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.