It’s been a long time since my last post. Partly because life is hectic and it’s hard to find time. And, to be honest, partly because I’ve been avoiding it. With Cooper not having any medical crises for a while, it was nice to not have anything specific to update everyone about. But, I know that people still want to know how he is. Which is sassy.
Coop is becoming much more independent. He is mobile now and loves to explore. He’s crawling all over the place, using a combination of styles. He’s fastest if he uses his “Mowgli-crawl” with his legs straight and his little butt up in the air. Lately, he’s been crawling up on his hands and knees more, which is good. Occasionally, he’ll get lazy and bring back his signature crawl, which looks like a swim or an army-crawl. This is when he drags his body along the floor with his arms and pushes with his legs.
He’s figured out how to pull up to a stand, and has just started to cruise, which is taking steps while holding onto furniture. Right now, that’s about as far as his interest goes when it comes to walking. He is not a fan of us holding his hands and trying to get him to take steps. That boy’s got a stubborn side, so if it’s not his idea, he hates it. He’s figured out that he has an opinion and how to make it known.
We’re making progress in communication, too. Cooper is understanding more of what we say every day. He will nod his head for yes and shake his head for no, and uses them appropriately. (If you want to see him shake his head no, try to get this dude to take a bite of apple.) He knows what bye-bye means, he waves, and he blows kisses. He’ll follow us from room to room when we ask him to (depending on his mood). He’ll bring us a fruit pouch from the cabinet if we tell him we’ll open it for him. He does not like to be told “no” any more than his momma does. And, he knows what a cow says. Let me tell you that it’s the cutest moo anyone’s ever heard. That’s about the only animal sound he’ll make right now. Why try to roar when you have mastered the moo? He uses a sign for “more” and one for “all done,” he says dada and mama, and he’s been trying to say hello when he plays with his phone. We are about to start speech therapy, so I’m excited to see him add more words to his vocabulary.
I get a lot of questions about Cooper’s therapy. It’s with Early Intervention through the state of Illinois. Cooper automatically qualifies for services because of his diagnosis of Down syndrome, but there are a lot of kids without disabilities that qualify for therapy because of delays in certain areas of development. The fee is based on the family’s income and that family fee is the same whether the child gets one type of therapy or four (which is our new total). Cooper has been in physical, occupational, and developmental therapy since before he was 2 months old. His therapists work toward our goals by playing with him with a specific purpose. He plays with toys and they get him to use certain muscles to increase his strength, control, and tone.
The therapists come to our house, which means the biggest challenge is just fitting sessions in with my work schedule. He has physical therapy once a week. Physical therapy is for large muscle groups and focuses on things like sitting, crawling, standing, and walking. He also has occupational therapy once a week. Occupational therapy is for smaller muscle groups, so they focus on things like holding, stacking, rolling, and feeding. Developmental therapy is twice a month and addresses his overall development including communication, motor skills, and social development (which has always been a strength of his). He loves his developmental therapist, doesn’t mind occupational therapy, and hates physical therapy most of the time. The things he does in physical therapy don’t hurt, but they engage muscles that are weak, which is uncomfortable, which means he’d rather not do it, which means he gets mad. Some days, it is just really hard to listen to him cry the whole time. Those are the days I end up boo-hooing right along with him.
One great thing about my sassy boy developing such strong opinions is that he’s becoming very affectionate when he wants to be. He’ll leave his toys just to crawl over and give us a kiss or lay his head down on us, then go right back to playing. That’s the best because it is 100% his idea.
My goal is to just soak up the extra time I get with him in this “baby” stage. I try to think of it like time has slowed down so I can really enjoy each part of his development. Would I be ecstatic if he could walk by his second birthday? Yes. But, I know that he will walk and talk and do it all when he’s ready to. And I can’t make him be ready to do those things. I can’t even make him eat an apple.