Looks can be Deceiving

P.C. came to us with a  variety of conditions, one of which is known as Pain Agnosia.  This essentially meant that he had an unbelievable amount of pain tolerance.  For instance, he would be running along and fall *splat* on the concrete driveway. Then pop right up and keep running, skinned knees and all, calling “I ‘m okay,” over his shoulder.  Initially, we simply thought he was one tough little man.  Later we learned he had issues processing sensory input.  This was only one symptom, but it was telling.

We learned that it is not uncommon for children who are adopted or fostered to have elevated levels of Cortisol.  Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, because the body naturally produces it to deal with emergencies.

Fast forward a year and Beautiful and I are in over heads.  What worked fantastically for our 4 other children did not work for P.C. Consequently, we started looking for resources.  That is when we found Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross of the TCU Institute of Child Development (http://www.child.tcu.edu/research.asp).

We were skeptical, at first, because it was so different from what we knew and what we knew worked. Even so there were elements of it that rang true to our bones, most notably the connection building. We needed to swallow our pride and do what we was best for him.

Fast Forward a few more years and we have a new problem with P.C.  He is now extremely pain averse.  By that I mean the boy will go to extreme lengths to avoid anything that even looks like it might be painful.  I am convinced this is the case because of the different approach to parenting.  You see, as we built connections with our little P.C., his stress levels dropped and his cortisol levels with it.  The result is that now he feels pain and it is a new, and very unpleasant experience. 

Some would look at that pain aversion that he is now exhibiting and see a boy that is digressing.  I am grateful for the great counsel of others, and by that, I know better.  What appears to be digression is actually healing.  Our son, no longer exists in a state of emergency 24×7.  Now he is free to enjoy life with all its pleasures, and yes, even its pains.

Baby Signing and Language Developement

We have a noisy house in all the good ways.  Conversation and laughter is not a spectator sport in our house.  If you are not participating, you are not breathing (or you are seriously ill in some other way).

That being the case, I have always been skeptical of things that would impede the language development of our children.  Signing was something that I thought would slow verbal development so I wasn’t excited about it.  The reverse is actually the case and when you think about, it makes a lot of sense.

Children can sign before they can speak.  If you are waiting for verbal development to allow your children to be expressive and converse, you are delaying their attempts to do so.  With signing, they are learning a valuable language, but more importantly they are learning to communicate rather than act out.

Giving your children a voice (the ability to express themselves), even if it is through sign, is one of the most important things you can do for your children in their development.  God spoke creation into existence and we are created in His image.  We were not intended to mere passengers on the bus.  We were intended to give voice to His glory.  Teaching them to sign, starts the positive communication at a much earlier stage and studies show that children that sign will have a larger vocal vocabulary than those that do not sign.

Beautiful found a great resource and after looking it over together we decided to give it a try.  I must say, it has been wonderful.  All of the children enjoy it and Bright Eyes absolutely adores it.  At least once a day she will go up to one of the big people in our home and ask for “Baby Signing Time.”

Great audio advice for all parents

Doug Wilson and Matt Whitling give a great audio perspective on the household.  Spring Cleaning (in MP3 or CD) is a great series of talks that all parents will benefit from.  For those who have had the benefit of great parenting instruction, you will find some great reminders.  For those that have not had that benefit, it will be a breath of fresh air.