Sunday, May 3, 2009

Let's get physical, physical...

Koosh and I settled down to our new routine which now included Melissa. Melissa proved to be a very adaptable baby, this helped us tremendously due to all the demands of her sister, Jessica. The only major difference where Melissa became more demanding than Jessica was to be fed. When she wanted it, she wanted it NOW. Jessica would look at her vocalizing her needs as if to say "What are you screaming for? Mom always feeds us. What's the problem?" Jessica never 'cried for her supper'. Although, once Jessica started to be fed, she did not want to be interrupted. Melissa was introduced to finger foods and she became a very independent eater. I felt bad, Jess was older but still needed to be fed (which would continue a lifetime) and she was the baby who had to make allowances. There were many differences that would make themselves known to me in time. No wonder friends and family had been concerned with Jessica's progress, now that Melissa was here, I could see what they meant.

Jessica was 21 months when Melissa was born. Even though she was not walking, she had begun to take steps. The doctor thought she would make better progress if she learned to crawl but to date had not shown any interest in that. She had difficulty going from one position to another. She could now sit up but could not stand up. If she was put in a standing position, she could take a couple of steps (complaining through shrieks) but if she fell she could not get up. PT suggested that one of us could lift her belly off the floor by putting a towel under it. This was Koosh's job as he was stronger than I was. While he held her just off the floor, I was to move her legs and arms to mimic crawling. I don't think that either one of us (Jessica included) ever bought that this would work. It's hard to say, and I will probably repeat this thought many times, what Jessica puts together in her mind but I will tell you that when Melissa began to crawl, so did Jess. When Melissa began pulling herself up on furniture, so did Jess.

In order to give Jessica the freedom to get from here to there in a more expeditious manner, she used a walker (banned in most households these days but I considered it most necessary). In fact I had one for Melissa as well. Our house only had one floor and I had put special knobs on the basement door. The 2 girls would run around that house chasing one another. In and out of bedrooms until they would meet face to face in the hall, screech at one another, and laughing head in the opposite direction.

I had Jessica's mattress directly on the box spring on the floor. If she ever fell out of bed, it would only be a 6 inch drop. In the morning, I would take her out of bed and put her on the floor of her bedroom to play while I gathered her clothes together. This one morning I came back to find her sitting in her bed. I believed I must have not taken her out, could senility be setting in? I took her out again and got her dressed leaving her to play. When I returned, there she was in her bed again. YAHOO! I made a big deal of it and she giggled, she seemed very proud of herself. From that point she could get in and out on her own.

Jessica and Melissa were very much aware of one another's presence. They certainly enjoyed each other's company but also seemed to realize each other's limitations. When Melissa was still using the wind up swing Jessica would go close enough in her walker to stop it from swinging. She seemed to get a kick out of Melissa's complaints. Oh and remember that bouncy chair that I thought was broke? Melissa could practically bounce that thing out the door! I couldn't believe her strength!

January of 1983 found Jessica enrolled in a Child Development Center 30 miles away. She was just 3 months over her 2nd birthday. It was believed that a more intensive program, this early, would address Jessica's needs and allow more progress. I was taken aback at first (the denial side of me felt that she did not 'belong' here) by the severe needs of the other children in her 'class'. The staff were extremely empathetic and supportive. Jessica would go there 4 mornings a week. They worked very hard with her and she began to be able to point to parts of her body especially her nose, that was her favorite. Melissa and I would take her in and wait for her, usually going to a park or store. We made the best of it and always enjoyed our time together.

It was while Jessica was attending the Child Development Center that I was introduced to Behavior Management.

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