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.
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).