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Friday, May 27, 2011

Miles Signs!

Miles reading a map of Muir Woods

Although I'm no longer on "blog strike", I'm still not blogging as often as I used to because I'm trying to get a handle on my schedule. Until I do, you will get these random bursts of information. Hopefully they'll be insightful and entertaining!

I've been dying to share some exciting Miles news!! No...he's not walking yet. You'll hear about that one as soon as it happens. Which might be in the next few months because he is definitely getting closer to it! This morning during his physical therapy, Miles actually stood on his own while doing a task for a good 6 seconds or so. Before today, he hadn't stood on his own for more than 2 seconds and he wasn't even standing straight. So today was really amazing to see. As long as he is focused on something fun, he can do anything.

Miles has also made a HUGE leap in his communication skills. We have been teaching him certain sign language words for about 9 months, but he just wasn't picking any of them up. "Food", "more", "all done", "milk"......nothing. Well, with the help of his speech therapist, we decided to change our approach a little and teach him signs to things that he likes to do. His favorite thing, besides playing the drums, is reading. So "book" and "read" became our targets and within 2 days, he was signing both! Once he understood that by using the sign for book, he could get us to give him a book or read with him, it all started clicking! A week later, he was finally using the signs for "all done" and for "more". I have also seen him use the sign for "bird" and "train". So little by little we are introducing signs to words we use daily. "Music", "milk" and "food" are our next targets.

It's been such a gift to finally be able to communicate more specifically with Miles. More importantly, it's been great for us to realize that he understands a lot more than we gave him credit for. And not just in English, he understands Spanish just as well.

I have been speaking to Miles in Spanish since he was born. That's my primary language with him. Any conversation that I direct towards him, is in Spanish. And I can ask if he wants a "libro" (book) and he will point at the book. He might not be able to do the sign for "milk" yet, but he knows what "leche" is. And when I ask him to give me a "besito", I get a big, wet kiss on my cheek. Oh yeah, that's another awesome thing he's doing now, giving kisses. Not only does Miles love to hand out yummy bear hugs, but he is now really into giving us big, open mouthed kisses. He will blow kisses and wave at everyone wherever he is. It melts my heart to see him be so loving and friendly.

As for spoken words, he can say and mama and dada, though he doesn't seem to use them that often. He has tried to say "book" and "bubbles" and has on occasion said "agua" (water in Spanish) and "up". Someone was asking me the other day if teaching my son sign language would make him lazy about learning to speak. Honestly, I haven't met anyone who has had that problem. Miles wants to talk. In fact he does talk, all day long, in his own language. He will babble while he's pointing at things and looking back at us. He is constantly trying to communicate with us through his words, but we just don't understand them yet. So using sign language is helping alleviate some his and our own frustration. And if anything, it's made him babble even more and with a wide range of sounds that he wasn't using before. I am confident that Miles will speak and he'll probably be blabbermouth like his dad and I. But until then, we will use a combination of words and signs so we can better understand each other.

I will leave you here with a short video of Miles standing unassisted during his physical therapy this morning. Good times.


video

Mood Elevator

If you follow my blog, you might have noticed I've been on blog strike. It's been over a month since a I make an entry because...well....I was on strike! And I was on strike because I've been depressed. I love writing and keeping you updated on Miles and myself, but blogging became another thing demanding my attention. And though it was giving me a momentary feeling of accomplsihment it wasn't enough to make me feel happy or truly good. So I purposely took some time off from all the things that have been overwhelming me to try and I find out what's really going on. Why is it that I couldn't sustain that feeling of contentment for more than a few hours, a couple of days? That's never been me and I was feeling so unlike myself. It was depressing!

For my whole adult life, I have nurtured myself physically, mentaly and emotionally. My life was all about taking care of myself and doing things I enjoyed, challenged me and would push me further. I took such care of finding balance in my physical and mental health that I was truly in tune with myself. That became my norm and in the last two years, I started taking that for granted. I would say it all started when I got pregnant with Miles. I was still taking care of myself, but through the help of my husband. Zach became my main nurturer, making sure I was well fed and that I rested enough and was strong enough to carry all that weight around. I allowed him to take over the role of nurturer for me because well, I needed it. It was nice to feel so loved by my partner. And everything I was doing for myself in my mind, was really for Miles. Then Miles was born and my mom stepped up as our main nurturer, at least for the months she was here helping us out. She fed us and made sure we got enough rest and that the house was running smoothly. We had other friends and family who came around to help and they all helped see us through those first 6 months. But somewhere in that time, probably the second Miles was born, I relinquished all my self care. My life became about Miles 100 percent. All the nurturing I had inside of me went to Miles, some to Zach and none to myself.

I'm not saying I have lost my self love or worth, they're still there. I just stopped doing all the things that allow me to feel strong, healthy and balanced. I ate so that I would produce enough milk to feed Miles. Not because I needed to nourish myself. I stopped exercising regularly even though it would give me energy and strength to take care of Miles. I stopped taking vitamins and started getting sick all the time. I stopped having quiet, meditative time because there's always something else that needed to be done around the house. After the first nine months or so, I started trying to catch up with friends and really get back to work. I wanted to feel "normal" again, go back to my "normal" life the way my other mommy friends were doing. The things is, once you have a baby, your life is never what it was. You have to find what the new "normal" is and I had a hard time doing that.

I mean, it's crazy for me to think that I could ever go back to what my life was when I have a child that has special needs, including seven hours or therapy a week! I can't just wake up at 9am and go to a yoga class for an hour and a half and then spend the day writing or going to auditions or meeting up with friends. That's not the way it is anymore ,but it's not terrible either. The mistake I made was trying to do too much at once and thinking I could handle it all because I couldn't. Finally, after the last 9 months, my body couldn't take it anymore. It started rebelling against me: physically and emotionally. My defenses had been down for so long that I was getting sick every few weeks, I was feeling ugly, tired, overwhelmed, angry, bitter, jealous. My body was achy and stiff and pissed off. And I got depressed. I have always been a positive person and have had no problem turning a negative situation or thought into a positive one. Well, in the last few months, that just wasn't working. And I started feeling downright hopeless.

The most frustrating thing about it is that I was well aware that my body was out of whack and I knew what I had to do to fix it, but I was thinking too big. I thought I had to make all the changes at once, so I couldn't start even one thing. Well, lucky for me I am not too proud and can seek help when I need it. I have realized the main reason I don't ask for help at times is because I don't want to reciprocate. (Yep, don't wanna have to owe anybody anything). But I have no problem paying for help! Point is, I am now on the path to being balanced again! All I had to do was listen to my body and intuition and take one step in the right direction. Just one. For me, it was eating right. Keeping my blood sugar leveled. Just that one change alone has elevated my mood and made me feel truly happy again. When I'm ready, I will take another step forward and then another and then another. And little by little, I will nurture myself back to balance as I figure out what "normal" means to me.