Ah, finally after a month of sickness in our home, we are almost clear. Just waiting for Maddy to get rid of her persistent cough and runny nose. Things have been very hectic trying to balance everything while we were all sick. Our house became a disaster (and frankly, still is despite hours of cleaning), and I fell behind in all sorts of work-related tasks. We’re just starting to get things together again.
We had an OT appointment yesterday (have I mentioned that we’re down to going once a month?). It’s amazing that Maddy has progressed enough to only have monthly appointments, but I can’t help but feel a little sad that she’s plateaued and it’s just a waiting game for the time being.
Right now we are trying to battle a few things:
1) Car rides. Unfortunately, the fact that Maddy can scream in the car for hours on end is related to her vestibular issues, and at this point there isn’t much we can do. We try rocking her and giving proprioceptive feedback before car rides, we place a heavy toy on her lap, we play soothing music, we bought a cheap tablet to offer visual distraction… none of it has been a magical key though. I think that daddy wants this one sorted out the most given that he commutes with her to daycare three days a week (1 hour each way). Fingers crossed we find something that works!
2) Bath time. Remember the little girl who loved the tub? For the last couple of weeks she hates it. We made the mistake of putting her in bubble bath for her one year photo shoot. At first we let her explore the bubbles and she seemed okay with them, so into the tub she went.
She totally wigged out having the bubbles on her skin. Whoops, mommy and daddy fail.
Our OTs explained to us how the littlest things (okay, apparently not so little for Maddy as you can see), can cause impact for a long time. Since these pictures were taken, Maddy has screamed through every bath. We are now going to bathe her in a new bucket, to try to disassociate from the tub. The next step will be to put the bucket in the tub, and finally, we’ll hopefully get a happy Madeleine back in our tub. Until then, we just need to be patient while she learns that we won’t put her in bubbles again.
3) Transition from sleep to awake. Maddy is having a tough time transitioning from being asleep to being awake. A really tough time. When my mom babysat, it took her 2 hours to calm Maddy post-nap. On average, it probably takes me 45 minutes. When she wakes at 5:20am (which is her normal wake-up time) it takes her until about 8am to become regulated. We have tried soothing music. Next on our list is to find some sort of twinkly lights that she can focus on when she wakes up. Our ultimate goal is to have a very relaxing and soothing environment for her to wake up in to help her make the transition.
4) Eating. I’ve posted before about eating (here and here). Since those posts, meal time has become so much easier. We have made such incredible progress in this department. We spent five minutes telling our OTs how amazing Maddy was doing with feeding, going on and on about her progress: she’ll sit in the high chair to eat, she doesn’t cry as often during feeding time, if she doesn’t like something it doesn’t cause a meltdown (though, it does still cause her to refuse any other food after that time), and she is eating table foods now.
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when one of the OTs said, “That’s great! So how many foods would you say she’s eating now?” and Eric responded with, “20 or 25!”. It still makes me laugh typing this. We’re so impressed and proud of Maddy for her progress (and 25 foods from 2 foods in 3 months is fantastic), but never before would I have thought that a one year old eating 25 food items is impressive. Our OT reiterated to us that it is great progress, but that obviously, we still have some work to do.
Our next step is to do some food chaining. Basically, we pick a food we’d like Maddy to be eating – we picked zucchini because we grow it in our garden, and, to date, there isn’t a single vegetable she will eat. We also figure from zucchini we can move to eggplant because of their similar textures (and we also conveniently grow eggplant). Our OTs will create a chain, with multiple steps, say six, to lead up to Maddy eating zucchini. You start with a somewhat similar food, and branch from there. We’re going to use avocado as our starting point, since zucchini is green and soft, like avocado.
We’re trying to pick another food item to chain to, but we’re having a hard time because Maddy’s current food preferences are so limited. We have nothing that’s orange/red to lead up to carrots or red pepper, for example. Our OTs are thinking about how we can get there.
Despite the fact that we’re still working on all of those things, things are going really, really well. Maddy has finally started interacting with strangers. My heart wanted to burst this week when for the first time I saw her smiling, giggling, and waving at some kids while we ate dinner at a restaurant. Usually people try to interact with her and she gives them nothing. Nada. Just a blank stare that says, “I am so unimpressed with you”. We took her to the beach yesterday afternoon, and every time someone walked past her she was smiling and waving. It was so amazing to watch.
Maddy also has four words now: bye-bye, uh-oh, puppy, and baby!
We also had an incredible first yesterday at OT. At the very end of her session, our little Maddykins took two independent steps. She was beaming from ear to ear, so proud of herself. We all clapped and cheered, and I teared up a little. It’s a huge deal to watch her learn to walk, as it’s much more difficult for babes with vestibular issues, because balance does not come easy to them, and they have greater fear of movement and height than other babes. We’re certain that she decided to take her first steps after an OT session because her sensory needs had just been met, but we’re hoping we can replicate that it at home, too.
This just in – a couple more independent steps today!!
All of these fantastic photos I’ve shared today were done by Jenn over at Bloom Photography. If you’ve never seen her work, I highly recommend checking out her blog. We have done three sessions with her (maternity, newborn, and Maddy’s one year). She is so talented, easy to work with, patient with Maddy, and always returns beautiful work. To anyone looking for a photographer in the KW area – she’s your gal!