Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Topic Change: Brynn

Since all I have left to talk about is how close delivery is as well as my "aches and pains" of being a whopping 34 weeks (full-term mommies have NO sympathy, I'm sure), I should change the topic to something a little more exciting: Brynn. But before I do, I just gotta mention--those sharp pains when I get up to use the bathroom? I found out, they are actually from my pelvis widening as Heidi moves further down. So, since my super narrow hips + Heidi's small head = the same amount of stretch as a normal-hipped mom with a full-term baby, I'm not being a total wuss right? Ha!

Okay, so since I've been on bed rest, Brynn has made about a thousand gigantic leaps in development. I haven't been able to get pictures of any of it (thanks to being largely immobile and/or absent), but if I do I'll get some retroactive photos posted here. I am so excited about her growth. She's even starting to be my little girl instead of my baby--which is a little unbelievable but we've waited so long for her to finally start catching up, I am nothing but ecstatic!

First, just so you can fully appreciate the following list which might otherwise seem mundane, she has only gained about 1 lb since ... lets see ... before her CI surgery. SO, that was about 1 lb in 6 months (even I was getting worried, and I never worry about my kids being small). Also, since language development and cognitive development are very closely tied, her deafness (plus prematurity) has caused some delays in simple things like understanding cause-and-effect concepts as well as how to explore toys the same way as a typically developing child. Most parents probably don't even really notice these milestones, but we've been anticipating them for a long time so it's been a miracle to watch her explode since her implantation.

Here's the list of things she's done since I was admitted to the hospital in August:

--stacked 4 blocks for the first time (major cognitive step forward)
--will put toys IN buckets instead of just take them out (another cognitive skill)
--Uses "tools," i.e. hits the xylophone with the mallet instead of her hands (great cognitive leap, again)
--understands simple commands like "Get your shoes," "Close the door," "Please hand that to mommy," and "Can you make the cow go JUMP?" In therapy terms, her receptive language (i.e. what she understands others saying) is exploding.
--is developing expressive language (i.e. actually saying words herself). Getting the consonants right is tough, but she's mimicking a TON of sounds and can tell you what a duck/owl/dog/etc says without a picture to prompt her (in other words, it's ALL auditory).
--used her first "official" words by mimicking "Uh! Uh! Uh!" for asking us to pick her "Up! Up! Up!" She's hit-and-miss with "Mamamama" "Dadadada" and "Bumpa" (Grandpa). And I swear yesterday she said, "Mmmm. Good!" after we gave her some potatoes (can you tell we make a big production at eating time and have used that phrase a lot?)
--is starting to understand chasing and "I'm going to get you" games
--is showing increasing awareness and curiosity in her world. She actually gets into kitchen drawers, pulls the silverware out of the dishwasher, and unrolls a whole roll of toilet paper. I know this is usually defined as "trouble" for most parents--but when you've waited almost TWO YEARS to need to say, "No, no!" to your baby, you'd be excited, too.
--LOVES books. And I mean LOVES books. She will sit by herself with a book for a solid 10 minutes, just looking at every picture in detail, turning the pages, jutting out her cute little chin in utter concentration. Sometimes she'll "read" the book by babbling about each page to whoever might be listening. Hilarious:

*Side note: I am SO glad we made the decision to give her the Cochlear Implant.

--cut 7 teeth--or was it 8?--2 of which were molars. (Never-ending brownie points to Grandpa and Grandma B for suffering through that with her).
--changed from 100% Pediasure through the G-tube to genuine, real food. This was made possible by the superior blenderizing abilities of our awesome Vitamix, which can make the food smooth enough to go through the tube.
--as a result, she has gained 1 lb 5 oz and 3/4 inches height in only THREE WEEKS (the dietician said "Holy S^*#! I've never seen this kind of growth so fast!") If we can pack on a couple more pounds, we'll have a little wiggle room for her to lose some weight while we start weaning the tube!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
--eats more and more and more. In fact, I think the weight gain and teething were both products of her fantastic eating. She now eats bites the size of a nickel instead of only little crumbs; and is finally learning how to chew, too, so it doesn't take her 5 minutes to dissolve an animal cracker on her tongue.

--bends over all the way to the floor to pick small things up and is able to get back up without using the sitting/crawling/pulling-up routine (weak core muscles are finally getting stronger!)
--learned to climb stairs (another plus for those core muscles!)
--can navigate her steps carefully through obstacles

--is getting more personality. For whatever reason, she has been a very sober child for a long time. But lately, she laughs and smiles a million times more (still need a photo of that)! This also means she cries a lot more, but still not as much as most kids. I think it has a lot to do with the change in her diet and energy level. Whatever the reason, I'll take it!
--still largely ignores other kids when we try to socialize her in nursery and playgroups, but we're sure that will continue to develop, too. For now, I just imagine she won't even notice her new baby sister for a couple months! I just hope she won't try to "pat" Heidi since her "pats" are really becoming good, hard whacks these days.
--And I guess it's about time I posted a picture of Brynn's "pacifier." Sucking her tongue and/or sleeve while rubbing her shirt has been Brynn's comfort measure ever since her overactive gag and vomiting reflexes made a real pacifier (or thumb/fingers) unbearable for her. Now it's her trademark:

We love you, Brynn! We love you SO much! Good job growing up into SUCH A BIG GIRL!

Love, Mommy


The Lingo Family said...

Such a little sweetheart. Those blue eyes of hers just make me melt.

Brady and Rachel said...

What an Angel! LOVE her blue eyes! She is such a doll! What AMAZING progress, that is SO GREAT to hear. What wonderful blessings the Lord is blessing you with for all your family has endured these past many weeks, etc and for following what you felt was right in giving her the implants. Thanks for being willing to share some of those blessings, its so good to see great things happening to great and amazing people. I'm still in AWWWW that Heidi is still in there when you are at 5 cm. That's CRAZY! But crazy good too of course. Prayers will continue to be with you guys at this time and all that lies ahead! :)

Heather said...

You captured her paci moment very well! Her hair is getting so long, did she really keep the bow in all day?!

Natalie said...

Heather: YES. She is very good about keeping her bows in if we have a fountain in too. The bow alone? Not so much.

Anna said...

Wow, that is seriously AMAZING!! Way to go, Brynn, and everyone who helped her do these amazing things!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! just wait 'till there's two!!

Unknown said...

That's all so great!!! Such a beauty girl. I used to suck my tongue as a pacifier, too. Heehee. Maya is the same way with the hair bows. Bows+little sprig=success. Bow alone=pulled out in a jiffy.

Trish said...

Yay Brynn!!! You know, in about a year she might really like a Tag Reader - Logan was really into books too, the way it sounds like she is, and someone gave him a Tag Reader when he was almost 3, and after showing him how it worked, he just absorbed it. It taught him how to read!!!