Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09/09/09: The Aftermath

So it has been a week since Marco's diagnosis. We have been on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. At the same time, life goes on. Kids still need to be cared for and jobs still need to be done, so there is not really a lot of time to mope around. We are not mopers anyway, but I have certainly had moments of feeling sorry for myself. Then there have been the moments of jealousy towards everyone I know who has 'normal' kids. Not in a bad way, so please do not avoid me if you read this and are near me. Nor will I come and steal your kid and leave you mine. LOL. I have been assured that these feelings are normal parts of coping with a tough situation.
One thing I started doing a lot was looking at Marco's behavior and thinking: Is that an Autism thing or is that a Toddler thing? I don't think Marco throws tantrums more than the average toddler, but he does get really impatient with himself. On the way home today, he started playing with his shoelace. He unthreaded it and tried to re-thread it. He was successful. Now, I would consider this an advanced fine motor skill for a 2 1/2 year old! But he will get upset with himself if he does not get it in the first try. (Ohmygod, he kind of sounds like me at work. LOL. Much of my job is trying to figure out things and sometimes I want to cry/scream/curse if I can't. At least, I do tend to get impatient with myself. ) I also started giving him brief commands when I want him to do something. Repeat until he does it. And he totally gets it!
Then, I freaked out because I read somewhere if you have one sibling with Autism, the others have higher risks. ACK. I mean, come on, you say. Annelies has enough to deal with with the Ds! I agree. Yet I have read about instances where kids with Ds ALSO had Autism. So I started drilling Annelies like a mad woman when we were doing her PT excercises this weekend. I made her hand me a toy, and I would hand it back to her, back and forth. And switching hands. And making eye contact. And calling her name to get her to look at me. I bacame drill seargeant Mommy. Annelies finally gave me a look that said: WTH is WRONG with you?!?! So I laid off. (Today in her Wee-play class, the teachers observed how good Annelies was about grabbing a toy from me, though, so we made significant progress. Go us!)
The bottom line is, and this goes for both Aaron and I, we love and enjoy our kids. We appreciate the challenges in front of them, and admire them that much more for being able to tackle those challenges, and overcome obstacles with grace and a sense of humor.
I also want to thank all our friends & family. Once again, your outpooring of support, words of encouragment and faith from near and far has been none less than phenomimal. Thanks, from the bottom of our hearts!

09/02/09: Annelies is 9 Months Old

Hard to believe that Annelies was born 9 months ago. She is 9 months old, and thriving. She passed the 20 lb mark and is 28 1/2 inches long. These measurements put her in the top 75 percentile of typical growth charts for weight and length. She is able to sit independently for long amounts of time, and can spend some time on her hands and knees with hip support. She is starting to army-crawl a little, but sometimes goes sideways or backwards. Not sure how she does that. She is incredibly talkative, and babbles a lot with influctions/intonations in her speech, really cute. She also laughs out loud. I remember Marco doing exactly the same at that age. She is a little, uh, louder than Marco was though. She is starting to be interested in toys, and reaching a lot for different things we hand to her. Eating is going well (hence, the healthy weight). She eats a lot of fruit and is becoming more familiar with vegatables. I am preparing foods a little more lumpy so she gets used to texture. She is not bothered by this.
I am kind of forgetting what 'typical' milestones are, not really keeping track anymore of what Annelies does and how 'far behind' she is. I know some of the major milestones, like walking of course, but am not so bothered anymore that she will be developing at her own pace. That said, she really really likes to stand up. When she is on my lap of on the floor in front of me, and I grab her hands, she is up on her feet in a flash. So cute. But the biggest factor in standing is trunk control, if she does not have trunk control, she needs to lock her legs to stand up. She is getting much more trunk control since she is sitting up independently now, so she certainly is getting stronger.
It is hard to believe 9 months went so quickly. Soon I have to start thinking about planning a 1 st B-Day party for her!