Joshua is 11 months old today and I feel like in the last few days we've been having a few mini break throughs.
Tonight, I am sure Joshua handed me his spoon when I said "Give Mummy the spoon, Ta". Otherwise, he dropped the spoon into my open hand and it was a fluke. Of course, I always assume fluke until I can get a reasonable number of repetitions, so that one is still up for debate.
I also think he was giving me kisses tonight. I was laying on my bed on my back breastfeeding him and he was laying horizontally across my body on his tummy drinking (yes, this sounds kind of weird, but it was working for us LOL) and while he was drinking he kept popping his head up and leaning over to my face and giving me what I think were very slobery kisses. (I am really hoping that is what they were... otherwise I just have a super weird kid that likes putting drool on my face!) Oh, I should also add that he was doing a perfect pincer grasp too.... while grabbing my nipple. I wanted to put this as my status update on facebook, because yes, it is really that exciting... but I thought perhaps my enthusiasm at having my son using my nipples as pincer grip practice might not be shared by everyone. Oh well! ;)
I've been encouraging both of these things for months (giving me kisses, and giving me something when I ask him to - not grabbing my nipples!) so I am excited and encouraged that it seems like maybe he is starting to understand.
Gross motor wise, he seems to be really starting to *think* about crawling. He gets up on his knees and elbows all the time and spends a lot of time bouncing around like that. He is also getting much better at pushing up on straight arms. He is still really struggling with intentional forward motion though. He sees something in front of him, wants to go toward it, but tends to roll to the side every time he tries. His arms let him down a lot, but slowly but surely, we are seeing improvement. He looks like he is getting a lot stronger on hands and knees too. He doesn't get himself in that position on his own very often (he prefers his elbows to his hands) but when I place him in that position he is holding himself for much longer than he used to and is able to rock back and forth very well. I had quite a fun little session with him this afternoon trying to "teach him how to crawl". I folded a towel into quarters lengthwise and passed it under his belly and used it like a hoist to walk him around while he was on his hands and knees. I've tried this before and he generally didn't want to put his hands down. Today though, he did great. Of course, I realise this is not teaching him how to actually crawl, but I hope to inspire a bit of movement in him. I told him "You know, when you can crawl, you get to go all over the house" and I walked him all around the house with him on his hands and knees. He giggled and giggled and thought it was great. It hurt my back bending over like that, but it was worth it! After that I did some practice with him to try and encourage his protective reflexes. By that I mean, putting his hands out to stop himself from falling when he loses his balance in a sitting position. As I mentioned in a previous post, these develop to the front first, then the sides and then to the back last. He pretty much has the front down, but to the sides or backwards, not at all. So today I played a game where he was sitting up and I was behind him tipping him from side to side and encouraging him to put his hand out. He actually did SO WELL. I was impressed! As for sitting in general, he is starting to look a lot more relaxed, like it is less of an effort than it used to be. He still has moments where I can see he is working really hard, but other times he looks like it is no effort at all. At one point, I had it in my head that I wanted him to sit unassisted by 10 months. I had 10 months in my head because this is the age that a "normal" baby is usually referred for services if they are not yet sitting unassisted. So I guess I kind of thought that if he could sit by 10 months, things weren't that bad. As time went on though, I started to think that maybe that wasn't realistic, so I pushed my mental goal for him out to be sitting by his birthday. And he has done it. In actual fact, he WAS 10 months when he officially mastered sitting. So now, my mental goal is for him to be crawling by his first birthday. Now... that is only 4 weeks away and honestly, I won't be holding my breath for it, but you just never know. Things can change fast around here!
I went to Target on the weekend to pick up the presents that I put on layby for Joshua's birthday and I walked past the baby section and saw all the big fat pregnant women browsing the aisles, and I nearly cried to think that that was ME this time last year! I did love being pregnant, and I love all the excitement and anticipation that goes along with it, and it spins me out to look at Joshua now and think that he was in my belly once upon a time. It also makes me a little sad. A fellow HIE mother once posted a photo of her pregnant belly and captioned it saying that it was when her son was still perfectly made. Those words have struck a chord with me, because it is so very true. This time last year, Joshua didn't have anything wrong with him. Joshua didn't have HIE. I didn't even know what HIE was! He was still perfectly made.... But at the same time, when I look at Joshua now, I don't see any faults. He is not like other kids his age, but to me, he is still perfect.
In the spirit of reminiscing, here is a couple of photos of me and Rod last year when I was 38 weeks pregnant, excited and anxious to meet our amazing little boy.. When I look at these photos it doesn't shock me one bit that I have as many stretch marks as I do now! Even my face was fat! :)