Ben is now two and a half years old. He is usually a happy, easygoing little guy who loves attention and outings. He continues to do very well overall, although we are still working through some challenges.
His overall health is excellent! He is rarely ever sick (knock on wood). The last two winters he got Synagis shots to ward off the dreaded RSV, but this year he won’t be getting those. We’ll have to make sure the two big boys wash their hands thoroughly when they get home from school. Ben still has a tendency to get constipated (it’s one of the few things that makes him truly miserable), but that seems to respond well to a combination of fiber-enriched formula, prune juice and the occasional dose of Miralax.
He is still basically 100% g-tube fed. He gets 4 bolus feeds during the day, and a continuous overnight feed as well. Recently, we have been able to increase his daytime boluses, and he has been growing well for a little guy with CdLS.
He still wears hearing aids, and soon we’ll be getting a detailed ABR test for him that will probably be done under sedation. For now he tolerates the aids well, although every so often we’ll find him holding one. We just had his eyes checked last week. Unfortunately, it looks like his nearsightedness has worsened, so we’ll probably be looking into getting him some glasses. I’m not so sure how he’ll take to those since he resists having things on his face, but it’s worth a try. We are also supposed to patch his left eye for one hour each day because of his strabismus, but we’ve not been as diligent about that as we should be. Ben does seem to tolerate the patches much better than he used to.
He seems to become more mobile every day! He has been rolling for several months, but it has only been in the last month or two that he has realized that he can roll to (or away from!) people or objects. He has just learned that being on his tummy can be fun. Who knows? He might learn to ‘army crawl’ soon. We practice walking and cruising with him, but he doesn’t seem to quite get it yet. He enjoys standing at his Exersaucer, but doesn’t seem to quite understand what he is supposed to do in his gait trainer. He can sit very well, but has a tendency to throw himself backwards when he’s tired of sitting. He is just learning to catch himself with his left arm when he tips over.
Socially, he is very interested in watching his big brothers run and play. He is just starting to notice Nate more, and has started imitating some of his baby sounds!
He still gets physical therapy once a week, speech therapy once a week, and occupational therapy twice a week. We LOVE our therapists. They all do a great job with Ben, and can usually get him to cooperate with them. A little over a week ago, we met with everyone to begin planning for Ben’s transition into preschool. He will likely be attending a local preschool for children with special needs. He will be having a formal evaluation for that in March of 2009. I can’t even begin to imagine sending Ben to school in six months!
By far the biggest challenge we still continue to face with Ben has been getting him to transition to oral feeds. We have been working on this almost since Ben was born, but with seemingly very little real progress. There have been a few occasions where he’ll do amazingly well (see the photo above), and then the next few days will refuse to eat anything at all, and we’ll have to start all over again almost from scratch. We just went through another episode like that in the last week.
I find this extremely frustrating. Our occupational therapist is great; she has worked with Ben since he was just a few months old, and we know that a lot of this is a behavioral issue with Ben (he can be quite stubborn when he wants to be!) She is very gentle and patient with him, but persistent. And I think that’s what seems to work best with him.
So our journey continues. It’s not always easy, but all the same, I love being Ben’s mom.