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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Henry Wellness Update: New Year, New Skills!

Henry has been working hard and making a lot of progress over the past two months! Right around Christmas and New Year's, we took a couple of weeks off from all the boys' therapies and during that time a lot of exciting changes happened for Henry. It was really exciting to see his therapists again in
January and tell them all about how great he's doing :)

New Moves

In the fall, Henry started scooting around on his tummy and figured out how to push himself up into a sitting position from lying down. Now, at 18 months old, his arms and torso are strong enough to hold himself up on all fours!

He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks a bit, forward and back, and sometimes he'll give one big push with his knees and kind of slide forward onto his tummy :) Although he looks like he is ready to crawl, he isn't quite strong enough yet. The way his physical therapist explained it, he's strong enough to hold himself up on four points (two hands, two knees) - which is great! - but he needs to be strong enough to hold himself up on three points in order to crawl. He's got to be able to lift a knee and bring it forward, and that takes more tummy and arm and torso strength. But he's close! And working on it every day!

Henry reeeeaaaalllyyy wants to stand. He wants it bad. Every time we try to set him down to sit on the floor, he puts his feet down first and wants to stand with our help. He often pulls himself up onto his knees at our coffee table (train table) and in his crib. In his crib I have even seen him pull himself all the way up to standing! That only lasts a couple of seconds before he plops back down on his tushie :) But, when he gets up onto his knees at the train table, he can stay there long enough to reach for things on the table. And destroy parts of the train track, to Calvin's dismay... #henryzilla

New Noms

Henry is eating real food!! No more baby food for us!! Can I get an AMEN?!!

Cheerios, scrambled eggs, PB&J, pasta, chili, oatmeal, quinoa, green peas, black beans, broccoli... you name it!

Ok, not any anything. He doesn't really have enough teeth for crunchy stuff like raw veggies, so they have to be cooked, and meat is also a little too tough to chew unless it's ground, but I don't cook much meat anyway. The best part? He's not picky!! I cannot tell you how weird and amazing it is to have a child who will eat anything that I feed him without complaining. Wish my other kiddo would do that (I'm looking at you, Bean!). Henry has a big appetite too. He eats more than Calvin. His occupational therapist says that kids with low muscle tone have to use so much more energy to move their bodies, compared to typical kids, that they likely burn a lot more calories. So with all Henry's new moves, it's no wonder he eats so much!

He is learning how to feed himself, but by far I still have to feed him. He can feed himself things that are large enough for him to pick up, but soft enough to mush in his mouth once he gets it in there, because he hasn't figured out how to take bites from a large piece yet. Crackers and small pieces of cheese are perfect for him to feed himself. Fruits are hard because they're slippery. Cheerios are a little too small, but he sometimes manages to get one in without help :)

Henry has a history of difficulty with swallowing liquids. We've been using a thickener in his formula for almost a year now. But since his surgery he has been doing much better with swallowing and now he is able to take small sips of plain water from a spoon and even drink formula without thickener as long as it's in a bottle with a slow flow nipple (meaning that he can only take small sips, not big gulps).

Henry with his occupational therapist, Julia
 We have even started working on teaching him to drink from a cup. We use a special therapy cup that allows him to make the same shape with his mouth as he would with a regular open cup, but restricts the flow of the liquid so he is still taking small sips.

It's the same cup we used to teach Calvin and it came from Calvin's occupational therapist back when he was 13 months old. She called it a "dot cup" because of the three little holes that allow the liquid to flow out. I don't know if that's the real name for it...?

He is starting to look like such a big boy! 

As he is becoming more capable and more aware of his surroundings, communication is starting to be challenging. He doesn't have ways to tell us exactly what he wants or exactly what's wrong when he's upset, and his upsets aren't always the usual baby needs anymore (poopy, hungy, sleepy, ouchie). He had a speech evaluation recently and will likely start speech therapy soon, which will help both him and us have some guidance when it comes to communicating together. The therapist who came to do his evaluation gave me some helpful input on how to work with him on some communication skills. Simple commands like "come here," and "give me the ____" and helping him to start pointing/gesturing with his hands, for example. 

Henry and Calvin are also interacting and playing together more, and it's so sweet to see! They make up simple little baby games on their own. Like, Calvin will turn the lamp on and off and Henry will laugh and shout when the light comes on. They play peek-a-boo with pillows. They play a kind of fetching game where Calvin brings a toy to Henry in the high chair, Henry throws it on the floor, and Calvin brings it back. Over and over again with lots of laughing. They love to both get in Henry's crib and just kind of bounce around together :) Sometimes Calvin gets too rough with Henry. He's definitely figuring out the limits of what makes Henry laugh, and what makes Henry cry. And occasionally, he does seem to make his baby brother cry on purpose... but that's normal sibling/toddler stuff, right?? 

Hooray for Henry! :) Thanks for reading.

Any milestones or celebrations to share about your kiddos this week?


  1. What a wonderful post! We're all pulling for you, Henry! Yay and hooray!

  2. Such exciting growth for Henry! And what cute games they play togethe! The other stuff is definitely totally normal sibling stuff- We've got it too