Monday, October 27, 2008

Blessings and Changes

I feel blessed. Perhaps this is because our boy is possibly the sweetest little guy in the universe and he continues to make improvements on a seemingly daily basis.

We have so many reasons to be thankful. For months, we’ve worked with Elijah to teach him some of the things that he is doing now. To be honest, I was getting tired. To me, it seemed those efforts would never pay off. But they have! He effortlessly gets himself into the sitting position on a daily basis and is constantly rolling on the floor, getting himself into the crawling position and rocking. I no longer question if he will crawl, I simply wonder when it will happen. I’ve stopped wondering if he will walk either (more about walking later).

Where does that leave me? With overwhelming peace and joy. I can’t describe to you the amount of weight that lifts from us. I can breathe again and I can relax a bit. I feel so happy these days. Mostly I’m happy because Elijah is such a sweetheart. Here is a child who has had to work harder than most of his peers to get where he is and yet he’s such a happy guy. He doesn’t know the hardships he has overcome, nor does he realize that he has more work to do. All he knows is that he loves his life and he loves his parents. We are so blessed!

Leaving Elijah-land
Lest you think I’m some sort of saint, let me tell you…I certainly have my days. If I can seclude myself into Elijah-land, I am perhaps the happiest person in the world. What is there to be sad about? Elijah is happy, improving, and oh so cute.

But sometimes we have to leave Elijah-land and that’s when it gets hard. I see children much younger than Elijah effortlessly crawling around, walking around, and putting things in their mouths (oh, I try so hard not to notice). And, let’s face it, I get angry. I’m not angry that those kids are doing those things, but seeing how easy it is for other kids reminds me how hard it has been for Elijah. And as his mom, I get angry. Angry that he’s had to be in therapy his whole life. Angry that we “had” to spend a month away from home to try HBOT and now our schedules are all topsy-turvy. Angry that things haven’t worked out as I’d planned or hoped. Angry that things might always be harder for him. Angry because it shouldn’t have happened to him in the first place.

Then, I figuratively slap myself on the face and I get on with my life. I remind myself how much I have learned through all of this. I look at the faces of the parents of those children with their effortless lives and I realize that they will never quite understand the joy I will feel when I see Elijah pick something up for the first time. Or walk for the first time. I realize that I’m the one who is truly blessed. I’ve been able to watch every moment of my child’s development and I’ve been able to help facilitate it. I’ve met some pretty incredible people that wouldn’t have been in my life. I have a new vocabulary that I didn’t have before. I know about therapies and doctors that most people have never heard of. I am blessed all right. Sometimes you have to leave Elijah-land to find out.

Blessings in the Form of Changes
Changes are certainly happening with Elijah. First of all, he seems to actually understand some words now. I’m sure he knows the words “more” and “all done” and I think that he knows the word “no” (although, with his lack of fine motor skills we don’t often say it). I can’t tell you how great this is. For the longest time I was wondering how I was going to parent a child who couldn’t understand the word “no.” It’s another area that I’ve been able to take a sigh of relief. Things are really looking up.

Case in point about Elijah’s responsiveness and understanding…A few weeks back, Andy told Elijah to “look at mommy.” It took him a bit, but he turned and looked at me. Then, one morning last week, Andy told Elijah to “look at daddy.” Again, it took him a bit, but Elijah turned and looked at his daddy. Then Andy went on Elijah’s other side and told Elijah to look at him. And Elijah looked once again. Andy kept switching sides and telling Elijah to look at him and Elijah kept doing it. This is just one example of his responsiveness and it’s really exciting to see him interact with us more.

A big part of interaction, of course, is speech. And, again, I’m getting anxious for things to start happening. Not too long ago, I was talking to our OT about how I was aching so much to hear Elijah talk. She reassured me that speech is the finest of fine motor skills and it would come later. Well, it certainly seems like after I talk to our OT about things that they start to happen. The other week, we were telling Elijah to say mama. He strung some things together, but he said it! I was so excited and yet so reluctant to even write about it since it seems he’ll do something like that and then won’t do it for ages.

And then tonight, Elijah copied me again! I was so glad Andy was in the room because I might not have believed my ears. I was reading him a goodnight story and on one page there was a cow. I told Elijah that a cow says “moo.” I kept saying it over and over again while he batted at the book’s picture. Then clear as day, he said moo! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Changes are definitely occurring.

EI Meeting
Last week we had our early intervention team meeting. It was nice to see some of Elijah’s therapists that we haven’t seen for awhile and Elijah has definitely made some nice changes. His PT was pleased to see all the things he is doing…getting himself into sitting and four point (crawling stance) by himself. She said, “He’s a miracle. He really is.” Yep, I have to agree. Another comment that stuck out to me was something our Vision Consultant said. When we talked about Elijah’s trip to the eye doc and mentioned that Elijah saw at about an eight month level, she told us that you can’t see more than you are cognitively. In other words, Elijah has to be at least eight months old developmentally, which is actually what we were thinking…that’s he at about an eight month level. The way we look at it, in some areas Elijah is much younger than he is, in others he’s at about eight months and in other areas he’s his own age of 14 months. I don’t know if it’s a good way to look at it, but it seems to help us to look at it in those terms.

Speaking of being his own age, Elijah seems to be taking to a behavior that would be pretty typical for a child his age…temper tantrums. He hates getting in his car seat, despises getting his diaper changed and doesn’t like it if he has to sit too long in his high chair without getting fed (and by too long, I mean about 30 seconds). Yep, our boy is giving us a run for our money and we couldn’t be happier. Anything typical is fantastic.

Temper Tantrums
Elijah’s newest temper tantrum has to do with being set on the ground. You see, he doesn’t want to sit on the floor any more, he wants to walk! This is actually a new development just today. Just in the last week he’s been taking more steps when we hold onto his hands. In the past, he would mostly do what we’d call “jumpy walking” and he’d just drag his feet a lot while I’d basically pull him along the floor. Today, he couldn’t get enough of walking around the house. It’s so exciting! He’s doing much better holding onto our fingers too. And when my back starts to hurt from being bent over doing laps around the house, I pick him up and he throws temper tantrums because he doesn’t want to stop walking! It’s wonderful. Who knew I’d love a good temper tantrum? This kid wants to move!

Thanks for reading. I know it’s another long post. I don’t seem to have as much time to write these days and when I do sit down to write, I have so much to report! Thank you so much for continuing to follow Elijah’s progress. He is indeed a miracle, which is a big result of all the prayers. Keep us in your prayers tomorrow morning as we’ll be seeing his neurologist, “Dr. Gloom” Much love, from us.


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