Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring clean-up

I put off a lot during the past winter.  Both the weather, and the fact that Elijah needed to adjust to his new home, kept us home for the last 3 months. 

Honestly, I like it that way.  

As I've said before, one of the reasons homeschooling works for me is because I am a homebody, and I am discovering more and more that constant social interactions and running around deplete me (yes, I read Quiet like most of the world.)

So, I did not mind spending the winter at home, teaching, reading, taking care of our home.

But I also knew that all of the kids, especially Christopher, needed and would love to do some activities  that would stimulate them. Those activities, along with needed medical appointments, are so important to get them moving in positive directions.

That has all added up to some very busy Spring days.  

We have visited Shriner's, the pediatric orthopedic hospital, to check up on Christopher and Elijah's conditions.  Also, long days at the Cooper Cleft lip and Palate clinic for Nicholas, along with the orthodontist and oral surgeon, as he gets ready for his bone graft surgery later this spring. In this surgery, his biggest so far, the surgeons will extract bone marrow from his hip and use it to fill the 2 clefts in his palate.  It is a long surgery, requiring one night in the hospital, and a few weeks recovery.  I am not looking forward to it, but trying not to worry about it until it is on the calendar.  I try to take each kids' surgeries and procedures as they come, and not worry too far into the future or I will implode from the sheer enormity of it all.  

in the waiting room at Shriner's

We also took Christopher to a feeding therapist to help discover why he gags often, drools, and still doesn't chew his foods properly.  It went really well, and the therapist was wonderful.  I think she answered a lot of our questions as to why speaking and eating has been delayed for Christopher.  Lots of oral-motor exercises in his future!

As for extra-curricular activities, I finally signed up Christopher for a Music Together class.  I admit, I put this off for too long (even though I knew Christopher loved music!) because I have been attending these classes since 2004 and I am just plain sick of singing "Hello, Everybody" and dancing in a circle.

But I am glad I sucked it up and started the class, because he LOVES it.  I wish I had a video to post of him shaking his little booty. Ellie loves it, too.  Elijah even joined us once and, although he was way too cool to dance and sing with us, I think he liked it. It is one of the many experiences he missed at a little boy and I can tell he was soaking it all up.

Christopher sitting on Elijah's lap

Our favorite new Spring activity has been horseback riding!  Christopher does hippotherapy (or OT on horseback), and Ellie just rides for fun.  

Ellie loves it so much.  She has long been a horse fanatic and she feels like a real-life star of her favorite show "Horseland."

Here he is with his therapist Ms. Laurie.

Elijah came to watch.  I think he would really benefit from it, too.  He might be the next to join in.

Christopher cried for the first 15 minutes he was on the horse.  But, has been doing great ever since.

Yesterday, his therapists took him into the woods.

He got off the horse and did some more traditional OT on the playground.  The therapists just wanted to see how strong his trunk is, and how he climbs and balances etc.

He is also building trust with them.

It is amazing to learn about how horseback riding works to stimulate his whole nervous system, strengthens his core, and helps him to learn to self-regulate.  

Here, Christopher is riding backwards.  He also rode sideways.  All of these different positions use different sets of muscles.

I knew that once Christopher got comfortable he would love hippo therapy because he loves animals.  

Heading back to the barn.

He sees Ellie on her horse ahead, and was so excited! 

What a beautiful horse. I love coming to the farm each week.

Busy, full days but I am so glad to feel the sun shining on my face.  Happy Spring!

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