Tuesday, March 31, 2009

adenoid surgery - take two

Hmm. I took Erik to the ENT today because I was not sure about his hearing. Sometimes it seems fine, other times he complains he cannot hear. And he tends to talk loud. He also has speech problems, does not clearly pronounce words.

I expected to hopefully come away with reassurance that I was just a worried mom. Nothing more to do about it.

But, the Dr. says Erik also has enlarged adenoids that should be removed. That they are in part related to the speech difficulty. (the first words out of his mouth, she said- sounds like enlarged adenoids) And that removing them should affect his hearing positively as well.

From what I read so far via internet, it makes me want to pay more attention to his breathing and especially observe while he is sleeping. The most conclusive reason for the surgery would be obstructed airway. There was a time that he woke up a lot during the night... Might have been same time as he was fighting a cold, I don't remember... but was he having apnea? maybe.

Well, we also are waiting for a meeting tomorrow with some people at LCC to clarify what kind of immigration issues have come up for us. We are clueless so far... the only unresolved issue is that we have not gotten the notification that the boys LT citizenship status was revoked, which needs to happen before we can file the papers for them to get permission to live in Lithuania....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun weekend

On Friday evening we enjoyed the company of our friends Modestas and Ramune and their kids- Danielius and Dorateja. It was a good chance to see how much our boys can communicate in Lithuanian as well. It took them a bit to "warm up" but after a while they did play well and Erik communicated a good amount. David has much more English mixed in when he talks.

Saturday we went to a work party of sorts out in a village about 25 minute drive from Klaipeda. The group was mostly people related to a Cancer center that is to be developed in Klaipeda in coordination with the Franciscan brothers. Gregg enjoyed some physical labor. And I helped move some branches, but the boys enjoyed exploring and so it kept me moving as well.

We also observed how to get "sula" juice from birch trees. A hole was bored into the tree not too far from the bottom. Then a branch carved to be a little spout. The liquid is the consistency of water, almost clear. Usually it is kept for a while till is turns a little stronger in flavor. The Franciscan brother who tapped this tree is also in the English class I teach on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. He is an avid outdoorsman, mushroom expert and knowledgeable on lots of things in the forest. So when the boys did not want to come inside, he took them on a tour to see things in the forest and told them about creatures that lived there. He also introduced us to spring garlic- leaves poking from the ground. The first vitamins of the season in the old times, so it was a popular thing to gather. It has a rather strong garlic taste indeed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Better news from preschool

Today there was opportunity to talk with the assistant director at the preschool and to Erik's teacher at length.

Regarding David, things apparently are not as troubling as I was led to believe earlier and in most ways he is not so different from others in his group, he does the things kids at that age do, rowdyness and all.

And there were never really big concerns raised about Erik, but I've wondered what really happens since there is more structure to his group. That group is filled with unique kids who apparently do not consider each other friends and don't particularly make friends. Erik tries and is encouraged for trying. The general skills for his age he is gaining though speech is a weak spot. He talks around what he wants to say, makes gestures and so on. But he does lack vocabulary and verbs so it is hard to say what he needs to say. And more difficult to answer something in front of the group. It is largely as I would have expected.

His teacher is very optomistic and says that even specialists cannot predict whether a child will have trouble for the long term with speech. There is a certain point that a language breakthrough happens in learning another language, and we have to wait and see when that is. She also believes the remedial help is available if needed for the future as well, if we continue in Lithuania and they attend LT school.

Erik tends to talk louder than necessary both at home and at school. After getting his ear cleaned out today I mentioned this to the doctor and now we have a referral for another doctor who can schedule a hearing exam.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back to health?

Well, David got the OK today to return to preschool. There is still the decision to be made about getting adenoids taken out but it is not a rush and we are thinking to do it in May after Gregg is no longer teaching.

Erik complained about his ear yesterday so we had that looked at today and it seems he has wax buildup that did not move with a cleaning in the doctor's office. But with a few days of drops we should be able to get that cleaned.

And we think we are returning to a more normal schedule now this week.

Today we drove to the doctor in bright sunlight and we thanked God. It is rather rare to see the sun like that and we have come out of the season of long dark days now. We could even see it would be a bright day by 6:30 in the morning! We will change to Daylight savings time this weekend so that will change a little...but it will also mean that it is not dark yet at 8pm as long as it is not cloudy that day!

All of this after seeing snow for the last few days :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

David's health

Not such good news. Yesterday when we when to the doctor, she listened to his chest and added the diagnosis of bronchitis. He did sound like it when he coughed too. he does not seem to have a fever with all this infection. But in 2 weeks the ear infections have not cleared wtih symptomatic treatment either.

So, antibiotics was the order of the day. And of course discussion about surgery to get the adenoids out... so we don't go through this over and over. And so he does not have additional issues like hearing loss, lack of oxygen causing decreased function of the brain etc.

I consulted with an American Pediatrician here who is volunteering at LCC (teaching anatomy and physiology). Sounds like though it is elective, probably the conditions for choosing surgery are there.
Maybe in April.

So, David is not back in preschool, which keeps Gregg and I running back and forth taking turns working and watching David.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

going out as a family again

We have had another week of sickness, but by Friday the doctor was saying, get out in the fresh air on the warmer days, so we did! We took the ferry and walked a ways to the delfinarium for the first live dolphin show the boys have seen.(Of course warmer in Lithuania in march is a relative thing, thus we are rather bundled up)
Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40ga0PCciVo for a video on the ferry.

On Friday we had a visit to the ENT speciallist. David has enlarged adenoid tissue at the back of the throat and nose. Unless he gets surgery we will have ongoing colds and the like and eventual loss of hearing we are told. Don't know others with experience in this procedure though I know it is sort of common too for kids. Anyone with experience is welcome to encourage or inform! He has to get over the current cold and bilateral ear infections first.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

He's really 4!!

David's birthday was this week. I have to admit these pictures do make his look closer to 4 than how I often think of him! He helped pick a cake at the store, with fun looking bees on top. Inside it was layered (all cakes here seem to be multiple layered) and once he got to the part with plums, he kind of gave up on the cake ;)

We also did the local tradition of lifting the birthday person on a chair for the number of years of the birthday. At this size Erik was able to help and I could get a picture!

David and Erik were blessed with gifts from family members in the states as well as the things we got so they had quite a time of opening gifts. Later in the evening as David thought about it (I guess we were looking at pictures I downloaded to the computer already) David asked- where is the tree?

Well, at least there is some brightness to this week, excitement over the new things. The boys did not really know we were planning a road trip for a few days. But our health is not up for that so we are at home for the LCC break week.

Took David to the doctor today and got a referral to the ear nose throat doctor and we go on Friday. David gets quite frequent colds so I hope to understand a little better after this how to help him the best.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Uh- oh! Sick again

Lithuanian winter seems to get me most every year. And the last 2 years worse than before. (this from someone who barely had a sick day every 2-3 years in the USA)

Not much energy to tell the whole story, but we are all fighting something. David and I have it in the throat and 1 ear. And Gregg and Erik are fighting off symptoms with occasional complaints and need for a little more rest.

I invited our Landlord who is also a doctor to look at me again and she imagines it is a step away from Strep throat. So if half liter gargles with salt water don't do the trick by tomorrow, it is on to antibiotics again. :(

We were hoping to take a few days and go to Vilnius this next week - partly for a church conference and partly for a little vacation while LCC has spring break. But all of that seems unlikely now- at least for me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

a different perspective

Today we visited a local child psychologist with the goal to see what resources are available for counseling when dealing with complicated behavior patterns. We also wanted to get an opinion on whether having the boys in full day preschool is in their best interest or if a half day would actually be better.

The psychologist was a nice woman, very knowledgeable about normal child development and able to explain some foundational things that were helpful or that confirmed what we are doing.

She also had toys for the boys to play while we talked and she talked with them a little at the beginning and then was observing as we talked. From her perspective, from what she saw in one visit, the boys are behaving normally for their ages.

She did not have background in adoption issues, awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome, and perhaps not even attachment disorder. All these things are a well worn path for us by now and we anticipate many psychologists in the US would be very familiar with them.

We are welcome to come back in a few weeks and she will interact with the boys further and respond to any specific questions we may have about their behavior.

Regarding the preschool she did say that as a psychologist she has to say that the Lithuanian preschool system is not good for children for a full day. There is not enough space, not sufficient caregiver to child ratio, and children become stressed from being in that system. They can get what they need from preschool in the half days. (This has been our growing suspicion)

On a totally different note-

We have uploaded a fun video from today where the boys are playing Candy Land, a game that was just sent to us in the mail! you will find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-w0Jj6Gui4

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring might be coming

The days are certainly longer- in terms of light. It really is nice for it to be light by 7:30 in the morning now. And no longer dark at 5pm.

We are also over our various colds and bronchitis and back to a more normal schedule. David is coughing a bit so a cold is not necessarily far away. But we hope for the best.

On Friday we planted seeds in styrofoam egg cartons to see if we can eventually turn our balcony into a bit of a greenhouse. We have hopes for tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and spinach... time will tell. The was a project for the boys, but of course it was mama's idea and mama will have to "raise" the plants.

It has been nice to hear that Erik is doing well in his preschool class. Some who met our boys this summer might be surprised to hear that he is a rather compliant child and observant to follow the teachers' instructions without being told a second time. The teachers think his socialization is fine as well. Erik tells a different story though- that he has no friends and he does not want friends. We are not sure what to make of that.

We are starting to think it could be good for Erik not to be in preschool full days since it is not really a full day educational program. They lay on cots for 3 hours in the afternoon! On Friday I took him out to try bowling. Perhaps he is still a little young judging by his attention for that, but we saw other children smaller than he bowling!

David on the other hand is continuing to test the patience of his teachers and apparently is rather demanding when playing with the other children. Somehow this sounds like Erik a year ago. His teachers find that confronting David especially if it needs to be repeatedly causes his exceptional will to flare up. And sometimes they get a good result by reminding him he can be a good boy. David still has evidence of some developmental delay in a few areas too. And we sort of expect this. We will look forward to not buying disposable diapers that are put to good use every night -when that day comes. Unfortunately, conditions for his development while in the womb were such that he will continue to experience challenges in some areas of development for quite a while. He is not going to fit the cookie cutter expectations of most teachers here. But, there are some things that he does well for his age as well. That makes his harder not to expect that he "shape up".

We have one more week of classes at LCC and then the spring break comes when Gregg has the week off. Lithuanian Restoration of independence day comes in that week too so that is a holiday for everyone on that Wednesday. some other LCC families we know are heading to Egypt for that vacation week. But that is quite far from our minds- does not sound restful with two active boys who are overstimulated by new things!