“Speed Doesn’t Matter, Forward Is Forward” -Shelly

If you read my previous post then you know we received our CTD diagnosis at 9 months old.  If you didn’t… well, now you know.  If you’re reading this post, odds are your child also has just gotten a diagnosis, and I know one of your biggest questions is “When will they hit this milestone? How far behind are they gonna be?” Well, I can give you the answer to that when you show me two identical purple snowflakes.
Each kid is so very different. Don’t compare, you’ll go crazy. What I can tell you to do is quickly get in touch with special angels called Physical and Occupational therapists.

I have come to find out that in Lilah’s case we were lucky. We were one of the fortunate few who got a referral for early intervention. How early? 5 months old.

Did I think I was lucky at the time? No. Did I enjoy letting strangers work my baby girl so hard that she cried in pain during sessions? Absolutely not. Was I happy that as soon as the people who were supposed to help her left she would fall asleep?  Well… Yeah kinda, I mean I do work a full-time night job so… We like naps! (Haha) But knowing that it took so much out of her that she would just lay down on the floor and go to sleep hurt my heart a little. Do you know what happened a month after we started therapy? Lilah could sit all on her own! At 6 months! We hit that milestone relatively on time!  Now could she get herself into sitting from laying? No. That took us another 7 months to master. You see these kids teach you patience.

Now I am not a very patient woman and I easily get frustrated and vent. Who do I vent to? Her therapists. She has both a physical and an occupational therapist. Two of the kindest women I’ve ever met.

Recently we approached our 1 year anniversary with them. A year ago these strangers came into my house and fell in love with my daughter. They would do anything to see her thrive. When she does something for me that we just worked an hour on with them, I’ll text them with videos and pictures, and you know what’s amazing? These strangers are just as elated, proud and joyous as I am as her mother. I share my ups and downs with these women. Not only have they always been there for Lilah, they have always been there for me as well.

They showed me how to use her arm immobilizers to strengthen her arms enough to push up and hold her own body weight. The first time Lilah pushed up she was 6 months old, and at 13 months she could support herself in hands and knees (crawling position)… it’s slow progress, but it’s progress.

They showed me how to use her leg immobilizers to help teach her to stand. At 15 months my daughter stood for 8 seconds ALL BY HERSELF! I can finally… FINALLY… hold my baby’s hands and help her take 4 or 5 steps without any equipment!

They celebrated with me when at 9 months old she finally learned to roll from belly to back! They REJOICED with me when at 16 months she took her first steps forward in a walker!

I have been taught so many things by these wonderful people who care so much about my daughter! But the most important lesson they remind me weekly of is, “Progress is progress, it doesn’t matter how much.  Forward is forward, it doesn’t matter the speed.”

I’m forever indebted to these angels, these special caregivers, these strangers who helped push my baby girl to where she is now.

If there is any “advice” I can give… if you’re noticing delays, FIGHT for therapy. Once you’re in therapy STOP comparing your child to your sisters, cousins, or neighbors baby. PUSH your child to their limits when YOU work with them because lord knows they will push you right back. It’s OK to cry, whether your child hurts from therapy, or the baby a year younger than yours started crawling today, just don’t DWELL there. NEVER get frustrated with progress.

“Progress is progress, it doesn’t matter how much. Forward is forward, it doesn’t matter the speed.”

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