Sunday, July 10, 2011

9 Months a Family!

I realize I haven't been very good about updating this blog lately, and I apologize. Unfortunately life gets in the way, and I find it hard to even keep up with e-mails and phone calls to stay in touch with friends and family, much less keeping up with 2blogs! But since I see our 9-month anniversary as a big milestone, I felt now would be a good time to sit down and chronicle all that has happened in the past 3 months since I last did an official update...

We have been busy! After settling into our new life down in San Diego, we got right to work with getting in with all of Caitlin's new specialists. After getting all of the necessary referrals, Caitlin and I began the weekly treks up to the children's hospital.

Caitlin had her speech evaluation at the end of May, and she was referred to bi-weekly speech therapy for 4 months. She just started on Thursday, and so far so good! She loves her therapist; "Ms. Jenn" makes speech therapy so much fun Caitlin thinks she's just having playtime!

Caitlin is talking up a storm! She has a huge vocabulary and talks literally non-stop. She is even trying to put 2 words together now; it's fun to hear the "conversations" she comes up with! Unfortunately, however, the more vocabulary she picks up, the less I can understand of what she says. Sometimes it's just a matter of leaving sounds off of words, but often Caitlin will just make up her own word all together. "Wa-bee" is Caitlin's new favorite word, and it is highly useful as far as she's concerned. "Wa-bee" can mean: raisins, water, rabbits, flowers, or salad. So when she walks into the kitchen saying "wa-bee," I have to try to figure out whether she wants raisins, salad or water, or if she's trying to tell me that she just saw rabbits in the backyard, or that she likes the flowers on the counter. It makes for an exhausting guessing game for me, but hopefully speech therapy will help her to be able to make some new sounds so she can more properly pronounce her words so that everyone can understand her better.

In June we met Caitlin's new plastic surgeon, and it was recommended that Caitlin have another surgery early next year, after the holidays, to work on her scar and her nose. Her scar is very thick and did not heal well when her lip was repaired in China; it is too late to do anything about it, so they are planning to basically re-do the lip repair. I will have a long list of instructions for wound and scar care, so hopefully this time it will heal nicely and she will not need a "lip revision" in a couple of years (most cleft kids undergo a lip revision before they start kindergarten, to work on the scar and possibly the nose). The surgeon will also try to work on Caitlin's nose now, even though it is early (they usually like to wait until the kids are a little older and their noses are a little bigger). We pray that this surgery is successful so that she will not need any additional revisions!

In between doctor's appointments and speech therapy, Caitlin continues to go to "school" 2 mornings a week where she enjoys charming her teachers and classmates. She and I also began "Mommy and Me" swim classes once a week, and when we find any extra time we enjoy exploring the area. San Diego is a goldmine of activities and our time here is just flying by!

Caitlin continues to grow and flourish. She can count to 3, and sometimes to 5 (depending on what kind of a mood she's in!), and she can recognise numbers 1 to 3 and letters A, B, and C. She knows several colors, although she still gets confused on some of them from time to time, and is learning her shapes. She is becoming interested in characters, especially Cinderella, Tinkerbell and Snow White, as well as Elmo and Cookie Monster! Her favorite "toys" are still books, but she is growing more interested in her other toys as well. She prefers to be outside; she loves to swing, play on playgrounds, or just hang out in the backyard.

Here are some pictures from the past month:

Playing in our backyard:

First trip to Disneyland!

Celebrating Mommy and Daddy's anniversary at Coronado:

Trip to La Jolla and the aquarium:

Caitlin's first Fourth of July (we celebrated all weekend!):

Best friends!

Playing on the playground:

And finally, some pictures from today: