Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The irrational fears of a damaged child

For a while now Sue and I have been skirting around the issue that there may actually be something wrong with Emily. How could there be, though? She's so perfect - cute and smiley, affectionate and loving. She's everything you could ask for.

Of course her language skills are practically non-existent outside of nursery rhymes, but that's ok... isn't it?

Sue's been doing some home diagnostics - always a dangerous undertaking - and the results are not all positive. She's been checking to see if Em's autistic or has assburgers among the many ailments.

Like any home diagnoses, you see a couple of headline symptoms and grab onto that problem like a life jacket in the ocean, ignoring the fact that 7 of the 10 symptoms aren't there.

I have to believe the best about our child's mental health and that her language delays are just that - delays. The speech pathologist has given us hope that the rest of her development cascades from developing her language.

There's going to be some real soul searching if there's actually something wrong with Emily. I can't love her any less, but even when you're 100%, the world's a hard enough place to live in and deal with. If you've got an affliction it's just a whole lot worse.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Speech appointment

After all the pushing and prodding, we finally had the appointment with the speech analyst (not her real title, but I can't remember what it actually was) today. It took about an hour for her to do a snapshot assessment, but it was mostly positive.

It looks like Emily's OK, but just slightly behind in development. There's nothing we could have done or didn't do to help it, some kids are just like this. Sue and I were told that a lot of the stuff we're doing is on the right path - giving her a choice, narrating daily activities, etc. I put a lot of this down to previous help from family members and the Hanen book we've been reading (which we were told today was a great tool to be using).

We've got a course of "home treatment" to try for a month - which is basically doing what we've been doing, but with a couple of sheets of further guidelines. We're going to get reassessed in early November.

We were also told of the knock on effects of speech delay - from adult-child interaction, to playing, etc. and how a lot of this could be construed as other ailments including autism. 

I knew today wouldn't be a silver bullet remedy, but I'm glad it wasn't doom and/or gloom as well. There's nothing "wrong" with Emily, we just to ensure we give her every assistance to get her back up to speed.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel

Having discussed Emily' progress - or lack of - with Helen yesterday, Sue then found some rather upsetting information on the internet about toddler who walk on their tippy toes.

The red flag worry bits included:
If your child is always tiptoeing, it's possible that she has a physical problem such as a short Achilles tendon that actually prevents her from standing flat-footed and limits her range of motion in the ankle. But consistent toe walking is more likely a sign of a motor disorder — most commonly, mild cerebral palsy. 
Of course, a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing, so we're not relying on this as a diagnosis.

The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is we finally have an appointment to get Emily's speech assessed. We're seeing a specialist next Wednesday, 22 September. Hopefully from this encounter we can get some other assessments sorted out - whether there is an issue as highlighted above, why Emily seems to live in her own world and not respond to her name, and whether there's anything else going on.

Every journey starts with the first step. It just feels this first step has taken FAR too long.

Emily the cougher

I woke up this morning around 4.30am to the sound of Emily and some incessant coughing. It was one of those uncontrollable barrages you never wish on anyone.

I gave her a drink and kept her upright - or as upright as you can keep a child you also want to keep asleep.

When I went back in about 45 minutes, she had some odd white drool all over her mouth.

Letting her lie in a bit this morning, she was as right as rain for breakfast, and seemed quite sprightly when we walked to Fennies from the car. Being upright seems to have cleared whatever horrid phlegm that was blocking her chest. I just hope she's in better sorts when she goes to bed tonight.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Lack of toddler sleep

Emily usually collapses into a toddler-sized ball of sleep anywhere between 8pm and 9pm.

It was with EXTREME frustration that I was dealing with a ball of energy last night at 10.30pm. I know all too well the perils of doing something during the day which will result in insomnia, lack of sleep, etc. (usually caffeine related) but Em was acting like it was 10.30am, not pm. My overwhelming concern was how were we going to wake her this morning.

Thankfully, by the time I climbed the wooden hill to Bedfordshire around midnight she was fast asleep. Recently fast asleep I don't know. This morning's "wake up Emily" took a bit longer, but it happened and she was her usual morning sprightly self.

The only difference yesterday I can think of is we gave her ice cream for dessert, maybe that's like caffeine to a toddler. Live and learn... live and learn.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Emily the elder

When I picked up Em tonight from Helen's, I discovered Em now has a new friend called Ellie.

She's a bit younger than Em and apparently Em is "showing her the ropes" - how to read books, how to sing nursery rhymes, etc. She's only 2.5 and not really old enough to be the older child (that's around 7-8 I'd reckon) but it's fun to hear about Em being the "grown up" showing Ellie the ropes.

I get it foreshadows how she'll react to a sibling when he/she eventually arrives.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Emily's new proper bed

Emily in her big girl bed.
Over the weekend I went down to my nan's flat and moved some furniture out, bringing an end to that chapter of our lives.

Among the new acquisitions was a bed for Emily - her first proper slumber chamber.

On Sunday I sorted out her room and erected her bed. It's a damn sight larger than her crib and is a proper bed, not one of those overpriced children's beds.

Last night was her first sleep in it. Kitted out in matching cupcake duvet and pillow set, she was tickled pink at her bed, repeatedly saying "bed".

I left her with the light on, and a number of books to read thinking she'd enjoy her first night in her bed.

When I came up later on to turn the light on, she had actually crawled INTO her crib and fallen asleep in there, shunning her bed completely.

Something makes me think she may not be ready for the responsibility that the cupcake duvet represents.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Emily's full on toddler ill

Those green candle sticks Em was growing yesterday have turned into full blown "ill toddler" today. I had to pick her up early from Helen's as she was crying and holding her ears more than usual.

She's a bit spotty and incredibly listless and limp, and has a cough and just looks the picture of ill child.

I've booked an appointment with the doctor tomorrow morning, so until then it's a steady diet of In The Night Garden, sips of water and baby jollop.

Just hope she doesn't give it to Sue or I.