Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hooray! We're eating!

A miraculous event occurred at the dinner table last night. Just as we finished eating, Quinn finished his baby food bananas and started dipping his bottle nipple into Uncle Gary's clam miso soup. He did this many, many, many times, always to enthusiastic applause.

Here's a picture:

After a while, Gary offered Quinn a sip from his large, Chinese porcelain soup spoon. Quinn rejected it, but was obviously considering it. Here's what that looked like:

But Gary hung in there and eventually Quinn stuck out his little tongue and stuck it into the soup. A bit after that he even let Gary give him a few sips from the spoon, even though Quinn never really opened his mouth.

Here's the big moment:

The final step is when Quinn took the spoon himself and brought it up to his mouth several times. He didn't quite have the angle right so I don't think any actually got it, but STILL!

Here's the big boy's first attempt at feeding himself with a spoon:

So glad we caught these moments on film. This is why we have two cameras with us everywhere we go!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Quinn's first Christmas in America

Quinn's first Christmas present, a toy cell phone:

Wow, lots of buttons to press:

Hanging with BaBa and Buttons:

Quinn gets the hang of opening presents:

Sharing a laugh with Auntie Bonny:

And a laugh with MaMa (this is Quinn's Christmas dinner outfit):

Eating Part II

Thanks for your encouragement!

One thing I forgot to ask earlier: I Googled this morning to find out how much baby food we should be giving Quinn at one sitting, and basically the consensus is to let the baby have as much as he wants because kids know when they've had enough.

So my question: Is that true with institutionalized kids? Considering that Quinn was fed on the orphanage's schedule rather than when he was hungry, I wonder if he even knows what hunger is. He is only just starting to tell us when he's hungry, three hours after his last bottle, and the signs are so subtle that if you don't know him you'd never notice.

Any guidance here would be appreciated: How much should we let him eat at one sitting?

Eating - we're getting there!

Since the day we met Quinn he has refused to eat anything that doesn't come from a bottle. At first, if he even showed him solid food he would cry. Now he looks at it and then turns his head away.

In the past month, sometimes Quinn would let me dip his bottle nipple into a milkshake or baby food and take a bit or two. Yesterday he started doing it himself! He picks up the bottle, dips the nipple into his bowl and sucks away. Last night at dinner I took away the bottle and just gave him the nipple, hoping it would approximate a spoon. This morning I went a step further and put a spoon in the bowl, but he'd have none of it.

His feeding specialist, who has been quite perplexed at his absolute refusal to eat solids, believe he suffered some sort of trauma related to food - either he was force-fed or burned by too-hot congee. I'm curious if anyone out there experienced anything similar, and what they did about it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuter by the day

Some of my recent faves:

The long-awaited neuro-psychological assessment

We're in California visiting Tom's family. So we took the opportunity to drive to San Francisco and have Quinn assessed by a neuropsychologist who specializes in international adoption. She put Quinn through a series of tests and scored him on a number of different levels.

The upshot is that, at 18 months old, he scores as an 11-month-old in most areas. That's a significant enough delay that he probably won't catch up on his own and needs some pretty serious intervention and attention. Luckily, he'll get a lot of that through the Arizona early intervention program. But it was a good wake-up call for us that we need to be working with him a lot more intensely.

I got a good start today at library story time, of all places. We did rhymes and sang songs in addition to reading books, and it really struck me that I should be doing stuff like that with Quinn. But I may be going at it to excess. I obsessively sang, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," complete with hand motions, to the poor boy all afternoon. He did humor me with a twinkle hand motion at Macy's, which warmed my heart. Then he sighed and went back to our beloved hand games and I decided it was time to give him a break.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You want to do WHAT to my baby?

It looks like Quinn might need surgery. He got a clean bill of health from the neurologist, but the orthopaedic surgeon she referred him to thinks Quinn may need to go under the knife. His brachial plexus injury has taken away one critical movement: put your right arm in front of you, with your upper arm against your body, like you're in a quick-draw contest. Point our hand straight out, and then rotate your forearm away from your body. That's what he can't do. There are two muscles that help you do that, but five that help you rotate inward. So what they do is take two muscles from the inward rotation and move them to help with the outward rotation.

He'll begin pretty extensive physical therapy soon and then be evaluated again in a few weeks. If they determine the surgery is necessary, it likely would be done when he's 2, which would put it next June or later. The surgery itself takes three hours and is fairly complex, but honestly, it's the recovery that scares me: A MONTH in an upper-body cast that immobilizes his right arm like he's swearing to tell the truth in court. A MONTH.

I've heard that little patients are quite resilient and that Quinn will probably do just fine during recovery. But it sounds awful to me.

Has anyone gone through anything like this? Any thoughts on kids and surgery?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hooray! He failed the test!

It probably isn't something we'll ever feel again, but today we're celebrating that Quinn scored low enough on his assessment to be eligible for the Arizona Early Intervention program. He scored with a 25 percent delay in all areas except for communication, where he scored a 50 percent delay. The evaluator, Patrick, said the communications score is a little goofy since Quinn doesn't yet understand English. And he also said he shows no signs of cognitive delays, sensory integration issues or autism. All his delays are physical, for which we're grateful.

His eligibility for the program means he'll get access to all the specialists he will need without having to fight with our insurance company; the state will do that for us. And whatever our insurance won't cover, the state will.

For Quinn, that means a feeding specialist to get him eating solids, an occupational therapist to get him using his right arm, a physical therapist to get him walking and perhaps a speech therapist to get him talking.

Here we go!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A breakthrough day

The Mighty Quinn had not one, but two, breakthroughs today.

First, at lunch, he seemed VERY interested in my milkshake so I dipped the nipple of his big-boy bottle (his new sippy-cup-style bottle) into the milkshake and he slurped it right up. We did it about three more times with the same results. Then I offered him some on my spoon and, as usual, he turned his head away in despair.

Then, this afternoon, Quinn was playing on one side of our big square coffee table and I was on the computer on the other side. I saw a head slowly rise so I crawled around and watched him pull himself up into a standing position for the first time.

Hooray for Quinn! It's amazing to see how fast he is coming along - learning and growing every day. Also becoming MUCH more of a handful. A week ago I could sit him down with his toys and he'd be good to go. Just now I sat him down and he crawled straight to a large, heavy framed photo Tom has leaning on his office wall and just about pulled it right down on himself. Now he's having a good cry because I moved him away from it. Mean Mama.

The Christmas decorating dilemma

A kid certainly makes the holidays more fun. You can walk through the mall singing along to Christmas songs, and if you have a kid with you, no one even looks at you. Take it from someone who knows, that's not the case when you're alone.

However, Quinn does present a dilemma when it comes to decorating. He is now crawling all over the house and he likes to reach up and pull things he comes across. So: Christmas tree or no Christmas tree? I am nervous he will pull it down on himself. But I also want him to have a tree since he LOVES lights. I'm considering skipping the big tree and putting a small tree up high where he can see and not touch.

Any ideas?