Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quad Update - Winter 2014

It's time for another Quad Update!
When they were little, I could have written an update every week. Everything changed so fast, and they were hitting milestones frequently. Of course, that was also the days of my severe sleep deprivation, so I was lucky to write a post once a month. Now that they are older, I'm only moderately sleep deprived, and have more time to write, they aren't changing as quickly.

Oh well. Next time I have quads, I'll make a point of writing more updates early on. Just kidding.

BUT, they will be THREE next month. What??!! Where did the time go?? With their birthday right around the corner, I thought that it would be a good time to do another quad update (and then next month we will do Birthday Interviews!).

Side note: if you are new to the blog, you can catch up on some of the developmental and physical details in past Quad Updates: Summer 2013 and Winter 2013

Socially, he is continuing to be more open to joining into the chaos. Our little boy who once watched from the sidelines, now jumps into the living room ruckus. He is still quite shy in new places and among new people, but we are very pleased that he is willing to give people a chance now.

Developmentally, Caleb is the furthest behind. He currently receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy. He is making progress, but still resists learning new skills and attempting anything that requires energy on his part. He is able to walk up and down stairs now though! That's his newest skill, and I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about that.

Verbally, Caleb just said his first full sentence about two weeks ago! It was beyond exciting to hear him say that! However, he still has very limited vocabulary, and his speech therapist said he speaks at an 18 month level. That is currently his biggest hurdle. We are anxious for him to communicate with us using words. Right now, he uses a lot of pushing and pulling to get us to a location, and then puts our hands on the item to tell us what he wants. For example, if he wants a drink, he pulls us into the kitchen, and then puts our hand on the refrigerator handle. If he wants a snack, he puts our hand on the pantry rack. He's very adept at communicating without words, but when he is upset or frustrated, all he does is cry instead of telling us what is wrong. It's really frustrating for all of us.

Physically, Caleb had his annual cardiologist appointment in December. We were happy to learn that his ASD has closed! We weren't expecting to hear that. However, his PDA is still open and now needs to be repaired. He is scheduled for heart surgery in May (after cold and flu season). We are hoping that it will be outpatient, but they have told us to prepare to stay overnight just in case. The procedure itself involves putting him under general anesthesia. They will insert a catheter through an artery in his groin, run it up to his heart, and insert a plug in the hole. The worst part for him (and us!) will be that he can't walk at all or move much for 6 hours after the surgery. Yeah, still not sure how I will explain that to my three-year-old....

Socially, Abby loves people! Just absolutely LOVES people and new places and new things. She still runs up and hugs random strangers which scares this mom just a little bit while still being so funny at the same time! The expression on the home security alarm installer's face was priceless when she latched on to him. She also head butts us all the time. It's not a mean head butt...more like what a cat does when they want to be petted. She's been doing that since she started crawling, so we are hoping to break her of it before she goes on her first date. First impressions and all that jazz.

Developmentally, Abby receives speech, physical, and occupational therapy. She is making progress in each area, and has made some wonderful strides in the eating department. She will now try new foods and will take bites of food she doesn't necessarily love if we help her eat it. It's so nice not to force feed her anymore!

Verbally, she has the second most words of the kids. She talks non-stop, and it is absolutely hilarious! Most of what she says is garbled, but she is obviously saying full sentences and carrying on conversations. We know that she knows the correct words in her head, but there is still a disconnect between her brain and her mouth. We are confident that she will continue to make progress though. The most hilarious thing about that disconnect is that she thinks that Ellie's name is also Abby. She knows she's Ellie but it comes out Abby every time. Lol!

Physically, Abby is working with physical therapy on strengthening her hips. She sits in a 'W' which weakens the hips and will cause problems down the road, especially when she wants to have babies (let's not talk about that). She also flips her legs out to the side as she runs instead of moving her knees up and down. She used to do that when she walked too, but we've been able to help her hips stay more inline. We are also trying to break her of her toe walking habit. We like to avoid surgery or casting if at all possible, so instead, we are constantly telling her to walk on her feet.

Socially, Elijah loves people too! He is such a ham and looks for any opportunity to love and be loved on. The hardest part about Elijah is that he has such a sensitive heart. He very easily gets his feelings hurt, and that can prove to be frustrating when he is wailing. For the most part, though, he does well in public situations and with new people.

Developmentally, Elijah sees a speech therapist and an occupational therapist. He spends most of his time with both working on speech though.

Verbally, he is just behind Abby. He seems to have bursts where he picks up a bunch of new words, and then doesn't for several weeks. We are in a dry spell right now, but he's due for another language burst soon. His current favorite words are "motorcycle" and "dolphin." And yet I can't get him to say common, everyday words all the time.

Physically, Elijah has become much more "body aware." Eli is hypo-sensitive, meaning that he needs extra sensory input to process things. We used to have lots of issues with him running into things and people because he just wasn't aware of what was around him until he made contact. Thankfully, he is becoming more in tune with his surroundings, and he doesn't crash into stuff nearly as often. He still stuffs his mouth overly full though. Apparently that is part of his hypo-sensory issues: he doesn't process his mouth is full until it is stuffed.

Socially, Ellie is always the first kid to greet a visitor, offer a hug, and say, "Bye-bye! Thanks for coming!" It's adorable, and I love her vivacious personality! She is a little reserved in new situations, but that normally lasts all of 90 seconds, and then she is off playing.

Developmentally, Ellie sees a physical and occupational therapist. Ellie still doesn't fully trust her legs, so her physical therapy time is spent working on walking on boxes, jumping up and down, and things like that. Occupationally, Ellie's time is spent sitting at the lunch table. My little girl who used to love healthy foods, especially her favorite baked chicken with steamed broccoli, has decided that she wants nothing more to do with them. In fact, she is more of a pickle when it comes to eating than Abby is. Dinner time has become extremely frustrating as she cries all of the way through unless it's one of a very few meals she will eat. We are definitely working as much as possible on this with our occupational therapist as the enjoyment factor of family dinners is completely gone.

Verbally, she is rocking it! While her language is still delayed, we can communicate with her and carry on short conversations. It's so nice to just hear what the problem is. "Mom, I have poops!" I can understand that!

Physically, Ellie had the first of two surgeries on her hemangioma a few months ago. It's healing very well, and is much less noticeable than it was before. We are really happy we made the decision to get it taken care of. This year we will have the second surgery to turn it into a straight line scar. Most likely that will happen in late summer/early fall, and then we will be done with that!

One Last Update:
And finally, we are in the process of testing and evaluating the kids with the local school district. We very unfortunately will lose all of our therapists on their third birthday as Missouri First Steps only provides services until then. With our kids still having significant delays, our options are to pay out-of-pocket for additional therapy services (unaffordable) or try to get them qualified for the Special Education program at the Early Childhood Center. If they make it, they will start preschool in late February/early March. It's a four day a week program for three hours each day. They have a full set of therapists on site, and the kids will be able to get all of their therapy services through them. Please pray they get in!! We feel that it will be very beneficial to them...and let's face it, the break would be nice for me too!

As always, we are so grateful for your support, love, and prayers for our family. We are beyond blessed to call each of you, "Friends!"


  1. Wow, your kids sure have a lot of issues going on. You must be an amazing mom!

  2. 2 of my 3 kids moved from First Steps into the district Early Childhood program. While it was hard for this committed homeschooler to pack them off to school each day, it was definitely the best place for them -- and they loved it! My youngest, who graduated out of the program last April, still asks if she can go back to visit her former teacher. One tip for the evaluation -- it's in our nature to want our kids to perform well. Be careful not to so carefully prepare them for the test that they do better than "usual". This is one time where slightly-tired-and-cranky isn't a bad thing :)

  3. Wow! It sounds like they're all progressing nicely. And I have to say that I love all the funny tid bits in the updates about each one...Eli's mouth isn't full until it's stuffed, Ellie, has the poops, that kind of thing, makes me chuckle. For both the kids and your sake, I'm praying they make it into the Early Childhood program. I think it would be really beneficial for all of you, especially considering your "trip to St. Louis."

  4. Sounds like Elijah is much like is uncle Nate, emotionally sensitive and a motorcycle lover. I am proud of all the kids. Give them my love. Uncle Nate

  5. You know, I'm really amazed at all you do with them. Many people don't realize until much later that there are things that need addressed. My kiddo is an especially unique guy :) He's got asthma, severe egg and seasonal allergies, ADHD and anxiety and now possibly vision problems. He's 8 and I have had so many meetings over the years and doctor visits, it boggles my mind. But you do it with four! Wow! I am so happy you are seeing progress. That will give them such a good start in life. I had to LOL @ the poop sentence. It's amazing what things give us joy with kids.


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