Tag Archives: sensory issues

To Nashville And Back

You may have noticed the lack of posts over the past few days. Charlie, my husband, and I spent the weekend traveling to and from Nashville. It turned out being a really pleasant trip.

I am not going to rehash every excruciating detail and post many photos.

But, I will write about the evening in which I was an embarrassing preemie mom.

On that particular evening of our trip, we had decided to go to a very large and noisy shopping center which was packed with people. It was something we had not and could not attempt in the past. Charlie would not have withstood it.

The flashing neon lights would have been too bright, the noise level would have been too high, and the crowd would have overwhelmed her. In short, sensory overload.

That evening, we decided to try. We could always leave if Charlie melted down.

As soon as we stepped into the shopping center, I was distracted. I was busy trying to gracefully navigate the crowded arena (trying not to run people over with Charlie’s giant stroller). My husband and I yelled to each other over the commotion as we quickly planned our evening. Through everything, I had not heard a sound out of Charlie.parade_edited

Quickly, I checked on her to see how she was holding up and could not help but laugh. She was perched in her stroller waving to everyone that walked past her. It was as if she was a princess sitting on a convertible in a parade.

I sighed with relief and was thrilled that she was enjoying herself.

Charlie smiled and waved as we made our way to a giant aquarium. Later, she happily babbled when people stopped to talk to her, laughed as she was wheeled by Halloween costumes, and happily squealed while playing games in the arcade with her daddy.

There was no need for stress, panic, or worry. We were able to forget about back up plans, escape routes, plan Bs, and everything else. I did not feel like I was rolling along an alarm preparing to bring everything to a screeching halt. We did not have to take turns sitting out.

We. Had. Fun. Together.

It took all the restraint I had not to bawl hysterically the moment I understood what was happening.

The majority of our trip was a collection of many fun (but not as monumental) moments. We will talk about this trip for a while.

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Charlie poses in front of a display of giant candy boxes.


A Day In The Park

Charlie cut her first tooth last night!

After a crazy night, we visited James River State Park. It was our thirteenth Virginia State Park. Charlie was busy playing most of the morning and early afternoon. Because she and I were alone, I did not get to take many pictures.

These are the pictures that I took…

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There was a kids’ exploration area. Charlie practiced her standing (as suggested by the PT yesterday) in the stump garden. She also played with the drums, climbed on the logs, and played in the sand pit that was in the kids’ area.

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She had her first fudgesicle and impromptu feeding therapy.

We wrapped things up by playing by the river.

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Peer Influence

Charlie did not learn several of her newly acquired skills from me, her dad, or her therapists. We tried. Oh, how we tried. We repeatedly used modeling, hand over hand, and anyway we could think of to teach her the skills. Regardless, Charlie did not master them. As it turns out, other kids are much better teachers at things like crawling and self feeding.

Charlie learned how to crawl during the baby story time at the library. It started when a baby broke loose from her mom and crawled across the circle towards Charlie.  The embarrassed mom quickly wrangled the baby and apologized profusely. Immediately after Charlie saw the baby, she assumed the crawling position. She was unable to figure out how to propel herself forward. The sight of the crawling baby was an epiphany for Charlie. She continued to attempt to crawl until she mastered the commando crawl.

A few days ago, a toddler boy was eating pretzels while Charlie and I were at the park. Charlie watched him intently. He (and his mom) asked if he could give one to Charlie. After I gave my approval, the little boy handed a pretzel to Charlie. She played with it. The little boy wanted to know why Charlie was not eating the pretzel. His mom explained, “Because she does not know how to.” While his mom and I gabbed, he tried to teach Charlie how to eat the pretzel. It was very sweet how patient and understanding he was. She gave him her undivided attention but did not eat. At the most, I was able to hold it up to her mouth while she cautiously mouthed it.

Yesterday, Charlie had a not so great feeding therapy session. She smeared the banana on her tray and cried because her hands were sticky.

Afterwards, I went grocery shopping. I walked the aisles in search of things for Charlie to practice self feeding. The pretzels reminded me of the boy at the park. I purchased a bag along with a few other things. Once home, I dumped some pretzels on Charlie’s high chair tray to keep her occupied while I put away groceries. After a minute, there was not any of her usual banging or knocking. Panicked by the silence, I turned to see what Charlie was doing. She was feeding herself the pretzels! She did not stop even when she gagged and retched a little. That little boy did an amazing job teaching her.

When Charlie gets older, peer influence may not be such a wonderful thing. Currently, it may be what she needs in order to help her master otherwise challenging tasks.

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Music Therapy

I’ve previously written a post about how much Charlie loves music therapy. I now have pictures to illustrate exactly what goes on during a therapy session.

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Moving Forward In Feeding

Charlie seems to know when I’m starting to feign enthusiasm for her therapy. I think she may strategically choose those moments to master a skill. It is almost like she is saying, “Don’t give up on me!”. Similarly to the day she learned to use her arms, today was one of those days that she unexpectedly moved forward when I greatly needed it.

Because I did not sleep well last night (Charlie was restless and decided she needed a mid night feeding), I have been dragging through my routine today. Halfheartedly, I carried out her lunch time feeding therapy. Afterwards, I fed Charlie her bottle and seated her in her seat. She watched intently as I started to devour my lunch. As I often do when she seems interested in my food, I handed her a sliver of my grilled cheese sandwich. She grabbed it and stared at my blankly. In return, I maintained eye contact with her as I took a bite. I dramatically said, “MMMMMM, that’s so yummy!” as I chewed. She responded with a laugh and smile.

As I turned away, Charlie squealed. I looked and she had taken her piece up to her mouth. She was gumming on it and making her “mmmmm” noise. I cheered. She reveled in my delight. We (her feeding therapist, dad, and I) have been trying to teach her hand to mouth feeding for weeks. I suppose she decided that today was going to be the day. To have proof for her dad, I snapped a picture.

She continued to gum and gnaw at it. After transforming it into a manageable texture, she consumed about a quarter of what I gave her. In addition, I offered her a peach slice off of my plate (which did not turn out so well). She drifted off to sleep shortly afterwards. I found myself rejuvenated by the pleasant surprise.

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