For the last six weeks, Ellie has been on strike during her weekly physical therapy appointments. Oh sure, she would seem agreeable enough with her big smiles and blowing raspberries. But rolling over? Which she is perfectly capable of doing? No thanks. Grabbing toys? No interest. Nada.
It got to the point that going to the appointments was almost embarrassing. “I swear, she really does roll over at home. She does… you know… touch things from time to time instead of weirdly recoiling her hand when you try to give her something.”
We had really been spoiled. For the first four or five months of PT, there was noticeable improvement virtually every single week. Either she’d be doing something altogether new, or would be steadier and stronger at a previous skill. Halloween came along, and Ellie decided it was time to take a little break.
She wasn’t going backwards, exactly. In reality, it was clearly just a plateau. Normal. To be expected, even, after making so much progress. But with a baby who is already delayed, it’s frustrating when you stop seeing progress you’ve gotten used to. It’s hard not to get anxious over it.
Thankfully, in the last week, Ellie seems to be picking up the developmental pace once again. Sitting up even steadier than before, and finally starting to use her hands to grab a toy or stuffed animal, instead of just using them to prop herself upright. In fact, not only will she pick up the rings from the floor in front of her, but she’ll transfer them to the other hand, AND put them in her mouth! Fine motor, cognition, and oral de-sensitizing, all in one easy toy!
The fine motor stuff was starting to worry me, but I’m happy to say there’s been a noticeable improvement recently. Lots more grabbing and reaching, and suddenly in love with one of those four-key piano toys from my mother-in-law. She was even kind enough to show off for both the physical therapist AND the early intervention therapist this week. Everyone is thrilled to have her back with the program.
Even the feeding therapy stuff has been going a little better. She likes to explore those teething biscuit cookies, and lets me poke around her mouth with this textured brush we use to try to tone down her gag reflex. They’re small steps, but good ones for us.
Though I knew on a logical level that a plateau in her progress was totally normal and shouldn’t be worrisome, waiting for new skills to show up was really stressful and had me feeling quite discouraged. On an average day, I am only just holding the worry at bay, so it doesn’t take much to push me over the edge. Seeing her master new tricks again? Suddenly all feels right in the world.