Sunday, March 2, 2014

Juliana - Three Years Old

Happy birthday to my girl!

Juliana brings us great joy every single day. She is truly a delight. She's hilarious and silly and makes us laugh on a continual basis. She's enthusiastic. She is sweet. She is playful. She is also demanding, but that goes with the two/three year old territory. She knows what she wants and she sets about to get it. She has great perseverance. She tries to be independent. She loves to learn.

She's a smart cookie. She doesn't miss a beat. She can count to around twenty - Calvin is working on teaching her to count to 100. She's known the alphabet forever and has even known basic phonics for quite some time. She knows a number of sight words though we haven't been quite so focused on that lately. She loves to read books and really enjoys our trips to the library. Her current favorites are any Franklin the Turtle books and the James Marshall books such as Goldilocks.

Whenever a therapist or doctor asks about my concerns for Juliana, I can honestly only think of two: walking and talking. Those two things are both works in progress. They are both things that will absolutely come in their own time. While she's not walking yet she is also amazingly much stronger than she was even just six months ago. Speech is a different matter, she is definitely talking and also has some complex sentences. The problem here is with articulation more than anything. There are still times when we know that she is telling us something but we can't figure out what that is. Beyond these two issues, I truly do not have concerns for her development. I don't worry about her cognitive development (which tests as being at a typical level) or her social development or her self-help skills. I think that overall she will manage just fine in those areas. She may very well need extra help but they are not concerns that keep me up at night.

She is also pretty healthy these days. A few small changes in her diet and I've seen some improvements in some long standing issues such as eczema. I've also seen some, though not all, of her stimming decrease. She still follows GAPS and I believe we are still seeing major benefits from it. How long she will stick to GAPS is really anyone's guess. She no longer has GI issues or obvious food intolerances so the results we are now getting are more specific to her overall health, immunity and the protection of her brain.

Despite all that good news we do have one major possible issue: her hearing. She has a mild hearing loss in one ear and a mild/moderate loss in the other. We've known this for almost two years now. However just recently our audiologist has begun to push for hearing aids. I reviewed the hearing test results with our speech pathologist and there is definitely a correlation between sounds she cannot hear well and sounds she can not say well and she may really benefit from hearing aids. The speech articulation issues I mentioned? Maybe the hearing aids would clear that up. The timing for this recommendation has been rather awkward, though, due to the recommendation being made while I was in the third trimester of pregnancy. First she will need new ear tubes and then we'll repeat hearing tests and then we'll have a hearing aid assessment. Unfortunately these procedures had to be delayed while we waited for the birth of Juliana's new brother.

Three years in and this is where we are! We are all happy with this place. Oh, things could be a lot easier - carrying around a 30+lb toddler when you're 40 weeks pregnant is not always fun (but does make for good exercise). Not walking is definitely the most significant challenge that we face for the time being - we have three kids and as of right now only one can walk! We hope that we are nearing the end of this stage soon.

We are super thankful for our little girl. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but overall it's hard to remember the days when she was so sick and her future seemed so uncertain.