Friday, February 10, 2012

Life skills

We take things for granted.  I think it's human nature and I'm sure almost everyone does it in some way or another.  Things like walking, sitting, putting food in your mouth, sitting up after you've been laying down, etc.  You may see where I'm going with this, but these are all things that most of us do without thinking.  I don't know if you can truly appreciate the ability to do these things until you watch a child learn how to do them for the first time.  And you really begin to understand all that it takes to do these things when you watch a child struggle to do them.  When Tera was working on rolling, I first began to understand just how many muscles it takes for a little baby to move their body over to one side.  Then when she was working on sitting I had to understand just how many core muscles it takes to be able to hold yourself up in that position.  One of the things her physical therapist is currently working with her on is transitioning from sitting to laying and vice versa.  She can kind of accidentally get down onto her stomach occasionally, but apparently getting up from laying down is quite a bit harder. 

The other skill I've been truly amazed by in the past few days is watching Tera put food in her mouth.  On several occasions I've found myself just studying how she does it and where the difficulty lies.  At this point they are still working on hand and eye coordination and obviously that is a big factor in this particular skill.  So is being able to even get the food, usually puffs in her case, in her hands.  Currently, the puffs kind of stick to her hands and she shoves her palm to her face and moves it around until she gets the food in (mostly).  What's really interesting is how she pushes it in if it doesn't get in completely the first time.  Sometimes she'll just drag her hand across her face and hope it pushes it in, sometimes she uses her whole arm, sometimes she'll work her tongue back and forth trying to get the rest of it in.

It really is completely amazing to watch what we consider such basic skills, develop in someone from the very start.  It's also so inspiring to watch someone that I know has to work just a little bit harder to do those things.  Since one of my goals with this blog is to inform, I'll explain the difference between low muscle tone and no muscle tone, as it's been explained to me.  In the most basic of descriptions, people with low muscle tone can still be very strong, it's just harder for them to develop the muscles.  I'm constantly amazed by how many parts of the body low muscle tone can affect.  For instance, you may have noticed that Tera has quite the Buddha belly in some of her pictures.  She's had this from day one and it's because her stomach muscles aren't strong enough to hold themselves in yet (not the scientific explanation, but a pretty accurate one).  It actually has improved since birth, but it's still there and it's not at all fat, it's just the shape of her body right now.  Her PT has told us that it will improve as she gets stronger. 

I never wanted to be one of those parents that thinks that everything their kid does is the most amazing thing ever.  But I have to say, though I still don't want to be that person, it really is a special experience to be able to witness these things in any child.  It just happens to be more meaningful when it's your own kid :)
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