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Bye Bye Walker!

IMG_0936Yesterday Peanut said good-bye to the walker our Physical Therapist gave her about a year ago.  We walked into therapy with it, walked out without it!  No…this doesn’t mean she is walking on her own now!  But we transitioned to another “walker”  Even though she walked like a pro in her walker, our goal with Peanut has always been to move her into something that is more of a toy (baby stroller, cart, wagon) instead of the medical walker.  This will give her more independence as well as not draw huge arrows to her to show everyone that shes “different.”

Last week, while hanging out at our friends house, we had Peanut try out her daughters shopping cart.  I was worried it was going to be too tall or even tip a little and then she would be scared to try it again.  But nope!  It was perfect!!  She voluntarily pulled herself up on it and took a few steps.  Instantly we knew we needed one of our own!!

So we purchased the Melissa and Doug Shopping Cart  It is a little more pricey than we would normally pay for a toy.  However, it is super sturdy, wont tip and realistically because of her size, Peanut can use this for years!

I took it with us to Physical Therapy to show Betty and she loved it!!  She is even planning on purchasing one for her to use there.  Since this has been the only thing Peanut has ever walked with on her own, it is worth transitioning her to it full time.  So now my job kicks in!  We are helping her use the cart as much as possible.  Planning on taking it with us wherever we can and encouraging her to be more independent with it.

I was so proud that she has made this progress!!  I feel like we have been pushing her for this for forever!  This past month she has really found her strength.  There’s no way to determine how long she will still need assistance to walk, but she is heading in the right direction.  Part of me is terrified of her fully independent and running around everywhere!  She’s hard to keep controlled as it is 🙂

So be on the look out for us at the store if your a local.  You might just catch Peanut shopping on her own 🙂

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On the Move

2-10-2Last time I gave a therapy update, Jana was still struggling to stand on her own and just started taking a few steps.  What a difference a few months makes!!  Jana officially can stand on her own and pull up on just about everything.  She officially started climbing up steps and making my days even more interesting.  She can walk pretty decent amount with just holding my hands or using her walker given to her by her physical therapist.  This girl is on the move and nothing is getting in her way!!  It is so amazing to see her working so hard to reach her goals.  In the past week alone, I’ve seen a huge change in her confidence and strength.  She is constantly freaking us out by climbing on furniture and getting herself in tight spots.

I found this online:

The average age to begin walking in a child with down syndrome is 25 months (with a range of 14-42 months), versus a child without down syndrome, where the average age is 13 months with a normal range of 9-17 months.

2-8-1So Jana is actually above the curve from her DS buddies in walking, and just a little behind her typical friends.  I am so so proud of her!!  At times it is still tough.  To watch her try so hard but still not be able to do it.  I can see her little brain telling her tiny body what to do, but it still not working.  There are times she gets very frustrated and just tries to give up.  But she is stubborn and independent, so not much stops her from reaching her goals.  (Even as I type this she is trying to figure out how to climb onto the couch so she can take my computer away 🙂 )

I don’t see her having to use the walker for long.  But if she does, that will be perfectly fine.  She is proud of the steps she can take unassisted and it helps bring more independence in her life.  I know when people see it with her, it confuses them.  I mean really, the walker screams SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD!!  But you know what, when I see her beautiful face light up when she can move on her own, I don’t care what anyone thinks!  My girl is perfect just the way she is!  And if people are uncomfortable with that, then thats just too bad 😉

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Standing UP

img_7136It’s be awhile since I posted an update about how Jana’s therapy is going.  Since both crawling and raising herself on her knees are checked off, we are moving on to standing.  So far this transition has gone wonderfully.  Our therapist Betty said 9 out of 10 of her kids pick this up without issue or stress.  At first each time Jana stood, she had this look of pride on her face that was so amazing to see!  Now, I think she’s starting to get more confident in herself to do it, and just knows she can 🙂

Currently, they are teaching her how to stand up from sitting on a small stool.  At first I thought because this would be easier than from her on the floor.  But I was wrong.  Sitting on the floor allows her to shift her weight and get up a little easier.  From the stool, she is forced to use more of her upper thigh muscles.  You can try it yourself, sit on the floor and get yourself back up to standing position.  Then squat down as low as you can, and straighten back up.  Go do it…I’ll wait…

Did you feel the difference?  So basically if Jana can master that, standing from the floor will be even easier.  Actually last night (during game 7…Go Cubs!) she was climbing on me and actually put one of her feet down to shift up to stand.  Unfortunately she wasn’t wearing her shoes so she wasn’t very stable.  But it is still progress!

Yesterday, for her in-home-therapy we met at the local Center for Exceptional Children.  She got a chance to work in the Mobility room.  What’s that?  A room full of bright colored mats, tumbling squares and fun!  This is her second time using this room and each time she has a blast.  She has no clue that she is actually working hard while having fun.  So far this has helped cut back the tantrums and we’ve been having very successful therapy sessions!!

Jana is really working hard at this new stage.  I don’t doubt that any time soon she will master standing and start moving on to moving!  She doesn’t like to stay still all that much, so I am anticipating having my hands full when that happens!!

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Therapy Update

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Sitting in protest

This past week Jana has been making her therapist work!  She has not been cooperating and honestly, has been throwing a few tantrums here and there.  She has officially started army-crawling on her own pretty consistently.  Before rolling was her way to go…literally rolled EVERYWHERE!  But now she has realized that she can just push herself forward a little and get where she wants faster.  What does this mean for therapy?  We now instantly are forcing her to work on crawling on her hands and knees!  She is NOT happy about it.  Her therapist explained it to me like this, Jana’s mind has figured out first how to roll and now how to arm crawl.  In her head she knows how to get where she wants, shes good at it, and doesn’t need to change what she’s doing.  Prior to her army  crawling on her own, she didn’t mind us working on her hands and knees.  I find that so interesting!  As soon as her mind clicked and learned one task, she now fights moving forward to learn the next steps.

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Refusing to move!

So here we are.  I am now forcing her to work throughout the day.  I have been getting a LOT of bad looks and some screaming.  But she’s doing it.  Still in her shoes all day…but now we’ve added a pair of high top Converse…cause well they are cuter 🙂  I’ve posted a few videos from her therapy.  For those of you who still think she always so sweet and quiet…you should have a look!  lol

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Why Mother?!

 

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Proud Mama!

For the past week, I’ve caught Jana sitting up when no one helped her.  I never actually got to watch her do it though.  Wed night I finally did!!  I almost screamed as she took the correct steps to move herself into sit position!!  We’ve been working on it for months and I am soooo proud of her.

Last night I was finally able to catch her on camera!  She is now a sitting pro, doing it almost on request.  I just wanted to share it with all of you!!  I hope you are as excited for her as we are 🙂

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Making Progress

sleeping beautyBig things to share with you today!!  First of all, Jana slept through the night for the first time since November!!  She went to sleep around 11:30 and I had to wake her up at 8:15 to get ready for physical therapy.  I honestly woke up like a new mom, instantly thinking she stopped breathing or something horrible.  But nope, she was peacefully sleeping.  We were surprised because yesterday was a very rough day.  She was extremely tired and grouchy, complaining most of the day.  We honestly went to bed figuring she’d be up all  night.  But last night we gave her a bath and added a little bit of aromatherapy bubble bath.  We figured it was worth a shot, because baths usually don’t make a difference if she sleeps or not.  So I’m not sure if it was the aromatherapy or not!  After her bath she had her normal 1 hour full of hyperness and then some milk.  She crashed right after.  So this Friday we’ll be in San Diego and I plan on purchasing some essential oils to try out.  After doing some research I’ve found that lavender and roman chamomile have both been known to help with sleep issues.  So if any of you readers know any tips on essential oils, please let me know!!

Second big news!  Since Jana has been doing so much better on her army crawling, Betty, her therapist, decided we should start working on crawling on all fours.  Normally when we try Jana face plants almost immediately because she doesn’t move her arms.  She either locks out or just moves them both at the same time.  So to watch her actually do what she needed to do, I was so proud!!  It is just a small step, something that seems so insignificant, but trust me its HUGE!!  It can take up to 6 months for her to master crawling so I know we still have a long way to go.  But its progress!!  Check her out!!

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Making Progress

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve discussed Jana’s physical therapy and her developmental progress.  I think a part of me wants to be very selective about what I post about her.  See, every tiny milestone that she hits…is BIG!!  It is something that makes me almost cry as I watch her meet her goals.  I get so proud of her and so excited that she is improving.  My fear is that, when I share these moments, I’m scared that people will down play them.  I get it, she’s 13 months old now, most kids her age are running around.  It’s easy to just think “Well shouldn’t she be able to do that already?!”  But you see, the smallest milestone is huge for Jana.  Things that I never even thought to help the big kids to achieve, takes her weeks and weeks of therapy.  I am there when she gets so frustrated that she just can’t do it.  When she doesn’t understand how come her body just wont corporate with her.  My heart breaks when I see her being pushed and pushed and yet she still falls short.  I see the determination in her eyes.  I know she wants to do these things!  And when she finally does… I wish I could always capture how happy she is about it!  It’s so easy to see the pride in her eyes.  Like she is telling me “Look Mama I did it!!

So today I am giving you a small glimpse of the work Jana has been doing.  These videos are from the past two weeks…but this is what shes been working on for a few months.

The first is part of our in home therapy.  She has been working on sitting to standing.  Being able to pull her self up to standing position and hold it.

This next video was taken at physical therapy last week.  Jana goes twice a week and has been working on army crawling for a few months.  They want her to army crawl because it will help her not be so stiff and always straighten out, like she is known to do.

This last one was taken yesterday.  Jana was shown a toy and was expected to get to it on her own.  I was so proud of her determination!!  I hope you will be too!