Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of

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December 2005

December 2006

I hate to repeat myself, but as I said on 12/31/2005, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

My yoga teacher, Geri Bleier, suggests that instead of making resolutions for the coming year, we take a few moments to review and honor the accomplishments of the past year. It’s a lovely way to look at the year–focusing on fullness and achievement rather than things we need to change.

What did Charlotte accomplish this year?

Mainly, Charlotte achieved a large degree of “regularness”:

  • She reached 25 lbs. (5x her birth weight)
  • She is 34.75″ tall
  • She turned one, of course
  • She has caught up entirely with gross motor skills and now receives physical therapy only twice a month. We’ll probably reduce that soon
  • She has increased her expressive speech enormously in the past 6 weeks. Charlotte has about 20-30 words that she speaks spontaneously and another 10-15 that she can mimic
  • She loves to color, dance and read
  • She sings, making up her own melodies and words as she goes
  • She climbs onto the couch and chairs
  • She’s starting to climb ladders at Gymboree
  • She climbs and descends stairs
  • She loves Bubba the bear, Mr. Mouse, Elmo, and all her pet bugs
  • She is simply angelically behaved in restaurants (even if she doesn’t eat while there)
  • She loves to play with balls and her stacking tubes
  • She graduated (in April) from her cranial remolding helmet
  • She loves to blow kisses and give hugs
  • She pushes my around the house and places me where she wants me

On the food front:

  • Just this week, she started again (since her ear infection and tummy flu) to drink about 50% of her Pediasure and eat several tablespoons of food each day.
  • She is eager and interested in food. This morning she ran to her chair and said “eat” when we told her it was time for breakfast.
  • She is beginning to consistently feed herself with a spoon or fork
  • Foods Charlotte likes (or has willing tasted): Macaroni, Spaghettio’s, peas, Cheerio’s, Cream of Wheat, applesauce, olives, boiled shrimp, potatoes, Wheat Thins, white cheddar Cheetos, homemade chicken soup, refried beans, cranberry sauce, strawberry sorbet, pineapple, grapes, dal makni (spicy Indian black lentils), curry sauce on rice, anything being offered as a sample at Costco. I’m sure there’s more, but I’m drawing a blank.

Like last year, Charlotte and we would like to honor the extended Team Charlotte who helped us reach this day with grace and some bit of sanity:

  • Laura Robson, Sara Karp and Cheryl Mercado–respectively Charlotte’s speech, physical and occupational therapists
  • Elizabeth E., Charlotte’s former case manager through Early Intervention
  • Dr. Luciana Young, cardiologist extraordinaire
  • Dr. Stephen Pophal, interventionist cardiolologist who has performed Charlotte’s angioplasties
  • Dr. Vicari and his amazing Orthotist Pat who got us sanely and safely and symmetrically through our cranial remolding helmet
  • The Feeding Team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin–Drs. Beth Long, Ellen Blank and Joan Arvedson, ST Amy Delaney and Nutritionist Midge Kirby. Their advice and good counsel have gotten us through some dark, long, messy nights and with their support we know we’ll see the end of this feeding disorder sooner rather than later
  • My many online Mommy friends–all the wonderful gals (and guys) at P2P who have shared their wisdom about reflux babies, cheered our high points and lamented our troubles with us and also, but no less, Thida C. aka Waterowl who demonstrates gratitude and strength through every struggle that crosses her path
  • All of our wonderful friends who never think of Charlotte as anything other than a regular kid
  • Lakeview Pediatrics, all the doctors and staff, who answer our questions and assure us that Charlotte is as extraordinary as we think she is
  • The members of my writing group (you know who you are) who have encouraged me to keep working on my children’s stories, the editors who have asked me to post book reviews regularly on their websites, and my re-discovered film studies community who welcomed me back into their fold–by offering Charlotte’s mom an intellectual outlet, you’ve helped me be a better mom and wife

If I’ve left anyone out, please know that we are ever-grateful for all of your kind thoughts, your emails, your comments on the blog. We never take for granted the blessings we find in the love and support of our family and friends. And we are always moved when strangers find the site and post their well-wishes.

It was a rough year. In many ways, it was harder and longer than 2005. Charlotte lost her only grandfather before he had a chance to know her or she him. There were definitely days when I didn’t know how I’d make it until Charlotte’s bedtime and nights when I thought that if I had to clean up one more vomit, I’d lose my mind.

But, when I close my eyes and look back on 2006, all I can really see and hear are my daughter’s giggles and smiles, the kisses she blows, and the joyfulness that she brings to every day. It has been a full, full year.

As for me, I DID get into handstand, last March, and have enjoyed every upside down moment since. For 2007, I’d like to manage some arm balances. Well, balance in general, I think, would be my resolution.

Charlotte’s resolutions for 2007, you ask? Simply to fly through her next surgery with the same panache and resilience she brings to everything else. To turn two. To learn to say her name. To play in the ocean. And to continue to grow from strength to strength.

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Author: Culture Bean

I am a mother, a pre-published children's author, and a published academic. I am also a "mommy blogger," though I hate the term. My passions are reading and writing. As a professor, I strive to help my students think critically about the media and culture with which they engage. I've started this blog because it's time I put my money where my mouth is!

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