Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Good and The Bad and The Ugly

Let me first announce the good. Lauren eyes are fine. Over the summer, she completed two more eye tests and has seen 2 more optometrists who say her eyes are functionally fine and that she is seeing. We asked about CVI (based on the results of her first eye test which pointed to delayed cortical response time), and they said for now they don't see the impairment. Her vision has improved over the past 6 months, so the optometrist thinks that her vision was probably just late to mature. So that is definitely a relief...I was so scared. At one point I even watched videos on youtube of kids with CVI and how they lived...I know, I'm a nut. She'll go for another eye follow-up in Feb of next year.

Lauren is getting stronger every day. As part of her physio, we have been working on getting her to crawl up the stairs in our house. We started this exercise even before she could crawl and it was like pulling teeth. We would put Lauren on the first step and she didn't know what to do. She wouldn't even put her hand on the next step above her, let alone pull her leg up onto the next step. And we would use cheerios to coax her to move even just an inch. It would take her forever just to get herself up a few steps and most of the time, we were pulling on her pants or arms to help her up. And now, a few months later, she's doing the stairs all by herself. Slowly, but surely, she'll make it all the way up to the top, even without a spotter behind her. Yes, it takes three of us to help Lauren climb the stairs. You've got me and Kayla in front of her at the top, cheering and encouraging her, and you have Steve behind her, her safety net in case she falls back. A family team effort that has paid off.

So along with the stair climbing, Lauren has been working on her crawling. The physio says she has weak arm/shoulder strength which is why her crawling is so slow...although its a lot more fluid and faster than a few months ago. The physio said the only way she'll get faster and stronger is for her to keep practicing her crawl. And so the little caterpillar inches around and continues to dusts our floors clean.

While her gross motor skills have improved, speech is still not moving along. That's the bad part. No babbling (except when she is crying) and the only person she seems to have a conversation with is with her 5 month old cousin! Her attentiveness is still not very good but hopefully it'll get a little better with ear tubes. After the surgery, which has been confirmed for Oct 12th, we plan on getting Lauren a regular speech therapist to see her. Hopefully this will help her or maybe she'll naturally hit a spurt soon with her speech, just like she did with her gross motor.  Either way, I'll keep my fingers crossed. Fine motor, slow as well, and no major progress to report. Both these areas, according to her chromosomal abnormality, are expected areas for delayed development. I just wish I knew how "delay" is quantified and all the therapists and doctors keep saying is only time will tell.

And now the ugly, she is still refusing to nap, still. Its been a month now, and nap time is still non existent. I don't know how a 1 year old can go all day without a nap. The good part is that at least she goes to sleep at night without a fuss and she is sleeping a bit longer at night. But still, all day without a nap drives me crazy.... I need a nap for goodness sake!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two Awesome Things

So I'm reading a book called The Book of Awesome. It shares life's little awesome moments such as getting the entire row of seats on an airplane to yourself or filling up an ice cube tray and making it back to the freezer without spilling any of the water. The author writes about all the thousands little things that make you happy and makes you realize that if you enjoy the simple moments in your life, you will be happier. So it got me into thinking of what awesome things make up my day. Off the start, two immediate things come to mind:

1.Picking Kayla up from school and being greeted with a huge welcome of “Mommmmmyyyy I missed you”...My favorite part of the day is picking Kayla up from school. I walk into the school, and from the classroom door, quietly say “Kayla”. Kayla, with her super sharp ears, hears me, turns, and quickly runs to me, from across the classroom, with open arms, shouting “Mommmmmmyyyyy, I miss you”. She grits her teeth and lips as she give me the biggest hug possible. And all the other kids in the classroom are watching us. But the best part is, Kayla doesn’t care. She doesn’t care they are all staring and wondering. She doesn’t care that she has diverted everyone’s attention from their activity. She just knows that I am here to pick her up, and she misses me. Awesome.

2. Opening up the door to Lauren's room first thing in the morning and being greeted with a huge smile....My other favourite part of the day is going into Lauren's room when she first wakes up in the morning. She is always standing in her crib (another awesome thing), just eyeing the door, waiting for it to open. And when I open the door, I get the biggest smile ever. A smile of recognition, a smile of please take me out, a smile of I want my milk. A grinning 8 tooth smile, accompanied by a stream of drool. Steve and I always fight over who gets to open the door. Sometimes when we fight over who gets to open the door, and it ends up being a physical race. The feeling you get is like opening the door to a prize on a game show. And although we know what's behind the door, everytime we open it, we are always in awe. Awesome.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Choo Family Pictures - Part 1

Here are some updated family pictures, courtesy of Diana's Photography


Surgery Date

So we have a potential surgery date: Tuesday October 12th! The hospital is going to confirm with us later this week, but this was the message we got on our answering machine when we came home today. I can't believe we finally have a date, we've been waiting so long for this. We are excited to get her palate fixed, but I'm sure as the date gets closer, we'll be nervous, anxious and scared. During the palate surgery, Lauren will also be getting ear tubes put in.

We'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lauren's Song

So I first heard this song in the car, and when I listened to the lyrics, I knew it was Lauren's song.

Just The Way You Are - by Bruno Mars

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1 Twig and 1 Pig

I can't believe it's already September. The summer just flew right by. Kayla started her new pre-school today without any issues. The whole family saw her off and we expected her to shed a tear, or say "don't go"....but NOPE, she just walked right into her classroom, turned around, and said "bye", and was off playing with the other kids. We were left standing at the door, sad but yet so proud that she is so independent and her own little person. At least when I picked her up, I got a huge hug and a million smiles and tight squeezes! And guess how her lunch went? Horrible. Today was the first time that I packed her a lunch (I previously always purchase the school meal plan, but the meal plan wasn't available this week). I packed Kayla a slice of leftover pizza, 5 baby carrot sticks, 6-8 small cubes of watermelon, and a drinking box. And what did my 25lb 3 year old eat for lunch? 2 carrot sicks, all the watermelon and that was it. Yup. She eats like a twiggy model....

Lauren, on the other hand, is eating pretty like a little piggy these days, but sleeping awfully. She has decided that 6:30am is the new wakeup time, and that 10pm is the new bedtime. With only 8 hours of sleep, she still fights all her naps, and on some days, won't even take one. Hopefully this is a phase, that won't last too long cause I am  getting tired. Her days are now at Grandma's house filled with lots of attention and love. Steve has been taking her to her therapies, thankfully he has a flexible work schedule, and often the grandparents will tag along to get some ideas of things they can do with her at home. Progress continues in most areas, but of course is slow. She is now consistently babbling MAMAMA, but only if she is whining or upset. When she is content or happy, she says nothing. Strange I know. So the pea remains quite quiet, even in the presence of her super loud sister Kayla. But she SMILES. Oh how I LOVE THAT SMILE. I don't care that she's not walking, talking or tick tocking...that smile lights up my day every day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Our Littlest Hero

Just wanted to share a peek at some professional pics we got taken of Lauren. A huge thanks to Diana's Photography. Diana was wonderful to work with and I would recommend her services to all families. She volunteered her photography services as part of the Littlest Hero Project. I should have more pictures to share in the upcoming weeks.

The link to the Littlest Hero Project is posted on the sidebar of this blog. After I read through all the stories of the children that have participated in the Littlest Hero Project, I realize how blessed we are, and how we should never take anything for granted. Although I often feel that Lauren has her challenges, I realize in reading the stories on this website, that Lauren is actually fortunate in a lot of ways. Everyone has their own set of hurdles and there are a lot of kids who have even larger and bigger challenges to overcome. Its eye opening to read these stories and it shows you how resilient and strong kids can be. And because of their shining strength, they become our littlest heroes - kids we admire, because despite their obstacles, they do the best they can and often achieve things we never imagine. 

I remember once watching Dr. Phil and he was lecturing to an overweight man about his weight. And he said to the man, "you've got legs, why don't you exercise by running, climbing stairs, walking etc?". The man said he was too lazy. And Dr. Phil said something to the likes of, "There are kids out there who are born with no legs, or who lost their legs, or who are unable to use their legs and they would give their right arm to have legs, to be able to walk, run and climb. So you have no excuse not to use your legs and you owe it to them, to use what you have to its fullest potential. You have blessings you probably aren't aware of and you are fortunate in ways you probably never thought of."

This episode of Dr. Phil has stuck in my mind for years. His words were just so powerful and so meaningful. You never think of you legs in that way...and how there are people who don't have legs. And how everything that you have from your fingers to your toes is really a blessing. You take for granted that everyone is born with 10 fingers and 10 toes, but there are always the exceptions, and there will always be people who will never be able to feel water running through their hands or the sand inbetween their toes. Lauren is my Lauren. I am thankful for her 10 little fingers and her 10 little toes. 

Count your blessings, all the big ones, and the little ones too.

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