My girl has been busy; growing, learning, exploring. Everyday I look at her in amazement and thank God for who she is and what she teaches me. What exactly is she up to, you may ask? Here is a breakdown of Charlotte these days:
Charlotte had her 18 month well-check on Friday. Will accompanied us to this appointment and was happy to hear no shots were needed. Charlotte is doing really well, heart sounds good, thyroid blood work came back great, and she is growing like she should. On the typical growth charts she is in the 50th percentile for height and 20th percentile for weight. Some say she is a peanut, but in reality, she is bigger than her sister was at this age.
Gross Motor (physical therapy):
Charlotte is the proud owner of a new pair of sure steps. In a nutshell, they are braces for her feet/ankles which will give her a bit more support and hopefully the confidence to make walking her main form of transportation. She is definitely progressing towards independent walking; with her new orthotics on, she can stand for 2-3 minutes on her own without support. She is a confident furniture cruiser and has a new affinity for stair climbing. Her physical therapist has been thrilled with all of her improvements lately, as have we.
Fine Motor (occupational therapy):
Fine motor skills are definitely Charlotte's strong suit. She can stack blocks, master shape sorters, turn book pages, and color with the best of them. Recently, we have been working with self-spoon feeding, and she has been rocking that as well. Charlotte has an amazing attention span, and usually after she is show a skill, she can pick it up pretty fast. I was telling Missy the other day, how fun it is to watch Charlotte play independently. Most 18-month-olds are walking disasters, dumping toys out of bins, and quickly moving from one to the next. Not Charlotte. She has been taught how to play with all of the toys through hours of therapy, therefore, she will sit for sometimes ten minutes putting rings on and taking them off of a stacker.
This has definitely been the area that has been the most frustrating for me. Katherine and Will were both incredibly verbal pretty early on. In fact, I remember at Will's 18-month appointment filling out the language survey and checking the box for "35 or more words known." When I got home from that appointment, I was telling Mike about it, and he didn't believe that Will knew that many words; so I made a list. Sure enough, at 18 months, Will had more than 50 words, and many two word phrases. Charlotte is still working on her first spoken word. As I have said before, she "talks" all the time. I can carry on an entire conversation with her, and she even throws in hand gestures, but she has yet to say "mama" or "dada" or any other real word. However, she must have known that this blog post was coming, because just today, she decided to throw out some new signs. After her initial three signs, she regressed a bit, and decided to use "milk" for pretty much everything she wanted. Today though, she spontaneously used "more" when she wanted me to read a book for the second time. Also, while laying on the floor next to the dog, I asked her where the Sophie was and she signed "dog," and then when trying to get her to say "mama" tonight (I say it and sign it), she repeated the sign back to me. She is getting it, and I know spoken language will come too, we just have to be patient.
At times, the past 6 months have been hard, as delays are more apparent. During her first year, Charlotte's milestones were not far behind her typical peers. But as our same age friends have progressed from babyhood to toddlerhood, it is sometimes tough to witness their walking and talking and be reminded of Charlotte's disability. However, most times, these moments of sadness and frustration are fleeting, as I am able to concentrate on what my babe can do, and it is pretty amazing. The excitement, love, and pride Mike and I shared today as our daughter showed off her news signs make it worth it.