Monday, September 8, 2008

18 months - Sophia

Sophia is 18 months old today!

In a departure from my typical format to date, I'm going to journal a snapshot of Sophia today, at a year and a half old. She is a cute, little girl and we love her dearly. She seems "sweet" because her body doesn't let her get into much trouble, and she is not easily upset. However, she enjoys roughhousing and fun play, so I think her true personality may be much more fun-loving. She is fairly mellow, but when she is upset, she remains (sometimes) difficult to soothe. For example, we went camping a couple of weeks ago, and Sophia fell asleep in the stroller on a walk before bedtime. I woke her when I changed her diaper, and then April crawled all over her, and then NOTHING worked to pacify her for an hour and a half. (Which, I'm sure wasn't much appreciated by the neighboring campers.) This is very unusual, though.

This week, the physical therapist who sees her twice a month in our home through Early Intervention brought a stander for Sophia to try. This one offers minimal support, and if it works for her, that would be great -- less support means more work for her, which means more potential strength building. However, her trunk is not very strong, so she can lean forward way too much (not helpful):
Here are her cute little feet and toes (she also has some cute little Adidas shoes that she wears in this). Her feet always want to roll to the inside (scissoring), and her toes scrunch up during weight bearing. She also tends to lift her heels. I just position her feet for her when placing her into the stander. The knee pads help to align the legs and feet correctly.

Ahh, here is better posture. We tap firmly on her back to encourage her to stand up correctly, and, if this fails, we place one hand on her chest and one on her back and simply lift her to the correct position. Then we help her grab the bars, and that way she can use the bars to help hold herself upright.
Sophia is generally pretty smiley, but this is the first time I'd been able to get some good smiles from her while in the stander. I think her body is working so hard that it is just too much to smile. I don't think she minds the stander, though. In fact, when she's on the floor, she says "up" (which sounds like "uuub") and I think she is asking to either stand or sit up (or maybe just be held). She also says "ball" for her absolute favorite toy -- a ball on loan from the EI vision specialist -- and it also sounds like "uuub," but I really do think they are two separate words. "Ball" ("uuub") was her first word, and she began using it less than two months ago. We are excited that she has a few words now, as she is at risk of being non-verbal. We hope there are many more words to come! Her other word is "more" ("mmm-la") and she also verbalizes when she is hungry ("mmm-mmm" or a variant). Back to the stander -- when she's finished with it (currently about 15 minutes), she lets us know by fussing!
Statistically, if Sophia doesn't learn to sit well by the time she is two years old, her chances of walking someday are minuscule. We work on sitting every day. I sit behind her and place her in a sitting position (although we are also working on showing her how the transition goes from back-lying to sitting). I bend her knees so her feet are touching (to reduce the effect of her hamstring tightness on her hips). Then, I pull her behind back a bit to help her correctly tilt her pelvis. Finally, I help her weight bear on her arms to remind her to use them for balance as needed. This is her normal sitting posture, or sometimes she falls forward even more than this:
I help her adjust her balance by pressing down on the thigh opposite of the direction she is tilting, if necessary. Here is a notably good sitting moment:
It doesn't last long, however. After a few seconds, she does this:
And then this:
I place her in the following position to show her how to get down to the floor from sitting. This time, she held herself up with her arms before lowering to the floor. Although she was placed in this position, I look at this picture, and in my imagination she is just about to crawl off to play:
Sophia continues to be a relatively good eater. She swipes her left hand across her tray in an arc, looking for finger foods. When her hand touches something, she rakes it up and brings it to her mouth. She can eat with her right hand too (which is actually her less tight hand), but for some reason she generally uses the left. I think her right hand and arm may help her stabilize herself. If the food is beyond the reach of her arc, she doesn't get it. She doesn't seem to use her vision much while she is eating, although she sees and reaches for her sippy cup within about 15 seconds when I bring it to her and hold it in front of her. She handles her sippy clumsily, but has figured out how to maneuver it quite well and seldom fusses for help. Sometimes she drinks from it upside down, which works as long as the cup is fairly full. She drinks whole milk, occasionally formula (if we are out it is easy to transport), and loves juice, although I rarely give that to her. She'll drink a little water before she decides it isn't quite what she wants. She doesn't know how to drink out of a regular cup and doesn't have the slightest idea what to do with a straw (she chews on it). She eats most things, and gags only when she has too big of a bite of something. She needs to improve her chewing. Every meal, I am grateful that she eats so well.
Sophia rolls both directions. She will roll more than once in a direction, although she has yet to do anything like roll across the room. Today, she was close to the border of the family room, and I told her I would love to find her in the kitchen (due to her own mobility) one day. Yesterday, I vacuumed around her and she was excited about the vacuum cleaner. She rolled toward it in both directions. (I did stop and let her briefly touch it). Her vision is about the same as the last report. Her eyes are very crossed. She sees in near space and has a delay in reaching toward objects. Typical of CVI, she usually does not look directly at an object as she reaches for it. I hope her vision continues to improve. She has tracked me as I walk across the room several feet away from her, although since it is difficult to tell where she is looking, I can't really say whether this is due to visual or auditory cues.

She has begun to try to grab books when I am reading them to her. If successful in her quest, she tries to eat the pages. I am delighted that she is getting into this "trouble." Also, if I hold her while I play the piano in Primary at church, she slowly reaches for the piano keys. It is really, really, hard to not let her just play the piano. I'm not sure the Primary children and leaders would share my enthusiasm about this accomplishment.

We love this smiling, happy, sitting (or at least working on it), standing (with help), talking (3 words), eating, seeing (some things), fun kid.


kg said...

Way to go Sophia! I love the pictures of her sitting, such a little doll and all of her smily pics, so happy!

Wayne and Mary Sue said...

That was fun to look at the pictures and your narrative about these cute little girls. Sophia looks great in her stander. Eighteen months. Wow!

Satina said...

They both look like they are doing great! They are both saying more words then Ben did at that age and April is saying more than Ben does now! He is getting better with his therapy though, he is almost 3!

I miss you!

Julie said...

I love your cute pictures of Sophia. She is getting so big and I'm so excited for you when she accomplishes a new feat. It is very interesting to learn about the "stander" and how it works. Also I liked learning about the physical therapy that you do with her daily. What a great testamnet to all of your hard work! You're a great mom Andrea!