Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
He's been doing this since he was 6 weeks old, but I just now got the picture to "prove it." This child is not even two months old yet!!! He pushes up on hands and knees and rocks back and forth like he's getting ready to creep! This is something that most babies can't do until 4-6 months! For having low muscle tone, it's awesome that he's ahead of the game!
However, I've lamented before that it's very difficult to find contrasting visual environmental materials for infants. My giant, styrofoam checkerboard took hours to paint and did not end up very professional looking at all!
That's why I'm so thrilled to be reviewing Smarts Bees and Trees from WallCandy Arts! It's a product designed specificallty to provide proper visual stimulation for infants! At the reasonable price of $25, it contains several black and white wall decals. They're professional looking and completely removable without damaging the wall!!
I can't wait to see if they're as easy as the website says. Be looking for my product review soon!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
When we were doing the Doman reading and math programs with Timothy, we kept thinking "There has to be an easier way to do this!" When you have a little one at home, it's difficult--just feeding, diapering, and bathing the baby takes a lot of time! Adding in sessions of vestibular and incline track and grasping and turning lights on and off in the closet takes away more of your time, as do household chores. What little time we had left was spent writing word cards for the Reading program!
We wrote words on 5 x 7 cardstock with big, fat sharpie markers. We kept a database of words we had done, but we didn't have any way to know how many times we had shown a particular word.
Considering our experiences, a product like Little Reader is absolutely ingenious and a huge timesaver!! With the new Semester 1 and Semester 2 they have, all you have to do each day is press "play" and the reading program is played for your child! You can see a report of how far along you are in the program and how many times your child has seen each word.
I love that, but I still feel like physical cards are important. A baby shouldn't spend all his time watching media!!
That's why I'm absolutely thrilled about my chance to review the brand new Little Reader Deluxe Kit that's just been released! This kit has everything you need to teach your child to read, from flashcards to storybooks! I love the innovative concept of the presentation binder and the flap cards, and it seems like it will be a real timesaver!
If you're interested in the kit, it's currently on sale for $30 off until April 4th.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Yesterday, Samuel started pushing up with his hands at a 45-degree angle a lot. If he put him on the floor, he pretty much does that the whole time, supporting his head.
Tonight, Samuel got up on all fours and did some rocking back and forth--and he's only 7 weeks old!!
He's growing up TOO FAST!!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This morning I dressed Samuel in a sleep sack when we took Timothy to preschool. Timothy said "Mommy, why did you make Samuel a mermaid?"
The cable guy is coming today. I told Timothy that and he said, "Then I will catch him in a trap, dump mud on his face on throw him in the lake!!" I was SHOCKED!! We had a long talk about that one....
Babinski - 10x daily
Light Stimulation - 10x daily
Incline Track - 10x daily
Tummy Time - 10x daily
Vestibular - 20x daily
When I read through the criticisms of How Smart is Your Baby from the reviews on Amazon so many parents say something like "It's impossible to get all of these things done in a day--babies sleep too much"
Now that I've been doing How Smart is Your Baby with my second child, I can honestly say in both cases it's totally doable--if you establish routines.
Babies sleep. Babies get their diapers changed. Babies nurse.
Mommies clean. Mommies use the restroom. Mommies eat.
Establish a schedule around those things!!
For example, Samuel nurses every two hours. Before we nurse, I do Babinski and grasp (it takes about one minute). When I switch sides, I burp him and we do Babinski and grasp again. Finally, when he's finished we do it one more time (if he's not a asleep). He only has to nurse 4-5 times and he's already done all his Babinski and grasping for the day (we do keep doing them, though).
Whenever we change his diaper, we first go into the closet and turn the lights on and off for light stimulation. I sing a little song while we do it.
Whenever I make the bed in the morning, I let him crawl in the crawling track.
When he's awake, I rotate out putting him in the incline track & doing vestibular. I make vestibular a game with Timothy--"trot around the house with baby" is done while Timothy and I play tag. We do hhorizontal rotations prone as I sit on the swing while Timothy plays outside. I do have to keep looking at a list with vestibular, but we normally get it all done.
Whenever I need to go to the restroom I put Samuel in an empty baby bathtub we have in there. When I'm finished, I flash through infant stimulation cards.
Another criticism was "There's no time to do normal household activities if you're doing all these exercises" Again--the secret is to establish routines.
Whenever Samuel is in his incline track I cheer him on while I run around and straighten up the playroom.
Right now, Samuel is napping on the floor and I just vacuumed all the bedrooms and threw in a load of laundry.
It's totally possible. Not necessarily easy, but possible.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Timothy always had his own interests and agendas, and often these interests really crack us up!!
Timothy saw a movie about a little boy stranded on an island. Pirates were chasing him so he made traps out of sticks to catch them.
Several weeks ago, Timothy decided he would start to make traps of his own. He gathers some sticks and strategically places them in a pile. He takes great care in the placing of each of the sticks. He'll make several traps a day.
He has now brought his fascination with traps indoors, and I'm constantly finding sticks in the house. And he remembers which sticks he had. He'll come up and say "Mom, I'm looking for my stick." I'll find one and he'll say "Not that stick, the other stick that's like a gun"
I'm sure before long he'll be making REAL traps that we have to watch out for, so for now I should just get used to sticks ALL in my house! *sigh*
Sunday, March 14, 2010
So now we're both on a medicine (his first prescription) and we're having to spend our day boiling pacifiers. Anytime one falls out of his mouth, we have to boil it for 20 minutes. Luckily we have two that we can rotate, but it sure makes our lives even more complicated!! (Actually, we did have 3 pacifiers but I let the water evaporate while one was boiling and it burned)
Samuel is becoming so much happier on his tummy for short periods of time. The exciting thing is what he just did this morning--he pushed up with his hands and supported his head at a 45-degree angle!! That was exciting for a 5 week old!
We raised his crawling track so that he crawl down more quickly and he did so much better. Babies can crawl from birth if given the right environment!
We took "stimulate the startle reflex" completely off his checklist because he was getting startled enough in our environment. Timothy bangs on the piano and plays with his pop gun and I empty the dishwasher and make noise and he evokes the correct response with these environmental noises (that occur all too often) so we didn't see the need to try to do one more thing on top of the full checklist we're already doing.
Samuel's vision is also getting so much better. He can track objects and he'll look at you purposefully. I love that he's seeing me now!!
He's started reflexively smiling which is fun, too.
We also started doing swimming with him whenever Daddy's home. He absolutely loves it!! He's certainly a little "water baby" and I think swimming will really help with his respiration.
So thrush, swimming, and better development on his tummy. That's what new with Mr. Samuel!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
By the end of month one a baby typically:
•Lifts head for short periods of time
•Moves head from side to side
•Prefers the human face to other shapes
•Makes jerky, arm movements
•Brings hands to face
•Has strong reflex movements (some)
•Can focus on items 8 to 12 inches away
•May turn towards familiar sounds or voices
•Responds to loud sounds
•Blinks at bright lights
By the end of month two a baby typically:
•Tracks objects with his eyes
•Makes noises other than crying
By the end of month three a baby typically:
•Raises head and chest when put on tummy
•Lifts head up 45 degrees
•Kicks and straightens legs when on back
•Open and shuts hands
•Pushes down with legs when placed on a hard surface
•Reaches for dangling objects
•Grasps and shakes hand toys
•Tracks moving objects (somewhat)
•Begins to imitate sounds
•Recognizes familiar objects and people, even at a distance
•Begins to develop a social smile
•Begins to develop hand-eye coordination
•Brings both hands together
•Interested in circular and spiral patterns
•Kicks legs energetically
•Holds head up with control
At first we thought we could handle things on our own. We spent hours with the steam cleaner and shop vac, pulling gallons of water out of the carpet. At the end of the day, though, the carpet was still drenched and it became increasingly obvious that it would have to be replaced.
Our insurance company had to bring in 8 giant fans, a dehumidifer, and spray so that mold wouldn't form. The smell of the spray, though, made Samuel start wheezing, so we were relocated to a hotel until Wednesday.
So, now we're on a mini-vacation! Timothy enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool. He loves the hotel breakfast and is excited to visit the Children's Museum today. Samuel's been pretty good, too. He's spent most of his time in a sling or bouncy chair (no way he's getting put down on hotel carpet!).
Friday, March 5, 2010
The final verdict:
Yes, he does have low muscle tone, but it's not terrible. In fact, many parents wouldn't even notice it, they said. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's like a 7.
Some kids just need more time and exercise, and some kids will miss milestones and need therapy. We won't really know which one he is unless/until he misses milestones.
That made me feel relieved, knowing that they had seen muscle tone much worse.
Chronologically, he's 4 weeks old. However, he has the cognitive and social skills of an 8 week old (according to their developmental profile they did). That was nice to know--he's a full month ahead in those areas!!
Anyway, we're continuing with speech therapy, monitoring his weight loss, doing the swallow study, giving him as much exercise as possible--and then we'll just see what happens!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
He still chokes and they're worried about aspiration, so we're getting a referral to have a swallow study done. I'll express some milk that they'll mix with barium. A nurse will feed him while they do X-rays to see exactly what's happening with his esophogus as he drinks. It will give us a clearer picture of what's going on in there.
We're putting him on the floor (Doman's perfect environment for kids) for several hours throughout the day. If we give him support by placing our hands behind his feet, he can crawl the 7 feet from one end of the crawling track to the corner. On his own without the support he only crawls a couple of inches. At least he's trying, though. Any attempt is going to make his muscles stronger and stronger!!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
What I really like about this merchant from my initial browsing is that they offer a wide variety of toys that provide sensory and motor stimulation. I'm sure if you look yourself you'll find more than I did, but here are some of the toys I loved.
For tactile stimulation:
Teachable touchables texture squares
Tactile bars touch toy
Jumbo tactile boards
For gross motor for infants:
Baby Play Mat with sound
Climb and play baby toy
There are so many great products that it was difficult for me to choose. They have a wide variety of toys that encourage movement and creativity--all things we value in a toy!!
Ultimately, however, I wanted something that would encourage Timothy's fine motor development. He's started writing and drawing more and not just scribbling, but I want him to improve on that. Plus, he'll be starting violin lessons soon and he'll need good fine motor control. The K'Nex building set promised to allow him creativity and strengthen the muscles in his hands at the same time! I just know he's going to love it and I can't wait to see what he thinks up!
When you're shopping, consider CSNstores.com. I've found their prices to be reasonable and I love that they have a generous return policy.
Be looking for my review of the K'Nex building set soon!
Monday, March 1, 2010
It was nice to have her look me in the eye and say "It's not the end of the world."
Yes, his muscle tone is low in both his mouth and his right foot. She did a Babinski on his left foot and he responded perfectly, but on his right foot he took several seconds before his toes curled in. Weird that we never noticed that before.
She told us that basically he's lazy and the only way to strengthen those muscles will be to exercise them, which is what everyone has been telling us all along.
The great news is that Samuel seems to have the ability to move, much more so than other failure to thrive babies she's seen. Today Samuel crawled a foot to get to his daddy. I realize that a foot isn't much, but a foot is something. It's movement.
He's in his crawling track right now and he's getting used to tummy time slowly but surely. I also notice that he can nurse much faster now. However, he still aspirates and chokes a great deal--even when he's on the breast! I never heard of a child choking while nursing. We may have to do a "swallow study" if it doesn't get better.
I'm so glad we had the crawling track built before he was born--he needs to move and exercise and it allows him to do so!