Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shelby update

First of all, I realized yesterday that we never blogged about the tremendous success of Shelby's constraint-induced therapy (the cast). It is common (and we expected) that Shelby would go back to mainly using her right hand and arm after the three weeks of wearing the cast. She definitely has done this. But, Shelby's therapists have been very impressed at the extent that she uses her left arm. The casting therapy seemed to literally wake up that side and give her brain an awareness of that arm and hand. She has maintained that awareness. In fact, the left arm continues to get stronger (she can now lift it against gravity) and she uses the left hand some. She does not fist the left hand nearly as much as she used to, although the left thumb is almost always curled and clinched inward. Shelby's OT has ordered a couple splints to keep that thumb open. Hopefully the splint will help her to use that left hand more for tasks such as grasping and feeding. So yes, constraint-induced therapy was a huge success. We will probably do another casting session at some point in the near future.

Those that talk to me regularly know that we have had some difficulty getting Shelby to eat. We introduced solids when she was 5 and a half months old, and haven't really progressed beyond the consistency of smooth texture baby food. It can be difficult to get her to eat that (it takes us about 45 minutes a feeding session, 3-4 times a day). Shelby has dropped on her weight growth curve since December, going from the 20th percentile, to the 5th, and then down to the 3rd. Her pediatrician thinks this is partly because she doesn't eat much and her body needs more than milk as she gets older to gain weight. Last week, we went to see a pediatric dietitian for some tips on getting more calories and nutrients into her. This was such an informative and reassuring appointment. The dietitian was very positive and reminded me that Shelby is still in the 50th percentile for height, which is a sign that she is growing, and may take after her dad (who is long and lean as well). We are about to bring in a speech therapist to work with us specifically on feeding issues and hopefully that will help. But since Trip and I have relaxed some, Shelby seems to be eating more. Last night, Shelby actually grabbed the spoon from Trip and pulled it to her own mouth several times AND she drank formula from a cup. This was a huge breakthrough!

Lastly, after a couple months of not seeing much progress in physical therapy, Shelby seems to be on the cusp of some big milestones! She has all of a sudden gained the desire to move somewhere. Before, she would just be content to stay in whatever position we put her in on the floor. If a toy was moved out of her reach, she would find something else to do, like rock back and forth or play with her feet. She is so close to rolling over and we are working hard towards this goal. This will be wonderful for her...she'll be able to roll somewhere and move independently. We are also working a lot on her hands and knees and shifting weight back and forth, forward and backwards so that eventually she'll gain the strength and balance to crawl. We are lucky to have a great PT working with us. I look forward to our weekly sessions with Beth, she seems to have taken a special interest in us and always makes me feel so good about Shelby's progress and development.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

allergy season looks like this:

Poor Harding! He doesn't even look like himself, much less feel like himself. Don't worry, we went to the doctor last night. Hopefully, the medicine will kick in quickly--or else Harding is in for a miserable Spring.

pondering next year

Recently, I was accepted into graduate school and will be beginning coursework this summer towards a master's degree in school counseling. I have wanted to do this for some time now. I'm currently on maternity leave from my teaching job, and our health insurance is through this job. I've been tutoring part-time at a local elementary school since January, which has been great for me (I missed teaching) and has helped with finances. I finish work at 11, and can play and spend time with both of my sweet kidd-os and can arrange and be present for all of Shelby's therapy sessions and doctor appointments. It has been the perfect arrangement, but now that the end of the school year is nearing, I have all sorts of anxiety about what will happen in August.

I have childcare options lined up for the fall for both Shelby and Harding, in case I go back to my teaching position full-time (this is the most likely scenario). And this is where I start worrying. How in the world will I be able to work full-time and still be there for Shelby? Should I not go back to my full-time teaching job? If I don't go back to it, what will we do about health insurance (which Shelby absolutely HAS to have)? Do I go back to work part-time? Will there even be a part-time job available next year? If I go back part-time, will there be a full-time teaching job (or counseling position) available when I'm ready to work full-time again? (There is a major budget crunch going on in NC and there are many teachers looking for work). If I go back to work part-time, what in the world will we do about health insurance?

What is best for my career? What is best for our family's finances (short and long-term)? What the heck am I thinking, taking on graduate school? But if I put it on the back burner, will I ever get it done? What do I want to do? WHAT IS BEST FOR SHELBY? The answers to these questions vary. What is most important? All of this worrying and wondering is driving me crazy and keeping me from sleeping at night. When the dentist told me it looked like I'd been grinding my teeth, I was not at all surprised.

It actually is making me feel a little better to write all this out. I hope there is a solution or compromise that will benefit everyone. I'll be doing a great deal of praying and pondering and soul-searching about what that might be. Luckily, I have a couple months before any decisions are necessary.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

H goes to the Dentist

Trip and I were a little worried about how Harding would handle a trip to the dentist. He has some quirky fears when it comes to noises. I have to close the bathroom door before using the hairdryer. We can't vacuum when he is home because he really gets upset (I swear I am not just making excuses for how seldom I vacuum). He got hysterical when Matt turned on the chainsaw out at our property last month.

I was shocked when he actually let Ms. Jan (who is my mom's friend from high school) polish and floss his teeth. It helps that she is really good with kids.

He loved the water squirter, and she even let him squirt her a couple times while we waited for the dentist to come in and look at his teeth.

No cavities! (Thank goodness, because they would have had to sedate him to get the drill in his mouth).