We've been fielding lots of questions from Harding lately about his sister. He is starting to notice how she is different from other kids her age. For example, on Friday morning after we took Shelby to try on glasses (and she screamed the entire time) he said, "If Shelby is 2 and Riley is 1, how come Riley can walk and Shelby can't?" I answered by explaining that Shelby's brain works a little differently from most other people, and that because of this, she has trouble doing certain things like using her left arm and leg. I told him that it will take Shelby longer than other kids to learn to walk. I also told him that he could always ask me or Daddy if he ever had questions about Shelby because we would be honest with him. Harding was quiet for a few minutes and then he said, "I need to be honest with you about Shelby too, mommy.......she really does NOT want glasses!" Harding is always looking out for his sister, he told me he would get glasses instead of Shelby. Trip and I have said from the beginning that we would be open with Harding about Shelby. Here we go....
Shelby has shown an interest in self-feeding during the past few months. When a bowl of apple sauce or yogurt (probably her two favorite foods) is placed in front of her, she will hold the spoon and feed herself slowly and deliberately. It is an incredibly messy process with lots of spoon banging and throwing (sometimes she even throws the bowl). This is good though....another move towards doing something independently.
We are constantly in the process of moving Shelby's diet towards being more varied and textured. Gone are the days when she gagged when a piece of food was too big or the texture was unmanageable. She seems to be gradually getting the idea of how to chew. Baby Steps. We no longer use the food processer to blend up Shelby's food and are moving towards cutting the items that can't be fork mashed into tiny pieces. The idea is to slowly get the pieces bigger and bigger and to get her chewing and eating normal table food.
Here's the conundrum: Shelby is still tiny for her age--in the bottom 5th percentile, she needs to be taking in as many calories as possible. We already add formula to her whole milk and butter/olive oil to all her food. Food is not a motivator for her....she eats cheerios, but would never pick them up and put them in her mouth if they were put in front of her (she would throw them one by one on the floor).
Working on independent skills like self-feeding is difficult for her...and it reduces her food intake. Working on maturing her diet and increasing calories is also difficult. Both focus areas can make mealtime difficult and stressful for Shelby. What is most important right now, or is there a way to focus on both? For now, we're trying to end her meals with a bowl of yogurt or apple sauce that she can work on by herself. Our OT and ST are consulting on this issue. Any suggestions?
Shelby and my great-grandmother Burney playing "boogedy" last week.
Then there is the potty issue...Shelby has started to regularly tell us that her diaper needs changing or that she is pooping. I have said all along that we would put off potty training for a good long time and frankly, diapers are the least of our worries right now. However, I certainly don't want to miss a window if she is ready. But Shelby can't get on a potty or even pull her pants down on her own, so it seems like we should wait. But if she is ready, am I shortchanging her?
Shelby's teachers recently discovered that she will sit happily in the cars on the playground at school and even push herself backwards in them. This is good for many reasons: she doesn't have to be in the stroller, the teacher's arms, or being pushed in the swing during playground time....AND this is something she can do by herself (or with her classmates, like in the pictures). Plus, now I know one thing Shelby might like for Christmas!