Monday, July 30, 2012

Light switches and belly buttons

Doing my best Dada impression
Allie has had a pretty laid back week.  On the physical front, she is getting more and more comfortable cruising along furniture.  In the picture above, she had just walked the length of the couch to get some toys off my lap.  She then cruised down my leg to the ottoman, around the ottoman to Dada's feet... and then she realized that she would have to touch Dada's feet to get any farther.  She made the safe choice and sat down. 

Another cool thing that Allie is doing is turning light switches on and off.  Allie's fine motor skills on her left (stronger) hand are not quite as adept as we want them to be.  This is supposedly common because she hasn't had as many opportunities to explore the world as a typical kid would.  It is interesting to watch because she seems to struggle with simple movements that I wouldn't think would be so hard.  For example, sometimes instead of flipping the light switch up she tries to pull it out horizontally.  She keeps at it and eventually figures out that she has to go up.  I am assuming she'll figure all these movements out eventually and just needs a little more time to explore.

However, today she got the opportunity to turn off two light switches and she voluntarily did both with Righty even though her left arm was totally available.  We were proud.

Watching Olympics with Mama

I started working full time (from half time) a few weeks ago and I was feeling like I wasn't getting as much Allie time as I wanted.  So, we bumped her bed time back a half hour to 8pm so that she and I could get some more cuddle time in.  We both are enjoying it very much.  The photo above was taken on one of our first "late nights".

Lastly, Allie has become obsessed with belly buttons.  She calls them "bow baa".  She will weasel up to Jonathan and me, yank our shirts up, and poke our belly buttons while shouting "Bow baa! Bow baa!"  Even though our belly buttons are cool, they don't have anything on her own belly button.  She will yank up her shirt, suck her stomach in until she can see her belly button, poke it, and declare "bow baa" with complete and utter surprise as if she didn't think it was still going to be there. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Allie is Mobile!

Watch Allie move around her daycare room.  I particularly love how she applauds herself at the end.

We are very very proud!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


One of Allie's occupational therapy goals is supination (turning her palm to the sky) and pronation (turning her palm to the ground) while keeping her shoulder and elbow stationary.  The simple motion that I have completely taken for granted my entire life actually involves a lot of muscle control.  

It is coming along better than we could have hoped.  You can watch her supinating in the video below.  We put a sticker in her palm and try to get her to look at it. 

We often make Allie sit on a little bench while she is doing her constraint therapy to discourage her from rotating and banging her cast on things, namely us.  Allie tries her best to rotate around on the bench and she has gotten quite good at it... usually.  I caught one of her less graceful moments on film tonight:

When we aren't forcing Allie to do exercises or laughing at her clumsiness,  her favorite past time is laughing at Dada.  They play peek-a-boo through her bedroom door and Allie gets the biggest kick out of it.  Watch one of their games below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Step: Little Steps

Here is a video of Allie cruising!

Allie had her bi-annual developmental evaluation today.  These things always bum me out so much; you don't go to a developmental psychologist because everything is going smoothly with your kid.  I also hate that I can auto-pilot drive to the Children's Hospital.  But, all that aside, it was a pretty good evaluation.

We don't have the final results yet, but the psychologist said that Allie's speech seems right on target and her cognitive development is at the level of a 15 month old (she is currently 17 months old).  A 2-month delay isn't too bad especially since 15-18 month olds are all in the same developmental group.  It could be worse.

And just because Allie likes to be surprising, she figured out how to feed herself with a fork today.  Here is a video below:

Believe it or not, she did manage to eat quite a bit of her watermelon... just off camera.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Allie Cruised!

Jonathan and I have been waiting for this day for months:  Allie cruised!

She took several steps completely on her own across the front of the chair in her bedroom. 

We could not be happier.

I had a feeling that today was going to be a good walking day.  She got to go back to daycare today after the Coxsackie and as soon as she got into the room, she wanted to walk around and play with different toys.  I said goodbye and was almost out of the building when I realized that I hadn't unpacked her pacifier.  I snuck back into her room to unload the pacifier and saw that she had conned her teacher into doing laps around the room.  I think she has finally seen the purpose of this walking thing!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Strong Baby

Allie is getting stronger every day.  Check her out in quadruped above.  This is a position that we always had to force her into and now she happily gets into it as long as we sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" and rock her back and forth.

She also has been working really hard on walking.  This weekend, she got confident enough to start taking steps without directly holding onto our hands.  She is still using Jonathan's arms to balance, but watch her walk toward me below.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mikko Visits!

Mikko and Jonathan

My brother Mikko is visiting for a week to take a French cuisine course at a local cooking school.  Allie gets a big kick out of him.  He brought her a big purple monkey that scares the heck out of her every time she sees it.  The other night, Mikko put it in her crib while she was sleeping and she woke up shortly after screaming in terror and trying to get away from it.  She loves the monkey during the day but wants nothing to do with it when the lights go out.  I can't say that I blame her.   

In a feat of perfect timing, Allie came down with Coxsackievirus (hand, foot, and mouth disease) on Monday and got booted out of daycare.  She doesn't seem to mind the little red bumps on her hands, feet, and mouth.  Since Coxsackie spreads around daycares like wildfire, she has to stay clear of the place for a while.  More cuddle time for me!

Allie had an amazing treat today:  we got a delivery!  She happily played in the box for at least an hour.  Some snapshots are below.

In spite of Allie's sickness, she was super cuddly.  She spent a half hour on my lap giggling and nuzzling with me.  I LOVED IT.

A few posts ago, I commented about Allie's foot curling.  I assume that this is a product of the stroke.  My only reason for suspecting otherwise is Jonathan.  Check out the side-by-side comparison below.  

Allie playing with her toys
Jonathan working on his computer
 So, stroke or genetic?  I think the verdict is still out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pool Time

Allie got invited to Abby's house today for a last minute pool party.  Maybe the aquatic therapy is paying off because Allie was standing on her own in the kiddie pool playing with a cup.  Abby had her feet on Allie's feet because Allie kept trying to pick them up to walk and would lose her balance.  I was very impressed.

Allie's uncle Mikko is arriving tonight for a week-long visit.  Allie will likely be asleep by the time he gets here but she will be very surprised to see a non-Skype version of Mikko in the morning.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Cuddler

Playing on the iPad with Dada

Hugging my "DAWWWGG!"

Allie has suddenly become a cuddling baby who hugs and kisses.  I love it.  She gives these ridiculous open mouth kisses that is probably more of a dramatized lick than a traditional kiss but they are accompanied with a loud "mmmmmmwwwahhh" kissing noise.  She's a cutie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Aquatic Therapy and Neurology Appointment

Reaching with Righty

Practicing walking

Practicing standing

So many ducks to choose from...
Allie had aquatic therapy and a neurology appointment today, both of which Jonathan took her to.  She was supposed to have occupational therapy appointment but the therapist never showed up and the neurology appointment was supposed to be a joint appointment with physiatry but that doctor never showed up either.  In spite of being stood up so many times, she had a really good day.

We are still on the fence about aquatic therapy.  Allie seems to be doing cool stuff but it doesn't seem like anything that we couldn't do ourselves in a kiddie pool with some rubber ducks.  We'll give it a couple more weeks to decide.

The neurology appointment went well too in spite of the physiatrist not showing up.  The wean for one of her epilepsy medications (Topamax) is being slowed meaning that she will be holding steady at her current dosage for a month and then lowered again.  Her other medication (Trileptal) got increased slightly.  All is going well on the epilepsy front; we are just being conservative.

The neurologist was very impressed with Allie's right sided movement and her general development.  There was a speech pathologist at the meeting who we had met before and she said that Allie's speech development is right on target for where she should be.  All good news. 

Allie's neurologist admitted that the only reason that we referred to the epileptologist back in February was to better prepare us for surgical interventions.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be so removed from that discussion.

In other news, while Jonathan was on Allie duty, I was on project bird-rescue.  I was walking to the train this morning and almost stepped on a little baby sparrow flopping around on the ground.  I picked her up and brought her to a local pet store for guidance.  The pet store loaded me up with bird formula, an eye dropper, a portable carrier, and referred me to a wildlife rehabilitation site about 20 miles from our home.  I brought her home, fed her, and then somehow convinced a very perturbed Jonathan that he should drive the little bird to the rescue center after he got home from the doctor with Allie.

He was not happy about my avian mission but he brought the little bird to the rehab site with Allie while I was at work.  Allie loved it there with all the friendly wild birds chirping at her.  I hope the little bird makes it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Power Outage

DC had a nasty storm on Friday and knocked out our power... for 3 days.  This all happened during record high temperatures hovering around 100 F with a lot of humidity.  Not a fun weekend.

The first night, our home was still pretty cool from residual AC.  Allie went to her best friend Abby's house who still had AC for most of the day on Saturday.  That night, we slept at home but it was pretty hot.  Sunday rolled around and we spent most of the day driving around.  Allie toured some small towns in Virginia then ventured out to West Virginia.  Allie slept in the car most of this time.  In the afternoon, we all went to Abby's house and hung out to keep cool.  We tried to go home that night but Allie started overheating and so we went back to Abby's house and spent the night there.  Finally, it came back on today.  I consider us lucky since the power company had originally estimated that it would take a week to get power back up and running.

Maybe because we had so much time to sit and watch her but Allie's right hand action blew me away this weekend.  Take a look at the pictures above.  In both of them, Righty is up in the action looking totally typical.  We were at a coffee shop one morning and she started raking her right fingers over different wrapped granola bars trying to figure out which she liked better.  Raking was a box that has always been left unchecked during all of her occupational therapy evaluations.

Allie has a busy day tomorrow.  She had occupational therapy at home tomorrow morning, then Jonathan is taking her to aquatic therapy downtown, then to joint Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctors appointments.  The joint doctor appointments are always nice because we get two doctors in the room at the same time to discuss Allie's development.  I think that we get a more complete assessment at these joint appointments than at two separate appointments with the same doctors.