Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
Hypotonia (low muscle tone)
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Early intervention (EI)
Help Me Grow (Ohio's EI program)
Gross motor skills
Failure to thrive
Open Heart Surgery
Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)
This is just a small list of the words that have entered into our vocabulary since Hailey has been born. Most of the list are words we had little knowledge about. It is a crash course though when you have a child born with special needs. There isn't time to cram for the exam. It is all thrown at you like balls and you learn to juggle immediately. There is a little time to ask questions, but you have to absorb and retain as much of the information as possible immediately. You don't get the opportunity to ask if you can receive the information in shifts.
Well, we managed to muddle through it all thanks to the help of fabulous medical staff and great friends. Little by little those words became part of our world. Now that Hailey's heart is repaired though, they have just become part of our knowledge...not every day words. We only have to see cardiology every year now...yippee!!! Ophthalmology is down to once a year also. We do have blood test every 6 months, but those are ordered through our regular pediatrician.
Hailey does see her therapist through EI services every week or every other week. We see physical therapy and speech therapy every other week, but luckily we see them together and it is only one hour. The time we spend in therapy is less time than we spend with the boys' practices and games.
On the flip side....Hailey is a better sleeper than the boys. We put her in her bed between 8 and 8:15 a.m. and we see her again at 7:30 a.m. She doesn't fuss, she doesn't cry to go to sleep or when she wakes up. She is a better eater than either of the boys ever were. She is happy go lucky and fairly laid back. If you are out and about when her nap time arrives, she will sleep on you or where ever she is. Knock on wood, her teething has been easier than either of the boys.
So what all my rambling boils down to is parenting Hailey isn't much different than the boys. Yes, she is meeting milestones a little later than the boys do. We play with toys, we read books, we play outside, we work on her vocabulary, we teach her new words, we laugh.... She does it all on her timetable and not a minute before!
When you have more than one child, you realize raising each child is different. What worked to wean one child off of the bottle, might not work for the next. The discipline you use with one, might not phase another. One might have colic...the other not. One might hate riding in the car, one might love it. One child loves meat, the other loves veggies. One learns to read quickly, the other picks up math faster. All children are different. They are individuals. Hailey is just another child. One who happens to have an extra 21 chromosome. She is no harder nor easier to raise than her brothers.
Isn't the world a fabulous more exciting place because we are all different?
How do you think life is parenting this crew? Does one look more difficult than the others?