Sunday, December 28, 2014

A, Bee, C, Da-da...and T is for Taylor Swift

It's weird to even assume that Mila has any "favorite" things considering she has little dependency on anything except Michael and I, but she continues to pleasantly surprise me.  Watching her fall in love or cling to anyone/anything are extra sparks of hope for me.  A hope that she will have some "typical" traits.  I'm not saying I want her to be like everyone else.  I'm not saying I hope she becomes a typical kid.  Watching her change and grow in ways that are recognizable...ways that are socially acceptable, give me hope that she will thrive in society, make friends, and connect with the world around her.

B is for Bee.  Mila was given a stuffed bee for her 2nd birthday.  She would occasionally play with it, but it mostly sat on her bookshelf for months.  I can't even remember when exactly she began to connect with this bee.  She holds onto it and shakes it for hours (there's a bell inside that rattles when shook).  She'll go face to face with it and chatter.  She started initiating play with Michael, wanting to throw this bee back and forth.  It quickly became her favorite, never ending game.  It's one of those things you don't mind playing for a few minutes, but when you're approaching the 30 minute mark, you're hoping she'll become distracted with something else so you can hide that freakin bee! Haha! It's pretty sweet how connected she feels with her bee :).

D is for dada.  As you could tell it was daddy in every bee pic...well, that's because dada is her second favorite thing!  She keeps her eyes glued on daddy when he's home.  He can't leave the room or go downstairs without her crying and yelling. Yes, she actually fusses and raises her tone a few octaves.  You can't understand anything she is trying to say, but it doesn't matter.  She's so damn cute when she tries. I usually try to console her, but she would rather sit in the floor and wait for him to come back.  It is daddy who always gets the first bee toss.  It is daddy who gets the recognition.  It is daddy who gets chased down.  While at times it hurts my ego just a little, I can't help but be overjoyed.  Mila's starting to understand.  Mila is starting to get it.  The way Michael lights up every time she says "dada" or seeing him melt when she cries for him...the sweetness is unbearable at times.  It's ok that "mama" is an unfamiliar, difficult sound for her to make.  I've heard to before and I'll hear it again.  For now, I'll just sit back, watch, and be so thankful for these moments I get to witness.

T is for Taylor Swift. Her "Shake it Off" phenomenon has swept through our household and probably won't simmer anytime soon. I decided to pull up the video on youtube shortly after the song hit #1 to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, at sound of the first note, Mila was glued!  Bopping her head back and forth faster than ever.  Squealing and babbling.  Smiling so hard it seemed as if her cheeks would hurt when the video was over.  Music is her driving force.  It feeds her soul.  It breathes life into her. We watch her video everyday.  Countless times a day.  Out of the 400 million views, I'm sure we're half of those! If anyone knows someone, that knows someone, that knows Taylor Swift, please let her know we would like to meet her attend one of her concerts next year :).  I'm pretty sad Taylor won't be coming to Colorado or anywhere within driving distance in 2015.  I think her concert would be perfect for Mila!  
Taylor Swift dreaming

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hearts For Horses

I am so sorry I have not been updating regularly.  We've been traveling, battling viruses, I've been finishing school for the semester, and doing our usually daily grind.  I really hope to post Mila's progress more frequently.

I can't even tell you how fortunate we have been in finding the BEST therapists Colorado Springs has to offer.  Jamie (OT in Hippo Therapy) is so patient, happy, kind, and I can tell she loves every child she works with.  The progression Mila has made in a few short months has been amazing to watch.  I feel overwhelmed with joy when I stand in the arena to watch her ride.  She is always happy, but if you really want to see her eyes sparkle, put my girl on a horse.

Mila's first ride was filled with nervousness, fear of the unknown, and typical sloppy body mechanics. She would lean forward, pressure through her hands, which was to be expected.  Jamie would hand her rings to allow her to focus on engaging her core to maintain her posture.  Four weeks in, Jamie ditched the rings for holding, and Mila was sitting perfectly straight, swaying back and forth with the stride of the horse.  She would ride forward, backward, and sideways without fuss.  Now about 8 weeks in, she is riding on all fours (hands & knees), assisting Jamie when it is time for position change, signing "walk on" by patting the horse with her hand, and a few weeks ago, she rode on her knees (while sitting upright with arms in the air), and on her belly.

We have missed a few weeks due to sickness and vacation, but time off doesn't change Mila's motivation and determination to progress.  With Hippo Therapy she is getting all therapies wrapped up in these big, beautiful creatures.  She has been so vocal since she began riding.  Every syllable you can imagine, with a lot of "dada's"!  Her motor planning is improving.  She can stand for long periods of time, cruise forever, and is using correct body mechanics when exploring.

Sometimes I have no idea what to expect from Mila in terms of her function.  A year ago she would develop new skills and lose them within weeks.  Now, she picks up things so quickly and hangs onto them.  I think she needed some time to develop.  Time to get older.  Time to mature. 
Perfect posture while making choices on the iPad with Katie (speech therapist)  
Barely holding on while standing in the stables (sand floor challenges her ability to balance)

Taking turns & imitating Sarah (PT) by grabbing a letter and moving it up to the top of fridge, while standing :)

First attempt at putting a sock on...EVER!

She's not fully convinced she likes a new way of riding through Target (practicing new ways to balance & use that core)

We continue to relish every moment.  Michael and I battle over who will notice the next "new" thing Mila does.  I love that he watches her and notices change just as much as I do.  With holidays coming and going, we're soaking up every moment the three of us can be together.  Michael's job has been kind to him the last few weeks, and I hope it will remain that way.  We are starting new traditions and taking on new adventures any chance we get.  We recently went up to Estes Park up in the Rocky Mountains and it's too beautiful not to share a sneak peak of our fun :)
Post Thanksgiving festivities 

Our first snow hike in the Rockies

Our Party of 3