One of the workshops that Joe and I attended at the Perkins Early Connections Conference involved the idea of concept building. Concept building is important for all children, but needs to be done more explicitly for those with visual impairments.
For example, a sighted child getting a cup of milk sees the parent go the refrigerator, get the milk, get a cup, pour the milk into the cup and bring the cup to them. They also see the cow-print or farm scene on the milk carton. On the other hand, Ben gets a cup of milk magically appear in front of him. We have to tell him where we keep the milk, how we pour it into the cup and where milk comes from. As we don’t have a cow in our apartment, we have to make do with apps such as Sound Touch that have realistic animal sounds (Sound Touch also has instruments, automobiles, and household objects) and plastic models of the cow. Anyone who has ever seen a cow knows that a plastic model, though visually like a cow, is a far cry from the actual animal.
So our first trip to a farm was exciting- seeing real animals! This is the first step for Ben to understand what they feel like, sound like, and smell like before understanding that sometimes, um, we eat them too. We are planning on visiting Queens Zoo and Queens Farm, NY Aquarium the Bronx Zoo as well this summer and fall, so hopefully we’ll have a lot of opportunities to have a variety of real world experiences.
It was also a lovely day to spend with Aunt Chrissie and Kaia, who were up from North Carolina, and see Gram and ACA! We all had a great time!
For the most part, when therapists and evaluators ask me what Ben’s receptive language is like, I have to shrug my shoulders. Though I’m pretty sure that he understands us, he doesn’t really follow directions. Repetitions of “Benjamin!” “Shake this toy” and “Where are your feet?” go unanswered for the most part, and it’s hard to say if that’s due to his inability to understand, or because he simply just isn’t into that.
But this Monday got a lot of excitement around these parts, because Benjamin, upon request, found his nose. Several times- so it wasn’t just a weird coincidence.
Strangely, as of today, said nose locale is less certain. We’ll have to practice some more.
Ben’s 2nd birthday is coming up soon, and here’s a quick update of where we stand:
- Ben is standing on a more regular basis, though mostly we have to trick him into it.
- Ben started speech therapy this week! Maybe we’ll get some on-purpose words soon!
- Speech therapy also includes some feeding therapy. Maybe he’ll start eating things too.
- Ben weighed 22lbs the last time I checked. This means that after hovering just below 20lbs for 4+ months, Ben has gained over 2lbs in 1 month (and is in the 6th percentile for his actual age). This blows my mind. We’ve been pushing the pediasure, and it’s been paying off.
- Ben got a super cute pair of Stride Rite shoes. They’re like miniature hiking boots. So cute. Ben’s favorite hobby is trying to take them off of his feet and/or eat the velcro.
And finally, here is a poor quality, but very cute, video of Ben playing with a toy. We’ve been working on getting him to drop things he has in his hand for awhile (though he seemed to have mastered the art of “dropping” or even “throwing” at Thanksgiving when he was tossing all offerings of food and toy off of his chair, it’s never been this purposeful), so this was exciting.
Next time you hear from us, we’ll give you the 2nd birthday lowdown, complete with cute photos (including a cameo from Woods the Bear!)
Once upon a time, in June 2011, before Benjamin’s fungal infection made itself fully apparent, we were under the impression that he would be coming home soon. So with that in mind, my amazing family and friends threw me an awesome baby shower. The weird thing about having a baby shower when you have a preemie is that all of the cute little baby things look… huge. To keep this in proper perspective, in June 2011 Ben weighed less than 5.5lbs and was still wearing preemie clothes. So when I opened up clothes that were larger versions of preemie clothes he owned, I cracked up. I’m pretty sure everyone who was there thought I was either crazy or had had one too many cocktails. Thankfully, when Joe came home from the hospital later that evening and we sorted through our gifts, he found the giant versions of preemie clothes as funny- if not funnier- than I did.
Now, a year and a half and 16 pounds later, Benjamin can just fit into those 18 month versions of his preemie clothes. (Ben weighs over 21lbs right now- holy growth spurt batman!)
Growing slowly, but growing all the same.
This photo was taken in May of 2011 and Ben weighed 3.3lbs.
Benjamin has been moving a lot lately- not quite walking, but not staying in one place! He’s also not-quite crawling, but he gets around. He’s cruising all over the living room furniture and is pretty sure he doesn’t need to hold on.
Here he is with his push-toy. Joe wants me to note that we took this video late in the day, after he had been walking around quite a bit, and this is not the best example of his almost-solo walking prowess. Also, keep an eye on Cayman. He’s pretty funny.
For you photo-hungry folks, here’s a sampling of some of this fall. Halloween might get pre-empted by Hurricane Sandy, but luckily Ben already got to try out his costume at the Bay Ridge Raggamuffin Parade. He had a lot of fun walking with Jack, Jerome and their families! Hopefully we’ll get to go to the Jackson Heights parade on Wednesday!
As the clock digitally clicks towards midnight, I want to slip in a post to wish Joseph a happy father’s day. Yesterday Joe got his present- a day on the Brooklyn waterfront with good friends drinking craft beer- and today we got to visit our fathers (and see some wonderful old friends in the process). Joe is an amazing father and partner (and does the heavy lifting on this blog!), and I’m so glad I get to share this adventure with him!