Presenting Jade at 35-and-a-half months

20 Jan

I never had any trouble in school when I was growing up.  In fact, I was a classic glasses-wearing, metal-mouth, teacher’s pet, straight-A’s geek.  I remember thinking that since I found school so easy, my hypothetical future kids would, too.  Later on I realized that it was quite possible that I could one day have a child who got average marks, or even — gasp! — a child who was slower than others.  I wondered how I would be able to deal with it.

flipper-jade

Now I have a child who does have trouble learning.  Although she hasn’t been formally assessed, a speech pathologist and a physiotherapist have confirmed that Jade is delayed in both her language skills and her gross motor skills.  I figure she’s behind by up to a year.  And I’ve found it doesn’t bother me a bit.

Well, no, that’s not exactly true.  But it doesn’t bother me the way I feared it might.  I thought that if I had a child who was slow to learn, I would be frustrated with her and I wouldn’t know how to help.  But with Jade, I’ve felt little frustration or blame.  I do wish she could express herself more readily, but only so that I could understand what she’s thinking and feeling.  As for helping her, the speech pathologist recommended vocabulary-building exercises to do while we wait for a formal assessment.  We found that all the exercises she gave us were things we already did intuitively.

gardening

Sometimes, though, her delays really hit home.  My friend Heather has a little boy who is a few months short of his second birthday.  When we go down the street to play with him and his older sister, there’s no denying Jade’s limited speech when we listen to him chattering away at a level far beyond hers.  I don’t feel envious; I just realize how much ground Jade has lost in the eight months we’ve been struggling with her seizures.  I do believe she was a little verbally delayed before the seizures started, but the constant seizures made it very difficult for her to move forward and she kind of got “stuck” at the same level she was at back in May.

Still, she’s making strides in her own time.  This month, we’ve heard her construct her own three- to four-word sentences on her own, something that never happened even just one short month ago.  And we know that she understands what’s going on in her world.  Yesterday, Michael told her that the agenda for the next few minutes were to put on a diaper and change into jammies, and she said, “And then bed?”  A three-word sentence AND demonstrating understanding of future events!

goofy-jade

Sometimes the lack of clarity in Jade’s speech can be endearing.  I can’t help but smile when she raises her cup and says, “Tears!”  (This is one of her favourite moves right now, a legacy of Nai-Nai’s patented “let’s get Jade to drink more” strategy.)  Also, she’s very polite and never forgets to say “‘Ank you!” when someone helps her.  Unless, that is, she says, “‘Anks!” instead.

Sometimes a lack of clarity is just convenient.  “Or turn!” means Jade never has to distinguish between “your turn” and “her turn”, since it works in both cases.

sleepy-girls

One of my favourite new expressions, even though it shouldn’t be, is Jade’s recent habit of firmly and loudly saying, “No,” with her index finger pointing at me and a very serious frown on her face, her dark eyebrows scrunching ominously.  It’s a you’ve-crossed-the-boundaries move that she invokes when I’m doing something like tickling her when she doesn’t want to be tickled.  Or when Nanuq lies down too close to her and dares to breathe on her.  It’s such an obvious imitation of me that I can’t help delighting in it, even if it is somewhat uppity behaviour to be taking from a(n almost) three-year-old.  I’m afraid I am completely encouraging her by giggling every time she does this.  Jade is nothing if not a ham; she loves making us laugh.

jades-popcorn

The ketogenic diet continues to have its ups and downs.  For example, Jade recently decided she no longer cares for drinking whipping cream, which is a staple, so I’ve been trying all sorts of tricks to hide it (like in soup) or change its form to something more palatable (like ice cream).  Happily, she is no longer quite as frantically excited when we tell her it’s snack or mealtime, so the day doesn’t feel like it revolves entirely around food anymore.

Still, you can tell food is an important part of Jade’s world.  When she isn’t at the table for one of her meals, you will very often find her at her play kitchen, making supper.  She loves to bring me a toy plate covered in toy French fries and sausages while I’m working at the computer.  She tells me it’s hot.  She brings me a cup, shoves it in my face and declares, “Or turn!”  Then she gets one for herself and says, “Tears!”  (And I had better play along, or else.)

cooking-jade

Because it’s important to have Jade eat every last bite of her meal, I often feed her some or all of it, even though she’s capable of feeding herself.  It’s not unusual for the last few bites to require coaxing, and I’ve found one good motivator is letting her feed me as a reward.  Tonight, for example, I fed her the last ten bites of her chicken soup and she got to feed me the last few bites of my rice.  Some of those grains of rice must have been loaded onto the spoon at least three times.  She hasn’t yet quite got the hang of keeping the spoon level to keep food from falling off on the way up, up, up to my mouth.

jade-closeup

jades-teeth-35-months

Jade's teeth at 35 months

In somewhat-related news, Jade’s last molars have finally made an appearance.  The last top one broke through about a month ago, and I found half of the last bottom molar showing its crown about two weeks ago now.  I think the worst of the teething is finally over, and I’m not at all sorry to see that phase through.  I can only hope that she will no longer suffer from seizures when we start looking for her adult teeth!

When I have the energy, I can always count on arts and crafts to interest Jade.  Before Christmas, we made paper snowflakes and “stained glass” trees (out of tissue paper).  Jade loved adding globs of glitter glue paint to them, and even after they were up on our windows, she’d ask for them to be taken down so that she could paint them some more.

jade-art

Jade also loves to colour, but she prefers to do that in the company of an adult.  Colouring, for her, usually involves her demanding the adult to draw something, which she might then colour.  “Shish!” she might say declaratively.  Whereupon, you had better draw her a fish, or she’ll stick her face right in yours and repeat “SHISH!” even louder.  Even at three years old, people know that saying things louder makes them easier to understand.

jade-art-2

Another game Jade has enjoyed lately is playing cards.  Michael has taught Jade how to play War.  Sort of.  She doesn’t recognize the numbers, of course, but she loves the act of flipping up her card and then gathering up the winnings into her pile.  Interestingly, when Michael plays this game with Jade, she wins a lot.  Michael swears he’s not cheating.  Here you can see Jade playing her own version of Solitaire.

jade-cards

The best toys, as always, are the impromptu ones found in everyday objects.  Our cat Crook loves to climb into any box that might happen to be around, like this one that contained a new battery for our car.  Jade is also attracted to boxes.  Here she is, giving Crook the ride of his life.  In the next few minutes, she let a teddy bear join in on the ride.  Crook was kind enough to allow the teddy bear to share in the pleasure cruise.

kitty-boat

When all other forms of entertainment fail, we can always count on YouTube.  Jade has a particular affection for Caillou, and even has favourite episodes.  With her evolving language skills, she can now ask for the “apple picking one”, or, more frequently, “‘ISS one!” while poking a grubby freshly-scrubbed finger at the screen.

christmas-morning

In just under two weeks, Jade will be celebrating her third birthday.  There won’t be any cake, but we’ll find a way to mark the occasion.  With all the ups and downs we have had, I feel privileged to have such a beautiful little personality in my life.  And that deserves celebrating.

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18 Responses to “Presenting Jade at 35-and-a-half months”

  1. Kara January 20, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    I absolutely love her choice in footwear!!

    Great post Fawn!

  2. Malva January 20, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    I just want to say that this was simply a wonderful post to read!

  3. Adventures In Babywearing January 20, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    I still have Noah’s cake from his first bday on the diet- we made a big play-doh cake so that he would have a candle to blow out. We served popsicles instead.

    I am so much like you- I was all honors, straight A’s, things in school just came easy for me. For Noah it has been so different. But he’s come such a long way that I am just so proud of where he is right now. It’s so much better than where he was before.

    Steph

  4. allmycke January 20, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    What a beautiful post – about a gorgeous girl who has a fantastic Mom. And Dad.

  5. Agata January 20, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    Dear Fawn,

    I enjoy reading your posts. Jade is such a precious little girl. You and Michael just rock at being parents! All the best to your family. And remember to be good to yourself, us moms we tend to forget that 🙂

  6. Jenny January 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Jade’s not much older than Naomi but she’s way ahead of her. Naomi’s seizures started at 17 months and she is pretty much stuck there, except for “NO” she tends to rotate words. She may say bear or ball or Daddy over and over for weeks then you won’t hear them at all for a long time and she’ll pick up another word to wear out.
    Today in the car she pulled her hat over her eyes and I said Do you want your cup? and she threw her hat off and reached for the cup. That was such a good sign to me that at least she’s picking up on what we’re asking her. I think sometimes she understands what she wants to.
    It’ll come, someone told me once they all even out about 1st grade. We’ll see! Kindergarten is just 2 short years away!

  7. MommyTime January 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    What a great post showcasing her in all her glory! I love seeing all the photos and activities that interest her. This is precisely the kind of record you will be delighted to have when she is a little older and suddenly you can’t recall what funny word she used to say for “fish.” Happy almost-Birthday, Jade!

  8. Anne January 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    Hey Fawn! I was just reading your blog about Halia’s shots…I have some thoughts. I have a friend who delayed her kids’ shots for at least 6 or 8 months…it may even have been as long as a year. She got a lot of flack from the medical profession about being irresponsible, etc, etc, but persisted and the kids now are up to date, and they haven’t had any troubles. She was breastfeeding assiduously as well and the three kids are healthy as horses. She says that one of the big reasons that shots are recommended when they are (she’s a midwife, so she knows something about postpartum care) is because parents are actually AVAILABLE to bring their kids to the appointments. They’re off on maternity and paternity leaves and have the time.

    A baby’s nervous system and body in general are a bit more developed a year in, and with the world’s herd immunity (unless you’re planning to visit China while Halia’s still unimmunized) is pretty good. I wouldn’t feel guilty about delaying, if that’s what you decide.

  9. Captain Momma January 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Awesome post Fawn! So nice to see all the pictures and hear about how things are going with the diet, et al. I LOVED the picture of Jade and Halia snuggled up together!

    THanks for a great read!

    Kelli

  10. Beanie January 21, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Hee hee! I especially love the pics of Jade with Crook and the flippers. 🙂 Can she have cauliflower? I’ve had friends who’ve done low carb diets like Atkins before and they used to eat whipped cauliflower loaded with cream (or other, assorted creamed veggies, like green beans or spinach). If she can have it, it might be a way to sneak it in her food that she might like.

  11. Captain Momma January 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    I was just thinking about no cake for Jade. Can she have a cheesecake of sorts? Cream cheese, whipping cream and eggs if she can have them? A little of your flavourings too????

    It makes me want to figure out something for her 😦

    Or what about frozen “ice cream” popsicles with whip cream and a bit of the fruit she’s allowed to have blended up with stevia?

    Are ground almonds the only “flour” she’s allowed to have?

    Kelli

    Aww, you’re so sweet! Actually, we do have a cheesecake recipe — that’s a great idea. We can also make her popsicles out of her koolaid (they would be “free”, because they’re just like juice). We could use your idea for the ice cream popsicles, too, although I’d worry that she wouldn’t finish the whole thing! Although it might work in a snack size. Wow! You are brilliant!

  12. Opa January 22, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Whatever she may have in minor under-development, she sure makes up in spades through over-cuteness 🙂 I think the REAL cause for the melting of the polar ice cap is Jade’s smile.

  13. Nemmy January 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Great post. 🙂 She just melts my heart.

    Hmmm… Does that mean my heart is cold?…

  14. Barbara January 23, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    Posts like this are evidence for your awards!

    I esp liked the Jade-pushing-the-cat photo!

    The PT can give you lots of suggestions – just like the speech therapist, but I suspect the PT involvement will be much less. Still, I suggest motor activity as a means to more speech.

    Seriously up Jade’s physical activity. Do not worry about her losing weight (that’s an adult thing) but expect that more movement will help her build muscle (weight).

    Here’s a post listing lots of activity (the child is not exactly like Jade, but since I just saw this, I can remember to refer it to you):

    http://elvis-sightings.blogspot.com/2009/01/joys-sensory-regulation-activities.html

  15. Tine January 24, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    Jade is just adorable – no matter what !!

    I’m SO glad I got to meet her – & I hope it won’t take too long until I get to see her (& all of YOU, of course – & meet Halia, too !!) again (I’m good at doing crafts with kids, by the way) …

    Hope she’ll have a GREAT time for her B-Day – I’m sure you’ll be figuring something out to make it an awesome day !!

    Love ya !!

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  16. Barton Fines September 23, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    Thanks for posting this inspiring read. View mine!

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