Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Liam: January 2011

On January 13, 2011, at 11:15 AM, Liam took his first independent steps. I was at work and Abe was in Billings for his Master's program, so the witnesses were my sister, Collette, and his physical therapist, Lindsey, neither of whom knew he was walking by himself for the first time. Lindsey called me afterward and remarked, "Liam has made a ton of progress! I had no idea he was taking steps on his own!" "Neither did I!" I replied. I was sad to have missed this monumental occasion, but a few days later, at Grandma Hanson's house, he took a few steps for me too. It was beautiful to behold. Even Soren was excited.

Two weeks later he's continuing to perfect the art of walking. He'll hold little practice sessions with himself, pulling himself up to the arm of the loveseat and then walking as far as he can into the family room. He's learning how to stop and stabilize when he starts to lose his balance. He's getting good at moving into a standing position without holding onto anything. He'll be walking like a champ by his second birthday, for sure.

Linguistically, he continues to babble very expressively but doesn't form a lot of recognizable words. He says, as you all know, "Thank you" and "There you go." He also says "There you are!" "Hey!" "Hi!" and "Bye." Grandpa tells me he once heard him say "I did it." Just this evening I realized that his saying "Aaahhheeee" might mean "Mommy." But it's hard to say for sure.

To me his delayed motor and language development point to a probable fluid build-up behind his ears, which would cause both balance and hearing problems, but the wheels of modern medicine turn very slowly and it seems his doctors will never decide. I feel so frustrated and powerless when it comes to Liam's issues. I know something's not quite right, and I feel fairly confident there's a solution, but the answers are not forthcoming and don't know where to look to find them for myself. Which book, which specialist, which website will tell me what I need to know to help my son? We've got another appointment with another ENT, but I worry the outcome of the appointment will be the same: "Hmm. Looks like he's got fluid behind his ears. Spray this nasal steroid up his little nostrils every night and check back with us in six weeks." Or maybe they'll suggest surgery: putting tubes in his ears, removing his adenoids, or both. But will surgery really help? Will it truly be beneficial? Will the benefits outweigh the risks? Would waiting a little longer allow him to grow out of his problems without surgery? Or should we do something now, before he passes a critical point in his language development only half-hearing?
But anyway, Liam's hit this really awkward stage where he still seems totally like a baby but has simultaneously copped a rotten two-year-old toddler 'tude. He throws tantrums, hurls food off his high chair tray, squawks when he doesn't get things he wants fast enough, whacks people just for fun. He recently threw all his bath toys into the toilet. (Soren stomped into the bathroom, said, "NO, LIAM! I'M MAD AT YOU!", fished the toys out of the potty, and washed them off in the sink himself.) I'm so used to thinking of him as an infant whose crying needs to be instantly responded to that I'm having to consciously train myself to not pick him up every time he wants me to (It's starting to cause me a little back pain! Did I mention he weighed in at 33 pounds last month?) and letting him cry when he's mad about not getting his own way. He contines to be my shnuggly wuggly buggly little boy, though, and spends plenty of time riding around on my hip while I cook, dancing with me cheek-to-cheek in the kitchen, and cuddling and rocking with me in the Lazy Boy recliner.

Liam's current favorite hobby is getting into the powdered milk tub in our pantry and very quietly spreading it around, using the powder to create rough mosaics on the kitchen floor until Mommy catches him and cruelly wipes it all away. Collette has referred to his ransacking style as being "gentle," and she's right. He's Liam, and so is inherently sweet, which means even his troublemaking seems a little softer, quieter, even gentler than others'.

It's hard to find Liam in this picture but he's there, sound asleep. I had heard that kids did this sort of thing--falling asleep while playing-- but after Soren I didn't think one of mine ever would. (Look how cute his little bum is!)

Here's another passed-out-on-while-playing moment.

Isn't he a tender little lovey?


Lara said...

I know you worry about the speech and walking - but at least his 2 year old attitude is right on schedule. That say a lot. :)

I remember you saying before you went to Dr. Hinkley and you weren't impressed. Justin had the same scenario. In fact, he went to a new ENT today - Terry Baker. We thought he had impacted wax like he's had before and that's why he hasn't been hearing for months and months.

Nope. He has a collapsed ear drum and has surgery next week to get special tubes n his ears.

Liam is so sweet. I love the picture with the winter hat over one eye.

Rachel said...

Terry Baker is the ENT we'll be seeing next! We're just doing whatever you guys do. You're the cool kids, right?

Holly said...

Holy crow, that boy is adorable. I want to squeeze him 'til he squeaks a little.

Collette said...

Love that little guy.

heidi said...

I had to come back and re-read this post, just to see the words "shnuggly wuggly buggly little boy" again, with accompanying shnuggly paragraphs and pics.

Also, I took a page from Soren's playbook tonight. Paul and I had a mild disagreement about one of the mainstays of marital strife, one of those issues right up there with conflicts over money and sex... the dreaded Scrabble fight. Although it didn't really escalate into a full-on fight, our spats rarely do... spats is a funny word... But anyway, at one point Paul got frustrated and I tried to resolve it and it didn't work, and then I said some funny comments meant to defuse the situation that didn't sound that funny to Paul (about how, ha ha ha, we should stop playing if he was in such a hurry to get ready for bed etc. that he was forced to play as poorly as my mom, ha ha ha!). Anyway I didn't understand that my comments weren't coming across as intended and Paul got annoyed, which I took as TOTALLY UNFAIR because earlier in the talk, before my jokes, I'd tried very very hard to be kind and reasonable and he had been extremely unresponsive to those gentle overtures (although he'd made jokes, himself, which made HIM feel better which was good... joking is a wonderful de-escalator, but can backfire. Backfiring is a funny word, don't you think? Although I am thinking of farting, which is why I'm finding it funny. Probably many meanings of "backfire"). So ANYWAY when my sweet even-tempered funny honey started growing a temper after having ignored my good efforts, I got frustrated. And I crossed my arms, and, thinking of the best words I'd come across recently to express exactly and clearly how I felt, I said,

"I'm mad at you Paul."

HA! Which led to some useful discussion, and... It felt good to use words to claim my anger, rather than internalize it and feel pained by it, as I often do. I'm reading a book about emotional awareness--a book you'd love, by John Gottman (much featured on This American Life! he's the psychologist who studies marriages and successful marital strategies through ACTUAL CLINICAL SCIENCE!!). The book's called...

More in a sec. The mean 'puter is saying nasty things about my HTML, whatever that is. I think it means I'm talking too much. WHO DECIDED that 4,096 characters is the limit?


heidi said...

So, the John Gottman book that I'm reading is called: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. But it's useful just for what it says about emotions in general. And the premise of the book that's coming hardest to me is seeing anger, in its various manifestations, as a useful emotion. It's because my parents grew up in violently angry homes and were adamant, esp. my dad, about expressing anger calmly (or not at all). And I've been around several people (who hasn't?) who blow up when they get angry, say cruel things, get very ugly... I hate it. I tend to just, as I said, internalize the feelings and feel more hurt than mad. At least that's how it feels to me and seems to come across to others, generally? So, anyway, I do consider anger a useful emotion but that very very often it's expressed in un-useful ways. Like, when people's tempers get the best of them and they say hurtful things. Or, when people (and I've done this! it sucks!), let their frustrations with someone fester until it spoils everything... When I finally stopped doing this it was a huge relief. But also a major major pain in the ass because I then realized that when I get frustrated or bothered I have to say something and that's hard and annoying and uncomfortable and hard. AND HARD, did I mention? (Hard is ALSO a funny word!)

So extra tools always help with hard things. So, anyway, I liked Soren's words and borrowed them, as soon as I was aware that they matched how I was feeling. :) It was astonishingly liberating to say them, considering that they're the words of a four-year-old. I mean to say that I didn't feel limited by those words; I felt that they described my feelings exactly and allowed me to COMMUNICATE about my emotions.

WHICH BY THE WAY is a major focus of Gottman's book: the COMMUNICATION of emotions. It's one thing to be in touch with your feelings, it's an almost completely separate set of skills and comfortablenesses entirely to be able to share them.

So, Soren and his example (based no doubt on HIS examples!) increased my comfortableness.

Thanks Soren!

Also, Rach, I'm so glad you take these blissfully beautiful pictures. My fave was the "find Liam!" photo. It took forever but it was SO REWARDING to find the face-planted, cute-bottomed baby.

The End.


heidi said...

Just Saying...

I think that (split) comment is one of my favorites of my own comments. Even if it is mine, I'm claiming it as a fave; just saying.

Another fave comment-of-mine-own (just saying) is the one that made you reply that my comment made you feel like a maybe-okay/possibly good mom! :D I didn't have any such ulterior motive when describing my feelings... It was after reading the Happy Birthday Soren Story... I just told the truth of my own experience as expressively as I could. Which I suppose makes a more compelling case than a plotted out kinda thing, doesn't it? I had no point I was trying to persuade you of, just trying to document how happy it made me to imagine being Lucky Loved Soren on his Lucky Love Birthday.

Lucky Loves to You!


heidi said...

By making this final comment I am single-handedly DOUBLING the total number of comments... AND bringing them to a very agreeable number eight, which is, I hasten to remind you... a multiple of four.


p.s. Word verification word for this: blegame. Might that be Spanish for belch on me? Backfire on me? :) Hard one to figure out.


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