I often wish that I had a camera constantly set up to film the lounge room. Joshua is doing all kinds of things and a lot of the time I have NO idea how. I look at him and he is in one place and then I turn my back and the next time I look he is somewhere else. He doesn't go a long way, but his position changes are puzzling sometimes because he has not mastered a "crawl" of any kind, be it a traditional crawl or an army crawl and it is not always clear to me how he managed to get where he is with the skills he has got. This is my number one priority right now though, I am trying to work hard on crawling with him. Over the weekend, I bought him a skateboard. Rod had to make a few modifications to it, namely shortening the board and moving the wheels to allow his hands and knees to be able to touch the floor while his body is supported on the board. The idea behind this is to encourage him to start making that "walking" motion with his hands. He is getting pretty strong holding himself on all fours now, but he doesn't move those hands forwards. Another Mother told me that when they are working so hard on keeping their trunk up, it can be difficult for them to think about trying to move their hands as well. So by providing that trunk support with the skateboard, it frees him up to try and work out what to do with his hands. I've only done two short sessions with him so far and I do think it is a positive thing and with a little more practice, he might start to work it out...
|Joshua on his skateboard|
|Pretty funny right?|
I am doing a lot of trying to show him how to move his hands forwards, both while he is on the skateboard and when he is on the ground. An exciting development today was that he started to push himself backwards a little in an army crawl sort of fashion. Sometimes, you have to go backwards to come forwards ;) He wants to go forwards so badly though, and today I saw a slight improvment over what I was typically seeing from him. Usually, every time he wanted to go forwards it would result him in rolling over. He basically attempts to move by throwing his body weight around. Today it started to look a little bit more sophisticated, although still very awkward. He looked a bit like a slithering snake in that he'd throw his body to one side which gave him a little bit of forward movement, and then he'd throw himself to the other side, again getting a little bit of forward motion. He didn't get very far, and it is a very ineffective way of trying to move, and yet, it is better than what I've seen in the past. We are really making progress here. It is slow.. it takes a long time, but it is happening.
In general, he appears to be starting to move his body with more ease, his weight bearing on arms is continuing to improve all the time and he has done a few things over the past couple of days that have made me think it might be possible for him to get himself from lying to sitting. This is something else we have been working on, but I didn't think it was going to happen that way... it was so awkward that I thought he would need to crawl first and get into sitting from all fours rather than by pushing up from side lying. You just never know though, this boy is full of surprises.
Another exciting little fact is that Joshua has now worked out how to use a sippy cup. He has been using a straw cup since 8 months old and this was a lot easier for him as he didn't need to actually tilt the cup backwards in order to get liquid.... he now understands it though! I've just started offering milk in a straw or sippy cup. Joshua is still breastfed, but he is really a pain in the bum about it, so since he was 9 months old, I made the decision to give him bottles during the day and then continue breast feeding first thing in the morning and last thing at night (oh.... and during the night too if I should happen to get a late night booby call.... He has slept through the night fairly consistently since 6.5 months old, but we do have patches where he will randomly go a week of waking up for a feed and then just as randomly he will go back to sleeping through, and of course, if he is sick that can change things too). Anyway, A lot of people say you should try and get rid of bottles by 12 months of age and personally, I didn't care about this recommendation at all. Sometimes I think that it is really a miracle that he can breastfeed or bottle feed at all, as a lot of children with HIE end up having to be tube fed, either after trying oral feeding for a while, or they come home from the hospital with a tube because they were never able to feed orally. For me, knowing that gives me a new kind of appreciation of things that many people take for granted. Breast vs Bottle is a common debate among parenting circles, with some people throwing flames at those who bottle feed, but seriously, while these people are behaving like that, some people would give anything to have even been able to have that choice! So, in that sense, I am just so grateful that my son can take a breast OR a bottle, and trying to take them away really isn't upmost on my priority list. It's like "my poor brain damaged baby who might not ever have been able to drink from a bottle can keep having it for as long as he wants!" Having said that, I decided to try giving him milk in the straw cup or sippy cup just out of curiosity, and he actually does quite well, so I don't think I will have any trouble getting rid of the bottles. As for the boob, well, I would really like to continue until 2 years, but I don't think Joshua shares that view point. He has given me grief already, with the refusing to feed during the day (hence moving to bottles during the day) and then we've even weathered a significant strike where he refused to feed completely for 3.5 days. I really thought it was over then so I didn't pump at all, but being the stubborn person that I am I kept throwing my boobs in his face until he finally gave in! My supply really took a hit though and I had to bust my gut for a week to try and recover and I was really tempted to just give up, but alas, here we are, still breastfeeding. I think if I can just get past the 12 month mark, I will feel like less of a failure if he decides to give it up though. Before he was born, I recognised the value of breast feeding and wanted to give it a try, but I didn't feel like it was the end of the world if I didn't like it or if for some reason it didn't work out. Working in child care, I've seen tons of kids thrive on formula, so not breast feeding is not the end of the world right? (I think I actually said this to my first midwife Jane, and I could tell she was shocked and did not approve of such a comment, though she didn't come out and say that! Haha!) Anyway, then Joshua was born and things were so bad... after he started having seizures and was moved into the NICU, I didn't get to hold him again until he was 5 days old. He was in a medicated coma, covered in tubes and wires and I had never felt more helpless in my life. There wasn't much I could do for him at that point. Except pump my milk. At least it was something to make me feel useful. As a result, I think I have a lot of emotional attachment to breastfeeding and breast milk in general, and I experienced so much guilt over deciding to combine breastfeeding and formula at 9 months of age, and I literally cried my eyes out when I thought Joshua didn't want to breast feed anymore. I know breast feeding is an emotional thing for most women who do it, but I feel like those early days in the hospital have made it that much harder for me to give it up, because it was just such a huge deal then. We are nearly at 12 months though, and I am slowly making peace with the idea that however long Joshua decides to keep going after that is a bonus and I don't need to beat myself up about it if we don't make it to the magical 2 years recommended by the World Health Organisation. It is pretty clear by now that Joshua makes his own rules!
Today he actually had two really decent breastfeeds, 2 full sippy cups of Toddler milk (It is Vanilla flavoured, no wonder he likes it so much!) and half a cup of cow's milk. That is a good day for milk around here!