Blog posts by mommy Shana and mommy Jess

Three children, two moms, one C.P. diagnosis....and a partridge in a pear tree.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Greta's milestones by mommy Shana

Since your birth, every visit with your Dr. we talked about milestones that you and your twin should be reaching. We went over the growth chart for you and your brother (your always in the 90th, he in the 10th to 50th), and she would ask us if you two were reaching the milestones that were age appropriate, and we would discuss how to help you guys along. After your diagnosis at 9 months, the conversation about milestones for you, has pretty much deceased. Gus isn't pulling up to stand yet, which is a milestone that is concerning for a 13 month old, so we are asked to watch and wait and see if he too may need some type of P.T. for his low muscle tone. We also wait to see if your brother doesn't walk at 15 months. Some kids are slower than others to reach certain milestones, and even though Gus is a little slow and didn't crawl until he was 12 months old, he did reach that milestone before alarms went off, and most likely will continue to be just a little on the slow side.
What I have learned about hemiplegic cerebral palsy, is that reaching milestones on time, for you, is no longer a concern. We don't know when you will crawl, walk, stand, clap, raise your arm above your shoulder, hold or feed yourself with a sippy cup, etc. With your brother there is usually some type of time frame that is typical. There is no time frame for you as far as we know. We hear children like you walking at 17 months or even 5 years (average around 3). We still don't know if you will crawl before you walk, or even if you will crawl at all. For many milestones, we just have no idea. It is very common for typical babies to reach developmental milestones at their own pace, but you will have long passed any of these milestones on the designated time scale, and at this point, not reaching them is pretty much expected.
In some ways I feel relieved. I don't feel that mom guilt like I'm not helping you enough or teaching you enough, or not spending enough time with you. We know why your not reaching your milestones on time now. Your schedule is full of P.T. sessions and O.T, botox and other forms of therapy so I know that we are both doing the best we can to help you reach milestones. It's almost like getting a "get of jail free card" when it comes time to talk about milestones and you. With Gus I often feel responsible (though his 10% short stature has nothing to do with me!), but since he tends to just fall behind a little in only a few areas, I mostly consider it normal and give him and myself a break from the guilt trip.
This last Dr. appt. which was your one year check-up (though you were pushing 13 months), I did start to feel that your other milestones were not mentioned and/or under appreciated. Not so much by us or the Dr., but just by the "basic baby" milestones that are common for children without disability. So for you I have made a milestone chart designed just for you! Of course I can't predict anything or make a fair time frame for which you should complete them, but what I can do is record all the new things that you learn to do, and when you learn to do here are your latest milestones!
1) Spinning: You started this milestone when you were about 11 1/2 months old. While sitting, you take your right foot and propel yourself around in a circle. It's the cutest thing I have ever seen! You do it better every couple weeks. You get faster and faster with time, and have now mastered spinning in both directions! You don't use your arms at all. You just take your strong leg and have it pull the rest of your body in a circle. Your brother doesn't spin like this and I don't think he can. So this milestone is all yours!
2) scooting: Sure, a lot of babies have been scooters. Even I used to scoot before I crawled. However, your scooting is so much more amazing! You move your entire body by stomping your good foot down, then use it to pull the rest of your body. No hands or arms at all are used! I hear this thump thump thump sound, and I know it's you moving where you want to go. It again is so darn cute! You even do it with a little hop motion. I have never seen a baby scoot with one leg across a room with the other one limp and with no arm help used at all. So again, this one is all you kid!
3) Whipping : Now this milestone is a little more subjective, like catching or throwing a ball. Some kids will learn to throw or catch a ball early, and for many it won't really matter when or how good one does it. If a child doesn't learn to throw at a certain speed, it doesn't ring off any alarms. However....I have NEVER seen a baby throw an object as far or as heavy as you....EVER! Your right arm is like a professional pitcher, mixed with the arm of a bodybuilder. It's strong, fast, and has hurt the hell out of pretty much everyone in the family at least once! If you get your hand on the right toy, I have often made sure the family was in a safe place. I bet you could throw a tennis ball as far as me right now, and I'm not even joking. You only use one arm most of the time, and it really shows! Although this crazy milestone is at the cost of your other arm, and part of the reason you have such low tone and weakness in your left (you neglect your left arm a lot) I just want you to know that I wouldn't be surprised if you could pitch the best fast ball in the world right now!

This year you didn't meet your milestones, but it's going to be ok. I've written down the ones you accomplished and that show me that you are making your own way. It's ok if you don't reach the milestones your supposed to reach, or that Gus reaches. What's important to me now is that you are reaching your own milestones, your way, and are doing a damn good job.

Go Greta!

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