Saturday, June 25, 2011

Damien's Program 3 Weeks Old

June 18-24
2-3 weeks old

It's been another wonderful week getting to know this little joy in our lives.

His enchanting charm continues to distract me from so many other "important" things that I should be doing during the day. I am so ever-presently aware of how fleeting this time is, how quickly he is growing. I'm soaking up every minute. Painting as many mental pictures as I can. Of his tiny features, his sweet baby smell, his curious, serious eyes. The "babymoon" is going by so quickly. I want to savor as much of it as I can.

This week was not too bad, in terms of program consistency. My visions of logs filled with dozens of checks and detailed notes tends to be more of a dream than a reality.

But he is growing, developing, nonetheless. And ever so quickly, at that. Here are the highlights of his development this week:

Holding head at 45 degree angle, 2 weeks old

  • Crawling  Damien's crawling has improved noticeably since he was born.  He still doesn't seem to move his arms much, but his leg movements are so vigorous. He kicks off the sides of his track, and his toes flare out (courtesy of Babinski reflex), giving him good traction. He gets down his track probably at least twice as fast as he did when he first started, although, unfortunately, he still gets pretty frustrated with it in the process most of the time (I still think he just doesn't like the cold surface). 
The trial is often finding the right timing to put him in his track. At certain times of the day, especially his fussy evenings, he will have nothing to do with his track and screams if we put him in it. Other times, he is perfectly content to crawl down it multiple times. I think things will get better as he gets a little older and his fussiness (hopefully) improves. Right now he only averages going down the track about 2-3 times per day, spending perhaps a total of 30 minutes in it. (It only takes him a few minutes to crawl down, but he will often stay in one spot for a while). He spends a lot of time on his tummy at other times, too, not in his track. He still loves to crawl up Daddy's chest.
  • Head control  Damien's head control is still good. He can lift his head, at a 45 degree angle, and look around since 1 week old (this is a milestone typically accomplished at 4-8 weeks). He does this a lot when he is laying on our chest and checks everything out, especially our faces. It's hard to get him to lay his head down unless he is sleeping!

Holding Daddy's finger, 3 weeks 1 day old
  • Manual  Damien's grasp reflex is still pretty strong. Before I noted that his grasp reflex was stronger in his right hand than it was in his left hand. Well this week it seems to have "switched", and I think that perhaps the possible culprit is that his right hand has moved (or is moving) into the ability to release ("vital release" via developmental profile) while his left hand is still in the grasp reflex stage. The reason? Well, when I lift him as he hangs onto my fingers, his left hand is very tight now (improved!) but his right hand lets go a lot of times. An interesting and exciting development.
I mentioned last week that I have seen what looks like him attempting to use his hands - bringing them to his mouth to suck on them, "hold in" his pacifier, bat at Daddy's face. Well, he did more of this this week, particularly the batting!
  • Balance  We still have not really started doing any balance activities yet. (Still no good reason!) He still gets plenty of moving around though, being carried, rocked, moved, etc.
  • Language  Damien's language is definitely still at the "birth cry and crying" stage. His cry is strong and loud! He has many different cries, sometimes different tones or strengths, sometimes a whimpering or "whining". We occasionally get to hear other sounds from him, particularly "ahh", "eh", and "mmm". I try to remember that all sounds are language. Whenever he communicates we, of course, talk back! 
I try and have conversations with him but, so far, I get a lot of stares (to be expected from a two-week old, I suppose!) Still, it is fun communicating to him and responding to his needs, and watching his non-verbal communication, too. We try and talk to him a lot and provide an environment free of "noise clutter".
Next week I would like to start the poetry portion of the language program. My perfectionism of having the "perfect poem" has been holding me back.

  • Tactile  His tactile program has been my most consistent. I like to stimulate his little toes (after every diaper change, sometimes while I'm nursing). Something must be paying off, because like I said, he has been using the Babinski reflex to push off of the sides of his track, making crawling a lot easier.
  • Auditory  I will admit that the fact that he doesn't really respond to the sound of the clapping blocks makes me not very motivated to do it (he responds to many other sounds, he just doesn't seem too phased by the blocks). I think this is one of those "I wish somebody would have told me about this part of the Doman program" kind of things. I think that maybe the "correct" thing to do is to keep using the block-clapping sounds even though he doesn't startle, but I don't really know. 
However, it is obvious that he hears just fine. One exciting thing he did this week was turn towards Daddy's voice. I was holding him in my arms and his Daddy came home, stood right next to me and said something. Damien's eyes lit up and he started turning his head, looking around until he found his Dad.
Also, today when we were at a birthday party, during cleanup all the kids started popping the balloons. Damien became upset and started fussing, and calmed down when we left the room. I think that he is moving into stage II of auditory development - "vital response to threatening sounds". 
  • Visual  I have not been very consistent doing his light reflex stimulations, I think mainly because I have to get up and go into a dark room to do them and it's not a habit yet. But nonetheless his vision seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. He spends a lot of time daily in front of his black and white checkerboard. I try to keep the blinds open and keep the room very bright. When he's awake, there's usually someone in his face oo-ing and ahh-ing over him and talking to him. He, in turn, spends the whole time serious examining and analyzing said person's face.
There's nothing, I think, more amazing, more phenomenal, than looking into this little boy's eyes. Those precious blue-grey eyes seems to come more alive, more aware, every day. It's priceless.

    • Damien has become more of a social nurser. Not at every feeding, but he looks around and often stays awake for the whole time he nurses.
    We've caught so many smiles from him lately, both with his eyes open and his eyes closed. The most precious ones are when he is staring at us, deep in thought checking out our faces, and then bursts into a huge, priceless grin. Oh, nothing melts my heart more than those smiles!

    Sleeping, Eating, Eliminating

    This was the first week that I started trying to implement a schedule with Damien. Sometimes, at this point in time, his schedule is more along the lines of "wishful thinking", but I'm okay with that. Like I said in the previous post, I consider a schedule at this age to be more of a goal to work towards, just gentle structure and guidance that can be adapted or discarded as needed.
    • Sleeping  Damien, a lot of nights, has been sleeping a good stretch at nighttime, sometimes 3, 4, or even 5 hours. When he does wake up to nurse, he generally nurses and then falls straight back to sleep, although not always. Sometimes it seems like he wants to use me as a human pacifier and, well, it sort of hampers the whole sleeping thing. 
    • Pacifier  We changed to the Nuk pacifier this week, and oh my does this child love it. Hunter would never take a pacifier or a bottle, which made life very difficult sometimes, so for that reason I'm glad we started Damien with the pacifier early. 
    • Nursing  Nursing is going well. Damien, as I mentioned, is my little speed nurser. I usually have him nurse for 10 minutes on each side, but sometimes I think he has nearly emptied it at 5 minutes. He's growing well, and thank God, my sore nipples are completely gone. This has certainly made nursing more enjoyable!
    • Elimination  The kid still poops all the time. Every time he poops we say, "Poo poo, good poo poo, go poo poo, good boy..." etc. etc. Again, the goal is essentially to get him to associate the word with the action so that, eventually, we can start signaling him to go. Other than that haven't started anything yet, waiting till he can "sit" a little bit better.

    Damien was 2 weeks old this week

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