Monday, November 24, 2008

Appointments Update

Dr. Positive
Last Thursday, Elijah had his fifteen month check-up with his Pediatrician, Dr. Positive. It was a pretty uneventful appointment, which is definitely nice.

So are you wondering about his stats? For those of you who are interested in such things…Elijah now weighs 21 lbs. 3.5 oz., which puts him in about the 10th percentile in the weight-for-age category. This is an improvement from his last appointment, where he was getting close to the 5th percentile and causing us some worry. He is 32 in. long, which puts him in the 75th percentile in the length-for-age category (a tall fellow, indeed!). His head circumference is still at about 42 cm, which is of course in the negative percentiles. He is following his own curve, however, and his head seems to continue to grow. Oh, how we ache, though, to see his head measurement fall into the curves for “normal”. We’ll keep giving that one to God to take care of.

At the end of our uneventful appointment, Dr. Positive (staying true to his nickname) said, “He’s doing great you guys.” And he is.

Dr. Loafer
Elijah saw his D.O., Dr. Loafer, on Friday. Elijah dislikes lying down to have his head manipulated, but he’s fairly cooperative. At least he’s not screaming at the top of his lungs the whole time! I don’t know if the manipulations are helping at this point (it’s certainly too early to tell), but Andy and I both feel like the shape in the back of his head has improved and become more round. Either way, we think it’s worth the time and the effort to try it out. And, Dr. Loafer, now that we see him every other week, has struck me as a kind, considerate, quiet, unassuming man. Those are good qualities to have when you trust someone to work on your child’s skull.

A New Nickname
Tomorrow we’re taking Elijah to a dietician for the first time. (Uh-oh…another nickname?!) We thought it might be wise to get some advice as to what we should be feeding Elijah. We want to make sure he’s getting everything he needs and his situation does complicate things. For one, he doesn’t pick things up or feed himself yet. Secondly, while he can chew, he’s inconsistent and chokes on his food often. And third, he’s allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. I find myself a little overwhelmed as to what he should eat. Honestly, he’s probably one of the healthiest 15-month-olds there is. He mostly eats fruits, veggies, rice cereal, and some meats…all organic. He doesn’t know that there’s a world of junk food out there…yet.

In Summary…
Outside of the world of appointments, Elijah is doing well. He wants to walk, he’s incredibly close to crawling, and he likes to stay up in the middle of the night like a rock star (okay, so the sleep part isn’t going so well…). He’s a joy and we’re forever grateful that he’s ours. I hope you are all having a good (short!) week.

Love, Lisa and her boys

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Falling Down

Have you ever fallen down?

I know; it’s a silly question. Walking on two limbs can sometimes be unstable and we’re all apt to fall at some point. But, can you imagine falling and not trying to stop yourself from doing so?
I’m sure you’ve all had the experience where you’ve taken a fall and you end up hurting your hands in the process. I can bet that one of you reading this has even broken or sprained a limb in this way. Our natural reaction to falling is to protect ourselves. It’s better to injure a hand or elbow than a head. Did you know, however, that we’re not born with this reaction? It has to develop.

So where am I going with all of this? Am I trying to explain how Elijah has taken a big fall and hurt himself? No, I’m trying to illustrate how excited we are that Elijah has finally developed this falling reaction, called Protective Extension. In the past, he would fall over and would do absolutely nothing about it. Now, he is more consistently using his hands to catch himself when he goes forward. It’s one of those things that we all take for granted. Had I ever heard of protective extension before I had become Elijah’s mom? Nope, but it’s another thing for which I am feeling really thankful. Obviously, we wouldn’t want him walking around without it.

So, the next time you fall (oh, let’s hope it’s not anytime soon!), think about how blessed you are to have protective extension. And as you rub your sore wrists; be thankful that it’s not your head you’re rubbing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Elijah is 15 Months Old Today!

Elijah is keeping me really busy, which of course is a good thing. He loves to walk around and since he still needs my assistance to do so, I’m walking around our house a lot. Every day Elijah gets stronger and gets closer to walking unassisted. He does great in his walker and has learned how to hold on with his hands. He loves it and gets this “I’m doing it!” expression on his face. It’s so great to see and is pretty amazing since he’s had the walker for less than two weeks.
In therapy this week, the clinic based PT said she thought Elijah was close to crawling. And when I showed our school OT Elijah’s walking skills in his walker, she said, “Lisa, I’m so impressed!” Needless to say, his therapists are happy to see all of the progress he is making. I expect to be chasing a little man around my house soon and I can’t wait!

Family Fun Night
Last night Andy, Elijah and I went to a Family Fun Night for families involved in Early Intervention. It was really nice to talk with some other parents and meet some new people. Plus, Elijah was the center of attention as he barreled through the gym in his walker. He is such a miracle.

Fifteen months going on two?
Apparently, our 15-month-old miracle thinks he is two. He’s been having temper tantrums on a daily basis. At first, I was so thrilled. Here he is doing something so typical, that I’d usually just smile to myself with sheer joy. Now the novelty is starting to wear off since he throws a temper tantrum whenever he doesn’t get his way (which is often). It’s like he’s finally discovered that he can move and he doesn’t want anyone to stop him. I can’t say I blame him, but it’s impossible for him to be mobile whenever he wants. Inevitably I need a break sometimes, he needs diaper changes, and he needs to ride in the car. I hope he’s able to understand that he can’t always get his way soon because the full blown screaming episodes are getting old. Most of all, though, he is the same little joy he’s always been and I’m glad that he’s getting frustrated. It means that his cognitive skills are developing and for that, I am grateful.

News Story about Hyperbarics
NBC 15 in Madison, WI published a story yesterday about a family doing hyperbarics at the same clinic we treated Elijah (Wisconsin Integrated Hyperbarics). Andy added the video to his blog, so check it out at You can see the chambers that we took Elijah in and see a little of what we experienced while we were there. It’s a tear-jerker, so grab the Kleenex.

Have a great weekend! Love, Eli and his folks

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I feel like I am running around in circles and sometimes I am…literally. Elijah still loves to walk and he’s getting stronger (and smarter) it seems each day. We spend a lot of time walking around in circles and when I think about complaining about my back hurting, I remind myself that it’s a miracle that he’s doing any of it. I have absolutely no right to complain.

We have therapy two times a week now (once with the school district and once at a clinic) and we see an osteopath every other week, which is a big part of me feeling like I’m running in circles. It seems like we always have something to do and somewhere to go, but I’m so grateful to have wonderful people who are helping Elijah grow and develop. I feel like Elijah has a awesome team and I’m the co-captain (with Andy as the other co-captain of course!).

School Therapy
Our Early Intervention PT came this week and brought us a walker for Elijah. He had tried one during his clinic based therapy, but now we have one at home for him to learn how to use. Each day, Elijah gets better at using it. At first, I would have to hold his hands on the handlebars. His right hand is stronger than his left, so he would hold on with only his right hand. Today I was able to get him to walk without any help from me for about five feet! He’s holding on with both hands and he’s learning how to use it. That means he could be mobile independently soon! At this point, I don’t think he quite understands that if he lets go, he’ll fall down, but I’m sure that’ll come. And, he has no clue about steering, but I’m sure that’ll come too.

Clinic Therapy
This week during our clinic based therapy, Elijah tried out their walker and the PT said that she was impressed with the steps Elijah is taking. She liked to see how far he could step and that he usually kept his legs apart. That led to a conversation that Elijah doesn’t have a lot of the typical problems that affects children with cerebral palsy.

“Well, he sure is determined,” I said. She nodded, but I detected disagreement. “You can have all of the determination in the world, but if your brain is telling your body to move incorrectly, your determination means nothing.” It was another one of those moments where I realized that God has undeniably intervened on our son’s behalf.

Later, I was talking to the OT and she mentioned that she didn’t think that they could get things past Elijah, meaning they think he knows a lot. This only reaffirmed what I already think…that Elijah can understand a lot more than he can communicate with us. Understanding comes before the ability to communicate and I think that Elijah can understand a lot.

Gaining Abilities
Elijah just seems to be making so many gains lately. The walking is obviously huge. But, also his understanding and his ability to move is amazing. He’s become so much more interactive with toys and is trying to move on the floor now to get them. He’s not crawling yet, but it has to be soon. When I set him on the floor, he’s all over the place. He’ll get on his hands and knees and rock and then get himself up to sitting, roll somewhere else and then side-sit. He side sits a lot now, which, to me, is a great sign of how good his tone is these days. Each week he’s different and sometimes each day I feel like I have to meet him all over again.

A Long Road
Of course, I know that Elijah has a long road ahead of him. For all the things he can do, there is probably a list just as long for the things he can’t. We’ve tucked that list away for now and focus on the positives. The thing he could use the most prayers for at this point is his fine motor skills. While he seems to be plugging along in the gross motor skills, it’s the fine motors where he’s the most behind. Thankfully, he keeps developing in that department as well. He purposefully can turn on toys by batting at them, but at this point, he is still unable to put things in his mouth (other than his hands). He drools a lot too, which also has a lot to do with motor control. We know he’ll get there, as he keeps improving (he holds onto his walker!) but he has a long way to go. Please keep him in your prayers.

On a Completely Separate Note…
A few weeks back, I found a book in a bookstore called
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. I thought it sounded interesting, so I picked it up and read the book jacket. The book is the true story of a brain scientist who had a stroke at the age of 37 and it gave her a completely different perspective of the world. I am aching to read this book, because I feel like it could give me some insight on what is going on in that little head of my little man.

Now, I of course realize that a stroke is different than what happened to Elijah, but I do feel like the more we (as Elijah’s parents) know about how the human brain works, the more we’ll be able to help and understand what Elijah is going through. Anyway, for those of you interested,
here is a link to a speech Ms. Taylor gave about how her stroke impacted her. She gets a little too “new-agey” for me near the end, but I thought it was very interesting and that it was worth sharing.
Hope you are all well!
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