Thursday, December 17, 2009

First haircut

Stella got her hair cut today for the first time. I took her to Cookie Cutters and she was great. She found the steering wheel on the little car quite entertaining. I just had a little trim done - she still has lots of curls!

Check her out:

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's official - we have a cruiser. It's so exciting to watch Stella learn how to move and she is having a blast. She can now pull herself up on the couch and cruise from one end to the other. She also loves to walk around her little table. She does better going to her right, but can also go left. She's moving!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

17 Months

This past month has been so much fun, and has been filled with a lot of work and doctor’s appointments. Stella has made huge gains in her balance, coordination and mobility. She is so excited to be moving! Usually all she wants to do is to get down and move. She loves to stand at a table or couch to play and to walk while holding someone’s hands. We have tried using a push toy a few times, but she is a little insecure with it. It’s probably time for us to get one. She is trying to figure out crawling, and it’s pretty funny to watch her get stuck in downward dog. She has been working so hard in OT and PT and it is finally paying off.

We started speech therapy last week, and it was so funny because the entire hour Stella did not make a single sound. She is babbling more, but still not very many words. She does understand a lot. One of her newest things that I love is when I say, “Good girl Stella,” she claps her hands.

As usual, Stella was a good little traveler for Thanksgiving. We spent Thursday with Michael’s family and the rest of the weekend at my dad’s. Stella loved the Thanksgiving feast. It was her first time trying many of the foods and she just gobbled them up. She was such a mess afterward!

Sebastian is having a lot of fun with Stella now that she is more mobile, but I have also had to deal with my first real sibling conflict. Sebastian got upset when Stella found her way to one of his toys and he said, “Stella, no that is MINE!” and grabbed it from her, knocking her over. I’m actually happy that we have reached this stage. It’s cute to watch them play together though – I especially love when we all wrestle together and everyone laughs.

I am very frustrated with the lack of progress with Stella’s conformers. It seems like we are moving backwards and the ocularist doesn’t really know what to do. She did suggest surgery to expand Stella’s sockets, thinking then it will be easier to fit her for prosthetics. We met with the surgeon for a consultation and now we are researching it and thinking things over. It’s just hard to know what the best decision is.

We met with a developmental pediatrician and an endocrinologist this month. The pediatrician confirmed that we are on the right track with everything, and also referred us to a neurologist, who will help provide us with more of a big picture and help us set realistic expectations for Stella. He is well known in the community and was very informed and helpful. I look forward to working with him as Stella grows. The endocrinologist was also very helpful and ran some tests, which confirmed that Stella’s growth hormone levels are very low. No surprise there. We are going to do one more test in January, and then probably start her on synthetic growth hormone. The endocrinologist is optimistic that with the right doses Stella will still reach an appropriate height. All of our appointments have been at the Riley’s Children’s Hospital – I’m very impressed with the facility and the staff there.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Stella!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

16 Months

Stella has been so much fun lately! She is quite the wiggly little girl, and doesn't like snuggle or be held unless she is tired. Stella wants to move! She loves to scoot around the floor, gets in and out of 4-point, rocks, gets in and out of sitting, and has started to pull up on things. (Last night she scooted over to the train table and pulled herself up all by herself!) She loves to hold on to our hands and walk around, and is just starting to get the hang of cruising and walking behind a push toy. She smiles and laughs and it is the cutest thing! I was really starting to think she would never want to walk. I am so pleased with the OT and PT that we are using. I do think working with them has a lot to do with Stella's progress, and I think she is finally ready. It's funny to watch her, because she has that age-appropriate stubbornness and independence. If someone is trying to help her she will push the hand away. And she doesn't like anyone touching her hands.

Stella is babbling more, but still doesn't say any words. She does say Mama and Dada,but I'm not convinced she knows what they mean. I have seen her use the "more" sign a few times too, but again, I'm not convinced it was on purpose. She understands a ton though. We are starting speech therapy soon,so hopefully her words will come soon. I'm content with the progress in movement and I know she will talk eventually. At least she doesn't get frustrated by her inability to communicate verbally.

We've had a busy month, with a road trip back to IL and me being out of town a couple of weekends. Michael did great with the kids. It's so nice that they have such a good connection and that I feel comfortable going away for a few days. It gives me a much needed break! Stella is weaned now too, which makes things easier. That is bittersweet for me, but she was obviously ready. She got to a point where she preferred the bottle and she kept biting me. She is a wonderful eater, as long as it's finger food she can feed herself.She has no interest in being fed or in using utensils yet. And we haven't made much progress with a sippy cup - she still uses a bottle, but she does feed herself. Speaking of biting, Stella has 11 teeth now and is currently working on that last molar. Poor thing, these molars have been tough on her. Maybe after this she will get a break for a while.

Adjusting to a new Ocularist (Kathy Hetzler) has been tough, and she finds Stella to be challenging because of the way her sockets are shaped. We have had many instances of the conformers falling out, or twisting around, and Kathy has yet to find a design that fits well and that she can get in and out. The last couple of weeks Stella had one white conformer and one clear one, then nothing in the left eye for 1 week. Ugh. I hope this starts to go more smoothly soon. I am very much looking forward to the day when she has pretty painted eyes - probably brown.

Life is busy, and about to get busier with adding speech therapy and all the appointments I have lined up with specialists to find out why Stella isn't growing. She has gained a little weight, but not gotten any longer since April. I'm guessing she will be starting growth hormone soon. At least I'm familiar with that, as my brother was on it when we were growing up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

15 Months

We moved to Indianapolis mid-August and are starting to feel pretty settled. We are renting a house in South Broad Ripple and love the location. We can walk to a ton of stuff, including a fruit stand, many good restaurants, and a gourmet grocery store, and the Monon trail & a playground are 3 houses down. The more we explore of the city, the more we like it here. Sebastian is at a great Montessori school 3 blocks from our house, and we are only 10 minutes from the blind school that Stella will attend once she turns 3.

Stella is finally all set up with her new doctors and therapists. I am quite happy with her new OT and PT, and she has already made good progress since starting with them 3 weeks ago. I also like her new ocularist, Kathy Hetzler, even though she is a bit more aggressive than I might like and keeps suggesting surgery to help expand Stella's sockets. I may meet with the surgeon to get more information, but I doubt I will agree to surgery any time soon.

Stella is so much fun these days. She is very active, no longer wanting to snuggle and be held unless she is tired. She loves to jump, get on her hands and knees and rock, and stand up (with help). She is starting to transition from one position to another and is scooting backwards on her hands and knees. It's nice to finally see some progress with her gross motor skills. She has also become much more verbal - mostly still babbling, but she does say "hi" and "dada" pretty regularly.

Still a peanut, Stella just weighed in at 18lbs 6oz and measured 26.5 inches. We are currently doing some testing to find out why she's not growing very quickly. She sure looks chubby and healthy though. Stella eats all sorts of foods - she loves to feed herself - and can even feed herself her bottle. She is almost totally weaned now. Every once in a while I nurse her during the day, but usually it's limited to during the night a couple of times a week.

I joined the YMCA here and Stella goes to the child care there while I work out. This was a big step for both of us, and Stella is doing great there. The women who work there just love her. They tell me she sometimes interacts with other babies and laughs when they "talk" to her. It is so nice to have someone I trust to watch her.

We are busy with life and enjoying our children! Sebastian is a great big brother and is having more fun with Stella now that she is more interactive. The cutest thing is when they take baths together and he gently helps clean her, then they splash together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

13 Months

We have been very preoccupied with moving this month and probably haven't worked with Stella enough. Nevertheless, she is making progress and has adapted very well to her new surroundings. Unfortunately there will be a 2 month lapse in her therapies as we transition to the services in Indiana.

Stella is eating a lot more these days and I can tell that she is getting heavier. She feeds herself many finger foods and is drinking several bottles of cow's milk daily. We nurse at night and once and a while during the day. I am feeling fairly ready to wean her, and it's nice to know that she will easily take cow's milk. We are trying to work on a sippy cup but it has been slow going.

Stella is very active and often doesn't want to be held. She is sitting very well and also enjoys standing (supported) and walking while we hold her hands. She has started getting on her hands and knees and rocking. She laughs and thinks it is so fun. She is also babbling quite a bit more.

These pictures were taken when she was about 12 1/2 months old.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

12 Months

Stella is finally sitting up unassisted. Yay! My goal was for her to accomplish this by the time she was 1 and she beat the goal by a week. Now she just has to figure out how to gracefully get in and out of sitting. I think things are moving right along with her development. She has better control of her body now, finds things more quickly and is exploring and manipulating toys more thoroughly.

Stella is still teeny tiny, not even on the growth chart anymore. She breastfeeds many times a day, but doesn't eat a whole lot of food. She has 8 teeth, so she is perfectly capable. She does best when we put small chunks of food on her tray, giving her a chance to explore the food and then feed herself. The only problem is, she doesn't eat much quantity. I am going to focus more on feeding this coming month. We gave her cow milk for the first time today. First we tried cold milk and she spit it out, but once I warmed it up she chugged it.

Stella makes all sorts of sounds, including dada, and blowing bubbles, but I don't think she says any real words yet. Michael, of course, wants to claim Dada, while I like to think Mmmiii means milk.

Stella still loves her swing and her exersaucer, and any type of fabric. She is playing with blocks a bit, and rings, and still loves rattles and anything musical. She is taking a Kindermusik class, which she mostly enjoys. Sometimes I think she gets overwhelmed. We went to a fair the weekend of July 4 and took her on her first ride on a ferris wheel. She loved it! Stella also enjoys being read to. She grabs the book and wants to chew on the corners, but she has also started exploring the pages with her hands. She finds the dots on the braille books and likes to feel textures on other books.

Sebastian is so eager for Stella to talk, and walk, and play with him. He is usually very sweet and gentle with her, but they do both enjoy rolling around on the floor together. Sebastian is a big help in the car. He will hand her a toy, or her pacifier, but sometimes he hits her just to get a reaction. Sigh. Part of the joy of parenting siblings. Sebastian loves to push Stella in the stroller, or in a swing. It's fun to watch them together.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Stella!

My darling, beautiful, happy, snuggly, Stella Bella Boo is 1!!!

She wanted nothing to do with the cake, but enjoyed the presents. I think she liked the crinkly tissue paper the presents were wrapped in more than the presents themselves. Stella loved when we sang for her. Sebastian picked out a musical toy for Stella that he, of course, wanted to play with the whole time. All in all, a happy birthday for Stella.

P.S. Look how well that little girl is sitting up now! I'm so happy she has finally reached that milestone.

Monday, June 8, 2009

11 Months

As of yesterday, Stella is 11 months old. In many ways, she is still like a much younger baby. Most days that is just fine with me, but occasionally I feel a pang of regret that she is not developing faster, or I eagerly anticipate her next achievement. I don't mind one bit that she is still tiny. And if she really doesn't walk independently until she is around 3 years old, like many blind children, I'm sure my back will be grateful for her small stature.

Stella rolls all over the place to explore her environment, and I think if she had her way she would spend all of her time on her back. We have been working hard to get her more comfortable in a sitting position and it is paying off. She is getting close to sitting up by herself and she seems to enjoy it most of the time now. She is very curious about what is around her and searches with her hands and feet, twisting to the sides and leaning forward, left and right to explore. She does very well in her high chair and easily finds food and feeds herself. Gerber puffs are her favorite foods, but she also gobbles up bananas, pears, watermelon and sweet potatoes, and more. Just this week she drank water from a sippy cup a few times.

Stella spends a lot of time in the exersaucer, swing and in her booster seat on the floor. She still loves different textures and puts everything, especially fabrics, in her mouth. Her feet, and of course, her pacifier are probably her two favorite things to play with. Every time Michael holds Stella, she chews on the collar of his shirt or jacket. She is still teething. Currently she has 7 teeth and more are about to pop through. She is a wonderful sleeper. She takes long naps in the afternoon and then sleeps easily through the night, usually only nursing once.

Things are moving right along with therapy and with the conformers. Progress is slow, but at least there is steady progress.
Sebastian seems to be enjoying Stella more. He plays with her a lot, talks and sings to her, and loves when she babbles back or laughs. He likes to play "This little piggy" with her and she loves it. She starts laughing as soon as he grabs her big toe. He also likes to hold her and to roll her around on the floor. I think he's a little rough with her at times, but she loves it!

Here are some recent pictures of us with Stella.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stella's Latest Therapy Device

Stella's TVI brought this over last week and it has been a huge hit! We have been having trouble motivating Stella to sit, but now that she can reach forward and find toys she likes, she is doing much better. She still can't sit up on her own, so I ended up buying her a little booster seat to use on the floor in front of it. She does pretty well, but when she gets tired she leans back against the back of the booster seat. Soon I will remove the back and see how she does. She will also twist to the sides to find things next to her on the floor to play with. Sometimes she leans back and plays with the toys with her feet too, which is pretty funny to watch. Overall, I'm pleased with the device and I wish I had gotten one sooner!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10 Months

I have seen such a change in Stella in the last few weeks. She seems much more comfortable with her body and knowing where she is in space. She moves with purpose and finds things she drops quickly and easily. She is also rolling all over the place to find toys or to explore the area. I took her to Washington DC last weekend for my brother's graduation and it was so fun to watch her roll around the hotel room and explore everything. She often would rather roll around on the floor than be held. I am a little bummed that she is still not sitting up. I think she is capable, but just not interested. I remember that's how it was for a long time with rolling, so I trust she will sit when she is ready, although I am also trying everything I can think of to encourage her and help her feel secure while sitting. She does great in her high chair, so I think her security has to do with knowing where she is in space.

Stella is babbling quite a bit now. Often she has the pacifier in while she talks, which is amusing. Some of the sounds she makes regularly are: gaga, goy, ahh, and oooo. Still no b, d, or m sounds. It's fun to babble back and forth with her, and I love how she tries to sing along when music is playing.

Progress has slowed down with Stella's conformers. Her right socket was growing much faster than the left, so we stopped changing the conformer in the right and we are trying to get the left side to catch up. While the like the style of conformer we are using, the process seems to be taking a long time. The good news is I don't have to go to the Ocularist as often - we are currently going every 3 weeks. It is so obvious to me how odd Stella looks, and yet I continue to be amazed at how many people don't seem to notice, or give us odd looks. The most common comment I get is along the lines of, "Ohh, what a darling baby. Aww. She's sleepy." It doesn't bother me, and I'm glad I don't have to answer questions from strangers all the time. I am completely happy to talk openly about Stella and willing to answer any questions from people I know, I just think it would get old if I tried to explain things to every person I meet at the grocery store.

Stella has 4 bottom teeth now and 1 on the top, with more coming soon. She hasn't been too cranky while teething, although we have had our moments (mostly in the middle of the night.) She chews on everything, especially her fingers, wrist and fabrics, but will not accept any teethers. She is doing okay with food - we have good days and bad days. It's so much easier and cleaner to breastfeed, that some days I don't even offer her food. I would like to get better about exposing her to more foods.

Some of Stella's favorite things to do are: roll around on the floor, chew on things, play with her feet, swing, play bouncing games while Sebastian & I sing, have Michael swing her through the air, play in her exersaucer, go for walks outside (in the stroller or the sling), explore the textures of different toys, baths, listen to Sebastian talk/sing to her.

A note about the pictures. I feel so bad - I had hardly any photos of Stella from the last month. I must remember to take more pictures!!! It's also difficult to get decent photos. I was so impressed with the work the professionals did a few weeks ago. I couldn't resist including the picture of Stella in her first Strawberry Shortcake outfit. I had been looking for Strawberry Shortcake things and couldn't find any - this outfit (and 1 other) is thanks to Michael's mom :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I am borrowing this picture from a website I found that talks about baby teeth.
Illustration copyright 2003 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Poor Stella has 3 teeth actually breaking through the skin this week, and it looks like 3-4 more about ready to erupt. She is being pretty good all things considered. She has bitten me several times while nursing, which is NOT FUN. Yesterday she started gnawing on her wrist, which is pretty funny to watch. She just won't use a teether though. I think it's funny how her teeth are coming in. Her first tooth erupted a while ago, her right central incisor. Then this weekend her left lateral incisor poked through, so there was a gap between her teeth. The other two bottom incisors are catching up though - yesterday and today they erupted. Now we are just waiting on some upper teeth, which appear close to ready, and then hopefully she will get a break for a few months.

Test Results

We got the phone call today with results from the tests ordered by the endocrinologist. Everything looks normal :-) They were not able to get enough blood to do all the tests, but they did the main ones we were concerned about - growth hormone, metabolism, and thyroid. Phew. The doctor also didn't see any reason for us to draw more blood at this point. We will continue with regular screenings from here on out. At least my mind can rest assured for now. I guess Stella's just going to be a shorty like her mama.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Pictures

Last week I had 9 month photos taken of Stella. She was a little doll during the whole shoot - smiling and giggling, and flopping over, of course, when they tried to sit her up. Here are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Finally, Stella started physical therapy today! I got so fed up working with Early Intervention that I took it upon myself to find private therapy. For now I will pay for it and hopefully down the road we can get EI to pay! Grrrr.

Stella is working with Rita at Arlington Pediatric Therapy. I was so impressed with the facility. It's huge and they have so many therapy devices and rooms. Everyone, the staff and other families, was extremely nice and outgoing. It was a bit difficult for me to see so many kids with physical limitations. They also had a memorial wall filled with pictures of kids. For some reason I was deeply touched by all of this. I am so grateful for the people who choose to go into pediatric medicine/therapy. All the professionals I have met so far along this road have made things easier.

Stella liked Rita and was showing off during the session. Rita gave me a lot of good/new/different ideas of things to do with Stella, so hopefully we will see an improvement soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Visit with Endocrinologist

We met with Dr. Ellen Kim today, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Memorial. Stella is so tiny for her age, so I wanted to have an initial consultation mostly for peace of mind. Dr. Kim agreed that Stella's weight and height gains show some cause for concern and ordered some tests.

I learned a lot about the pituitary gland during our meeting. Probably the most interesting thing I learned was that issues with the pituitary can show up into a person's 20s, so at the very least Stella will need yearly screens until then. (People born with bilateral anophthalmia often have problems with their pituitary glands.) The most reassuring thing I learned was that any problem that may arise can successfully be managed with synthetic hormones.

Getting Stella's blood drawn was so traumatic. She is a chubby little thing, so it was nearly impossible for them to find a vein, and when they finally did (it required 2 nurses and me) they couldn't get very much blood. This whole time Stella was crying like she was being tortured, which, I guess in a way, she was. It was horrible. I started crying too. I hope I don't have to go through that again any time soon!

We should get the results by the end of test week. Fingers crossed that things are normal!

Friday, April 10, 2009

9 months

It's hard to believe my baby is 9 months old already! She's still so tiny, and acts more like a 5 month old in many ways, so it's easy for me to forget how old she is. While I do want her to grow and develop and become more mobile, there is a part of me that is enjoying this "extra" baby time.

Stella has one tooth, middle bottom, and more are on the way. She chews on everything, including her own fingers. I think it's funny that she continues to be surprised when it hurts to chomp down on her finger. She is still nursing strong, but also enjoying a variety of foods. I think we're done with the pureed baby food, because she makes a huge mess and doesn't seem to like it that much. She seems to prefers actual chunks of foods. So far she has had puffs, cheerios, carrots, peas, bananas, and teething biscuits. I am so impressed with how well she finds the food on her high chair tray and feeds herself. She doesn't have the pincer grasp down yet, but she grabs the food with one hand and uses fingers from the other hand to scoop the food into her mouth. She helps to hold a sippy cup but hasn't managed on her own yet, but we haven't given her many chances to try.

I think Stella has made great strides in her physical development this month. She is rolling from her tummy to back very easily and consistently. She still prefers to be on her back, although she tolerates tummy time a little better and will actually reach for objects and play with them while on her stomach. She often rolls from her back to her side, usually to find something to play with, but rarely goes all the way to her stomach. I think she is pretty close to sitting by herself. She does very well in the high chair and the exersaucer. Of course she still loves the swing and her little room and really interacts a lot with her surroundings now. She enjoys exploring textures and playing with rattles. Stella has become a lot more verbal this month too. No words yet though. Stella found her feet this month and just loves to play with them. She can also pull her socks off to get at her feet.

Her hair is getting longer and often seems like it might be curly. It definitely has a lot of body. This has been a difficult month for her conformers. The visits were traumatic and we had trouble finding a good fit. The end result is that for 3 weeks she has been wearing one clear conformer and one white conformer. They seem to be doing the job, but I think it looks awful. Next week we will get them changed and hopefully she will look a little better.

Overall I'm happy with the progress Stella is making, although I would love to see her be a bit more mobile. We are starting her on physical therapy to help with that, hopefully next week. Stella is such a sweet, easy baby, and I am having so much fun with her. I'm amazed at how expressive her face can be and at how easy it is to figure out what she needs. I just love watching her grow and learn things. And it's very fun to watch Sebastian find ways to interact with and enjoy her.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Well Visit

Stella saw Dr. Elvove today for her 9 month well visit. Although she's tiny, Elvove says she's healthy and thriving and he thinks we are doing all the right things to help her grow and develop. He suggested I try giving her chunkier foods, and even some cooked peas and carrots. We'll see how that goes.

Stella measured 26 inches and weighed 17 1/2 pounds. That puts her in the 5th percentile for height and around the 30th percentile for weight.

She also got the Hib vaccine today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Yesterday I felt Stella's first tooth. She pulled my finger into her mouth, chomped down on it, and it hurt! Sure enough, when I looked I saw the sharp little white tooth protruding from her lower gums.

Poor little thing has been cranky all day today, so I know she is teething hard core now. Her gums are swollen and she just can't seem to get comfortable. I have been giving her teething tablets, but she had trouble napping so I gave her tylenol which helped.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

OT Evaluation

Today Julie came to evaluate Stella for occupational therapy. Some of the things an OT might work with Stella on are motor skills, self help skills such as feeding, oral motor skills, play skills and sensory processing skills.

The OT was very impressed with Stella's skills and found very little delay. The fact that Stella uses her hands very well, is already self-feeding a bit, and has no sensory issues is wonderful. Julie said it was evident that we have been working with Stella a lot. I give most of the credit to Marla, the TVI, who has taught me pretty much everything I do with Stella.

Julie agreed that for now it is important to focus on Stella's gross motor skills, like rolling and sitting. Yay! Go Stella! It's so nice to hear feedback that Stella is doing some things well, and that we are doing the right things to help her develop and grow.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8 months old

Stella is 8 months old now. She is wearing 6-9 month clothes and I think she must be gaining weight, because she is so chubby! I love her baby fat rolls, especially on her thighs.

Things are moving right along, although slowly, with her physical development. She is making progress with rolling and sitting and seems a lot stronger than she used to be. Sometimes she grabs her feet now if I help direct her hands to them. When I put her in the small room she scoots and rolls all over. Often she scoots right out of the box, and she usually turns herself 90 or 180 degrees from how I put her down. She is great at finding things around her to explore, and usually after she drops an object she can find it.

Feeding is going very well. Stella still breastfeeds mostly, but she gets at least one meal a day of baby food. So far she has had rice cereal, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, apples, bananas and pears. Also she can feed herself cheerios and gerber puffs. She just loves those things! It's pretty funny to watch her eat them, because her hands are so moist that they just stick to her fingers and she has to shove them into her mouth with her other hand. I'm impressed at how easily she finds them on her tray and gets them into her mouth.

We took the kids to a water park this month at Wisconsin Dells and Stella did very well. She loved being in the water. Her favorite part was sitting at the edge of the wave pool. Each time a wave splashed over her legs she would laugh and coo and kick her legs. It was a struggle keeping the wet suit out of her mouth - she wanted to suck on it. Yuck!

I love watching Stella with her big brother Sebastian (3 years older than her). They are able to interact a little now, and Sebastian loves playing with her. Usually he is appropriately gentle. Stella just loves him. Anytime he comes near or talks to her she lights up. He likes to tickle her, play peek-a-boo with her, bring her toys, and help her roll over. Sometimes he tells her stories, and strokes her and kisses her, which is adorable.

Things have slowed down at the ocularist. We are not changing Stella's conformers quite as often anymore. We are hoping Stella will have a growth spurt soon and we will be able to insert conformers that are quite a bit larger. I am glad that we have settled on a design that seems to work well and doesn't fall out. Stella does have a lot of discharge from a socket, so keeping them clean and preventing them from getting red is a constant chore. I'm pleased with how her face is looking and am happy with the work June is doing. Stella still cries like she is being tortured during every visit, which is not fun for me either.

It seems like the majority of people who meet Stella don't realize she is different. Either that, or they are just very polite. Most people smile, and talk to her, and tell me how adorable she is. Sometimes I wonder if they just aren't very observant. Of course, a comment I hear quite often is along these lines, "Oh what a cute baby. She's sleepy, how sweet." And this is even if she is babbling and moving her arms and legs. One man did ask me if she was Chinese. I just smile and say thank you, because it doesn't seem worth it to explain her condition to every stranger I meet at the store.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rolling Over

Last night Stella rolled over for the first time. We were at my dad's and I had put Stella down for her tummy time. As I was sitting at the table chatting with my dad & Meg I looked over just in time to see Stella roll onto her back. A few moments later I put her on her tummy again and she immediately rolled onto her back. Yay! Progress finally. I wonder if we will ever get her to play on her tummy again...

Friday, February 27, 2009

PT Evaluation

Seeing as Stella is almost 8 months and still not rolling over or sitting up, I decided it was time to meet with a physical therapist (PT). Actually, I decided this about 6 weeks ago and this is how long it took for Early Intervention to send me someone. Ugh.

I really liked the PT and am looking forward to working with her. She evaluated Stella and said that her movements are typical of a 3 month old. I already knew that, so it didn't freak me out. It was nice to hear that Stella's muscle tone is good and that the PT was impressed with how responsive and curious Stella is. She thinks we will make good progress with Stella quickly. So, one more weekly item to add to my schedule. I know it will be worth it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Active Learning Play Space

Probably the best thing we have gotten so far to help with Stella's development is an active learning play space. Michael's dad built it using instructions from this site:

It is modeled after the concept of the Little Room invented by Dr. Lilli Nielsen. The device is a multi-sensory learning tool that enables children with visual impairments to learn more about their surroundings and interact with their environments.

I am amazed at the changes I have seen in Stella in just a few weeks. While in the play space Stella is more active and more verbal than anywhere else. She knows where the toys are, seeks them out and plays with them, scoots all over the place and rolls onto her side to reach toys with both hands. She also loves to feel different textures on the sides of the play space. It's great because it is all self-directed learning. I just love this thing!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

7 months old

Stella is still a happy, easy baby. We went to the pediatrician for her well-baby visit last week and learned that she is still very tiny for her age. She weighed almost 16 pounds and measured 24.25 inches. There are a lot of petite relatives (me included) on both sides of our family, so I'm not going to worry about it. It's actually very easy on my back :-)

Stella loves to lie on her back and play with toys, her pacifier and her fingers. She can now more easily find her pacifier and put it into her mouth herself. She puts everything in her mouth, and seems to especially enjoy fabrics like clothing and blankets. She also still loves her swing and can sometimes figure out how to pull on an attached toy to play music. Stella will sometimes spend up to 30 minutes in her exersaucer and does a pretty good job of exploring the different toys. She does like to bang on the part that makes animal sounds and smiles at the dog barking. We have a duck puppet that quacks, which she always laughs at. She is capable of rolling to her side, but hasn't quite figured out how to make it all the way over. And she is still pretty wobbly when we help her sit up. We are planning to start her in occupational therapy, but haven't managed to get it set up yet. Her TVI is great and thinks Stella is moving right along. Rolling and sitting are still Stella's goals. Michael's dad built Stella a small room - a therapeutic device - that has helped immensely. More on that in a separate post.

We do have her sitting up in her high chair and eating a few foods now. She usually tolerates rice cereal and bananas, wasn't impressed with pears, and loves sweet potatoes. I use a dipper to feed her instead of a spoon. I dip it into the food and then hold it in front of Stella. She grabs it with one or two hands and puts it into her mouth herself. It is quite a messy process, but she does manage to eat a good amount of the food. It's pretty funny to watch her eat sweet potatoes. She slurps every last bit she can get off of the dipper and her hands. Then she squeals and waves her arms to ask for more.

Stella started Kindermusik classes 2 weeks ago and she is doing pretty well. The teacher and other moms have been really friendly and supportive. I was impressed when one mom inquired as to the best way to interact with Stella. The class is 45 minutes long and Stella does well for the first 30 minutes and then I can tell that she is a little over-stimulated. When we repeat the activities at home and sing the songs she loves it.

Some of my favorite moments with Stella are when she's really giggly or snuggly. She likes to be held and snuggles right into my arms. I love when she rolls over next to me in bed, grabbing at my bra, wanting to nurse. It cracks me up when I lay Stella on the changing table and she gets really excited. She just loves having her diaper changed! She laughs, smiles and kicks her legs. Of course, I always tickle her tummy during the process, which is what I think she anticipates. Anytime Stella is playing alone and then I come to pick her up, she gets all excited and coos, waves her arms, kicks her legs, and then smiles and babbles when I pick her up. Baths are also fun. She enjoys the water. She is very vocal and kicks and splashes, happy well after the water is cool.

Friday, January 9, 2009

6 months old

I can't believe my baby is already 6 months old! Time just flies...

She is doing really well. She doesn't seem to be developmentally delayed at all, which I am happy about. Of course that doesn't mean anything about what the future might bring.

Stella has become quite verbal. She babbles a lot, especially when she is playing alone or is trying to get our attention. She makes the ahh and mmmm sounds often, and sometimes the b sound.We swear she can saw mama and milk :-)

Stella loves to explore her environment and will quickly reach for any toy that makes noise. She explores objects with her hands and puts them right to her mouth. She is doing better during tummy time, but still much prefers to be on her back. She does well sitting up now too (while being held) and has started to bang on objects a bit. We have started propping her up in the exer-saucer and she enjoys it for a little while. She smiles a lot and laughs when I tickle her or play blowing or kissing games with her. She loves playing peek-a-boo and sometimes will play by herself.

She is getting stronger and bigger every day. It's so fun to observe! I think she is almost ready to move up to clothing sized 6-9 months and size 3 diapers. Sleep is a bit wacky these days. She usually takes one short nap in the morning, and then a long nap in the afternoon. Sometimes if we let her she will sleep for 7 hours in the afternoon! Usually she will wake up to nurse and then fall back asleep. I think her night time is from 4pm-6am. Ahh well - at least when she sleeps she does it in long chunks.

Her therapy seems to be moving right along, although both Marla & I would love to see her rolling over soon! The trips to the ocularist continue to be difficult, but the conformers are doing their job.