Friday, January 22, 2010

Playing with cousins is the BEST

The girls and I spent the last two weeks at my sister's house. Their house is BUSY! Four children two adults and one dog plus friends up and down the block make for a lot of excitement. Much more excitement than my children have ever seen in our house!

Julia was in heaven playing with her cousins. In fact, when we came home for the weekend in between weeks she was a bit distraught that she had "no cousins to play with!" She was able to stay up later at night, watch movies with the kids, eat a non-fruit snack before bed and play musical beds each night. We played a lot of games and she made a friend with a child across the street that is almost the same age as her. We even went and saw the movie The Princess and the Frog. What more could a 4 year old ask for?

As for Emma, she made a huge amount of progress with her gross motor skills. She is such a busy-body that she didn't want to miss out on any of the action! She kept her head held high, stood in her stander without her tray for a long period of time most days, played Bingo with us (ok, she kept tossing everything on the ground but that shows HUGE progress on her part!), and sat in an Indian-style position unsupported for about 5 minutes at a stretch. This is all after she spent the day having 2 HBOT treatments, a bit of exercise in between each treatment, and a 2 hour ride in the car.

Oh, and Emma also didn't have much sleep with all of this because because I forgot her pacifier and decided it was time to wean her off of it instead of buying a new one. She only took the binky when she went down to sleep anyway, but she just LOVED it! Loved as in she would giggle like crazy when she knew she would get the binky in her mouth. I just love that giggle - it's so darn cute! So, why am I so mean to take it from her? I need more sleep and I think her binky was a big reason she wakes up at night. When she would lose it from her mouth she would wake up and cry for us to come back in the room and put it in her mouth. Her arms are not that advanced to be able to find the binky, grab it and put it in her mouth so she needed us to help her out which meant a lot of interrupted sleep for us (well, really, it was mostly me as Chris can sleep through crying babies). I was hoping that without the binky to start with she won't wake up and cry for us to replace it once it fell out. She wasn't a happy camper -ok, that's a huge understatement!- but eventually adjusted to bedtime without the binky. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will mean more sleep for everyone in our house.

The kids are all really into music and liked to put on the iPod and dance around. Emma was pleased as could be that they included her in this by pushing her all around in either her chair or stander to the music. It was SOOOO nice to see Emma included as just one of the gang. And, she KNEW it, too! She was loving moving around with the kids without hanging next to Mom all the time. Of all the kids, though, Emma was really sweet on Christopher and she kept talking like crazy when he was around. I heard quite a few consonants coming out of her mouth along with the vowels and I would say there were even 3 syllable sounds. This was all music to my ears!

So, we took two weeks off of standard therapy (and preschool for Julia) and got 20 HBOT treatments under our belt. Emma has now completed 29 dives and has 11 to go that we will fit in over the next couple of weeks while she participates in her standard therapy sessions. We'll commute to the HBOT clinic from our house making for a bit longer days but we know that it will be over in a few weeks and are praying that the time and money spent on HBOT will allow Emma to make great gains in her speech and motor skills. Time will tell for sure but we have noticed some changes in Emma since we started the HBOT (will post more on this in the future) and that gives us hope.

I think it did us all good to take the time off. It was really nice for me to spend quality time with my sister and her family. We don't get to visit together nearly as often as we would like and the extended visit really felt that we could just relax and hang out. I love seeing how independent and outgoing Julia can act when she is with her cousins. She is an amazing little girl and I really hope the next house we buy has some children her age nearby. Seeing Emma fit in as one of the gang - and how strong she was getting by trying to keep up with all the kids - did wonders for my heart. There were so many times that I was touched with how the kids played with Emma that it helped heal my heart a little more.

So, we had two weeks away from home and off from therapy. Thanks so much to the Nitka's for hosting us! We had a blast and will definitely make time for more sleep overs. As for "no cousins to play with?" Well, we all missed Chris and Finnegan and even though it's nice to get away, it's always good to be home again.

1 Comments from readers:

PrayforNathan.org said...

Kristina, sometimes stopping therapy and just having fun is the best therapy of all! I'm glad you guys had a chance to do this. I'm also so excite to hear about all of Emma's improvements! I hope to hear of many more.