I haven't written a post specifically about Abby's developmental updates recently, so I figured I would share all of the great things my girl is doing these days! Warning: this is lengthy! :)
* Abby is crawling all over the place now, and is especially fast when she is heading toward something she shouldn't have. I have to practically run to head her off sometimes! She crawls with her head down, so she often runs into stuff and then looks up like, how did that get there? It's pretty funny.
* She is crawling up the stairs now, so the baby gate is officially CLOSED all of the time!! She can go up all by herself, although she hasn't done the whole flight of stairs yet. We're working on going down. She thinks it's really funny to pull up on the step and then trust fall backwards with her arms spread out. I guess she knows I'm going to catch her! I don't think I should let her learn that one the hard way...
* As you may have seen last week or so in a video, Abby walks really well using her walker or a baby stroller--but the baby has to be in it! She refuses to take a step if the baby isn't in the stroller. :)
* She's starting to get brave with letting go of our hands. We regularly encourage her to walk just holding one hand, and she has recently started letting go for a few seconds by doing what I call a "controlled fall." (She lets go and then falls into me, putting my hands on my shoulders.) It's slow, but it's progress.
* Abby cruises along the furniture now and can pull up/plop down on her own all of the time...much to Caleb's chagrine. It was amazing how well they got along with Abby was a sedentary baby...
* Abby can take things out of a container and then put them back in. She cleans up really well!
* She has started to explore different textures more and likes to play in the dry bean bin and pop bubble wrap. I have been trying to expose her to lots of different textures because she has had some sensory issues (specifically with her hands), and she is slowly warming up to the idea. The bath foam is still her enemy, though!
* She is learning how to control her hands enough to scribble a bit with a crayon. While she doesn't do it for very long, she is more willing to try each time we give her one.
* Abby is becoming more agreeable to finger paints, although she still won't dip her fingers in it on her own. It's a work in progress!
* We've been using a brushing technique to help with some of the sensory issues, and it really does seem to be helping. I was skeptical at first, but she is much less against us holding her hands and feeling new textures.
* Abby's signing has exploded in the last month! She not only has 12-15 signs that she consistantly uses, but is also mimicing pretty much any sign we do. Naturally, her signs aren't exactly like they should be, but we can fine tune those as she gets more hand control. For now, we are ecstatic that she is communicating so well! She shakes her head yes or no quite emphatically when she has a strong opinion on something!
* She is becoming more tolerant of the Passy-Muir Valve and can wear it for as long as an hour. She doesn't like it because she has to work harder to breathe, so it's a fine line between pushing her and recognizing that she needs a break. It doesn't help that she starts signing off almost as soon as we put it on! Her voice is getting a lot stronger and she's pretty loud when she wears it.
* She is mimicing a lot more sounds now, too. While she hasn't figured out how to form her lips and open her mouth, she is definitely attempting sound a whole lot more. This is one of the frustrating parts about having a child who was trached (basically) from birth, because she never had the opportunity to learn how to speak the typical way. We do a whole lot of mimicing!!
* From her speech testing last week, we learned that Abby's receptive language is spot-on where it needs to be, which says a whole lot for her cognitive ability! She understands exactly what we are telling/asking her! Whether or not she does what we ask is a different story... :)
* Abby is definitely learning how to use her voice to get our attention! If we aren't paying enough attention to her, she'll let up a loud squeal as if to say, hey, I'm still here people! She also smacks our legs and arms to let us know she needs something, and she has even been known to grab your face and turn it toward her if she's really not getting her way!
* Just in the last week, we've really turned a corner in the oral aversion journey. She is eating a lot more now, and we give her as much as she is willing to take. I've been trying to give her tastes of lots of different things to increase her exposure to flavors. Of course, we're still doing only pureed foods, but we have been able to increase that recently. She has also decided that she loves lollipops--who doesn't?!--and will happily suck away at one during dinner. Of course, then it's bath time because her hair, face, and hands are all sticking to each other, but she's enjoying herself! :) This last week has also been the first time that she has willingly chewed on a cold teether. I was shocked when she not only took it (historically, it's been the cause of a hand-flapping meltdown!), but then chewed on it for over an hour! PROGRESS!!
I hope that this gives you a glimpse into the "real" Abby. I always smile when people say, wow, she does so much in real life! They're shocked that she does little things like wave goodbye or blow kisses, but she does so much more than that! I can't wait until the spring when we can emerge from our bubble and be amongst people again so that you can see how awesome she is! For now, videos, pictures, and lengthy updates like these will have to suffice. :)