Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friends

Wesley has never been interested in other children.  When he is around kids that are younger than him, he doesn't even see them, which often results in him running into them at full force with all of his thirty-two pounds and knocking them flat on the ground.  If we have a play date with other children his age or older, Wesley ignores them, preferring to play by himself. Wesley does love to play with Zach and will follow him most of the day trying to persuade him to play chase.  But for some reason his joy in playing with other children hasn't spread past his big brother....until Monday.

On Monday, for the first time, I watched Wesley thoroughly enjoy himself playing "Ring Around the Rosie" with a friend and her almost two-year-old son.  Wesley consistently made eye contact with his playmate rather than just with my friend, and the boys laughed together every time they fell down.  They would both say "down" as they fell and then clap for each other.  It was such a precious moment for this mother's heart as I watched my son play with another boy and enjoy himself.  Even more dear to my heart was that this little boy enjoyed playing with my son.

Then on Tuesday we had some friends over for a play date (our first one in many, many months), and while the big kids played upstairs, Wesley and the two-year-old girl played together downstairs.  She loved jumping on his trampoline, and his face was radiant as he faced her and jumped on the floor.  The two of them laughed and laughed as they jumped together.  Then later they ran around chasing each other and laughing.  I don't think I have ever seen him have so much fun with another child other than his brother before.  This time too, my heart was touched as I watched this very talkative little girl enjoy playing with my boy without questioning his lack of communication or his funny ways of doing things.

I pray that as Wesley becomes more aware of others around him, God will always surround him with dear children like these two who will welcome him and enjoy playing with him.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Speech Therapy Fun

Say "Eeeeeat"!

Yummy french fries!

No, no duck!  Don't eat Wesley's hand!

That's much better!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Up!

My eyes widened and I looked up in astonishment.   Did my son really just talk?  To me?  Did I actually hear him or was it all just a figment of my imagination?  But there he was, standing in front of me with a look of expectancy in his eyes.  So I picked him up, hugged him tight, and took a minute for excessive cheering despite the fact that I had just put him into his pack-n'-play to play while I fed his little brother.

Those two little letters have never before sounded so beautiful to my ears.

Fast forward one week and it happened again...

We were playing with Mr. Potato Head and had just pulled out the eyes to put into the potato when Zach came running downstairs to talk to me.  As I turned to face him, I heard a sweet little voice behind me saying "aaahhs".  Assuming it couldn't be true, I swung my head back around to find my boy closely inspecting and poking at Mr. Potato Head's eyes.  Again, cheering ensued as Mommy and big brother celebrated with much praise.

While these may seem like very small baby steps toward speaking, they are big steps for Wesley.  He is learning to communicate without prompting, and he is slowly figuring out the motor plan for putting a consonant after a vowel in a word rather than just speaking the first consonant with an "ah" sound after it.  As well, he is beginning to breathe before speaking which allows him to hold out a vowel for longer than a millisecond.

Speaking is hard work, but we're getting there - one step at a time.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day

Last week we enjoyed our first snow of the season.  Zach thoroughly loved running around and playing in it while entertaining Wesley at the window.  It was such fun to watch Wesley plaster his face to the window and laugh at Zach's antics.  Of course I forgot to put Zach's snow pants on...that won't be happening again!


Smiling at his little brother...if only I could have bottled up some of Wesley's giggles.  He adores his big brother.


I'm pretty sure this pose has something to do with Star Wars.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seven Weeks



The last seven weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye.  I am amazed at how quickly we have adjusted to being a family of five.

Liam is a delightful baby.  He has been sleeping through the night for two weeks now, which has been a precious gift to his mommy.  Getting a full and uninterrupted eight hours of sleep every night makes a big difference when six in the morning comes around and big boys start calling.  After a rough first two weeks, he is now nursing like a champ.  Every time I sit down to feed him is another opportunity to thank God for giving me the gift being able to nurse my baby.  When I recall how I pumped for eleven months with Wesley, it is impossible to overlook God's kindness in this area.  Holding Liam close and looking into his eyes as he eats is always one of the highlights of my day.



Smiling is one of Liam's specialties.  He endears himself to everyone who holds him as he gives them the most adorable smiles.  If he keeps this up, he'll have us all wrapped around his little finger.  As it is, his big brother Zach is already his biggest fan.  He regularly lays down next to Liam and whispers sweet nothings in his ear.  How it touches my mother's heart to watch the two of them together.  Liam has started cooing too, and we all enjoy hearing his little voice.  I am amazed each day at how quickly he is growing up.


Wesley has adjusted amazingly well to the birth of his little brother.  Through the help of the ladies and teenage girls at our church, he has made great strides in the past two months, and I have been so encouraged by the new things he is learning.  He consistently chooses the correct shapes and colors when presented with two choices and a verbal prompt, and he is doing a spectacular job of putting shapes into his shape sorter and puzzle pieces into a puzzle without assistance.  As well, his communication has improved.  He is now using his picture board much more consistently to communicate his needs.  He also imitates us much more often when prompted to say a word that he knows.  He still mostly only says the first consonant of a word with the "ah" sound after it, but it is still a big improvement.  He can also tell me that the sheep says "baa" when I ask, which is a big step for him since he is answering a question rather than imitating an answer.  But his biggest gift to me is that he now says "mama", which is music to my ears!  I love watching him purse his lips together and focus to get that "m" sound out.

Wesley basically ignores Liam, but given that the alternative would probably include hitting him and regularly falling on him, I don't mind his oblivion right now.  He'll have plenty of time to play with Liam as he gets older.


Zach has been a huge help to me since Liam's birth.  He is quick to run around and get things for his baby brother, and he loves to lay down by Liam and watch him for me so he doesn't get inadvertently stepped on.  Zach and I have also enjoyed reading books and playing games together while I nurse Liam.  It has been a blessing from the Lord to have such sweet times with him while Wesley is watching a video or playing quietly in his pack n' play.

God's promise that His grace is sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in my weakness has again proven true.  After two weeks of an easier schedule, I quickly jumped back into our crazy routine of driving Zach to school and Wesley to therapy, welcoming therapists into our home every day, taking all three boys to doctor's appointments, making a surprise trip to the ER, taking care of Liam, cooking dinner, and starting again last week, working one-on-one with Wesley each day.  I don't know how there are enough hours in each day for all of these things to get accomplished, but God is faithful and He has given me the grace to take each day moment by moment rather than be overwhelmed at the task ahead of me.  And really, the boys have adjusted spectacularly.  Our days really don't feel any more busy than they were two months ago.  It helps that God has blessed us with a spectacularly easygoing baby - just another reminder to me that God knows our needs and He cares for us.  Liam fits perfectly into our family and has brought so much joy to our days.

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.  I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."...  The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.  I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  Psalm 16:1-2, 5-11


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Sun Will Rise!

It seems that around here, if it's not one thing, it's another.  Just as we thought all medical issues in our family were resolved, another one was discovered.  After months and months of Wesley being sick nonstop and even getting sick multiple times while taking antibiotics, we decided to run tests to see what might be causing these issues.  Preliminary tests are showing that he has deficiencies in his immune system.  We still have quite a few more tests to run on him to identify what might be causing this and how serious it is, but based on his initial results, our immunologist gave us worst case scenarios that were not encouraging to hear.  We are praying the rest of his test results will show that drastic measures are not necessary.

In the midst of learning this, I was introduced to Matt Hammitt (of Sanctus Real) and his solo album Every Falling Tear, which includes many songs that he wrote after his son was born in 2010 with a serious heart defect.  His song This Is Grace has encouraged me countless times over the past few weeks, and I often find myself singing the words of the chorus as I go about my daily routines.

Wesley's diagnosis and subsequent medical issues have shown me that I am helpless without Christ - and this is grace!  I am thankful that Christ did not leave me helpless, but that He came to earth to be born as a man and to give His life for me.  And I rejoice that He has not allowed me to pridefully be self-sufficient but has shown me that I am helpless without Him. This is His grace as I walk through the dark night that is the effect of the curse in this world.  I have been marked by suffering, but as a result, I have found my joy.

And one day, the sun will rise!



This Is Grace
Matt Hammitt

The reason for our suffering
Is to help us realize
That in sickness and in death
We are helpless without Christ
And the reason for our blindness
Is for Jesus to open our eyes
Bless the Lord, bless the Lord

This is grace, this is grace
When we walk through the dark night
This is grace, this is grace
So we wait for the sunrise
How I long for the sunrise

Your glory has always been shining
Since the beginning of time
But in the face of darkness
How radiant Your light
Bless the Lord, bless the Lord

This is grace, this is grace
When we walk through the dark night
This is grace, this is grace
When we wait for the sunrise
How I long for the sunrise

And the ones who are marked by suffering
Are the ones who have found their Joy
To be conquerors in all these things
Struck down but not destroyed
Bless the Lord, bless the Lord

This is grace, this is grace
When we walk through the dark night
This is grace, this is grace
So we wait for the sunrise

This is grace, this is grace
When we walk through the dark night
This is grace, this is grace
So we wait for the sunrise
And I have faith the sun will rise