It’s been a busy week here at the House of Peevish. Some weeks are like that. But it has been “good” busy, so that helps a lot.
- Early in the week, we managed to get out for a walk on an overcast morning. We walked up to That Baby’s favourite park. It was amazing how still and quiet it was. Everybody was either at work or out of town for holidays, it seems, because it was quieter still than a regular work day morning. So we played there for awhile, and then began to explore. We followed a path into the nearby schoolyard, only to find a path leading through some trees to a hidden park. Houses were built around the perimeter of this grassy space, where there was a baseball field and a soccer field and some climbing equipment and a slide. It is all completely hidden from the roads and neighbourhoods around, and completely sheltered and green and quiet. We’ve lived here ten years, and walked by hundreds of times, and I never knew it was there. It’s like a secret garden.
- My kid is a water baby. She loves to be in the water (provided it is warm enough). Just like her parents. I am amazed at how brave she is. Yesterday we went for our regular play date with our friends, and they suggested we go swimming in another friend’s pool. Well, hot and sunny… OF COURSE WE WILL. So we got there and got our gear on and off we went to the pool. Stinkerbelle went in without hesitation — well, a little hesitation, and she got used to the temperature of the water — and within minutes she was jumping in off the side of the pool. She has no problem going underwater, although her standard response to any exciting or interesting situation is an open-mouthed, open-armed “O-face”, and so whenever she’s excited and in the water, she ends up getting a snoot-full of water. So under she would go, and I’d haul her up and out and onto the pool side coughing and sputtering but grinning, where she would choke out “MORE! MORE! MORE!” and leap off the side again. She even went off the slide a few times yesterday. The kid’s part fish.
- Stinkerbelle has some issues with eating — specifically, she won’t eat anything that is a) not pureed to some degree, or 2) not solid and crunchy. She likes the taste of almost everything we offer, but she can’t seem to handle the textures. This makes mealtime a challenge as she will choke on things, doesn’t chew, and will cry if she thinks she can’t handle swallowing something. She doesn’t self-feed much, because we’re so concerned with keeping her full and her weight up that we can’t afford to spill much. Mealtimes can take hours. So we have been concerned about this for some time. Related to this, her speech is not progressing as it should be. Her communication is advanced; her speech is not. So we’ve been stressing. On Wednesday, we finally got our appointment for an assessment with a KidsAbility team of an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. It was FANTASTIC. We were relieved to find that she hasn’t likely got any sensory disorder issues, because of the things she CAN do. So that was good. What we have learned is that she is delayed in eating and speech, most likely by the first five months she spent in the transition home in Ethiopia. As they had one standard size of bottles, nipples and soothers for all the children, it likely was too much for her to handle as an infant. That first 6 months of oral development is key, and hers was likely affected by the giant, fast-flow nipples and whatnot. Therefore, the sensors in her mouth did not get a chance to learn to cope properly with what she was being given, and she is still learning to cope with different shapes and textures, and learning what is safe and what she can handle. So, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we were relieved to find that it’s very easily remedied with time and patience.
- Based on the assessment we had, which was so much fun — they played with Stinkerbelle and were so impressed by how bright and funny she is, and once they had her belly laughing they were COMPLETELY smitten — we got a few referrals. We’ll be seeing a speech therapist to work on speech and an occupational therapist to work on chewing and the technical stuff around eating. We’ll also be seeing a nutritionist to help us plan out her introduction of new foods and textures, as well as how to load up her food nutritionally until we get fully into the solid stuff. We’re also signed up to be part of an organization called Trellis, which is a huge community resource that we can use to find specialists, childcare resources, day cares, and other resources for us and for That Baby until she is school aged. It sounds really awesome. I never realized how much is out there for parents to access to help raise their kids. But my favourite part of the assessment was hearing the therapists say “Oh, we can’t WAIT to write up this assessment! It’s going to be so much fun! Stinkerbelle is just AWESOME!” It’s great to get validation that your kid is doing well, and that as a parent, you’re not screwing up. All that worry has just vanished, knowing that my kid is healthy and happy.
- We are working on documentation for Stinkerbelle’s citizenship. (“Ontario — where paperwork is a way of life.”) After having our paperwork for her name change rejected THREE TIMES, once it finally came back we were all “SCREW YOU, GOVERNMENT” and could not face doing any more for a little while. But now we are back at it, and we needed some photos for our citizenship application. So off we went to the mall to get photos done. And let me tell you, taking passport photos of a toddler is no mean feat. The photographer got her to stand atop a step stool. Keeping a toddler ON a step stool, and still enough to photograph is, we have learned, a LOT of work. We had to make sure Daddy was not in the shot, so holding her up there while keeping out of camera sight took some coordination. Then, we had to get her looking AT the camera, which involved me standing behind the cameraman, who was waving a fuzzy toy bunny at her, and me also waving a toy, and simultaneously calling her name, snapping fingers and/or clapping. We finally got a shot fit to print. And, having seen it, now we don’t want to give it away to the citizenship people, because it is so CUTE.
A busy week, to be sure. But it was a good one. And now, the humidest, rainiest day of the summer thus far is upon us. So, aside from a trip to the grocery store (if we even do that), it will be nice to have a down day.