Friday was Aislynn’s 6 month re-evaluation since being enrolled in the Child and Family Connections program back in January. And again, I am I was reminded of how far we have come.
Our therapists had all completed up to date evaluations of Aislynn and they met along with our service coordinator at our house to discuss Aislynn’s progress and continuation in the program.
Six months ago, Aislynn’s enrollment in her various therapies felt extremely overwhelming. We went from rather unscheduled weeks to feeding group once a week, speech once a week, nutrition twice a month, developmental therapy once a month, not to mention numerous evaluations and the push to get her interacting with other kids her age. Isla was only 2 months old and one high maintenance little baby which made things feel all the more intense.
I remember feeling this sense of urgency. I have never been known for my ability to be patient, and waiting to see Aislynn’s progress in the CFC program seemed unimaginable. I would wake up in the morning thinking of activities and games I could make to help Aislynn with her social skills, taking turns, and language. Any free moment I had to be on the internet, I was hunting for information that I thought might help. Then I would go to bed at night brainstorming more ideas for things to try with Aislynn. I was obsessed! All this, while waking up every few hours to feed a new baby. It really was an exhausting time.
Reflection is important. I was getting frustrated the other day that Aislynn still wouldn't eat fruit. But then I remembered how far we have come. These were Aislynn’s initial “feeding group goals”
1. 1. Aislynn will engage with food not currently in her repertoire
2. 2. Aislynn will bring a non preferred food within close proximity to her face/head/neck.
3. 3. Aislynn will interact with puree with fingers or another food.
4. 4. Aislynn will separate from her parents to tolerate being seated for snack.
Reflection. I remember feeling like there was no way Aislynn was ever going to sit through “snack time” and engage happily with the food and other children. When we first started feeding group, I had to sit in the room so that she would not have a meltdown. And Aislynn was one of the kids that had to be seated next to a therapist in case she had major issues. We have come a long way. Now Aislynn loves snack time. She says “Snack is fun! Friends are fun!” She is the kid that sits at the opposite side of the table from the therapists because they know she’ll do fine. She is usually the happiest, most energetic one there, and most willing to interact with the new foods. She doesn’t even think twice about me not being in the room with her and she now eats things like chicken, eggs, and cheese, which she never would have touched 6 months ago.
6 months ago this was our Social Summary goal: “We want Aislynn to increase her social skills so that she can communicate her wants and needs.” This is a goal she has met over and over again and continues to meet.
“Take a try.” This is one of Aislynn’s favorite phrases. We are always encouraging her to try new things, but we never quite phrased it like that. This phrase is all her. When she wants you to try what she is eating its “Mommy, take a try!” When she wants you to toss the ball to her, “Daddy, take a try!” Every time she says this phrase it makes me smile. One, because she sounds so cute when she says it, and two because she thought it all on her own. “Take a try” from the same little girl who adamantly was against trying all new things.
There are still new things, books, foods, toys, and experiences that Aislynn insists “No try it!” But she usually comes around. Reading is one of those things where Aislynn has her opinions. Many times she has her mind made up before I even open a new book that she does not like it, and of course it becomes the story she wants to read over and over again. Just the other night I tried to read The Runaway Bunny to her before bed. “No run away bunny!” she exclaimed. The next night the same thing happened. She was not about to give these bunnies a chance. Finally, the third night she sat on my lap to read a book before bed, and I quickly whipped out The Runaway Bunny. As she began to protest I hurriedly started reading the book excitedly and I had her hooked. We read the whole thing and when it was finished she said, “Runaway Bunny again?” So we read it again. I put the book on her shelf and tucked her in to bed. In the back of my mind I had a sneaking suspicion that come morning, The Runaway Bunny would find its way into her bed. Lately Aislynn has been waking up in the morning, and bringing books into her bed while she waits for someone to get her up.
Later that night, I checked on Aislynn before I went to bed. And there it was, tucked under her arm at 10:30 PM, The Runaway Bunny-who had clearly run away from the bookshelf a little earlier than I had expected! It made me smile.
I love that Aislynn loves books. I love that she is trying new things. I love that she is growing and developing and expanding her vocabulary. I love that when someone asked her at Starbucks the other day, “What are you eating?” referring to the piece of coffee cake she had, she responded, “I’m eating spaghetti!” and then laughed because she made a joke. These are all experiences that make me smile and encourage and excite me to see what new things she will “take a try” with tomorrow.
By the way, take a wild guess what book has been number one on the bedtime request list for 5 days and counting?
The Runaway Bunny.