Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween part one and Irony with a capital I

A local dance company puts on a production of Thriller every year, which is so popular that many people go annually. When I was at the Shriner's hospital for a cast checkup/OT session with Hannah, I overheard that the professional performance company would be putting on a brief version of Thriller for families, patients and employees of the hospital. I wasn't sure Hannah could appreciate zombies, mummies, and chainsaw wielding maniacs, but since Claire wants to be a dancer when she grows up, I thought she could look past the scores and head straight to the dancing, so in my quest to be uber super mom, I dropped Hannah back to day care and pinched Claire for a surprise mommy/daughter bonding experience, even though I was between court calendars, and even though the bit preschool costume parade was to follow later in the day, giving me plenty of places to be inadequate and run late. We loved it. I was stunned by my ability to get this shot, given the wretched delay on my wee small digital camera.

I did love the bride of Frankenstein number, although I think the joke was utterly lost on Claire.

Now I'd seen this performance the previous week on a mom's night out with the day care staff and parents, and I knew that sometimes they picked out audience members for a little participation. I'd been talking to this mom earlier while our respective therapists worked with our kids, my OT doing stuff with Hannah and a PT and orthotist working with her son, who had one leg considerably shorter than the other with a dangly turned foot. AFter a long discussion on hair color, the talk turned to our kids, and I learned that her son, not 9 or ten or so, had suffered his injuries in a lawnmower accident when he was two. Mom herself had been operating a tractor mower on their farm in Colorado, had just told all three children to stay away from her machine as she couldn't see them as she turned, and the boy ran up and got dragged under. Since they lived on a farm at the back of beyond, they drove in towards the coming ambulance, in their fastest vehicle, a Camaro they were restoring but which had no seat belts, at 160 m.p.h. while she held her sons intestines and tried to keep them on the inside and while the tourniquet on his leg was failing. They met the ambulance, he was airlifted to Denver, and has since made excellent progress, generally getting a new prosthetic leg every six months or so at Shriners. Our conversation was cut off by our therapists wanting our attention, and so when I came back after my kid swap, there she was with the two sons she brought, sitting dead center in the "big" room where the dance concert would be presented. I knew when the masked men with boxes containing knives and chainsaws came out, someone would be called on to participate and I hoped it would not be me, leaving little Claire on her own. In one of those twists of fate, that in the end seem inevitable, the dancers chose that mom to come sit on their boxes.

And then they proceeded to pretend to cut off her foot, while her son looked on, laughing himself silly.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monkey see, monkey feed princess wearing a big clunky cast

Hey, that monkey can get his hand in a cup to grab snacks, and I, a princess, cannot. I will make him do my bidding, or off with his head.

Snarf, snarf, snarf.

One at a time please, it is more fitting.

You may eat my crumbs, Monkey boy.

Bored now.  We are not pleased.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Constraint therapy, the middle

Hannah is still winning. Mama still whining. Nobody got a black eye from being clubbed with the cast yet. Success!

We have seen Hannah do many things with her right hand that she would never have done had lefty been available to her. Obviously the real measure of the technique's success will come when we see what stays with her later, but she is racking up experiences of Righty getting out there and doing things so I am sure neuronal pathways are being laid for future experiences to further the neuronal transmission, and so on. Lord Honey tried to get me to do something the other day and I said "no, I'm rewiring" because I was holding Hannah and doing something or other getting Righty in the game.  We've been using the Lauri peg board shape sorter, and I think Hannah knows all her colors and shapes, the tricky bit is picking up a dropped shape that hits the floor, while getting one off the sofa is fairly accurate. The first few days she wouldn't try, she might just club it with her cast, and now she'll work at it, usually til she gets it. She is turning pages more in books we read, which I've been moving her hand to do for 18 months, but now I tell her to turn it and turn it she will (board books, obviously). She normally carries Ken around, but Barbies are heavy enough that you have to hug them, our better doll figures are the Playmobil people and the wooden doll family members you get at the crunchy toy stores who can be grabbed around the body or at least the feet by a hand as small as Hannah's.  Our real failure is food, she will not make an effort to self feed with Righty. At first I could get sandwich chunks in there but now she squawks to be fed like a baby bird, and it makes her angry to be fed at the day care, possibly she doesn't want to look babyish with her friends? So I told them to bribe her with chocolate milk, because I am full of awesome parenting techniques like that. Sometimes I get a broccoli floret in her fist and she'll eat that, if it is well buttered. She can't hold her bottle, and her sippy cups are all too big. We get some success with the sippies with handles and she holds it with Righty and rests the weight on her casted arm, since it is so much stronger.

If anyone gets here just about to do this, or is thinking of it, get in touch with me and I'll give some tips if I can, and maybe a care package like sweet Mo sent.  See the beads, Mo?  I wish I had more shirts with big sleeves, but baby's big sister is only slightly bigger so we struggle even to find jammies and shirts. 

Right now, I'm glad we are doing it, but when she lies about draped across furniture looking wiped out from carrying ten percent extra body weight all day, I really look forward to taking the durn thing off.  And I am glad no one has a black eye.  Knock on wood.  The girl has a wicked left hook

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Constraint therapy, the beginning

Universe 1, Ginger 0, Hannah Eleventy zillion

Just when will I learn to trust my child? So my tension over constraint therapy has been building and building, while of course, she hears me discuss the concept but doesn't really know what is about to hit her, and I try to keep my conversation about it when around her all upbeat and light. She flailed and screamed while the cast was applied, had quite a good wail afterwards as she tried waving around an arm that was suddenly much heavier and bulkier than normal, then sat down to do OT with Tara, who had just applied the cast. As we left, Tara got a thank you, two hugs, kisses, and a wave bye-bye with Righty. Then we ate lunch at Shriners' cafeteria and she was doing so well, I took her to her day care so her day could be as normal as possible. What gives??

I wish they would have told me a few things of interest: have on hand shirts with bigger than average sleeves, or extra short sleeve t-shirts.  Have on hand some larger than average pajama options, gives tips on how to convince a two year old that "no clubbing" means no hitting mommy in the head with the cast while sporting a smile on her face.

So these pix are from Friday and Saturday and tonight we finally caught her in her armchair, already I need to update and show off some more as we watch Hannah pick things up with her right hand.  When she tires of using her hand, she just lies down on top of what she wants and grabs it with her mouth - whether it be a cookie, a binky, or a used Cheeto.  She is obviously fatigued though, since I think we added ten percent to her body weight and stuck it all in one place, so she has to lie down a lot, and she is eating at least ten percent more food to carry that extra ten percent in weight.

As I said, I should just trust Hannah to rise to the occasion and not be so worried. Here she is about 48 hours into constraint therapy trying to get her balloon string with Righty - there are more successful attempts that I filmed but I don't have the patience to upload longer videos to YouTube. Obviously, once again, Hannah is a raging success at everything she puts her hand to.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ability Found, for ability lost - pulling a The David Cook for charity

The history of why I do this is found here and here.  Aunt Becky at Mommy Loves Vodka had herself quite a lot of fun tricking the Google SEO algorithm into putting her blog at the top of the list for searches for John Mayer, on account of him being douchey and all, so, having had all that fun, she challenged her readers to do something similar for charity, harnessing the power of the interwebs to promote awareness of charities that matter. 

Ability Found is local to me, but assists people far beyond Salt Lake City. 
Ability Found provides the opportunity for everyone who is disabled to receive the right equipment to become productive members of society.These disabilities include conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, stroke, cancer, spinal cord injuries, gene abnormalities, hydrocephalus, amputations, diabetes, congenital impairments, heart disease, and lung disease. The medical and rehabilitation equipment we purchase is vital to our clients being involved in society and includes power wheelchairs, power scooters, manual wheelchairs with custom seating, handicapped vans, walkers, gait trainers, standing frames, bath equipment, continence supplies, braces hospital beds and pressure relieving mattresses.
I personally vouch for Ability Found because my daughter's favorite PT, commonly called The Angel of PT at my house, Michael J. Workman, is one of the key service providers who matches up people with equipment they need.  Michael J. Workman, a god among physical therapists, is also the inventor of the Bamboo Brace, for which I credit much of my daughter's extraordinary progress battling CP and the effects of an infantile stroke.  Michael and others like him go to a person's home or work environment, assesses the need of the individual, and looks for the right equipment to give a person greater freedom.  How sweet is that?  And they give their stuff to people for free!  Ability Found was started by a family whose son was severely injured due to a lack of oxygen at birth, and thy turned their experience with tragedy into one of hope, when they realized the needs that so many have that might be helped with medical equipment.  It all runs on donations, and Ability Found can be found right here, so you can check it out and give 'til it hurts. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Claire, this season

This is how she looks when she looks up at me, always full of love, unless she is giving me the stinkeye. Mostly she says I am the best Mommy in town. Recently she said "Mama, this sandwich is overcooked." Later, she affirmed I was still the best Mama in town. I was relieved.

I shamelessly use Claire to stimulate Hannah into crawling and doing upper body weight bearing through the blanket tunnel, because it appears to me that she is also enjoying herself.

Claire has an accomplished stinkeye. You'll will never be unable to tell what this child is feeling. Thinking, she might be able to hide, but strong emotions? You'll know.

She likes to be the little Mommy sometimes, helping her baby sister. Sometimes this means grabbing Hannah by her hoodie and pulling her down, but that certainly keeps Hannah from sneaking into the street while I get things out of the car.

This day of face painting in late summer was a preview of the child she would become, when she graduated to the Butterfly class in her day care. For the record, Butterflies learn to lie on the first day (teachers deny this, parents agree) stop taking naps, describe those kids who fall asleep during "quiet time" (a movie watched while wearing a blanket) with actual scorn, and are ever more adept at drama. Butterflies need a bandaid for all injuries, bleeding or not, and know everything.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I thought this day would never come.

When she would like her cowboy hat, and autumnal weather would finally arrive so I could dress the girls in their new clothes.  Yes, that is a purple corduroy dress with a horse print.  Yes it is.  Wait 'til you see the jeans.