On Wednesday I took Zoey to her weekly OT appointment. This time around, I told the therapist I wanted to spend some time talking about our specific goals for Zoey. She enthusiastically agreed because, as she put it, Zoey was pretty much meeting all the goals she’d had for her. While getting Zoey to eat is still a bit of a process, she has come a long way. Six months ago, we often had to hand-feed her almost every bite of every meal. Now she does most of the work herself, and just needs frequent reminders to focus and remember to keep taking bites and keep eating.
Her motor planning skills have come a long way as well. Back in December when she was first evaluated, Zoey would rarely get out of her bed by herself in the morning and, if she did, she would be trapped in her room, unable to open her bedroom door herself. Attempts to teach her to open her door were mostly met with crying and frustrated meltdowns. Now, Zoey jumps out of bed, opens her door and tiptoes across the hall to Kelsie’s room, opens that door and crawls in bed with Auntie. On Saturday, she tiptoed quietly downstairs, past Eleanor’s crib, and into our room to climb in bed with us for the very first time. It was great! She has also learned to open the refrigerator (most of the time) and jump with both feet.
In fact, Zoey has made advancements in nearly every aspect of her daily life over the last six months. My conversations with her are noticeably less scripted and more spontaneous. She is beginning to think up her own games to play, with imaginative scenarios, rather than just continually recycling scenarios Zach and I have created for her. She’ll even sing and dance on occasion and the other day Zoey initiated playing with another a girl her age at the park. I can’t even begin to tell you how huge that is.
In light of all of this, we have made the decision (with her therapist’s blessing) to stop Zoey’s weekly occupational therapy sessions. We’re going to continue working on a lot of things at home, like body awareness and coping with frustration when trying something new. Zoey will also continue preschool four days a week so that her social skills will (hopefully) continue to improve. My little girl has come so, so far, and I am so incredibly proud.
While we drove to and from a well-child exam for Eleanor on Friday, Zoey wanted to listen to the Frozen soundtrack. (Of course she did). It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided to roll down the windows and crank up “Let It Go” super loud. Usually, Zoey listens to music at a quiet-to-moderate level and wears a blank, almost grumpy, look on her face as she struggles to keep up with processing the music as she hears it. Music, of course, can be quite complex and there’s a lot to process at once. I thought the loud music might just be too much for her, but I wanted to try anyway. Just to see. You can imagine my surprise when Zoey’s face broke out in a huge smile – like she just couldn’t contain it – and she sang along to every single word of “Let It Go.” Loudly. Twice.
I’ll tell you, this mama’s heart just about burst with pride and joy. My brave, sweet Zoey girl. How amazing you are.