Friday, November 26, 2010

What's New?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  This is the first year in a long time that we weren't trekking from Nestor's family in NJ to my family in MD to be with everyone at once.  Very strange.  Instead we drove about 3 minutes to Nestor's cousin's, The Rosario's house and had turkey day with them.  It was truly delicious and we had a wonderful time.  The turkey was tender and juicy, the mashed potatoes and gravy smooth, the pumpkin pie was almost as good as my homemade (altho I think Nestor was just being kind because he kept saying "there's just some flavor, some spice in here that is spectacular!  I've never tasted anything like it in pumpkin pie"), hmmmm and the company was outstanding.  Anywho, it was the perfect new tradition for our new hometown. I am so thankful for our family and friends -- here and across the country!  I thought of everyone like crazy yesterday.

So yesterday I was talking to my folks (they each pick up an extension and it usually results with someone not being able to hear well, or one talking over the other -- tons of fun) and of course the conversation eventually rolled around to shopping.  This is the part where my father usually says "well, anything else before I hang up and let you ladies talk?" Only this time he said "is Amelia doing anything new?" To which I stopped in my tracks and thought for a half of a second and said "yeah, actually, she is."  I then went on to talk about how Amelia seems to be demanding a little more from the world around her and responding to it more than she used to.  For example, when she's on the feeding pump, sitting in her chair and watching her cartoons and I sitting next to her reading a magazine, she'll reach out and pull my shirt or arm or hand to her -- demanding my attention or giving me a hug or kiss.  Also, Amelia seems to be a much easier audience than she has ever been.  She laughs and reacts much more with a lot less effort on my part (for those of you who don't know, it's called "The Mommy Show" and it's the ridiculous things I do desperately trying to get a laugh or smile from her).  It's very exciting! 

Last night at dinner we all encouraged Amelia  to pet The Rosario's family dog, Max and she did.  The difference is that she really reached for Max.  We all laughed and encouraged her some more and she reached out for Max again and again and again and again.  We couldn't believe it.  She was actually reaching out for him and really playing with Max's fur.  We've been around a lot of therapy dogs, regular dogs, cats -- Amelia even used to have horse therapy (Hippotherapy) and has never really bothered with animals before.  This was the first time I've ever seen her really interested in an animal.  I think there's a lot to be said for how she's beginning to view the world outside herself and her toys.

But I have to say that one of the most remarkable moments to date happened this afternoon while Amelia was on her feeding pump for lunch.  So let me set this up by explaining that Amelia's nutrition  is 100% via her gastrostomy tube.  She has a high risk for aspiration and chronic pnuemonia's due to aspiration of her own secretions.  So although I love giving her flavors of food (she had literally a drop from the tip of my finger of gravy and cranberry sauce last night at dinner, which we wipe out of her mouth after with a cloth) and we try to give her a lollipop 1x daily.  It really thickens and causes much more secretions though, so there are many days that I won't give her the lolly because I'm afraid of her hyper-secreting and aspirating.  The last couple days I haven't given her the lollipop because she had her flu, tetanus and whooping cough shot on Wed. and she seemed slightly cranky -- I didn't want to mess with her.  So she's in her chair watching her cartoons and crying.  Just howling and crying and Nestor and I are at a loss trying to figure it out.  In one motion she put her hand up, pointing to the cup of lollipops I keep next to the TV and when I asked her if she wanted "lolly" she signed "give me" immediately!  We are both so blown away!!!! Amelia signing "give me" were her first words, so to speak.  She's only really used them when prompted, ie. "do you want the red ball?"

To see her put "give me" into real action, proving that she understands the context of using those words and how to utilize them on her own, gives me so much hope in looking to the person she is and who she is becoming.  Baby steps friends, I am truly thankful for them.