attempt to blow into the machine without making contact with the mouthpiece, an impatient officer suspected he'd caught a transgressor. He ordered me to the curb-side for a more thorough check. This time, though, he took a new mouthpiece from its plastic seal before the second test, which gave me the all-clear.

Happy driving, but be careful out there!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brain Damage and 5 Stages of Denial to Acceptance

OK. The whole diagnosis of brain damage has settled in, and I'm now in the phase of denial and acceptance called "stupidly silly". I believe that comes after the bargaining stage, and before the full acceptance stage... It is where I am now making off the wall comments about my child with brain damage. Sort of like Adam Sandler to Drew Barrymore in the movie "50 First Dates" - Gwenn often will remind me of 10 Second-Tom... And I'm also reminded of how all kids are not too far from the whole Bill Cosby routine on children and Brain Damage..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Log jam in Vietnam adoptions

The New York Times published an article today about some of the issues being faced by families who are trying to adopt from Vietnam.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Monday, February 11, 2008

China's Stolen Children

China’s Stolen Children is an HBO documentary showing how the one-child policy has created a booming trade in stolen children.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gwenn Pics

No issues getting pictures of Gwenn - it's just that it's almost all that I have! She loves having her picture taken when in the mood, but as you can see with the photo with Viivi, she is not always in the mood.

Ella pics

Like me, Ella prefers to be BEHIND the camera - which is why I have such a tough time getting ahold of great pictures of Ella. In addition, somewhere she has learned about the "Asian camera gene" and now tells me she likes to take pictures because she is Chinese. Not, of course, because it's cool to take pictures...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lucy photo update

Well, I finally have pics off my camera, so I'll be adding new pictures of everyone! Tonight, it will be Lucy...

IEP Meeting

Yesterday was the IEP meeting that I called. I'm very lucky, because Dr. Lewis was able to attend the meeting and did a far better job of explaining what is going on with Gwenn, the impact to her school work, and her diagnosis (diffuse, static encepalopothy).

We left with the agreement that we are kicking off her re-evaluation now (instead of waiting the full 3 years) and they will work on pulling together the recommendation of her new IEP, taking into account Dr. Lewis' evaluation, along with her SLP evaluation and her OT evaluation.

Overall, it went well I think. However, I won't really know until I can see how the school translates the recommendations into action.