While I know we haven't quite met the 1 year mark (we are off by about 3 weeks), you can tell I've gotten really bad at this blogging thing, and figured while I had the time to sit down and do this I had better just do it!
Easton's growth over a years time has been incredible. It's really hard to measure just how far he's come because he's learned so many new things in such a short amount of time.
We are finally caught up in the area of specialists. In fact we had our last specialist visit with his neurologist a few days ago who gave us a final diagnosis based on the MRI with no real definite picture of what Easton's future might look like.
At some point during Easton's birth, something happened, that possibly caused him to lose oxygen for a brief period of time. This caused some scar tissue/white matter to form on his brain and in return gives a diagnosis called Periventricular Leukomalacia. Basically what we can tell from this is that Easton has a very mild case and in return is not experiencing the difficulties that many children do who have this type of brain injury (Cerebal Palsy, Seizures, etc.) The only thing he exhibits as a result of this is developmental delays and delays in motor control. His deficits would be very small had he spent his life in a family, but because we have 6 years of neglect and no interaction to add to this, he has much much farther to go in order to "catch up". But he's making it :)
For a while we had noticed his speech to almost regress. The sounds he had picked up, he was no longer using, and every word became the same "na" sound over and over. Our ST believed this to be because he was gaining so much in his physical development that his speech took a back burner. Now, however, we are seeing his speech take back off. We can point to several members of the family and he will correctly tell us who "mama", "dada", "nana", and "papa" is although he can't make his "p" sounds so it's only "ahah"!!
He is using his "b"s again well and can tell you what a bus and ball is. He looooves school and tries to say it but can only say "doo" while signing it. He answers no with the word "nah" appropriately and says yes like a true bulgarian "da"!
We still struggle with his desire to stem (major hand flapping) any time he is overly excited or without any stimulation. His screaming has gotten better but it still happens occasionally when he's excited or wanting to grab some attention. Even though dustin and I have grown accustomed to it, it still scares everybody who's never heard it every time. We just laugh now because well, what else are you going to do? (of course we don't let him know we're laughing)
Feeding.....feeding is going slow. He's beginning to get picky about the foods he will eat and when he will eat them. This is a big change from the 23 lb kid who came home and would eat everything in sight 24/7. He's getting some comfort in knowing food will always be there but searching for control. We've started setting a timer at the dinner table and saying "you have 30 minutes to eat". It seems to work. If he choses not to eat, we let him down from the table and will offer the same food for snack time later that evening. So far he's not went to bed hungry ;)
Potty training is also a hit or miss. He can go on the potty. He knows how to tell us he needs to go potty. He just won't do it sometimes. In church, he's golden. He always stays dry and tells us exactly when he needs to go. Even in stores sometimes he'll tell us. At home is another story. We've started offering drinks of pediasure (his all time favorite) for rewards if he goes to the potty and is still dry. Hopefully this will work!!
We're continuing ST, OT, and behavioral therapy which are all working well. Easton is not a fan of learning. In fact he pretends to not know things hoping it will get him out of certain tasks we have him do at home. It's a struggle to get him to participate but we are consistent. This little boy needs to be pushed and given higher expectations than he's ever been given before. We know it's in there, we're just having to drag it out right now!
Recently, we enjoyed halloween, by passing out candy out our churches trunk or treat where Easton was Ol Mcdonald and we were his farm animals haha! It was freezing but we enjoyed it. Halloween just happens to be the last "first holiday as a family of 3" we had. Next up is thanksgiving and we arrived home on Thanksgiving last year! I'm anxious to see how this year goes in comparison to last year.
As far as physical growth goes his weight has finally leveled off around 47 pounds (24 lbs gained). Hes also around 44 inches tall (6 inches grown) and is continuing to grow in height.
Last week we were able to reunite Easton and a little guy who lived in the same orphanage as Easton. They are both seven years old, but had no interest in each other. I'm guessing they didn't live in the same room. Nonetheless it was so interesting to sit down and see how they were alike and how they were different. It becomes more and more evident to me as children continue to come home from Easton's orphanage that they certainly did him no favors, or any of the children we've seen come home recently, as they all have significant delays.
BUT, God is a redeemer and Easton is a survivor! He continues to amaze me. He's so much more affectionate than he was and is always giving away hugs and kisses! He will fall asleep in our laps, and he will ask to be held and rocked.
We are so excited to see where this next year takes us and how much more Easton will amaze us and everyone he meets.