Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy campers

My husband and I have always loved camping. When we started to think about having a family, we'd talk about how much fun it was going to be to take our kids camping. Once they were born, we talked about waiting until they could walk, so it'd be easier on baby hands and knees. But now we don't really now when Drake will walk, so we decided to just take them camping anyway.

Sooo....we took them on their first car camping trip last weekend and it was (pretty much) a smashing success!

I did almost want to back out once I started to over-think the logistics. They have never slept in anything other than a crib or pack n play, and now we were going to ask them to share a tent and sleep on the ground? I figured naps were going to be non-existent, since it would be blazing hot in a tent mid-afternoon. And what about Drake and crawling around a campsite full of dirt, rocks and sticks?

But, we pushed through and went.

The drive was about 4 hours, and we stopped mid-way for food and diaper changes. They were great in the car -- napping, eating and "reading" books.

We got there and set up our site and the kids had a blast playing in the tent, rolling around in the sleeping bags, etc. I put Drake in a pair of hefty pants w/ reinforced knees and let him explore his new world. Did he get dirty as all hell? Yes. Did he love it? Yes.

They did amazingly well sleeping in the tent, too. We put down an air mattress that filled the whole floor of the tent, put them in their PJs and warm sleep sacks and said good-night. They cried a little at first, confused why they were shut into this tent by themselves, but quickly just started playing together and chatting and after a half hour or so, conked out, cuddled up together! I crawled into their tent to sleep with them when I went to bed. I was worried they'd wake up scared in the middle of the night. But they did great!

The next day, we put them in backpacks and went for a hike, then spent the afternoon on a sandy beach by a mountain lake. They loved the lake, of course. They are getting so confident in water. Both love being dunked completely underwater and are learning to hold their breath when they go under.

There were no naps as I suspected, but they were having so much fun being outside and seeing new things, that they didn't seem any worse for the wear. They were practically at home in the sleeping tent the second night (or just exhausted!) and we did another hike to a river the second day.

Then we came home, tired and dirty, but so happy that we made it through our first family camping trip and had fun doing it, too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speech eval

So the latest report from D's speech evaluation came in yesterday. As I expected, he is still very delayed, but did make progress overall. He is currently in the 9 - 12 month range for both expressive and receptive language. 6 months ago, he was in the 6 - 9 month range.

He has about 5 -10 good words that he uses consistently and in the correct context. Supposedly, kids this age should have 75 words they use consistently and in the correct context AND should be using several two-word combinations, like "Mama's keys".

I tried to count all Lucy's words, and she has about 35 - 45 good words. But she is really in a word spurt right now. Tomorrow she could have 5 more. She's doing a ton of repeating new words back. She isn't putting word combinations together yet, though.

D's speech therapist remains optimistic about D's progress. She noted some of his physical delays are holding back his expressive language -- such as opening the chest for voice control and control over some mouth movements. He is slowly getting more control and she thinks as that matures, his language will really pick up. His drooling is really improved, I think because he finally got all his teeth in, but also because he keeps his mouth shut more, and doesn't need to open it when he moves or concentrates, which he used to. He is also swallowing his spit more effectively. I used to have to change his shirt twice a day, now it's just the occasional chin-wipe.

So again, progress is progress, even if it's slow progress.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eval time

Well, it's that time of year again. 6 months ago Drake had his last PT, OT and speech evaluation. That was December, when Drake was pretty much only rolling as a means of mobility, and pretty much rolling only to the right.

I was actually looking forward to this evaluation, because in my mind, he's achieved so much (especially in gross motor) in the past six months! He crawls, pulls to high kneeling, is starting to pull to stand. He sits independently and plays with toys with both hands.

However, his first reports came in and hit me like a ton of bricks. On paper, it shows he's only marginally improved in terms of age appropriateness. He is 21 months old and his gross motor skills only went from 6 to 8 months in locomotion, and from 7 to 10 in stationary! WHAT? Only a couple months progress in 6 months of awesomeness?

But when I sit back and think about it, I guess it seems right. Babies crawl at 8 months. Babies pull to stand at 10 months. That is how old Lucy was when she did those things. I guess it's easy for me to forget and to think how normal crawling at 21 months seems. Which is funny, given I also have a typically developing 21 month old.

His fine motor skills and language are pretty delayed as well. I am waiting on the reports from his speech therapist, but I am pretty sure it will be in the marginally improved realm as well. He has about 5 good words: hi, uh-oh, book, ba-ba, hot, hat. 6 months ago, he was at the 6-9 month level in language. Maybe he's at the 9 -12 month level now? We'll see.

The best news is that Drake is almost up to his age on his cognitive skills. He came in at 20 months for all the cognitive and social \ emotional evaluations. Woo-hoo!

I know these evaluations are just numbers and mean nothing about his outcome or his achievements. But, they are still tough to swallow, especially when I am seeing such progress and it doesn't translate on paper. His therapists remind me that the expectations are so much higher at this age than they were 6 months ago, when he was 15 months. So, it's easier to fall further behind at this age.

Whatever. I think he's doing awesome. And progress is progress!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's awesome about Milwaukee

We just got back from a week in Milwaukee where Andy's parents live. The last time we were there was last May, when the twins were 7 months old. I remember wondering if any of Andy's parent's friends and extended family would notice that Drake was delayed. I laugh thinking about that now...they were 7 months old! Neither of them were doing anything except laying around on the floor. Of course, no one thought or asked me a thing about Drake.

Fast forward to this year. 20 months old. Lucy is running and has a bunch of clear words. Drake is crawling and has a few sort of clear words. There is a noticeable difference in what they can and can't do. Funny thing is, this year I was less concerned about people asking me about Drake. Maybe I have reached a new plane of acceptance? I don't know. Sometimes I don't think he seems that delayed because he is making such great strides and I am used to him and think he seems like any other kid. But when you see him next to Lucy, yes, it is obvious he is behind.

But everyone who came over to see the twins (and let me tell you, there were a lot of people. his parents hosted a "sip and see" just for twin viewing) was loving and engaged with them and if they noticed something was amiss, didn't say anything to me. I really appreciated that. Not that I would mind explaining his delays, but sometimes I don't feel like telling his life story to strangers.

The other thing that was awesome about Milwaukee was the stairs in my in-laws living room. They have a big carpeted living room that is "sunken", so there are 3 low and wide steps getting in and out of it. Drake was all about the steps. And by the end of the week, was getting up them pretty darn good. Wish we had some low steps for him to practice on here.

The last awesome thing about Milwaukee is that the in-laws also watched the kids overnight one night so Andy and I could have a get-away to Chicago. Awesome!