December 17, 2009

Day 13

Highlight- plan for home

We are beginning to brainstorm on how we can use stools, chairs, or other random funrniture to use for therapy at home. We will see what we can come up with and how creative I am.

Whitney did well following direction and was moving her legs quite a bit today. We tried to give her less support in 4 point crawling today but she still needs assistance shifting her weight. It is fun to see her so comfortable there again. Yesterday she was saying, "more, more" as we walked out to the van. I asked her in three different ways what she meant and sure enough, she did not want to leave. I would say that is quite the accomplishment.

Fiona had her first dentist appointment this afternoon. I can't tell you how many times we have played doctor. I even had my teeth cleaned first so she could watch. When it was her turn she would not even open her lips! We had to give up in the end. None of my tactics were working. We were headed home and she says, "I think I am in trouble." I said, "no, mommy is just sad that you would not open your mouth." Fiona: "Don't be sad, mommy. It will be okay. I will do it when I am 4." What a character. She is thrilled that tomorrow is our last day at CLC then she can have her mommy back.

December 16, 2009

Day 12

Highlight: Standing alone in between the parallel bars

The morning began with our parent and teacher/conductor conference. Matt was able to join us for this as well. It was interesting hearing her perspective of how Whitney was doing physically and emotionally. They always do a nice job of encouraging the parents and child. I have to say that this is always appreciated. (: We talked about how she is accepting new things much better than she was in September and also that she has a hard time not being distracted. I do not remember everything but it was good overall. We also talked about our plan for 2010. Matt and I still need to make a decision but we will not be going daily in January as we first thought. She is not quite ready and the class in January will not be the best setting for her to start out in.

The day progressed well. There was an open house for Aquinas College students to come and observe for a bit today. CLC has a relationship with them in which students are able to major in Conductive Ed. So, there were a few more things going on in the room today. We worked on the same things as I mentioned yesterday besides the walker but it is encouraging to be progressing in that direction. The new thing was that she held herself standing in between the parallel bars! Don't worry, our hands were inches away, but they did manage to snap a photo to prove it.

2 more days...

Day 11

Highlight: Introduction to the Walker

The morning went very well. They decided to try to introduce the walker today! I had a mix of apprehension/ hope/ excitement going on in my head. I tried to mask it for my perceptive daughter and I think I succeeded overall. She said emphatically, "I walk!" When she said this my heart did a little jump and my tears began to surface. I thought, 'oh, how we hope, honey'. We started out slow. It was a three step process.

Step 1: Standing between two ladder back chairs, standing with her hands on the rungs on either side of her. We did this successfully with the help and distraction of our girlfriend in the class who is of similar age.

Step 2: Walking between the parallel bars. Her conductor was behind her helping her move her legs and support her while her hands were holding on either side. She did a great job moving her hands on the bars as each step was taken.

rest, rest, rest

Step 3: The Walker. So, it looks a little scary but with a few adjustments we tried two different walkers out. She did very well. She did fine holding on to it and then became pretty scared. So, we hugged for a bit and tried again.

The conclusion was that the smallest walker is still a little big for her. The other thing is that they would like a backwards walker for her since she has a tendency to stand/walk with her bum out a bit and they would like to try to prevent this habit from becoming a permanent stance.

Overall, quite a day. We went home and all three of us took a substantial nap.

December 14, 2009

Day 10

Someone asked me yesterday, "day 7 of what?" Great question. So, here is a brief update for you if you are just joining us. We are currently attending The Conductive Learning Center for a 3 week session. Since Whitney is still quite young they have a Parent & Child session. This means that I attend this therapy class with her every morning from 9-12. It keeps our life hopping especially in December.

Highlight: alternate crawling

So, today was a picture day for Whitney. She did not want to follow direction that much during the lying program. She knew she had the power. Thankfully, she really likes the photographer man. Her physical therapist from the Early On program came to observe today which added another set of eyes for the day. The room was quite full.

The individual time went really well and we had a 'first'. As I have mentioned before we have been working on shifting her weight. When she crawls it is more of a commando crawl with pulling both knees up under her at the same time. So, as you can guess we have been working to try to teach her to alternate her legs. She was in 4 point kneeling, with my hand under her chest helping her to shift, and she moved her knees one at a time! More than once too. It was a great day for pictures as we captured this moment on camera. She probably went about 20 feet in all alternating as she went, not all at the same time but in 6 feet increments.

Whitney starred in her first Christmas play today. She had a very small part but handled being up front without me quite well. She stood up while holding onto the table for a minute and said 'baby' very softly. Then she sat by a few of her spina bifida friends. One of the boys, who is 3, was sitting in between Whitney and another little girl rubbing their backs. It was super cute! Fiona and I came to watch along with her Aunt Ainslie and cousin Kellen.

December 11, 2009

Day 9

Highlight- Shifting weight

Thank you for thinking of us today. It was another day of cooperation from little Whitney girl. (: Today we worked on our posture for awhile. We also worked on playing with a few toys with our feet, pushing buttons etc. This was a great way to incorporate a fun reward. Lifting her foot should also help strengthen her hip muscles.

Many of the tasks we work on throughout the individual program have to do with shifting weight so that some day when she walks she will already have learned this skill. I am enjoying how they are teaching her this valuable skill through many different ways and positions. We are working on this sitting on the ground, on a stool, and while standing.

I can not believe next week is our last week of the parent and child program. The first week was a little long and this week flew by. I anticipate next week to be interesting with trying to get pictures of all of the kids and we will have conferences as well. I am looking forward to telling you how that goes.

Enjoy the weekend.

December 10, 2009

Day 8

Highlight- success!

It worked! Today we had to have a few sideline conversations about being nice and listening to Miss Andrea but it went really well and I would even say productive. Are we turning a corner? Unfortunately, there are only 6 more classes left in this session to prove it!

She stood up and down very well today and followed instruction during the lying program. She did very well moving her knees a little during 4-point crawling. She worked on kicking the ball in a standing position and tolerated me doing the swinging of her leg for her while she stood holding onto the parallel bar. I think we were both enjoying ourselves again. We are also working on mommy leaving the room a few times during the morning and this seemed to go well too (as I was peaking around the corner).

Hopefully, tomorrow goes well so my mind can rest easy over the weekend.

Fiona is doing okay through all of this. She is enjoying playing with new friends but is not enjoying going somewhere new everyday. I hope it is building character. She misses her routine and her 'people'. I am looking forward to giving her some 1 on 1 time this weekend. Thank you to all of you who have stepped up to fill in the days of child care. We would not be able to do this without you.

Day 7

Highlight - intervention

Today was a bit rough for us. Matt pointed out that we seem to be in a cycle here. I spoke with Whitney's conductor about the change in attitude Whitney has taken this month to discuss possible reasons: teething, UTI, close to turning two. This made me start to problem solve a bit. She is just not acting herself lately. So, I spoke with Matt about it after I came to the conclusion that I think she is pushing my buttons and manipulating me with her crying to see what I will do. We sat the little girl down, sent big sister off to play, and had a little intervention. She is quite smart and knew what we were talking about. Her eyes were little saucers as she listened. She signed sorry to me and gave me a kiss at the end.

Day 6

Highlight- Whitney's AmTryke

School/ exercise/ Conductive Learning Center (We call it so many things these days) went fine overall. Whitney was a little uncooperative but we made it through. We continued to work on our new exercises and trying to improve on our skills.

We picked up Fiona and headed to go get Whitney's new bike. We put her on it to see how it fit and she loved it. I tried to take her off and she tightened her grip on the handle bars, once I pried her off she just screamed. I am glad she likes it! When we got home it went right down to the basement to reappear on her birthday next month.

December 7, 2009

Day 5

Highlight (: renewed motivation

Today was great. The lying program went fine and our individual program went fantastic. She we sitting on her little box a the parallel bars with one friend on one side and 2 across from her. She kept standing up (her idea) and sitting down with a plop. It was very cute. She was even smiling! I am so excited that my almost 2 year old is starting to think that maybe she wants to stand up. What a thrill. I was almost scared to be too excited or she might stop.

Another new thing was that she initiated was moving her legs up while 4 point crawling more today than I have seen yet. Progress is being made!

We began a few new excercises as well. One is standing straight up against the wall with ladder back chairs on either side of her for support. She was a little nervous and her knees buckeled a few times but for something new she did very well. The second new one is to teach her how to use her hands to scooch herself on her bum backwards to get around. This also strengthens her arms in the process. Her arms are a little too short yet but we are using a few short little boxes to bring the floor up a bit. The third one is pushing a stool and 'walking' on her knees. This gets her to swing her upper leg, strenghen those muscles, and it is a easier than walking.

At the end of the day last week and today I spoke with the conductor about a few goals for Whitney. I had mentioned to them last week that I would like to see her using a walker soon. She told me today that if we were not coming regularly that she would introduce it now, but since we have time we are going to take it. She explained how it is best to move slow, and take our time to strenghten her lower back and core as much as possible and teach her in stages. A large majority of spina bifida walkers walk with their lower back arched in and this makes thier bottom stick out. We want her walking in the best position possible. Whitney is blessed with no back deformities as of yet so, if we can, we want to prevent this from occurring. This conversation was encouraging and a good reminder to be patient, stop comparing, and to keep moving forward.

Last Week

I missed updating you all last week so I thought I would back track to update you and then tell you about today. Last week was a little tough and I think part of it was my attitude and not looking for a 'highlight' to share with all of you. So, I have recommitted myself for this week and next.

Day 1 (last Tuesday, December 1)
The day was a bit hectic. Whitney was the only returning student for the parent and child program so details needed to be figured out as to which potty was whose and how the order of the morning was going to flow best. There are 3 other children in Whitney's class, 2 boys who are almost 10 months old and one girl who is a little younger than Whitney and is her 'partner' for all intensive purposes.

Day 2
Daddy day! I took Fiona to BSF for the morning while Matt had the opportunity to take Whitney. He was able to see first hand what we are working on and doing. I am very thankful he was willing to take the day off to do this and now when I describe things he can understand a bit better. I think the morning seemed to go well. The other moms and our conductor are still talking about Whitney's daddy!

Day 3
Whitney woke up with a fever so I took her right to the doctor. Matt was able to bring Fiona to my sister-in-laws which made it possible for us to still make it to CLC on time. She has another urinary tract infection (UTI) so we started antibiotics and tylenol and tried to get some therapy in. Looking back it was a very unproductive day and I should have just taken her home but we survived the morning and they did not kick us out! She cried for the majority of the 3 hours...It was not a good day. So, I left there feeling like it was a failure and all sorts on negative thoughts assailed me. An afternoon of crying a bit, a good nap for Whitney, and we were on the mend.

Day 4
A providential snow day! I can not tell you how thrilled I was.