Friday, December 12, 2008

Advice Please

Calling all stellar moms!

Ok....Tracy needs some ideas and I'm standing in her stead since she doesn't have her blog up yet. Her daughter will be coming for her first extended in-home visit over Christmas (12/23 - 12/27) . S is 11 and has a high IQ, RAD, PTSD, and Bi-Polar. Bi-Polar is her big issue.

Can y'all help with suggestions on activities they can do during that time????

My suggestions were:
Crafts are good. Anything but TV. Play Mozart softly the whole time to be soothing. Board games, puzzles, reading to her, the park, manicures, pedicures, coloring books and crayons (yes I know that's usually for younger kids but it's a great activity to do together. They have more complicated coloring books too. I really love the ones that look like stained glass), and put on really old clothes and use finger paint to paint each other's faces & hands. Treat her just like if she were already living with you. Don't do too much because you want it to mimic real life. Plus she won't need to be over stimulated because she'll blow out either with you or when she gets back to the group home. Find out from the GH what the schedule is on the weekends. It will be informative. Try to honor their sleep/wake times because it will easier on her.

It will help if you will kind of keep the same routine as there so she won't be overwhelmed. When she gets home you'll ease into your own schedule. You've GOT to get in touch with the therapist and find out how old she is emotionally so you'll know what kinds of games & activities to get. Or ask the SW to find out for you. Think very low-key, low-stress stuff.

Tracy hasn't put up her tree yet so I thought that might be something fun they could do together to include her in the family. I don't know....maybe it's better if it's already up. Your thoughts????

Same thing on Christmas, very low-key. Limit Christmas presents. It's so hard to tell someone to be low-key and simple. It's also hard to tell someone to get toys for younger kids when the kid is chronologically much older. It doesn't make sense. What do you think???? Can you help explain???

I'm counting on all of you fabulous moms to come up with some other suggestions. What ideas do you have in your arsenal????


Kristina P. said...

I like the crafts idea. Christmas crafts would be fun.

A said...

In my experience (which is not that vast, mind you...) she will be on her best behavior and should not show any outbursts during that time since she'll be in her honeymoon period. My kids have a 1/2 sister in a different home that has many of those issues but a low IQ - and she can hold it together if she is having a good time. This girl will be so excited and everything will be new to her. She is going to love anything.

You're right on not doing too much or too many super fun things, because you dont want her to think every day is a party. Leaving the tree down and then asking her "do you want to put it up with me?" would be good. Having an assortment of board games on a shelf and asking her if she'd like to pick one out (even UNO or something interactive). If she isn't developmentally delayed, see if she wants to rent something like High School Musical and watch it over bowls of pop corn. I hope all goes well!!

Holly said...

Crafts are always great. Having a child who is delayed usually these can be adapted pretty easily if you don't know where they are or what their sensory issues are. maybe decorating Christmas cookies or something similar if they don't choose to decorate the tree. Hoping they have a wonderful time.

Torina said...

I agree with the no TV thing. That's a fast track to dysregulation. Tara was a total wingnut on our first visit. We were just so in love with her that we hardly noticed. Some things that will help with regulation are: take a drive around town to look at Christmas lights. Riding in the car is calming for a lot of kids. You don't have to look at each other but you still get to do something together. Another thing is grocery shopping...if you let her push the cart. It is one of those things that you will have to do anyway and if you let her push the cart it will cut down on the gimme's and give her the control that she may need.

A board game that our whole family loves and that is actually FUN is Sequence. JB and I even play it together after the kids go to bed. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to losing.

Another thing that is nice to do is cook or bake together. Tara likes to pour through cookbooks and pick out things we can make together. Then she will write down all the ingredients and we will look to see what we have. Then whatever we don't have becomes our grocery list. This helps give her the control that she needs over food.

Night will probably be an issue. Now is a good time to think about your bedroom routine and what you would like it to be. Everyone is different. I turn on Tara's sound machine, we read poetry and then sing together. Then I have her smell her aromatherapy inhaler while I read her some calming words. She sleeps very little so I remember from our first overnights together that I was utterly exhausted. The routine helped but I didn't think of it til she came home for good.

This is so incredibly exciting!!! Tracy, please start a blog so we can follow your journey!!! :)

Brenda said...

When my boys were transitioning I bought them each a very soft fuzzy receiving blanket. A soft throw would work too. At bedtime I would rock them in a rocking chair wrapped in their blankets. I would read them a story, sing a lullaby and talk about how happy I was they were there. I also would play a game where I'd try to sing a little song, like Row Row Row your boat and see how long they could make eye contact. It was just a fun game and no taken seriously. They got better and better until I switched to loving songs. Then I added touching their faces. It took months to get to that point though.

Viva Las Vegas said...

One of the best things I EVER bought myself, when i needed to be calm was Doodle Art. It is a form of coloring, but she will feel like she is making art, and she is! You can frame it when you are done. They send you 10 felt pens, but I bought a big selection at Walmart, or craft store. They also have a about 6 to choose from. Fairy's, under the sea (my fav), jungle, and a few more. You can only get them thru Canada. I think it is doodleart.can. If not and she wants I will get it for you. Very cool, kept me busy for weeks. Yes and play music while doing it.

Viva Las Vegas said...

I have another great idea for them. Making jewelry. friendship bracelets for her friends, or herself. Necklace earrings. So easy, with the post, and you pick out her fav color beads to use. Or take her to the bead store. It is a lot of fun and very creative. But you can make a pair of earrings, a necklace with a bracelet, for $3. You can get the little tool kit really cheap at Walmart. I think they even have the basic beads and jump rings, post, all you need to start and learn. That always kept me busy for hours as well.

Tracey said...

Oh my gosh, keep 'em coming! This is awesome! I spoke with S last night and she specifically asked me to wait for her to put up the tree. Crafts seem to be a common suggestion and she's very artsy so I think that's a definite go. But what will I do without my tv for a week??

Meanwhile, Lisa has shamed into actually starting the blog but I need to keep it private for a while for reasons that will be explained there. If you want an invitation and/or think you know someone who might, please email me. I'd love for you all to join me in this journey!

Jillene said...

Color Wonder is another GREAT product that they could try. My kids love it. They just came out with one that you can draw on it and it glows. It is like $20.00 but worth every penny!!

Viva Las Vegas said...

OK, one more idea. I love the sock monkey dolls. Well you can buy a kit and make your own. I do not have a sawing machine, so I hand sewed. The monkey was a bit crooked, one big foot one little foot, but I made him, and he was my little monkey, my son has him and loves him. And I made it, about 10 years ago, but I saw a kit the other day, at, you guest it Walmart. I thought I may make another, but the original is the bomb. Why mess with perfection. I know that monkey has a name, I have no idea what it is.

Viva Las Vegas said...

OK,OK, one more. I love crafts and being busy. My mom and I would paint ceramic sculptures. Now this one is more of a speciality store idea too get a really great selection. They even have classes to teach you how to antic, and so on. I never took them, I just went to town at a table with newspaper down. I very wide selection of paint brushes. The tiny ones for let's say, Santa's bag of toys, and you want to paint little lashes on the doll in his bag. Actually a toothpick will do that, just dip the tip in black acrylic paint, dab on paper, then do a quick few lines up off the doll eye. . But you get the drift. I am done for now, I have gone overboard on your commits. Sorry, I just have loved arts and craft my whole life.

Anonymous said...

About the tree... My new son flipped out when we put the tree up. I am of the opinion you should have it already up but make some new ornaments to place on it. For a lot of kids Christmas was hell in their birth homes;add a few foster homes into the mix and Christmas does not equal good memories.
All the other ideas are great. Baking cookies is also good. You get to make something sweet and the stirring and rolling of the dough is very therapeutic. Just keep everything very low key. This is not a good time for all the extended family to come or to visit friends.
Good luck and congratulations!

The Accidental Mommy said...

I have one suggestion, which is to build in some alone time for her. I don't know your family, if it is just you or if there are a bunch of siblings. Anyway, my idea is to let her let her guard down a bit if that makes sense. Give her the chance to rest and recoup from being in a new family, and you may well see more of her real self.
Also, I am not sure I agree about the tv. I certainly see everyone's point, and it is true that unlimited access to all that is on tv is a bad idea. But, watching a few well thought out shows together will let you both just "be", instead of having to "be on" the whole time.
Have fun- I hope all goes well!

Kelly said...

My kids love playdo and clay. Esp. the clay that hardens (bake or no bake). We also play lots of cards together. Go fish is good for any age. Also make-overs. You can make each other over with make up, hair dos and nail polish. Also you can give her a disposable camera when she first gets there and then have the pics developed a couple of days before she leaves and make a mini scrapbook with the pics she took and maybe some you take as well.

Hope things go great. What an exciting time for both of you.

Anonymous said...

A bipolar RAD? Here's a real constructive suggestion - RUN. Run far far away.

Sorry, have the same. She'll make your life miserable. Run Forest Run!

Discouraged Mama

Annette Anthony said...

We have some clay, I think its phylo clay, you could make beads for jewelry or you could make ornaments for the tree! Really great stuff for all kinds of crafts and inexspensive at craft stores.

marythemom said...

So many good ideas already. Biggest things, if you have other children or even family (and husband) - prepare them well. No matter how bright the new child is, she will still be emotionally MUCH younger. It's hard with a child entering puberty, seeing other kids her age getting privileges she's not ready for.

Our children came to us right before Christmas and we made ALL the mistakes. We had family visit (and our biodaughter got jealous and told our new daughter that the cousins would hate her - we didn't get much of a honeymoon because of that - but didn't know why until much later!). Emotionally our 11 year old daughter was only about 4 hard to explain to our 10 year old!

I agree have scheduled "down time." If you allow TV, choose old Christmas movies without a lot of angst (not the time for It's a Wonderful Life!).

Playdoh is a great thing for helping your child stay calm so making ornaments is great - that way it doesn't matter how coordinated she might be. Sometimes craft projects can be too hard and frustrating. Somewhere I have a recipe for playdoh that tastes good so you could use it to make cookies or ornaments.

I'd love to be part of your blog, and it sounds like we have a lot in common (adopted 11 year old bipolar girl, although it's my bipolar son with the true RAD who's been in an RTC). We're just a couple of years down the road from where you are(kids are now 13 and 15). Lisa has my e-mail addy.

I love giving advice too! *grin*

Mary in TX

Mom to biokids Ponito(9) and his sister Bob(12) Sibling pair adoptive placement from NE 11/06 Finally finalized on Kitty(13) on 3/08 - 2 weeks before her 13th birthday!
Finalized on her brother Bear 7/08. He turned 15 the next day.
" Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

Shauna said...

Awesome! Hope you are having a beautiful Monday :) ♥ Hugs!