Monday, July 26, 2010

Gross Motor and Speech Skills

Clara is making great progress with both gross motor and speech skills.  She is now walking full time and is developing enough balance and confidence to step over objects in her path.  She really wants to run so that she can keep up with the other kids and loves to try and chase us down if we pretend to be running away from her.  In addition to walking, she has become a pretty good climber.  She can climb onto and off of chairs and couches and will attempt to climb up Mommy and Daddy, especially if we are eating a Popsicle or ice cream.  Unfortunately, Clara also figured out how to climb out of her crib Saturday night.  Needless to say, her crib was converted to a toddler bed on Sunday morning.

Coincidentally, Clara's newest favorite phrase is "uh-oh".  She can imitate sounds of certain animals when asked - the elephant is her particular favorite with a pretend trunk added for good measure. She is also beginning to communicate her preference when given choices.  For example, at snack or meal time we will ask if she wants one item or the other (e.g., apple sauce or yogurt) and allow her to communicate her preference.  Her vocabulary consists of a mix of signs and spoken words, although it seems that she relies on signs for words that are difficult for her to speak.  She will clearly pronounce words such as Daddy, doggy, kitty, and book but generally doe not use signs for those words.  In contrast, she will sign words such as eat, more, and bath without verbalization.  With words such as fish, yogurt, and baby, she will both speak and sign the words.

It is fun to watch her personality develop before our eyes.  She desires to be independent and will make us aware of her displeasure if we try to help her with tasks such as feeding.  She loves live performances, puppet shows, plays, music, etc.  Our church youth group recently performed a puppet show sermon and Clara was enthralled.  She often starts dancing when she hears music and offers exciting applause at the end of a performance.   Yesterday she spent an hour having an animated pretend conversation with two of her dolls. 

When we are out an about, Clara loves to wave and say hi to everyone, and gets many smiles in return.  She is an ambassador of happiness and thrives on those smiles that she receives in return.  Thank you to all the wonderful people who see and compliment her beauty and not the visible characteristics of her diagnosis.  While I fear that reactions will be different as Clara grows older, in these moments I am filled with hope as Clara's mere presence brings joy to the hearts of complete strangers.

Clara can also be quite mischievous.  She loves to empty out toy bins and open cabinets, and will take every book of the shelf if you are not paying attention.  Most recently, she figured out that she could open the toilet lid.  In her mind, she had discovered a big bucket of water and decided that it was play time.  Even though I was standing right beside her, she managed to get her arms and hands into the water before I could extract her from the situation.  After a  Lysol wipe and GermX cleaning, I spread the word that bathroom doors had to remain closed at all times.

Happy Birthday!! - Clara's New Kitchen
Playing in the Sprinkler on Hot Day!!!