Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At Least He Was Wearing Shoes!

Today I decided to venture out to Walmart with Bennett. I don't go there very often, but I'm in search of glass baby bottles to replace the ones we've been using that have recently been banned here in Canada. For those of you who know me, you'll know that I don't get out much - with my difficulty walking and balance issues, the big guy and I don't often go out unless we have help. But it was a beautiful day and the leg wasn't feeling too bad, so I decided to try it. I got Bennett dressed and even put shoes on him! (I have to explain this a bit)

We've started occupational therapy with Bennett recently. No, I'm not trying to get him a job. This therapist is working on improving his fine motor skills and will be the one to help with things like tying shoes, using utensils, etc. She's a very nice young woman and absolutely wonderful with Bennett. Sometimes, I wonder what she thinks of me though. During one of our first meetings our conversation went something like this:

OT: Can he pull his socks off by himself?

Me: Yes - he does it all the time.

OT: What about his shoes?

Me: doesn't wear shoes - he's not walking yet, so I haven't bothered with shoes.

OT: Uh..OK. What about brushing his hair. When you brush his hair, will he grab the brush and try to do it himself?

Me: (wondering what kid she was talking about - I mean look at his hair - does it look like I brush it!) have never really tried brushing his hair. (Jim reassured me later that this is not really weird - he says, his head hasn't seen a comb since the early 80's)

OT: Umm..ok. What about songs - does he like it when you sing songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and will he follow along with the hand movements?

Me: (really starting to feel like a neglectful mother) Umm...I have to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not much of a singer. However, (very excited here!) I have tried "Patty Cake" a few times!

Ot: Uh...Well, that's good. Hmmm...well what about the "ABC" song? Maybe you could try that one - do you know how that goes?

Me: (Feeling like a bit of an idiot and desperately wishing I had my university degree with me) Yeah - I could try that one - Don't wory I know how to sing that!

All this left me feeling like I was quite the pathetic mother. Not pathetic enough to actually brush his hair or make the effort to learn more songs. In self-defense, I have to say I have a horrible voice and out of love for my son, there is only so much I can subject the kid too - after all he already has cerebral palsy - the last thing he needs is to listen to me sing! However, I did feel guilty enough to buy him some shoes.

So, today when we left, Bennett's hair was fixed to get rid of the bed head (I didn't use a brush - a wet facecloth seemed to work just fine) - and he was wearing shoes. I was quite impressed with myself - I felt like a normal mother walking around the store with Bennett in the cart, showing off his new haircut, free of bedhead, and his new Diego sandals. He had great fun looking around and flirting with a number of different ladies. No one even told me that he looked tired! (this is another post entirely!).

I was feeling quite proud of myself and patting myself on the back for being such a great mother until we got home and I went to take off his shoes. At this point I realized that I had put them on the wrong feet! Talk about crashing back down to earth. I'm just glad no one noticed, because as all mothers know, there are a lot of people out there that like to point out to you, everything you're doing wrong.

Well, that's my story and my confession. I never did find the glass bottles either - I guess they're sold out. So, on we go with the toxic plastic bottles - at least for one more day. Hey, at least he was WEARING shoes!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Milestone Update

Or inchstone update as I heard someone once refer to these achievements.

Crawling: In physiotherapy we have been working on getting Bennett into and holding a crawling position. Once there we try to encourage him to go forward by holding a towel under his chest and urging him to move. His arms move but he seems to have difficulty in getting his right leg to follow. Crawling may not be in the cards for our boy, but we'll keep trying as it's a great way for him to build strength on his weaker side. You can see that he wants to move and gets a bit frustrated when he can't. Although he isn't moving forward, he is moving backwards quite well. We actually invested in a baby gate for the stairs, which will make both grandmothers and our wonderful neighbour Nancy very happy.

Lying to Sitting: We have been working on this one for a while - and I'm very proud to announce that we have success! Bennett has pretty much mastered this skill, although it is definitely still an effort on his part. Not only is he getting better at this everyday, he will do it on command 95% of the time. Two nights ago, he also managed to sit up from lying flat on his back - that is a really hard one. We were so surprised and I'm glad I had a witnesss (Mummu) there to reassure me that I wasn't seeing things.

Pulling Up: This is the next thing we're working on. The idea is to get him pulling up and then hopefully cruising and then walking. Once again he has the desire to do this but it will be a while I think before all the pieces fall into place (strength, using both hands, balance, confidence).

Kissing: I guess this isn't really a milestone, but it's great all the same. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to try and teach him to give kisses earlier, but I tried it the other night. He picked it up in no time at all and now gives them quite freely - about half are with a closed mouth and the other half with a wide open slobbery mouth. I don't know which I like better.

Here are three videos. One is of him sitting up, another of him showering Daddy with kisses and another that is him being cute on his belly and getting too distracted by toys to sit up for his mommy who was trying to tape the video for the blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Desperate Cry For Help

Auntie Bean? Can you hear me? My bed head, although spectacular is starting to affect my moves with the ladies. I know you're a very busy lady, but can we set up a date sometime - you can come to me, I can come to you, you can come to Mummu & Poppa's - whatever works! I'm starting to get worried as Mummu keeps offering to cut my hair.

Please help! Oh yeah, I love you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

MRI Update

Well, Bennett came through the MRI with no problems. He fell asleep within 10 minutes of getting his sedation medication. They strapped him in, covered him with a blanket, put plugs in his ears and slid him in. I was allowed to sit in a rocking chair next to the machine. I think the hardest part was seeing him in the MRI unit - he looked so incredibly small. He woke up about an hour later and despite warnings that he may be fussy, he was his usual happy self.

Now, as Kiera said in the comments below, is the hard part - waiting for the results. I want them to be normal, although I know that is unrealistic and that it won't mean that he doesn't have CP - but still, normal would be good.

Bennett was pretty much spoiled the rest of the day. Not that he was being needy or sucky - more like Mommy & Daddy were. So, he went for a nap with Daddy (rather than the crib) and then slept in the co-sleeper and with us (rather than the crib). He had a nap yesterday in the crib - Daddy was at work, so I could do whatever I wanted. However, he has spent every other night in the co-sleeper. I'm starting to doubt that the boy will ever spend a night in the crib - it's a good thing we got one that converts to a bed.
Tomorrow, he has PT & OT. I'll try to post the milestone update then.
Thank you so much to everyone for your thoughts and prayers - we really appreciate them!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Terrified - MRI Tomorrow

April is turning out to be a busy month on the Bennett front. He has started occupational therapy, seen a new pediatrician, had his vision tested and is going for an MRI tomorrow. All of these things have scared me quite a bit. Here's an update:

Pediatrician: We wanted to see a different pediatrician because the first one was a bit heartless when delivering her diagnosis and then seemed too impatient to answer our questions. It was a half hour appt. that went from "take his socks off, look at him when you talk to him and don't use baby talk" (this was the first 20 minutes) to "oh - he has cerebral palsy - he probably will walk and talk but it will take longer - not until he's two or three - I'll refer him for therapy and an MRI and - I have no other information for you" (the last ten minutes).

Anyway, the new pediatrician didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, but she was more compassionate and willing to take the time to answer our questions. She was also much nicer to Bennett and had toys in her office. Imagine - toys in a pediatrician's office! I don't think the first Dr. said more than a few words to Bennett and had one toy that I wouldn't have given my dog. In a way that's not a fair comparison as Bowser is quite pampered. Regardless, we were very happy that the second Dr. offered to take Bennett as a patient.

Vision Test: We decided to get Bennett's vision tested at the recommendation of our physiotherapist - just as a precautionary measure. I didn't really have any concerns about his vision but then again, what the hell do I know - I had no idea that my son had cerebral palsy. So much for my mother instinct! We went for the test last week - it went well and the optometrist doesn't have any concerns at this point. It was nice to have some good news.

MRI: This is a pretty standard test for kids with CP. It can rule out other problems and sometimes give more information as to the extent and type of brain injury. I have mixed feelings about this test. Mostly, I am terrified. I think it will be very hard to watch my baby be sedated and stuck in a big machine for an hour. Then, we have to hear the results in a couple weeks. That's even scarier! I don't think I'm ready to hear that the test shows extensive brain damage - but who is ever ready to hear that I guess. I just keep reminding myself, that the results are mostly irrelevant. Many kids with cp have significant brain damage and do very well while others with little damage are more severe. This test can't predict Bennett's future. No matter what Bennett will still be the same little boy and loved just as much. But it's still scary nonetheless, and I am TERRIFIED!

So, that's the update for now. Bennett has reached a new major milestone that we're very excited about! I'll post about that either tomorrow after the MRI or Wednesday. Hopefully, I'll have a video to put up.

In the meantime, can I ask for some good thoughts and prayers to be sent our way tomorrow?


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sleeping Around

Ha! I bet someone thought that this might be one of "those" posts. Sorry to disappoint, but the following is a summary of how Bennett spent last night.

8:00 - 8:05pm: Lying and crying in the crib

8:05 - 9:00pm: Falling asleep in our bed

9:00 - 11:30pm: Sleeping in his crib

11:30 - 1:00am: Sleeping in between mom & dad in our bed

1:00 - 6:30am: Sleeping in the co-sleeper again

6:30 - 7:30am: Back in bed with mom & dad

Tonight we try the crib again.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It Could Be A Long Night

Before the accident and before Bennett was born, my plan was to have him sleep in a bassinette beside our bed for the first 3-4 months. However, being in a wheelchair, using a walker or crutches or a cane does not allow you to get up quickly to attend to a crying baby. And once I arrived, there wouldn't be much for me to do as I couldn't pick him up or go anywhere with him.

So, Jim and I decided that a co-sleeper would be the best thing. Bennett has slept beside me now for 15 months. It has worked out very well and I must confess that there is nothing I like better than rolling over and seeing his perfect little face sound asleep - a great way to pass the time on those nights I suffer from insomnia. The problem is that our little guy is becoming quite the expert at getting from a lying position to a sitting position. As a result the co-sleeper is not as safe for him anymore. Finally, we are trying the transition to a crib in his own room.

We started out with having him nap in the crib this week. That has gone very well. But tonight was the first time we tried the crib at bedtime. It did not go well at all- he protested quite loudly and as usual Daddy could only last about two minutes - I can do a lot better - I can usually last 5. Jim resorted to letting him fall asleep in our bed and then bringing him over to the crib - sneaky parents! What will he think when he wakes up? I think that he will not be impressed. We'll have the tv monitor on and we'll see if I can sleep or if I just stay up and watch all night. This is a hard move for me - even though he'll still only be about 25 feet away. I do hope it works out. As much as I love our peanut, it will be nice to have our bedroom back.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bed Head

To anyone who reads this, I apologize for my long absence. More posts including some serious ones will be coming as well as an update with Bennett's therapy.

In the meantime though, I've noticed that in most pictures my son has bed head. Fortunately, he, like his mother (me) has been gifted with a full head of unruly hair - he has had two hair cuts already (thanks to his wonderful Auntie Bean!). So the full head of hair combined with a bath before bed has led to a case of chronic bed head. Now, I don't really care about the bed head - I find considerable amusement in the variety of shapes bed head can take. When I'm out, I enjoy seeing people with bed head - I figure they are usually well rested, confident people. However, I will not go out with bed head - I resort to a hat or pony tail. Jim too, refuses to go out with bed head - he'll always wear a hat. So even though we don't go out with bed head, we don't hesitate to bring Bennett out with bed head. What does this say about me? I have no idea but I'm curious as to what other people think. Do you go out with bed head, do you care if your kids have bed head, do you think negatively of people who you see in public with bed head?

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Bowser!

Bowser, I can't believe you're 11! Ahh, dogs and babies - they grow up way too fast!