Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some New Things

Since I have been such a slacker with the blog lately, I figured it was time for a hodge podge post. So here are some random things that are new with our girl:

Emily went to the dentist for the first time in October. She cried/whined a bit when he was putting his hands in her mouth and doing the cleaning, but once he was done, she was over it. He said he could notice some wear on her teeth from her grinding, but since she cannot wear a mouth guard there wasn't much we could do about that. He said he also noticed that her bite was a bit off, but that would be something to deal with when she got older. Other than that, he said everything looked good. No cavities to report. That makes all of my wrestling matches with Emily and the tooth brush seem worth it. I would have taken a picture of her, but the memory on the camera was full. Later on, Mike asked me why I didn't delete a few pictures so I could take one. Well, that would have made too much sense! Guess I am not good at thinking on my feet.

Eye Doctor:
Emily also went to the ophthalmologist in October. That was the one doctor we did not get to see before we moved. So we made an appointment with a doc here that is associated with the children's hospital. That appointment went pretty well, although Emily did not like to keep her eyes open when the doctor was trying to look at them. She didn't cry or whine, but she was not a very cooperative patient! He told us to start patching Emily's eye again. She tends to use her right eye more than the left (and still has a bit of crossing going on). He wants us to do that for 2-3 hours a day for the next 4 months and then follow up with him again. I also talked to him about the fact that our previous doc described Emily's vision as if she had Cortical Visual Impairment, but never gave an official diagnosis. He said that he could not give a diagnosis without seeing a scan of her brain. We could have the neurologist send that info over, but those tests are pretty old, so I am guessing we will have to repeat them at some point so we can have a clearer answer about Emily's vision.

I have already given an update on school, so I won't get into much detail there. Things continue to go pretty well. Emily loves it and the kids love her. To be honest, I knew that she would love the social aspect of school. My concern is that I am not sure she is learning very much. I just don't see the teachers and therapists challenging her. I think their lack of experience with a kid like Emily makes them underestimate her abilities (that has been my concern from the very beginning). I figured I would give them some time to get to know her a bit and then ask for another meeting with the IEP team to discuss this a bit further. I am really trying to give them a fair shot even though my natural inclination is to be pessimistic about the whole thing.

I think I have mentioned before that Emily may be attending another program at the local children's hospital. It is a preschool-type program that involves PT, OT and Speech in a classroom setting. Emily has been accepted into the program. She had the OT and Speech evaluations last week. The OT session went OK, but I was super impressed with the speech session. By the time she came in, Emily was done with her wheelchair, so I put her on my lap while the therapist tested her. She asked her questions and asked her to do a few things and Emily did a great job. I was surprised by the things that she knew! For example, she put 3 pictures on a board (a girl blowing out candles on a cake, 2 boys playing blocks, a girl taking a bubble bath) and then asked Emily to show her the picture of the person blowing, the people playing, etc. I thought there was no way Emily would know that, but she picked the right picture by looking at it. I was completely blown away! I never knew Emily knew those things! That is just confirmation for me, that this program will be wonderful for Emily. I know they will challenge her, they will expect a lot from her and she will excel! We have the PT eval tomorrow and we have to get some info about our financial obligation, but if all goes well with that Emily will start on November 30. She will go 2 mornings a week and then to school 4 afternoons a week. Not sure how she will handle those long days but we will find out!

Emily has been a lot more vocal lately. Sometimes I wonder if she is trying to say words to us, but we just cannot understand her. Well, one day, I was calling her baby girl (as I often to) and she started to say "gaa" after I said girl. She did this 2 or 3 times. I was so excited! She doesn't usually try to mimic us, so this was pretty huge. One of the aides at school even said that Emily was trying to say "bug" one day in class. I wasn't sure if I believed her, but after the "girl" incident, it could be true. I think we just have to listen more carefully when she is chatting away at us. She may not be able to enunciate perfectly, but there could be some other words in there that we just haven't picked up on.

Emily has also started to laugh when we laugh. It is pretty cute. She has also started to do things that she thinks are funny. One day she made a noise with her mouth that is similar to a raspberry (she only used her lips, not her tongue) and then she cracked up. Another time, she put her hand to her face and pressed so hard on her nose that she snorted, which make her crack up. Then there are the times when she laughs because she is being a punk! I will ask her to do something (like push her legs through her pants leg) and she will look at me and just smile with this mischievous grin, but not do what I asked. She is asserting her will, which is a good thing, but it can be frustrating when I am trying to get her dressed so we can get out the door. Still, I am thrilled that she is making jokes in her own way and acting like a typical kid!

Well, I already showed you pictures of Emily's new bedroom furniture. She continues to do great in her new bed. We have always had a night light in the room for Emily. In our old apartment, we also would leave the light on in the bathroom with the door cracked a bit. We figured she had a fear of the dark or, at the very least, got used to the light when she was in the NICU. We could turn it off when we came to bed and she would be OK, but if she was in the room by herself she would cry when we didn't leave it on. When we moved here, we did the same thing, but used the closet light. There were a few nights when she would whine and not go to sleep and we could not figure out why. Mike thought she might not like the light anymore, so we turned it off and she has been fine ever since. She still has her night light, but that is it.

One of the other things that I have tried for the first time (somewhat) recently is blow drying Emily's hair. You wouldn't think that is a big deal, but for a kid with sensory issues a hair dryer can be a bit overwhelming. She had a sinus infection when we first moved here and I didn't want to send her to bed with wet hair. So I figured I would give the dryer a shot. The first time, she giggled the entire time I was blow drying her hair. She no longer giggles, but she doesn't even flinch when I turn it on anymore. She just keeps showing us over and over that she is growing up!

Just for fun, I figured I would include this video of Emily giggling while Mike tickles her back (You will also notice our new couch).


ANewKindOfPerfect said...

Wow Emily! You are doing GREAT! :)

It's amazing when we start figuring out how much these little ones really understand and "get". This new preschool program sounds great, and challenging. That's fantastic.

I love the pictures, and the giggling video. How sweet is she!

Sarah Benn said...

A lot of exciting things going on!

Christie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I had a free minute tonight and you guys popped into my mind. I was so glad to see a new update! What a great update! Emily's so adorable! I love her new bed and her 1st day of school pictures. She's such a big girl! I can't believe how much she's grown!!

We have experienced doctors, specialists & teachers who have underestimated Ethan over the years. It's so exciting to see him blowing their expectations out of the water!!!! :) I loved reading about Emily showing how much she understands!!! So exciting!!!

The school at the hospital sounds great! I can't wait to hear how that goes. For us, I find that public school has some great resources, but there are limitations. (We're just learning that they will use really old speech evaluations for years at a time while private therapy is required by the insurance company to have up-to-date evaluations to be sure they are addressing current goals in therapy.) We use a combination of both, too, which I think is good!!

Tell Mike hello for us! I love the pictures and video and wish we could see you guys in person!

Christie (I deleted my last comment because I'm having trouble getting blogger to post me as a journeyinmommying instead of the blog I recently participated in at my church...I know I'm doing something wrong...but I still have to figure it out!!!) :)

Anonymous said...

So good to hear these updates and wonderful to hear of Little Em's accomplishments! Very excited about the PT and what it will bring. She looks pretty as a picture (no pun intended) in her little "fashion show", and of course I loved the video. Those are always great. Have a great Thanksgiving.


Kristina said...

It sure sounds like a lot is going on with everyone! So glad that things are falling into place a bit at the new location. The hospital pre-school program sounds fabulous - wish we had something like that around here :-) And, Emily starting to make some word approximations is so exciting!

Emily really does look like a cool little girl now - not much baby can be found in the photos you are posting. I love the video. In it, Emily reminds me so much of Emma. They have the same laugh.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Katy said...

It took me forever to figure out that Charlie was "talking" when he was making all those crazy noises. Still don't know what he's saying most of the time.

I found that Charlie's teachers are starting to get the hang of what he and cannot do although it took some time. He likes to act helpless to get as much as he can out of people!

Anonymous said...

Amazing post - easy to see how much she is able to do. Hope the school people get up to par soon. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, too!