Friday, May 14, 2010

Making Progress

Progress is a funny thing.  People ask me all the time how Nate is doing.  I'm not really sure how to answer that.  Well, he's 16 months, but looks and acts like an 8 month old.  How is that?  He's about the sweetest little guy around, but progress is slow, really slow.  Looking at the range of timelines for milestones does not help me anymore.  Nate is on the slower end of the range, so what used to give me comfort now causes concern.

I asked our Speech Therapist if there is any correlation between a slow learning curve now and ultimate function later in life.  She danced around for a minute, but then said that there are some who believe that a slower start means lower function.

Hmmm, what do I do with that?  Do I dig in and push, push, push?  Yes, I have to.

As a Personal Trainer, I am used to pushing people.  But, I've never had anyone come to me and say, "I'm going to live with you for the next 20 or so years and want you to do everything you can for me to be the best I can".  That is a lot of responsibility!

I'm not a runner, but I don't avoid it altogether.  I don't hate it, I just don't crave it like some I know.  I think it's ridiculous that Marathons have been introduced to the masses.  (Did you know the first Marathoner died at the end?)  I have seen way too many people burn out or have long term injuries from pushing their bodies to run marathons.  I'm more of a short distance girl.  5k, 10k, even a half marathon.  So, looking at this long term commitment to Nate's care feels really big!

Okay, so that's what I've been feeling lately.  Haven't wanted to write about it because I want to be past this place.  I adore and love Nate so deeply, but there is still a part of me that wishes I could blink and we'd be back to the day of his birth and I'd see a different, I beat myself up.  I've had to process this lately because I have been eating out of control and know without a doubt that when I eat like this it's because there is something I don't want to have to deal with...

So, now I'm writing.  And dealing...

And actually, we've had some really big progress over the last month.  When Nate turned 15 months and still wasn't sitting for longer than 10 minutes on his own, I shared my frustration with our PT.  She looked around our family room for ideas of how to help him sit and came up with this setup:

It's a balance disc behind a table the great people at Early Intervention made.  So, sitting on this unstable surface gave Nate a constant reminder to work to stay upright.  We put him on the front 1/3 of the disc so that if he started to lean back, the pressure of the air at the back would give him a nudge to sit back up.  The day after we came up with this setup, Nate sat for 1.5 HOURS STRAIGHT!!!

So, a couple of days later, we were able to take him outside and he sat the entire time while we planted our garden!

We used this approach for about 10 days and then took him off the disc.  Now he can sit and play for a really long time!!!  He even spins around on his tush to get different toys.

And as of yesterday, Nate is drinking from a straw!!!!  This is so exciting for us!  It literally just happened.  He sucked down an entire honey bear of apple juice with his tongue pulled in!!!  

I'm really hoping that he was just stuck in a place of slower development because he hadn't mastered his gross motor skill of sitting.  Maybe now he will flourish and just surprise us with all sorts of new tricks!

Here's a video of us playing last week - he was in such a great mood!