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Vonda's Parenting a Preemie Journal

Entry #9 - November 2, 2002
~ She's growing up!

Adriana is becoming such a big girl right before our eyes. All of a sudden we are looking at her this month and all we can talk about is how big she has gotten. I do not know if we feel this way because she seems to be developing now at a fast pace or because we realize that she is so different than she was last year, but she is no longer like a little baby.

She is doing so much better during her therapy sessions now. She is actually going to the therapists when they come out to get us for her session. She has worked hard for them, even when I know she was very tired and would rather be sleeping. Her therapists changed her appointment time to another day and later time. At first, I was afraid this would set her off to crying again, since she seemed to be settling into her time slot and things were going so well. She surprised me and showed me how grown up she is becoming by working so hard at her new time and not becoming upset. Her physical therapist is working on her standing and cruising right now, and her occupational therapist said she has met another goal. She can now put things in a bucket as well as take them out! When the therapists and I are working on evaluations for goals, I am surprised by some of the things we are asked to evaluate her on. I often think, well, I did not know I needed to be observing her for that. Sometimes, I am embarrassed that I do not know whether she is doing a certain thing or not. After a year of doing these evaluations, I have learned that sometimes they do not expect the answer to be positive for her doing certain tasks, they are just asking to see how far advanced she is.

During one of Adriana's therapy visits, we arranged for the speech therapist to screen her to see if she needs to be working with her, also. I had become concerned because her speech had seemed to plateau. She has said "Dada" and "bye-bye" in the past, but mostly she says "Mama" and "ba-ba" now. Her physical therapist has told me that often when children are learning a new skill like crawling or sitting, they will sometimes stop a skill they had already accomplished. I think that is what Adriana has done in her language development. She is still babbling a great deal, but usually we cannot make out what she is trying to say. The speech therapist gave me a list for us to look over to see if she needed therapy. The items on the list included things like placing a cube in a cup that I would never have thought would be related to speech. After I gave the speech therapist the list back and she screened her during her physical therapy and occupational therapy sessions, she said she did not feel like Adriana needs speech therapy at this time. The speech therapist said she would screen Adriana from time to time to check her progress. This took a load off of my mind. I have been told since early on that preemies usually need some sort of speech therapy, so I have been prepared for that possible outcome. I do not think I was prepared as much when she was referred for physical and occupational therapy.

Adriana's early intervention specialist and I worked on a new evaluation this month. The evaluations have to be redone from time to time, I think every three months. A lot of paperwork goes into having a preemie. I did much better when Adriana was still so little and not mobile about keeping up with it all. I have tons of paperwork from the insurance companies and doctors' bills that I have filed. Sometime about the time she was six months old, I gave up and we have just piled everything in the computer desk. I have to get back to filing everything again so we can ensure everything is in order. (And also to keep busy little hands out of all of it. They are into all of it right now even as I type this.) Anyway, back to the evaluation. The early intervention specialist and I went over new goals for her and talked about the ones she has reached. One new goal we set was to work on sign language for Adriana. I have seen a few other special needs children whose language was not developed yet use sign language effectively. I think Adriana can benefit from learning it and she will not get frustrated communicating. I am looking forward to seeing the light bulb go off for her as she learns.

Adriana went to see her doctor this month, and for the first time, she did not cry when I took her clothes off of her in the office. Her doctor told us that she would normally see her again at 18 months, but if we wanted to have her weight checked, she would be glad to do that. When the nurse weighed her, I thought she was going to be at least almost 17 lbs. The nurse placed her on the scale and said she weighed 15 lbs., 14 oz. I could not believe what she said. Adriana has been eating fine, and even eating more at times than normal. I thought she would have been bigger than what the nurse said. Her doctor came in and examined her. She said she looked fine and seemed to be doing fine. The doctor said she would like to have seen her gain more weight, but she was not too worried about it. She said Adriana still breathes a little fast, which could account for some burning of calories. Her doctor suggested that if she has not gained much more weight at her 18 months appointment, she will run some blood work to see if Adriana has a condition that is causing her slow weight gain. She said she did not think Adriana had this condition because children that have this do not do well from the beginning. She said it is something that can be treated. Until then, we are to feed her two cans of Pedia-sure along with whole milk. I have to confess, Bruce and I both have thought about trying the Pedia-sure because it smells so good. It smells like homemade ice cream. Adriana has taken to it and I hope it is doing her some good. The good side of the doctor's visit is she told me we do not have to be as protective of Adriana this winter. We still must be careful, and ask others to be careful around her, but we do not have to stay under lock and key like last year. And no RSV shots this year! Woohoo!

One of my favorite milestones she has reached this month is blowing kisses. I have been working with her on this for a while. I still did not think she was going to do it, but she blew Bruce a kiss one day as he was going back to work. I thought his heart was going to melt. She is really starting to mimic more and more. If only she would pick up on my eating habits . . .

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