Sunday, September 19, 2010

Behaviors and other random stuff

We were told we would definitely have court this week, although we don't know a date yet. That means that Joel will be home in about a week, Lord willing!  We've already been here 2 weeks and it seems to have flown by.  I hope the rest of my time here goes as quickly.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it, but think I'll enjoy it more when I have Darya all the time and not just during visiting hours!

The weather here has been absolutely perfect.  Our visits with Darya are getting better and better and we love spending time with her outside on the beautiful grounds.  Just a week ago she would get frustrated after about an hour (or less) with us. I  think she was overwhelmed and over stimulated.  We are now seeing more of the "real" Darya who is playful and content (mostly!). We are also seeing some unusual behaviors and we don't know if they're orphanage behaviors that she's learned to soothe herself or not.  Any of you reading this who might have some advice to offer we'd love to hear it.  She grinds her teeth and/or sucks on her tongue to soothe herself when she gets tired.  She will also thrust herself back and hit her head continually whens she's tired or mad.  We brought a pacifier yesterday and she wanted nothing to do with it (she doesn't like things in her mouth, which I know is normal - right Julie?), in hopes it would provide an alternate way to soothe herself rather than teeth grinding or tongue sucking.

Last night we also went out to dinner with two other RR families.  The food was great and we enjoyed getting to know everyone better.  We are all staying in the same apartment/hotel complex so while we live in entirely different parts of the States, we are temporary neighbors across the world!  One of the families, the Parkers, are adopting two girls from Darya's orphanage.

It is now Sunday morning and we just got back from worshiping with the saints at The Evangelical Presbyterian Reformed Church of Odessa.  We are enjoying worshiping our Lord with them, and it's so nice to have the service translated for us!  In the evening we will get together with the American missionary families for a time of study, worship, and fellowship (in English!).  We look forward to that.  But of course we miss our church family at ROPC in Gainesville! :-)

Here's a picture of Darya sleeping in Daddy's arms yesterday:

Dinner with the Herricks and Parkers:


  1. That picture is soooo sweet! I can't wait to see beautiful little Darya at home with you guys!

  2. I don't have my child yet, but I know I've read posts on yahoo group about self soothing behaviors and I believe all of those things were written about. Especially the sucking on the tongue thing. One woman really had a hard time with it but haven't seen a post from her about it for a long time, so maybe it's not a problem any more. Hope it's not too bothersome to you. Love the picture of her sleeping. How cute. She trusts you two. :)

  3. I think they are orphanage related behaviors. Zoya has been home almost 5 months and had all of those behaviors. She used to throw herself back and hit her head off of the floor and her crib. When she first did it she would crack up laughing. It was so sad. After about a month home the behavior completely dissapeared. She also used to grind her teeth A LOT and after about a month and a half home that dissapeared completely too. She still does suck her tongue when she gets tired and I think she always will. It comforts her and soothes her and I think it was the least worrysome of her list of orphanage behaviors. Some kids (non orphanage) suck their thumbs or suck on a taggy blanket and Zoya sucks her tongue so I think that one is ok. Zoya chewed on her pacifier in Ukraine. She really liked the electric toothbrush and vibrating teethers we brought her. As soon as she would get those things in her mouth she became very calm and relaxed. We still use the toothbrush for sensory input and to prevent her from mouthing other things. The behaviors will improve in time :)

  4. Yay for court this week. Hopefully it will be early in the week so you can get that 10 day countdown going!! As for the teeth grinding, don't know if it is considered an orphanage behavior or not, but Ella started grinding her teeth a month or two ago (it's like nails on a chalkboard!!) and she has certainly never spent time in an orphanage. I had one OT tell me that kids her age would typically be jumping and running around a lot more and since she doesn't quite do all of that, grinding her teeth is a way for her to move fluid in her ear canal that would normally be done with the running and jumping...haven't confirmed this yet but it kind of makes sense. And as for the tongue sucking, Ella has always done that too, especially if she is hungry or tired.

  5. Hey there again,
    Leeska, eli, and nessie, all suck on their tounges when they are tired, and they all grind their teeth as well. Our therapist say its a way to sooth themselves. We just hold their cheeks for ten seconds when they grind them then let go. Im not sure if that is helping yet, but its what they say to do. Looks like everything is going great for you guys. We will pray for your court date to go well.

  6. I think she's probably using her tongue as a pacifier of sorts. I remember Andrew use to chew on his tongue too when he was younger. I bet as she grows older she'll outgrow it. Another great exercise we do constantly is facial massages just to get Andrew use to someone being around his mouth and face area. As much as you can massage her cheeks, lip area or anywhere around her face. Lots of firm kisses all over her face will do the trick too. We just went to the dentist yesterday and he said that most kids grind their teeth, especially at night. She probably is craving some oral stimulation as well which will contribute to the grinding but I think it is pretty normal especially when little ones are getting teeth in and/or developing.

    Give her some big kisses from all of us!

  7. My 6 year old birth daughter with Down syndrome goes thru periods of teeth grinding. She has gone thru these cycles ever since she had enough teeth to grind together. It will start out occasional, then build up to a point where I think I'm going to lose my mind. And then one day I'll realize she has totally stopped.

    Her speech therapist has said it could be related to wanting oral stimulation. I wonder if it's related to her teeth coming in/oral development since it's cyclical. Anyway, she's old enough now that we can tell her 'make your teeth quiet' and she'll stop for a minute or two anyway.

    Also, for better or worse, we've let her keep using a pacifier at night time to fall asleep. We've come very close to making her give it up, but then change our minds. Because when she's in one of those non-stop grinding modes, it's the only thing to give US any relief.

  8. I would imagine that sucking her tongue is no more harmful then using a pacifier, it may be less harmful as it would not effect her teeth?
    My bio son grinds his teeth to put himself to sleep, he is 6. You only notice if you are laying down next to him, as he does it softly. Of course that is not good for their teeth. And certainly banging their heads is not good either

  9. hi marianne and joel!

    i hope you don't mind some info/advice coming from a pediatric occupational therapy (me!) perspective. many many children with down syndrome have tongue protrusion or forward tongue carry (aka. tongue sticking out) because they have low muscle tone. and if the tongue is placed forward, darya may be inclined to "suck on her tongue" as a calming, oral input.
    a lot of behaviors such as grinding teeth and banging head have reasons behind them, which you probably figured out as when she's tired/overstimulated. try giving her some "deep pressure input" to her face and body, which tends to be calming for many kids. cheek squishes with your hands, bear hugs, "hard" (not TOO hard) massage to her shoulders and hands, and even as another person mentioned, vibrating toothbrushes may help. OR just a nice break.
    can i just tell you guys, how amazingly blessed i am reading these blogs? darya fick is going to be one of the most loved little girls in the world.

    gina (NLB)
    p.s. LOVE the bridal shots of your, marianne!

  10. My bio daughter with Ds sucks her tongue too. Her ST recommended a using her chewy tube when she does it to help refocus her from sucking to something more productive.