What a difference a week can make! So many things have happened the last 7 days that I don’t even know where to begin!!!!
I’ll start with the not-fun stuff – the ear infection. She has one – again. On Wednesday she went in for a follow-up from last week. Still had fluid in her ears but they weren’t infected anymore. We were told to come back in 3 weeks for another check. But then Friday morning she started acting like she didn’t feel well so we called the doc. Considering we were leaving that afternoon for Cleveland, we quickly got her in and her right ear was a mess and she had a fever. Poor baby. So she’s back on the antibiotics again and we got a referral for tubes. We are very happy about that. The sooner the better too. 3 ear infections in less than 6 weeks isn’t fun. But through it all she smiled. Even at the doctor’s office after getting a thermometer up her butt, a stick down her throat, and puking from being so upset, she still smiled. What a sweet girl.
But now I want to brag! Ryan is getting so strong! She is able to hang out in the exersaucer without her pillow, completely supporting her upper body with her arms, keeping her head upright the entire time, and standing herself up to pivot and play with the different toys. She really loves it! And apparently the little girl is also strong enough to sit in a regular highchair for feeding time at school! Who knew? Not us! One afternoon I logged on to the nanny cam to check out how the girls’ day went (a daily ritual) and when I found the time period that Ryan was supposed to be eating with her teacher Ms. A., I saw the teacher feeding a kid in a highchair, not a pumpkin seat. I actually backtracked in time a few minutes thinking that I missed her feeding, but then I realized that the little head popping out of the back of the chair was strawberry blond! My little baby was sitting up! And eating!! A lot!! And so the good news continues…
Ryan has had 2 feeding therapies. We already see improvements. She is now eating 4 bottles a day instead of 3. We give her less formula per bottle and that has helped her to meet her daily goal. She is also eating her baby food better. The therapist is having us use a special tool (a nubby little brush-thingy) in and around Ryan’s mouth to desensitize her tongue. When we try to give her table food, she hates the way it feels in her mouth and opens it really wide before finally giving in and chewing… but she doesn’t enjoy it. So we sing a little song and brush her cheeks, lips, teeth, and tongue with the tool. In the last few days she has been sticking her tongue out of her mouth and moving it all around like never before. I think she just realized for the first time that she has a tongue!
Ryan has also improved socially. She is so much more aware of her surroundings. It always made me so sad that she’d just sit there and not “see” anything going on. She just wasn’t interested. Now she watches everything. People smile at her and she smiles. People walk by and she follows. If I get in the way of the TV, she’ll move her head to see it better. And she loves watching Charlie… but really that’s not new! She babbles more. Mainly “mamamama” but now with an occasional “ba” or “ga”. She’ll shake her head when we say “crazy girl” or “dance”. And she LAUGHS! A real belly laugh. Eleven months is a long time to wait for a laugh, but I tell you, so worth it.
At the beginning, when everything was bad and dark and lonely, I would look at her and just see an inert being that was incapable of progress, with a complete lack of any affect. She was small, unable to eat, unable to see, and seemingly on the edge of life and death at all times. I felt the same way emotionally. But today I felt like I saw a light coming out of Ryan. She has such a sweet personality. She’s happy and she plays. She sees me. She laughs. And so do I. And it feels good.