Thursday, July 26, 2012

17 months

Today Tera is 17 months old. I do believe after next month I'm just going to forget the months when people ask how old she is and just say a year and a half until she reaches two.  I've always thought it was weird when people use months any time after 20, for example, "my son is 37 months".  No, he's three.  Anyway, I digress.  Since her baby book only goes up to 12 months as far as milestones, I'm using this as my memoir.

Despite the fact that she spent the beginning of the month very sick and the rest of the month recovering, Tera has made big advances.  She is crawling very well right now and can and does pull herself to stand using pretty much anything and anyone.  She's using her bike to walk a lot and needs no assistance from us to get around.  At first we needed to help her get out of places when she got stuck, but now she knows to swing the bike out and move forward and she can pretty much get around anywhere on the first floor.  And then there's the stairs.  She loves crawling up the stairs and then deciding which room to go into.  She loves the bathroom because she can pull everything out of the garbage and then destroy the toilet paper.  She loves the workout room because it's where the cat is a lot of the time and we really can't let her in there so it's of course, very appealing.  And she loves our room because we now have mirrored closets and boy does she love looking and talking to herself in mirrors.  The room she attempts to get in the least? Her room.  She also loves to look back at you, see what your reaction is and laugh her silly little laugh as she moves again thinking she's going somewhere she's not supposed to.

One of the areas I'm most excited about is her signing.  She can now sign "eat", "more", "all done", and "kitty" without prompting.  This week she completely amazed me by putting "more" and "water" together.  Her sign for water is a little iffy, but she signed more and then put her hand to her mouth and she already had food in front of her so I tried water and every time she did the two signs together she already had food in front of her and would drink the water when I gave it to her.  Then a few days ago she was trying to get a toy out of her bin and couldn't reach it and kept looking at me frustrated.  I did the sign for please and she immediately replicated it and I gave her the toy.  She looked so happy with herself.  I really think we've hit a turning point because I think she's finally figured out that when she does the correct sign, she really does get what she wants and what she's asking for.  After waiting so long for this after practicing for so many months, I feel like the number of signs she can do without prompting is really going to take off soon.  I'm even more excited about this now because after talking with her speech therapist about her upcoming review, she's placing her at around 10 or 11 months of age.  She's mastered all the 6-9 month skills except recognizing people's names.  She still doesn't seem to react at all when we say "mommy" or "daddy", or anybody else.  She would be more solidly in the 12 month range if she could vocalize any words or even more sounds.  She still only does b's and d's.  So the fact that she can sign things to communicate with us is huge.

Yesterday my mother in law and I had lunch with a friend of hers and her friend's daughter in law.  Her daughter in law has a daughter who will be one year next week and they realized shortly after she was born that something was wrong.  Well, after months and months of testing they still don't know for sure what is wrong, but they suspect cerebral palsy.  She has no one to talk to about anything and though she is receiving services for her daughter, she's not receiving any support.  My mother in law's friend thought it would be helpful for her to talk with me just so she knew someone in a similar situation.  It was a really nice visit and I realized afterwards again how very lucky we are to have Gigi's for that very reason.  It was interesting to talk with someone whose child is also delayed but not as a result of DS and we still had so many concerns, problems, and feelings that were the same.  One of the things we talked about, which I want to elaborate on in a future post based on an article, is how difficult is hear some comments.  Most of you know by now I don't get offended by much and what I'm about to share doesn't offend me, it's just hard for me and other parents of special needs kids to hear.  Many times when we say that our child isn't doing something we get a comment similar to, "oh you should be glad they're not _______ yet, mine is and they're into everything!" What's difficult for us "non-typical" parents is that we do want them to be doing whatever the skill in question is.  Many times, we've been waiting months for it.  So while we appreciate the need to help diffuse the frustration, a better response may be, "yes, I imagine that would be difficult" or just say, "yep that sucks, but he/she is doing really well at ________".  I know from what I've read in the past year and a half that it can be just as difficult to be the other person in the conversation with a special needs parent, but I've just found the the less patronizing you can be and the more understanding, the better.  And if you're ever in doubt about how to handle a situation and are afraid of offending someone, just ask me, remember, I don't get offended by almost anything.

So next week Tera gets her second set of tubes and the following week is her 18 month review (a little early but scheduled before everyone goes back to school).  While I really am dreading going back to work and losing all the quality time I get with my girl right now, I am very anxious to see what she does next month.  And maybe, just maybe, we'll break through the 20lb barrier! I'll try and weigh her tomorrow and include that in my next post.
Did I mention she's reading? :)

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