Saturday, September 25, 2010

A "Jack" Pot Update

So, I wish that I had the chance to blog before now, but I also wish that I hadn't been called into work while I was on call yesterday for an entire twelve hour shift. I have unfortunately had to work more like 38 hours this week, rather than the 24 that I am supposed to as a part time employee. But, this is my job after all, and with my luck (please refer to last post), it seems that whenever I'm on call I end up getting called in A LOT! Oh well ... I do love being a nurse, but it's just very difficult not seeing your baby for 13 hours a day for the better part of the week! :(

Jack is doing so great! He's getting so much bigger, we can hardly believe it! He hasn't been officially weighed since he was about 10 weeks old (and he's now 16 weeks), but we estimate he's about 13 pounds. We'll find out for sure at his 4-month check up at the pediatrician's office within the next couple weeks. Feeding, in terms of Jack's suck and swallow, is much better; however, we have found that a 4 month old is much more interested in his surroundings than a 2 or 3 month old, so he gets very distracted very easily while eating. I was actually concerned one day about how long it was taking to feed him, so I researched "4-month old behavior" online and found that feeding typically takes a difficult turn at this age, due to babies' fascination with their surrounding environment. While it can be frustrating to take longer to feed Jack (due to many breaks to watch the ceiling fan, or to listen to the dog bark, or to watch his fingers and toes move, or to grab mommy's hair or face, or to fixate on the fun patterns on our couch pillows), it is very exciting to see him take in so much of what is happening around him. I know that all parents experience this excitement, but to see our "special" little boy is so alert and reactive to his environment is just absolute bliss!

Furthermore, when Jack does not have a bottle in his mouth (or a hand or a toy), he is chatting up a storm. I swear, some days the kid doesn't shut up! He's now making all kinds of noises and using all kinds of oral muscles to do so (according to his speech therapist aunt Nancy). Aunt Nancy was amazed last weekend at the beach (yes ... Jack's fourth beach trip within four months of life ... some people would die for such vacations!). She said that he looked great and was right on track in terms of his communication and language development as far as she could tell at his age. Jack "talks" so much some days that I have a hard time believing that he's ever going to have speech delays. I understand that realistically Jack will need speech therapy for speech articulation and word forming, but I have no doubt that this child wants to talk, and he already has a lot to share!

A couple of weeks ago the CDSA (Child Development Services Agency) visited Jack with a physical therapist to evaluate him for PT, because our Lisa, our Family Support Network liason, had recommended it. The PT who evaluated him noticed a slight head tilt to the right (as Lisa suspected), but said that it was very slight and not terribly concerning. And, other than that, she evaluated that Jack was right on track with his milestones for any typical three and a half month old baby (of course, he wowed her with his stunning "tummy time" skills ... as seen above, and he also rolled over while she was here, ruining his shot at needing PT!). His gross motor skills and fine motor skills scored as right on track with his age, so she did not feel that he currently qualified for PT their services. (Yay!)

Well, knowing me (the perfectionist), the head tilt thing clearly bothered me, so Robert and I have made the decision to get Jack physical therapy privately through Moses Cone Outpatient Rehab with a very highly recommended pediatric PT here in town. It required a referral from our pediatrician to get our first appointment and insurance should cover some of the therapy, but we still feel very fortunate to be able to afford private therapy for Jack. We count our blessings everyday, and hope that, while Jack is currently meeting all of his milestones, we'll keep it that way by having weekly PT.

Did I mention that Jack LOVES music? We discovered this early on, but this reality has come into full bloom (with his adorable, happy personality) only recently. We found that music was the magic trick to him lifting his head well during "tummy time" when my sisters were here a few weeks ago. My sister Kelly had this boom box toy that Jack was immediately drawn to so she let us have it (thanks, Kelly!), and he's been a pro ever since. We also found out that Jack shares a commonality with his "Pops" last weekend on the way home from the beach. He was a little fussy in the car ride home, so we changed the Sirius radio station to classical music, and Jack immediately calmed down ... he loves classical music! Good thing we've enrolled in Musikgarten class for music therapy this fall, thanks to our friend Evan Logan!

So, all is well at the Casa del Hickling, and we hope that all is well with you too! We love all of you very much, and thanks for reading. Stay tuned ...

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