Letting Sonya Fall

Earlier this week, Sonya had a terrible therapy session. When presented with a toy, she refused to engage. Rather, she turned her body toward the shelves of other toys pointing and grunting. Not this toy, that one! she seemed to want to say. But nothing satisfied her. It was apparent that she was frustrated and we were too.

During our hour-long drive back from the therapy session, I felt as if I were the one who had failed. I should have made better sure that Sonya was well rested. I should have taken the time to make her a green smoothie this morning (the only way to get Sonya to ingest any vegetable is to hide it in a sweet fruit smoothie). I should have done a better job parenting her, and it was being reflected in her ability to acquire speech.

Sonya took a three plus hour nap that day – highly unusual for her. That evening, she picked herself off the floor and started to cruise around her nursery. She has been doing this for some time, but today she strutted with such confidence. She held on to one of our wooden cube trunks (which I am replacing, by the way, as they are not baby safe – so let me know if you want them!) with one hand waving in the air.

Sometimes she makes it the entire way around beaming with pride. Other times, she trips over her own feet and drops to her knees. On a couple of occasions she has flipped over backwards and landed smack on her head. It is equally exhilarating and terrifying for me to watch. I try not to think about her hitting her head where the CIs are implanted. I want to catch her before any fall, but it seems impossible. But I know that she can/will do it. I have confidence in her abilities when it comes to walking.

I am trying to translate this confidence into Sonya’s speech work as well. I know that not every therapy session will be great. But over time, she will learn and improve. Her falling is not necessarily my failing.

On a side note, we recently celebrated Sonya’s first birthday! What a year it has been. Sonya had the best time. She received numerous baby dolls and books – her favorite things. We feel so blessed to have had the amazing support this past year from friends and family. 🙂 ❤

You can check out our photos from the event here: http://iheartnyphotography.pixieset.com/sonyasbirthdayparty/

password: bpihny

Silent Steps

The B sound continues to be difficult for Sonya. She confuses B and D, saying “dye dye” rather than “bye bye.” In fact, she uses the D sound to say most words. Pointing to my shirt she looks up at me and asks, “da?”

“That’s a button.”

“duttah Sonya says.

According to our speech therapist, such confusion is common among children with hearing loss as both D and B are high frequency sounds, and can be difficult to discriminate initially.

While Da reigns supreme, Sonya definitely knows how to use the B sound. She said banana one time at lunch. She said buh buh for bubbles on numerous occasions. She refers to Yan’s mom as Baba, and turns toward our computer screen to look for her, as we typically FaceTime once a week with her.

While it is clear that Sonya’s understanding of words continues to grow, I have noticed that she seems quieter lately. At therapy this week, she made few sounds. She would point at the toys she wished to play with, rather than vocalize her want. She would grunt or whine when she didn’t get her way. It is discouraging to see this after several weeks of clear growth.

While she makes fewer sounds, she moves with greater ease and loves to dance!

In fact, Sonya’s physical development may be the underlying factor. Sonya is now actively cruising. It started a couple weeks ago during an in-home therapy session. We were sitting on the floor of the nursery as usual, when our speech therapist asked if Sonya had started walking around our apartment by holding on to furniture yet. While Sonya had pulled herself to stand weeks ago, she hesitated to move further. While every baby moves at their own speed, Sonya may also have been reading into my own fears about her moving around our apartment. I flinch every time she loses her balance. I grab her just before she falls (although she still manages to sport some bruises on her forehead from crawling too quickly on slick wooden floors). Our speech therapist showed us ways to help Sonya learn to cruise in a safe environment, between the couch and coffee tables in her nursery. Now Sonya crawls up to that area and pulls herself up, then steps from couch to table. Her face beams with pride.

As her brain focuses on perfecting this new milestone, it is not that surprising that her speech development will be placed on the back burner momentarily.

In the meantime, I will try to enjoy this moment of quiet focus.

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