Monday, September 14, 2009

Constantly Progressing

We are a young family that is raising a boy with responsibility and a positive attitude, which is not much different from other young American families. The extra chromosome has changed a little bit of the way most people raise their kids. But because of this extra chromosome we are learning many things about early intervention that has empowered our parenting skills.

We want to share all the amazing progress our boy is having, because he is a true example that
we all are God’s kids who have been blessed with a set of skills, but sometimes it takes a little bit longer for those skills to develop.

Tommy playing skills are constantly improving. He started to pretend feeding and give me my drink a while ago. We also pretends to talk on the phone. He put his hands on his ear, his phone toy or the actual phone when he talks on the phone to "ita" in Panama. He is also pretending to brush Fred Bird's hair. He is hammering his peg toy and playing the drum. His toy preference is changing because he likes more simple toys. He is stacking blocks. His bigger tower was from 4 empty shoe and toy boxes. He was able to match his puzzle (the sheep figure) three times a few weeks ago. We are now playing with flash cards and he recognizes 42 cards, Yahoo!

Tommy loves rough-housing play. We think he will do extreme sports when he gets older. He enjoys to be up-side-down, to sewing very fast in the swinger, to wrestle with daddy, to bounce on his big ball (the faster the better for him). We have a lot of fun!

Our boy is a singer. He likes to sing in baby language. He sings and does hand play with Twinkle-Twinkle. I love to see him doing the shapes of the diamond when we sing Twinkle-Twinkle. He also enjoys the song: Row, row your boat. We sing “Head, shoulders…”. He knows where his head is, and he is leaning where his nose, mouth and feet are. He likes to sing even opera with Daddy on the car (Those two have fun when they are together).

Our boy is a good imitator, too. He likes to imitate sounds and actions which is very important to learn. He does like the cow, sheep, turkey, horse, dog and car. When it is time for desert and he sees the little bowl, he does "mmmmm". I went to Baby’s R Us the other day and I suddenly heard Tommy doing “mmmmm” and looking at the baby food. He also does the refreshing sound from the old Pepsi commercial.

Tommy has good communication skills. He is becoming verbal. He says a few words, those are: hi, no, yeah, agua (once an while), “tetita or teta” (milk or cup), and "tita or ita" means "abuelita" (granny) in Tommy's baby language. He also says "Hi dada" and "No ma". He said yesterday "Ok" while he was with his Speech Therapist. He already initiates waving and high-5 on his own to interact with others. Tommy does 2 gestures that he converted into sign language. One gesture is that he rub his head with one hand, this means he wants massages on his head. The other one is that he wipes his hands, which means use hand sanitizer. Once, I changed his diaper and I picked him up from the changer and he refused. He did the gesture of wiping his hands and I immediately understood I didn’t use the hand sanitizer. He let me hold him after I used the hand sanitizer. I was extremely happy because his expressive communication is coming along.

Tommy is signing and able to understand English and Spanish (too many communications going on). But we think the sooner the better. He signs all done, more, eat, baby and his version of drink. He learned to sign "baby" by watching the video. I knew because I was singing a fragment of the video song that says "baby, baby, baby signing time" and I saw him very excited signing his version of baby and you can see it in the following video.

Tommy's self-care skills are very good. I think this is because he doesn't have sensory issues. He likes to "bush" his hair and his teeth (Well, his gums because his teeth are taking forever to come out). He also takes his cloth off with a little bit of help and he is trying so hard to put his cloth on. He is actually able to put one leg of his pants on. Impressive! His Occupational therapist says that taking his cloth off is age appropriate, but trying to put his cloth on is for an older kid.

His gross motor skills are slowly progressing, but progressing. His Physical Therapist (PT) thinks Tommy is choosing not to be mobile. Because his decreased muscle tone is mild and his body is strong enough to get around. We got into the conclusion Tommy is being a little bit manipulative because mommy spoils him too much. She also thinks Tommy is tired of all of us pushing him to get mobile. He may probably want to try it on his own because he is very independent. Therefore, she decided to do something unusual, taking him out of the therapy for a little while. We did and we are astonish of the amazing progress he has done since then. He has gone from barely moving to a lot of motion. It sounds ironic, but it is true!

Our PT says that it is the first time she suggested "No therapy" as a therapy without having any medical study supporting the "No therapy". She talked to an experienced PT who said that it is very rare that this happens, but it happened to her twice in her 25 year of experience. Our PT thinks that Tommy has a mind of his own.

His therapists also think he is not walking yet because he seems to be completely focused on his
communications, fine motor and playing skills than on his physical skills. The most important for us is that he is constantly progressing.

We feel God chose us for parenting Tommy because he knows our hearts. He knew Tommy would complete our lives with or without the extra chromosome. He knew we would fight for building a future of opportunities for our son.

We don’t know what the future grants for Tommy, but we know he will keep surpassing our expectations.

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