Saturday, March 20, 2010

It is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day and hello, world, my child is not a tragedy

Trevor has been working a lot lately, and the last thing I should be doing while he is home is burying my nose in the computer, but I was inspired by this post by Ellen to spread a little awareness today. So inspired, in fact, that I totally plagiarized her title word. for. word. (which, apparently, is something I like to do).

I am also going to plagiarize her message, which, in a nutshell, is that people with cerebral palsy are so much more than their diagnoses. Before I had Fletcher, I had no personal experience with it. In fact, as I think I have mentioned on here before, the only person I had knowingly seen with cerebral palsy was Blair's cousin from Facts of Life. Seriously. I didn't realize that CP is just an umbrella term that refers to someone who has muscular and postural abnormalities due to brain injury, that it can be as mild as dragging a foot or as severe as to require total care for life. They have a good general overview on the Centers for Disease Control website.

True, Fletcher leans more toward the severe side than the mild at this stage in his development, and that may never change, but he is still so, so much more than his cerebral palsy. He is a bright, happy, inquisitive, social little boy and I want everyone to see that side of him. Which is why I blog in the first place.

I will never forget a comment on this blog I received from Laura (which I don't have time to go back and find to quote exactly) to the effect that reading this blog and learning about Fletcher's life made her realize for the first time that a happy and full life can coexist with a cerebral palsy diagnosis, which her son recently had received. And that is exactly the message I want everyone to hear.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nine Months

Audrey is nine months old today (which happens to also be Aunt Niki's 31st birthday... happy birthday!) and I thought it was high time that I caught everyone up with the latest on Little Miss A.

As you can tell by the photo, in addition to one of many outfits given her by her generous, zebra-print-loving Aunt Angie, she is also rocking two teeth, with more to come any day now if drooling is any sign. She is on the brink of holding her own bottle or sippy cup, eats lumpy purees, and will hold and chew on teething biscuits and crackers. The other day I read something about kids developing a pincher grasp at about her age (who knew?), and thought, hmm, wonder if Audrey could do that. So I put her in her high chair and gave her a few cheerios, and sure enough, pincher grasp. Man, those developmental milestones come so easy for typical kids!

Speaking of being surprised by a typically developing child, a couple of months ago I met my mom and my sister for dinner. As usual, I was holding Fletcher for the meal and asked my mom if she would hold Audrey, as she was getting too big for her infant carrier. She just looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "you know, she could sit in the restaurant high chair." Um, no, I hadn't even considered that! Fletcher does not have enough trunk strength to sit in restaurant high chairs, or shopping carts, or things of that nature, so it never even dawned on me to put Audrey in one! In fact, Trevor just got back from a trip to Lowe's with Audrey (he is attempting a DIY plumbing project, be very afraid) and mentioned how much easier shopping with a kid is when you can just plop them in the cart.

When not moving around via cart, or double stroller (which was worth every penny of it's overpriced price tag), Audrey is doing a pretty good job of getting around by herself. She has been pushing up on hands and knees and rocking for about a month now, and doing a good job at scooting backward, but had not yet gotten the confidence or coordination to pick a hand up and move forward. That changed last week, and each day she is getting more and more mobile. She loves to move from belly to sitting and grab at whatever she can get her hands on, her favorites being cords and shoes.

She is still a good sleeper at night, decent napper, and generally good natured. She is loud, and inquisitive, and loves crawling all over Fletcher, who tolerates her, most of the time. She also loves the dog, who, despite her sometimes over exuberant petting, also tolerates her, most of the time.

We don't have her nine-month well-baby appointment until later this month, so I don't have any stats for you, but she still seems to be growing like a weed with no sign of falling back onto the growth charts. She is wearing mostly 12 to 18 month clothes, and I have gotten a couple of 24 month items for the summer. So yeah, still big, and with plenty of nicknames highlighting that little fact; "Big Momma" and even "Fat Momma" being some of the more common. We stayed with Trevor's Aunt Shelly for a couple of days last month and she was not a "big" (ha) fan of the nicknames, and, even though it is all in good fun, I understand why. I am actually trying to get away from calling her such things as she develops better receptive language skills. I mean, I just posted a video on the power of words, so I should understand.

But it is hard, because she is such a cute, chubby little thing. And, to me, every little inch of that chub is something to celebrate. It means that instead of being burned up by inefficient lungs or by high-tone muscles or other struggles her brother has to face that causes him to be rail-thin, her calories can actually go to a little baby fat because she enjoys the benefits of a healthy central nervous system. And, all seriousness aside, there is no denying it: the girl's just chunky.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flashback Friday: Fletcher's Third Birthday Video

I have really gotten behind on my posting, and I have this thing about really wanting to keep this blog in somewhat of a chronological order (in case one day I actually get the motivation to turn it into a keepsake book), so I am trying to start a habit of posting "Flashback Fridays" every once in awhile where I do a post and backdate it to the original chronological date and then link it to the present post.

I am starting with Fletcher's Third Year Montage, which I started in December and finally got around to editing last month. You can find it at the end of this birthday post. If you are new to the blog and want more adorable photo montages of my boy, you can check out his First Year Montage here and Second Year Montage here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why the word Disabled does not apply to Fletcher

I just lifted this video from Ryn Tale's. It is pretty long, just over twenty minutes, but if you have the time, watch it all the way through, or, if not, even the first couple of minutes. If I could have the general public learn one thing about kids with special needs, it would be this.