Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's A Lot Going On Upstairs or What's Going On With Della Part 4 of 4

Let's (finally) end this series of posts on a high note. Here are a few examples of the serious progress Della has made recently...

The past 2 weeks Della has been "babbling" which means she has been vocally producing a consonate-vowel (CVCVCV) pattern. At first I thought it was something she had stumbled upon and wouldn't be able to duplicate it later. But not only has she been "talking" all day everyday she has added gestures and intonations that mimic speech!  Della is able to consistantly (although not always on command because she "doesn't feel like it" because she is a stinker) produce reduplicative (same CV pattern: dadadada) and varigated (da-ma-be-ga-buh) babbling sounds. I caught her new trick on video last week...

If you made it to 1:30 in the video, you also can see another major development demonstrating her strength and balance.

Della "gets it" when it comes to using things around the house. Here she is doing her best impression of an average 13 year-old girl (minus the diaper of course)...


Here's Della "playing" (in her mind) the Wii with Uncle Devin. She used to be content sitting on the lap of whoever was playing the video game (preferably Mario Kart) but last month she wised up and started demanding an actual controller...


She tucked her baby doll in for a nap and then decided to she also wanted to lay down...

Della likes to help me clean but she requires her own rag. She also likes to wear eye-protection, just not on her eyes...

I made her clean all of the splatters off the wall from various foods she has thrown. She didn't seem to mind her punishment...

These are just a few examples showing that Della is understanding the world around her. It proves that she is capable of higher cognitive functioning. She is doing the things that toddlers do from tantrums over food to mimicking conversation to wanting to do things that big-kids get to do. We need to take some video of Della using her "Talk Box" because it's pretty amazing how well she can work it. She can navigate from the home page to the food menu, ask for yogurt, then go back to the home page only to pull up a new menu where she tells me she wants to watch "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

I'll end with a picture of Della in her favorite spot...

In spite of all the frustrations we feel over tantrums, and the exhaustion we experience carrying her around, and the fact that she pulls Archer's hair at least 5 times everyday, we love Della sooooo much. Sometimes I get the impression that people think I have some kind of extra patience/goodness/strength or some other special skill. I assure you that this isn't true. I am the same as everyone else. Imagine how it would feel to have a handicapped child. I know it is an uncomfortable thought that we tend to shy away from, but go ahead and put yourself there for a second. That is exactly how I feel. Now imagine all the care that your child might need from you in those circumstances. Would you deny them of your time by not putting in the hours it takes to coax any kind of communication out of them? Would you let them cry it out after a night terror wakes them up at 3AM because you didn't want to get out of bed? Would you leave them in front of the TV all day everyday because it would just be easier? OK-sometimes I do let her watch more TV than I should but my point is, I am not doing anything for Della that you wouldn't do for your own child. We all struggle and sacrifice both as parents and in our everyday lives. My struggle just happens to be one that is more obvious than other people's. I promise you, I gripe and laugh and worry and have fun just like everyone else. I don't ever want to give anyone the impression that I think I'm better than anyone else. I am not trying to put up some perfect but false image of my life. I am just writing as honestly as I can about my experience hoping that another mother, especially those who have a special needs child can understand that the emotional ups and downs of life are normal and that they aren't alone. Overall, life is good and we are truly blessed. We are happy even though sometimes things are hard. Just like everyone else.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sometimes Della Is A Little Bit Naughty or What's Going On With Della Part 3 of 4

Della HATES eating dinner...


It's not that she doesn't like the food that I make...


It's not that she has sensory issues or an aversion to certain textures...


 It is simply because she wants to be a little bit naughty!


Long ago I wrote about "Old Della" and "New Della" explaining that her progression has turned her into a completely different person. For instance Old Della would lay on the carpet all day whereas New Della is now getting into everything. Well, this post is about how Old Della ate pretty much whatever I put in front of her; pizza, edamame, peaches, etc. New Della however, says she only wants to eat Cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and 4 or 5 yogurts for dinner, with 1lb. of Goldfish crackers for a snack between meals. In short, New Della has an opinion. Now, in most respects, this is a really great thing and it shows a lot of cognitive development is occurring. But as any parent who has ever dealt with an opinionated and stubborn toddler, things can get very difficult.

At first I thought, "Della is just trying to assert her individuality and wants to have more control over her life." How cute, right? So I tried giving her options with her clothes, activities, TV shows. No go. The only time she throws a fit is at the dinner table. I realized that this wasn't an assertion of individuality, this was a POWER struggle. Let me tell you, this girl is good (and by good I mean naughty). Della starts fighting the second we walk towards the dinner table. She throws her food, then throws her plate, then throws her silver wear, then a full glass bottle of hot sauce and if you don't watch out your dishes are next! We've tried everything; time outs, making her clean up her mess, yelling, shoving food in her mouth, giving her options, not giving her options, sending her to bed, doing what the book says, doing what the other book says, doing the opposite of what both books say, threatening to never let her compete in the Special Olympics (OK, that might be a little bit more of my dream than hers). Nothing has worked.

I know we are a huge part of the equation and that she is playing us like a fiddle, but I am at a loss. There is no book called "How To Help Your Kid Eat Even If You Have No Idea What The Heck Is Wrong With Her!" Trust me, I've looked. To make matters worse she has gained one pound in the last year and at 4 years-old she now tips the scales at a whopping 28 lbs. So we are going to have an intervention evaluation by an Occupational Therapist who might be able to help us with feeding. I ain't gonna lie, I am praying for a miracle (and a lot of patience)! What a stinker! Good thing she is cute.

Here she is sneaking some cereal for dinner upon realizing that Chad was BBQing for dinner (as seen through the window)...

BUSTED!