Friday, March 13, 2009

Girl band

Our girls love to rock. The green guitar B brought back from a recent trip to San Diego and his old keyboard are the most popular instruments in our house, but the girls will also play drums, maracas, harmonicas, you name it.

Brighter days ahead

Things are looking up in the Galli-ringo household. First of all, daylight savings has done wonders for my evening mindset. It's so nice to see the sun still shining while I'm getting dinner ready. Now if only it would warm up enough to let the girls stay outside and play while I cook! We did have one afternoon in the 50s when we got outside for awhile before dinner, and it was amazing. I thought, "Oh, yeah, THIS is how it can be!" We were all energized by the change of scenery and fresh air. Being able to play in the yard opens up a whole other room to explore.

Along with the longer days and promise of warmer weather, Miss Hannah has been making some really solid strides lately. It's like she knows that it's time to try out some new tricks because Mama is getting down in the dumps. It always happens like this: I get in a funk that progress is so slow and seems like it will never happen. And then my girl turns up the volume and gets rolling. I'm wondering if, now that we're just over a month past her botax injections, she is experiencing some sort of "peak" in the treatment. Like maybe it's taken her this long to adjust to the new feeling of less tone and rebuild some strength/relearn some skills. Whatever it is, Hannah is doing great!

Specifically, she is pulling up in her crib again. She did this for a short stretch in the summer and then stopped doing it. She still naps in a crib in the guest bedroom (big girl beds with Isabelle for night time) and the other day I went in to check on her and found her standing up, banging on the window. The next day, same thing. She was quite proud of herself! In addition to pulling up, B opened up her walker wheels so they are in full swivel mode; we'd had them limited somewhat so she could have more control. Now that they are in full swivel, Hannah can pretty much get herself all the way around the house without getting stuck, which is such a great thing for her and for those of us that have to "unstick" her regularly. Also, the day that the girls and I went out in the yard to play, Hannah just took off across the grass in her walker, pulling it through the mud and still frozen snowy sections without hesitation. She was so excited to be outside and was moving around much more than she did this time last year. Finally, Hannah's transition skills are coming along really well. She can cruise all along the coffee table and even get from her walker to the table and around to the couch. She can get down off of a chair or a bench almost entirely on her own, she can pull up into her walker and she can walk up the stairs holding onto the railing with one hand and one of our hands with her other. Some of these skills are ones that she had been able to do for a short time but, like pulling up, stopped doing after a time and is now able to do again. Others are new skills.

In the pool (we go swimming in a warm water pool once a week), Hannah took a few steps to me today on her own and she is also putting her face in the water, blowing bubbles and jumping off a step into my arms.

All in all, Hannah is doing some amazing things and it comes at just the right time for my state of mind. I'm always impressed by her motivation and determination. I'm hoping these gains last past when the botax wears off because it is also doing great things for her self-confidence. I'm looking forward to more sunshiney days ahead!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Life is different

I came across this post by another mom of a kiddo with CP whose blog I read somewhat regularly. She asks herself how her life would be different if her daughter didn't have CP. I think of this all the time as well, especially when I'm out with Hannah in a place where there are lots of other kids/parents. Our life is so different than the average family with typically developing kids, in ways that so many people don't realize. In lots of respects, we're like everyone else, trying to figure out what to make for dinner, paying the bills, thinking of fun things to do as a family. But layered over this are the doctor's appointments, therapies to do at home, therapies to do in the community, research into new treatments, equipment to look into buying, adaptations to make around the well as the constant attention out in public, the physical effort to get around in the community, and the mental/emotional effort it takes to stay positive and hopeful and focused on manageable, achievable goals for our kids.

I would give almost anything to wake up one day and for Hannah's CP to be cured. I can see some of the silver linings that have come out of this experience of raising a child with a disability, but I would much rather have learned these lessons an easier way. Despite this, we (and she) have managed to have a pretty good life.

But it IS a different life. And it is hard work.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's always something

Last week I noticed Hannah's left eye was turning in, independent of her right. I know that between ages 3-4 is when you often see this sign of far-sightedness crop up and I was hoping we'd escape unscathed. Ah, well.

I put in a call to the opthomologist and we're scheduled for an appointment on Wednesday morning. Talking with my brother, who is an optometrist and opthomologist-in-training, glasses are the likely remedy. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it's just one more piece of evidence that our girls were born prematurely and Hannah suffered the brunt of the experience.

Sometimes I wish we could just go along on our merry way without these things cropping up. Makes you kind of feel like you're always on the super-vigilant lookout for something else to appear.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Big girl beds and other news

There are some exciting things happening in our house. The girls have successfully graduated to toddler beds! The transition was as smooth as can be and so far, we have had no issues either with people falling out of their beds or getting out and coming into our room. I wonder if this is one of the few things that might actually be easier with twins: the girls have each other for company, so maybe they have less of a need to wander around looking for one of us in the night? Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled that it was so seamless! Here are a few pics of them snuggling down for the first night in their new beds.

We've been talking about moving them into their big girl beds for awhile, but they were so content in their cribs that we figured we'd give it more time. That was until we discovered this:

Yep, I'm pregnant! I'm 13 weeks along with this little surprise, due around September 5th. You could have blown me over with a feather when, after my period was late and I decided on a whim to take a test, it came up positive. We conceived the girls using IVF and didn't think it was possible for us to get pregnant on our own. After all, 5 years of unprotected sex and it never happened. We were open to the idea of having another one so we weren't being very careful, but it seemed like such a far flung possibility that we could actually make a baby on our own. Who knew?!

Now that the morning sickness has abated somewhat (it's been MUCH worse this time around than when I was pregnant with the girls, even though we're SURE there's only one in there!) and I'm starting to feel a little better, I'm getting pretty excited. We told the girls a few days ago and now every morning when she wakes up, Isabelle asks me if the baby is still growing inside my belly. I love it.

Early on, I had many moments of feeling overwhelmed and scared about having another baby, mainly how I would juggle taking care of the girls and Hannah's particular needs while also going back to the mind-numbing early days of sleepless nights. And I still have those moments but more and more, I feel confident that it will work itself out. I never could have imagined, when I was home alone with the girls for the first time after we brought them home from the hospital, all of the things I do on my own with them. I take them all over the place and manage just fine, even with Hannah's mobility challenges. And when this little one arrives the girls will be just about to start preschool so that will give me a little time with just the baby to care for. Plus they will be about to turn 4 and are getting more and more independent every day, especially Isabelle but Hannah as well.

I think this will be a great thing for our family. Right now, Isabelle does a lot of nurturing/caretaking of Hannah which is really sweet but also a little worrisome as we want to encourage Hannah's independence as much as possible. And Hannah likes to be taken care of. Once the baby comes, they'll both have someone else to fawn over and I think it will be good for everyone.

All in all, we're excited about the prospect of welcoming a new life into our house. Now we just need to go out and buy a minivan!