Just wanted to share some things that Emily has been doing lately:
Almost 2 weeks ago, Mike went to a book sale during the day, so he asked one of our church members to watch Emily for the day. She came with her little girl who is about 15 months old. She is the cutest blond-haired blue-eyed little girl you have ever seen! She had a blast playing with all of Emily's toys. I really enjoyed watching them interact with each other. When Emily was being fed through her g-tube, her friend decided to play peekaboo with her. I didn't get to see this, but I am told that Emily thought it was fun and had big smiles for her every time. So cute!
Emily had OT at home that day. Her therapist was working her hard and decided to do some fun stuff to balance things out. She was bouncing Emily on her lap on the therapy ball. Emily LOVES bouncing so she thought this was great until it stopped. She would start to whine about it, but the therapist started to say: Ready, Set, Go before she would start bouncing again. It only took one or two times for Emily to realize that she had no reason to whine - the bouncing would begin again. I was so thrilled to see Emily understanding the words and anticipating what was coming next. When you have a child that is nonverbal, it is very hard to know what she can and cannot understand. Well, she definitely understood Ready, Set, Go. It was a beautiful thing to see.
One of the things that Emily's speech therapist has been working on is taking liquids by mouth. Since Emily got her g-tube, she hasn't really taken liquids by mouth. Normally, when she eats baby food, we thicken it with oatmeal. So we have slowly been working on drinking. Now, when I say drinking, I am not talking about Emily using a bottle or a cup. We use a syringe to put a little bit of liquid in her mouth at a time. We want her to get used to the feeling of it and learn how to handle it correctly. We have not worked on this as much as we would like, but she is coming along nicely. I have tried a little bit of water, usually while she is eating by mouth. Once in a while the water just comes back out, but most often, she swallows it. That is great progress for her!
We have seen her doing a few other new things lately. She is starting to hold up her head a little bit more when we are carrying her. Normally, she has her head down on our shoulder (she usually leaves a nice wet spot from sucking on our shirt). I am often asked if she is sleeping when I hold her because her head is down most of the time, so I am thrilled to see her looking around a bit more.
Along those same lines, we got a new piece of equipment for her. It is a Hensinger Head Support Collar. We have been using this while she is in her stander, during certain exercises, or when the therapists are working with her. It gives her head the support it needs and allows her to concentrate on working other parts of her body. She has been wearing it for short periods at a time and she has not complained at all. She actually looks really cute in it because it makes her cheeks look even chubbier!
Emily has also been trying to bring things up to her face and mouth with her hands. She usually does this with her fists rather than open hands, but it is great to see her making an effort to "grab" at things. She tries this with toys, an empty green tea bottle or whatever interests her. She has gotten pretty good at bringing her hands to her mouth but struggles to keep them there for very long. My guess is she wants to chew on things (we might be in the teeting stage forever). For this reason, we avoid putting our fingers anywhere near her. We have both been bitten a time or two and it HURTS. She only has 4 teeth, but she knows how to use them!
One last side note, aqua therapy continues to go well. Last week, Mike said she actually laughed in the pool. We DEFINITELY count that as progress!