Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A little man of letters

Giving Quinn a bath a few nights ago, Tom pulled out the foam letters and numbers Grandma Marj gave him for Christmas. Much to Tom's astonishment, the child who just scored a full year behind on his speech assessment started picking up letters, saying what they were and sticking them to the wall. He got through maybe 10 letters and 3-4 numbers before he got bored and went on to something else.

Neither of us has tried to teach him his ABCs, thinking he's not nearly ready for that. I guess all those ABC books are sinking in!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Speaking of speech

Quinn has exactly six months left until he turns 3 and ages out of his state developmental services, so upon the retirement of his first speech therapist we started right up with a new one.


We talked about our goals for Quinn: to get his drooling -- which gets going when he's concentrating on something -- under control, to increase his ability to string words together and to encourage him to follow directions.

Her ideas were really surprising. After an initial assessment, Maureen said she thinks Quinn's speech delays and drooling may be physical. She spotted two possible problems: His drooling, she said, may be caused by a lack of muscle tone in his mouth stemming from a lack of sucking, babbling and mouth movement in his first months. Second, she said the fact that he isn't stringing words together may be due to a lack of muscle tone in his diaphram and other muscles in his stomach. Evidence of that, she said, is that Quinn rarely sits on his own. Playing, he usually squats, stands of lays on his stomach. Both, of course, stem from his time in the orphanage.

As for following directions, she said it's not that he doesn't understand us, but that he's a "free-range chicken" who is so busy checking out every little thing around him that he simply isn't listening - in fact, he doesn't even hear us. She suggested I get down to his level and say,
"Quinn, listen to MaMa" and point to my ear. I tried it and lo and behold, it works!

The whole session was very, very interesting. Of course I can't help but think that had I met Maureen six months ago, maybe Quinn would be chatting away by now. But enough of that. I feel so good about this therapist and I'm really excited to work with her!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Toddler at sea

We went on a cruise to the Mexican Rivera to celebrate Tom's parents 50th anniversary. It was actually their 51st anniversary since we were in China on the actual 50th, but no one was counting.

Quinn had a fantastic time. He loved the looooooong halls and would "unnnn" down one after another. He may be the first person ever to lose weight on a cruise.

In between "unnnns" and meals, Quinn got to know his California grandparents, Tom's mom and dad. It was great for all of them to have a nice, long block of time together.

The highlight of the trip was Quinn's discovery of classical music. We walked by a lounge after dinner the first night and I noticed he was really interested in the string quartet playing. So we grabbed an empty seat in the back of the room. The music stopped and Quinn hollered, "More? More?" After that, we went to hear the "moo-azoo" every afternoon and every night. One night they played late, so i took Quinn down in his jammies. The musicians loved him, and said he was the first groupie they ever had. Valentina, the cellist, let Quinn play with her cello on breaks, teaching him to bow and pluck the strings.

A good time was had by all, and we all really enjoyed the time together.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Isn't this supposed to be a treasured memory?

Quinn has gone from bald to shaggy, so we trucked him down to see George, who does our hair, and who said that, sure, he can do kids' hair.


Quinn started crying the minute the water bottle came out.

Eventually he got so hysterical that poor George gave up after doing half of Quinn's head. I'm not sure which of them was more upset.

We took Quinn out for his favorite grilled cheese sandwich after the dreaded event, and within about 30 seconds he was beaming like it was Christmas morning.

Hopefully next time will go better...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Surprising medical news: a doctor who DOESN'T want to cut

Quinn's SN is brachial plexus injury, a birth injury to the nerves in his neck that affects the use of his right arm. After much research, we chose Dr. Peter Waters at Boston Children's Hospital to do his surgery and Quinn, Tom and I made a trip to meet Quinn's new doc.

Here we go:

Here's Quinn and me on the plane, checking our e-mails:

Quinn had an MRI on Wednesday. We chose to do it in Boston because an ultrasound he had in grown-up hospital in Tucson was a thoroughly traumatic experience I didn't care to repeat. It was a good decision: The staff was SO nice to him, giving him a kid-themed gown to wear, explaining everything, taking it very slowly and letting him play with things that interested him along the way, like the stethoscope:

It was a little terrifying seeing him unconscious and rolled into the giant white machine but he did just fine. He was SO groggy afterwards, poor little guy.

They told us he wouldn't want to eat dinner, so of course he ate a HUGE plate of pasta within an hour.

Thursday morning we met with Susan, Dr. Waters' physical therapist. Then we met with Dr. Waters. To our surprise, his recommendation was to WAIT to have the surgery. He said Quinn's MRI showed a totally normal shoulder, very unusual for his injury, and that he is still improving on his own. He wants us to step up the physical therapy and have our PT consult with his PT. When they decide he has progressed as much as possible on his own, THEN it's time for surgery. Wow, not what we expected - and so different than another doctor who said we were already late to the surgery party and we absolutely had to do it ASAP.

The hospital is amazing, with stuff for kids to look at and play with everywhere.

Volunteers hand out stickers in the hallways, and we saw a doctor and nurse dressed like clowns. There are several playgrounds around, including this one, where we spent the better part of two days:

Outside the hospital one day, Tom was taking a picture of Quinn and me and a woman walked up and asked if she could take a picture of all of us. She snapped four and walked off. They were ALL really good - and I take terrible pictures. We loved this one so much we put it on our Christmas cards:

Since we had flown all the way to Boston, we took a little time to enjoy the city. Boston Common was gorgeous, and Quinn loved stomping in the fallen leaves - something he doesn't get to do much of in the desert!

We walked and took the subway all over the place. One of our favorite stops was Boston's small but friendly little Chinatown. We found an awesome dumpling restaurant and had a great lunch.

After that we took Quinn to Harvard to get a taste of the Ivy League. We bought him some books at the Harvard bookstore and walked so much that he fell asleep before dinner. Luckily, our table had bench seating so he just laid down and snoozed the meal away. I believe this is the first and only time since he started eating that this kid has missed a meal!

New year, new resolution

Okay, I'm writing it down and making it official. In 2010 I will post at least once a week. Really, I will.

I have missed so much. Moon Festival, Halloween (he was the little emperor), Christmas festivities. Looking at those photos now they just seem too old to post. But I do want to share an update on Quinn's condition and tell you about our recent cruise.

So I'm getting back up to date. In just a little bit...