Allie has made some dramatic improvements with her right arm this past week. She seems to have figured out how to control her shoulder, which means she can now wield her arm arm at will. It also means that with a little help grabbing onto an object, she can then move it around like she is doing to the rings in the photo to the left.
We always put her bunny Penny on her right side when she's going to sleep so that she has to move to her right to cuddle with her. On Monday night, I put her in her crib and put Penny next to her inert arm. I kissed her goodnight and started to leave the room when I realized that I had mistakenly put Penny on the left because her right arm was flailing around. That's a good mistake to make.
We have adopted a new game called "Kisses for Righty!" that involves dramatically kissing Allie's right hand (affectionately called Righty) and shouting "Kisses for Righty!" whenever Allie raises her right hand. She has quickly taken to this game and will now raise her hand and start grunting if we don't immediately acknowledge Righty with proper enthusiasm.
Yesterday, I was taking Allie to the doctor on the bus. Allie was cozy in the Ergo carrier, which is like a backpack that I wear in the front. When Allie is in the Ergo, our stomachs are touching and she usually just relaxes on my chest. Well, yesterday she didn't feel like relaxing. There was a very attractive yellow cord directly to my left (Allie's right) that signals the bus to stop when it gets pulled. Allie really liked this cord. So much so that she weaseled Righty out of the Ergo, reached up above her head, and gripped the cord. I was in shock, and it took me a minute---again---to realize that this was really Righty.
This was all great, but the best news of all came from her teachers at daycare today. Allie fed herself with Righty! The teacher, who is so very clever, restrained her left arm while Allie tried to figure out how to make Righty bring her the food. After a couple bites, Allie started to get frustrated so Allie's clever teacher broke the cracker in half so that both Righty and her left hand had some cracker. She ate all of the left cracker and then continued to feed herself with Righty.
We feel incredibly fortunate to have such network of caring people here. Her daycare teachers always go out of their way to find new things for Allie to try. She is the youngest of the six kids in her class, and she has some really great role models to look up to. Her therapists have also been fantastic. Her PT and OT come to our home every week and teach us strategies to help Allie.
Her pediatrician has been supportive and has helped ease the insurance burden. So far, our HMO (Kaiser) has covered everything that we have asked of them. Between my pregnancy, her delivery, and all of the doctor's appointments and specialists that we've seen, we have managed to pay only $120 out of pocket. Allie's therapists were both shocked that Kaiser is covering the head shaping helmet. Shocked.
I also had lunch with a local mom of a 10 year old who had an in utero stroke. She was able to give some great advice in terms of specific exercises and approaches that I hadn't thought about.
Allie's current PT and OT goals include:
- Banging two objects together (one in each hand)
- Bearing more weight through her right arm and leg (hopefully enough weight to crawl soon!)