I was hoping to share that Emily has been sleeping through the night and not waking up crying (a pattern we have been trying to break for a few weeks now), but I would be lying. On Wednesday and Thursday, Emily slept peacefully through the night and didn't wake up until about 8 or 8:30. We thought we were starting a new trend, but No! This morning, Emily woke up crying at 5:30. She struggles with some congestion and an abundance of saliva in the mornings. She starts choking and gets herself all flustered about it. She calmed pretty quickly this morning, but once she is awake, she starts grinding her teeth until she falls asleep again.
I really think that noise could be used in interrogations - you will have to listen to grinding until you tell me what I want to know! It is the most awful sound I have ever heard. I would say just about anything to anyone to make it stop. It makes me just a little bit crazy! If she wakes up and starts grinding, I go to sleep on the couch. I am so glad that the couch is comfortable because I have been spending some time sleeping on it! Mike has a much higher tolerance for the noise, so he gets to stay in the bed (and I have no doubt that he is happy to have it all to himself).
Well these things are not really new, so that is not what I wanted to post about...
I usually give Emily a bath. Mike has a bad back. Leaning over the tub and picking up Emily when she is slippery is not a good idea. Since Emily does not adapt well to change, I try to do the same routine every time I give her a bath. I do everything in the same order and in the same way every time. Emily likes knowing what to expect. A few months ago, I started to ask her to lift her arm up for me, when I was putting on lotion after the bath. At first, she would barely bring her arm off the floor and I would praise her like crazy and make a big deal out of it. After doing that a few times, she got the hang of it. When I first ask her, she smirks at me as if to say "I know what you are asking me to do" and then she lifts her arms straight up in the air.
I was so excited that she started doing this. One, it shows that she understands what I am asking her to do - receptive language skills, anyone? Two, it is purposeful movement. That is a tall order for Emily. She has to work harder than most to make purposeful movements. I bragged to all her therapists about it and they were thrilled, but Emily wanted to show us that she wasn't done. Now, when I put on lotion after bath time, I don't have to ask her to lift her arms. She knows when to do it and she does it on her own. Woo hoo!
Sometimes dressing Emily can be like a wrestling match. Have you ever tried to put pants on a child with both legs bent up? No easy task! We try to put comfy clothes on her. Jeans are not really an option. We need clothes that have a little give in them. Well, when I put Emily's pants on, I usually put one leg on and then put my hand in the other one and pull her other leg through. When I do this I tell her "push" so she will help me out. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. When it does work, she puts both legs straight out and smiles big. It is really adorable! It really helps to get her pants on too!
Emily has been showing us another new skill lately. She spends time in her stander every day. We shoot for 30 minutes 2 times a day. Sometimes she will stay in longer and sometimes we are happy to get her in it once. The stander that we have can lay flat if you take it completely apart. Since we have no desire to spend 20 minutes taking it apart before we put her in and when we take her out, we usually just lean it back. She normally wears her orthotics and turtle shell so that helps to give her some support while we are strapping her in. When we take her out of the stander, we have been taking all the straps off and letting her just stand there on her own. She isn't fully upright - the stander leans back a bit. She has been standing longer and longer when we do this. The other night it had to be about 3 or 4 minutes! As I mentioned, she is usually wearing her turtle shell, so that helps to give her trunk the support she needs. But to stand on her own, with very little support is HUGE!
She even did a great job the other night with her head. She returned to aqua therapy after about a month and a half. Mike said that she did really great in the pool. Later that night, we were so excited to see her holding up her head more and more. This has been an area of concern lately as she tends to lean over to one side (we find ourselves saying "head up" a LOT). Well that night, she was holding her head high and when it would start to fall and we said "head up", she would put it back up.
We still have some work to do in these areas, but we are definitely celebrating Emily's progress. That is why we call them inchstones - bit by bit she is learning! And she isn't afraid to show off her new skills (when she feels like it).