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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Miles Points and Sits

Okay, it's been a while since I get a chance to sit and write, but that's good cause it means I've been working. And things have been hectic, but we're hanging in there, still finding time to laugh about the hard times!

There are two very cool updates I want to share about Miles.
1. He's starting to use his pointer finger.
2. He can sit in his chair for like 10 minutes at a time while I read books to him.

Let me explain why these two things are so cool. As opposed to most typical children who are usually finger feeding, pinching, and grabbing small things with their fingers by the time they're 9 months, give or take a few, our kids have a tough time with that. Those are fine motor skills which are not easy for them to achieve. Miles has been using his thumb to point at things or to touch things for the last 3-4. He is not able to pinch or grasp small objects using his pointer ("grooming" finger) or middle fingers. His motor skills are still too rough so he continues to rake objects, like much younger kids do.

We've been working on grabbing small objects with his thumb and pointer for what feels like months! And finally, out of nowhere in the past 3 days I have seen him point at pictures in books with his pointer finger! I saw him playing his little piano and touching different textures with his pointer!! So the ability to isolate that pointer is finally emerging and from there will come the other fingers and the fine motor skills needed to control them and grasp the little objects, like a cheerio or a piece of egg, and feed himself!! It might still take a few months to see that, but there has been some progress and it is very exciting!

As for seeing him sit in his little chair and focus his attention for 10 minutes is also amazing for 2 reasons. Due to Miles' low muscle tone, his mid-body (or trunk/abs) is not very strong and it takes a lot of effort for him to balance sitting. Also, now that he's been doing the "worm crawl" as we call it, he knows how to get to his toys and all he wants to do is play all day long. So getting his attention for more than a few minutes to sit focused on a specific activity that I've created, while having him balance sitting in a chair is very difficult. But he's doing it!
In fact, these days, when I want him to focus on an activity, I sit him in the chair and he'll focus.

This evening I sat him in his chair and read him different parts of The Enchanted World of Winnie The Pooh and Miles sat there for a good ten minutes, completely enthralled. He was ready to keep going, but it was bath time and I was sufficiently happy that he focused when I asked him too.

It might not seem like much, but trust me, it's huge!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Therapy is Hard on Both of Us

Miles cried a lot last week during his Occupational Therapy. The therapist was pushing him very hard and he didn't want to do the work. It was excruciating for me to sit through the therapy and watch him cry. He would look at me with those beautiful eyes full of agony, wanting me to scoop him up and take him away from the pain. But I couldn't. I can't. That won't do him any good. And though it killed me inside I had to be strong and remind myself that this is for his own good. He needs to learn to have endurance, to work hard and to self soothe because out there in the real world, he won't always have me around to comfort him. It broke my heart and I had to walk away before I started crying out of pain for my baby.

There are going to be many moments like this in our future, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority of our moments will be filled with laughter. High pitched, open-mouthed, fun filled laughter!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Miles

That's right, my little baby is now a One Year Old Toddler! In some ways, it seems like time flew by, like it was just yesterday that I was still pregnant and waiting to meet my child. But when I really look back on all that has happened in the last year, physically and emotionally, it does feel like a whole year has passed. It feels like a century has passed!

One year ago, my heart ached so much for the baby I wanted to have and didn't get. I felt like the Universe had betrayed me and I would never feel happiness again. Now I feel happiness every time I look at my Miles and I feel completely blessed by his presence in my life. The Universe did not betray me, instead I can clearly see the path that led me to this moment and how prepared I was to deal with it.

One year ago Miles lay next to me, barely opening his eyes or making any sound, his skinny little legs and soft mushy body seemed to fragile. It took him months to gain strength in his neck and to move around at all. We could put him down on his side or back and he would not change positions for hours. Now, this little dude can't be contained!

Though he is still not crawling, he is doing "the worm" at lightning speed. In the last week, since he turned One, he is finally changing positions with ease. He can go from prone (on his belly) to sitting up and back to prone in seconds. Although he is still soft and cuddly, he has so much more strength in his spine and torso. When I hold him, he fidgets around like other kids his age and I can feel him using his muscles. But the most amazing new development since Miles turned One is that we had to put his crib mattress down! That's right, little man has managed to pull himself up on his crib a few times now! He can't sustain it though, so he ends up falling backward and getting his neck stuck on the bar. Not a good thing....so we moved the mattress down.

Miles is also very busy and curious. He loves playing with anything! Balloons are a new favorite and he can sit for a half hour pulling on a string with a balloon at the end of it. He'll crawl around the office knocking down garbage cans, into the kitchen where he bangs on the cabinet doors (he hasn't figured out how to open them yet), into the dining room where he plays with the rug. He'll sit in front of a mirror and excitedly yell at his reflection. He eats just about any food, seems comfortable with most people in any situation, and loves watching older kids. He no longer hits the guitar but gently strums it.

Miles knows that I am his mom and Zach is his dad. He gets excited to see us and comes towards us so we can hold him. He understands when we are mad at him and he knows how to get what he wants. I mean, I could go on and on and on. The reality is that so much has happened in the last year and these are just some developmental milestones!

These are all things I didn't know if he would ever do! I was so afraid a year ago. I didn't know what to expect and talking to other people usually made it worse because they didn't know what to expect either. So far, Miles has shown me that he is bright and strong, resilient and curious, good-natured and stubborn. It can take him a while to learn something, but once he gets it, he doesn't forget. And he doesn't give up.

Every day of my life with Miles is filled with wonder, magic and joy....sprinkled with exhaustion, frustration and guilt. But that's life and it ain't so bad. In fact it's great.

Happy One Year Birthday my boy!!! I look forward to this new year of life with you!