Posts Tagged ‘First Steps’


I know technically Sunday is the beginning of the week, but I’m adopting today into the weekend and saying that tomorrow, Monday, is officially next week. And I’m so ready for it.

This week has been one for the birds.

Monday started just fine, and I actually thought, “we’ve made it almost 3 weeks since Wes was last sick!” I jinxed myself and soon after received a phone call that Wes developed a 102.3 degree fever at daycare and needed to be picked up. As I was driving to get him, I received a text message from Steven that bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line. My immediate response was for him to check in with our friend Jonathan, whose sister was running that morning. (Thankfully, she is ok.) We watched the news in horror that evening.

The next morning, Steven’s car didn’t start. (And we JUST spent $$$$ on preventative car maintenance!) It worked out, since I had to keep Wes home with a fever, anyway, for Steven to drive the other car. It’s currently still sitting in his work parking lot after it stalled again later in the week.

After a suuuuuper long day Thursday, we were ready for the end of the week. More terrible reports on the news that evening regarding a fertilizer explosion in a small town in Texas. 15 dead, hundreds wounded and missing. Friday morning we awoke to a buzz of overnight developments regarding the Boston marathon bomber suspects. We caught a little of the updates, then broke for one of Wesley’s last First Steps PT sessions (another post, another time). During physical therapy, Steven became feverish and I knew he had picked up what Wes had earlier in the week. We all cuddled in bed, watching the entire Boston area on lockdown. Scary. So, so awful.

Wes typically gets so worn out from PT that he was ready for an early nap. The rest of the morning was spent in feverish fits and breaking news. We finally tore ourselves away from the TV for the afternoon so that Steven could get ample rest. While we did very little on Saturday, I feel like we exhausted ourselves by sickness and national terror, then celebration as the second suspect was brought into custody.

None of us slept well Saturday night, which was the one thing we all needed to get back on our feet. Poor Wes hasn’t been diagnosed yet with asthma or specific allergies, but we have treated his flair ups as such. The best way to alleviate constant coughing from drainage, which then causes wheezing and difficulty of breathing, is to sleep upright in a chair. Needless to say, it’s not very comfortable for either of us. Steven actually spent the night in the basement to try to catch some zzz’s, though his fever kept him from resting regardless.

And today? I purposely left Steven at home while Wes and I went to church followed by lunch out. The hope was that he would be able to finally sleep. Not so. But! At least I got the little guy tired enough to rest for 3 hours this afternoon. It’s now Sunday evening, and I’m ready, so very ready to say goodbye to this week.

My heart and prayers go out to all the families affected in the neighborhoods of West, Texas, Watertown, Cambridge and surrounding Boston areas, and I thank the families of the first responders and police forces for sending their loved ones out to protect the people. And all the volunteers and doctors and nurses treating the wounded. This country may have its hiccups, but there is no shortage of giving people – especially in a time of crisis and emergency.

Cheers to a better week, all.

Posted: April 21st, 2013
Categories: Leah
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First Steps and Physical Therapy

-1I haven’t talked much about our experience with First Steps, and enough people have been curious to know more that I thought I’d address a few questions and hopefully help any parent remotely concerned with developmental delay.

What is First Steps?

It’s a statewide organization for children three and under who need a little assistance meeting certain milestones. They call it “early intervention.” This can be verbal, physical or occupational therapy, and it can range all over the map. For instance, my nephew has spina bifida and has PT sessions once a week to help build muscle mass in his legs and back, and I know some kids that have had speech therapy because of a lisp or hearing issue.

Why do you use First Steps? (Is anything wrong with Wes?)

There is nothing “wrong” with Wes. Because he is cautious by nature, he needs a lot of encouragement to repeat behavior and learn new skills – specifically gross motor skills (walking, climbing, running, etc). He is slightly delayed in comparison to other kids his age in these areas, but it is not uncommon, and he is catching up quickly. His fine motor and verbal skills are perfect.

What made you concerned enough to have Wes evaluated?

The fact he wasn’t rolling over by the age of 9 months. He was nearly 10 months old before he finally rolled over consistently. He had always preferred to be on his back and hated tummy time from an early start. Nothing could calm him. He didn’t move or roll to his side at night and started getting a flat spot on the back of his head. Everyone told me that boys were slower than girls, and that “his time would come when he was ready,” but I kept waiting and waiting for him to show more interest in toys just out of his reach and hold his balance just a little better. I made the call because my gut had been screaming at me long enough.

What was the evaluation process?

Once I made the initial call, we had a brief phone interview to address concerns. From there, we had a home visit and that led into paperwork, representative assignments and additional meetings. It sounds like a lot of preregistration efforts, and it did take about a month to start therapy sessions from my initial call, but their process is streamlined to cater to each child’s needs.

What do you do in therapy sessions?

Wesley’s case is mild and we only have sessions twice a month. It’s basically just an hour of playtime with games and toys that target particular muscle patterns and movements. He’ll need to step around a barrier or walk across the room to retrieve an enticing toy. What I like best are the suggestions given to us on what we can do to help encourage repeated behavior and movements.

How long will you continue and have you seen any progress?

Yes, I do believe his sessions have helped strengthen his muscle tone and confidence. It’s true that he would have likely learned to walk on his own eventually, but for my peace of mind, I am glad that he has been guided to learn properly and not develop bad habits or compensate. I imagine he will remain in First Steps for a few more months as he continues to improve his balance, but I’m pleased to say that we have already met all of our original goals!

Why are you sharing this information?

I’m a new mom. I know what it feels like to judge your kid against other kids who seem smarter or quicker to learn. I know what it feels like to worry about every milestone. Most importantly, I understand how other parents try to assure you or offer advice, and you just can’t shake this feeling that something is off. Mothers have this weird, innate sense, but sometimes they don’t listen to themselves; they listen to others who, yes, might have experience, but every child is different. If anyone reading this has the slightest feeling that a child is having some difficulty, I encourage you to call First Steps. Just talk about your concerns and they’ll take it from there.

Peace of mind does wonders to improve your confidence as a parent. I know that I’m helping prevent any complications down the road. And it allows me to be a positive cheerleader for my son.



The following are some quick resources. It’s pretty easy to find your area’s local First Steps organization. Even if you live outside the state of Indiana, chances are your state also has a similar program.

Indiana First Steps –

Central Indiana First Steps –

Posted: January 20th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Dear Wesley

A letter to my almost one-year-old.

Dear Wesley,

I sit down to write type this letter and have no words to describe just how much we love you. Literally, I’m at a loss for words.

This year has flown by, but yet each day has passed slowly so that we can savor every moment with you. Your smile is contagious, when you’re not busy discovering or studying whatever is in front of you. When it’s just you, me, daddy and the doggies, you are happy and relaxed and easy to please. You’re very much like your father that way – homebodies (homebuddies?).  I imagine it may become a struggle to get you two out of the house in years to come.

I often worry about your development unnecessarily. You’ll have to forgive me; I’m new at this, just as you are. I thank you for giving me plenty of reasons to trust God and put my faith in Him. He has provided organizations like First Steps to help you along with gross motor and social skills. You may not understand why we’re taking this proactive approach until you’re much older, but I am glad to know you are in great hands!

You have made me a slower,  kinder, gentler person. You have made your father proud. You have given Jake and Lucy another member of their pack. All of our hearts are bigger because of your presence. Do you even realize how much you affect those around you?

We love how you pick up new “skills” and tricks almost daily. You love to hang upside-down, play rough with Dad and yank on the dogs’ tails and ears. You seem to practice a new consonant sound every week, and those teeth! They pop up ridiculously. I think you’re starting on molars now. Here’s a newly developed skill, dancing:

I’m so excited about this next year with you. It’s been fun to see your changes and advances as you continue to grow and mature into a little person. Sometimes I forget that you’re OURS, and that we don’t have to return you someplace. Forever and ever, you’re our son.

Your great grandma Fernsler used to always tell me, “Grandma loves you.” I miss her, but I know she’s with Jesus, and she’ll be so excited to meet you someday. I find myself telling you many times throughout the day – sometimes even with watery eyes, “Mama loves you,” just as my grandma did.


Posted: July 7th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

11 Months Already?

Our boy is nearing on a year old. It’s been a fast yet slow 11 months. The days have passed quickly, but I feel that we’ve gotten somewhat lucky in that he’s lingered in the baby stage unlike several of the other around-one-year-olds we know. Yes, I’ve been worried (as a new mom should be) about his delays in gross motor skills. But, looking back, I’ve had a non-mobile kid who loves to sit with us, play and cuddle with us, and just be nearby without getting into too much stuff/trouble/danger. While I’m ready for him to enter toddlerhood, I’m thankful for this long(er) infant phase. I’ve got to soak up these fleeting cuddle sessions as much as I can!

Here’s a few noteworthy new Wes-isms of Month 11:

  1. Waving bye-bye nearly every time we enter a new room. I’m not sure he really understands what “goodbye” really means, ha.
  2. Using his pointer finger to check out and discover the world. No, not to point AT things, but he loves to stick his finger into the little holes screws sit in on all his plastic battery-operated toys. He points ON the dogs’ ears, the rug, knobs and pretty much anything he can reach these days. (see video below)
  3. Pivoting onto his knees from a sitting position. If a ball rolls just out of reach, he will now turn his hips so that he ends up on his hands with one knee on the floor. Still doesn’t quite know what to do with the crossed leg in the way, but it’s one step closer to crawling!
  4. Clapping. All the time.
  5. Making underwater noises with his fingers and mouth. I’m not really sure what that sound is called, technically. It’s not a “raspberry,” but I’m sure you know what I mean by “underwater sound.” Wes faces his palm toward his chin and uses all of his fingers to brush his bottom lip while he hums. In fact, Steven and Wes now have a little mimicking game where one will start and the other will call back with his own lips. Cuteness abounds.
  6. Saying a very basic form of “doggy” and “daddy.” He lights up when the dogs are in the room and screams, “DAH DAH” and then “GEEE.” It’s pretty similar when he sees Steven walk through the door.
  7. Playing the “Uh Oh” game. He loves to throw toys and food to the ground and then say, “uh uh ohhhhh” over and over again. It’s pretty much the cutest thing you’ll ever see.
  8. Spitting applesauce all over Mommy. Nothing else needs to be said here.

We are meeting with First Steps later this week to evaluate his gross motor skill development. It may be that he’s just indeed slow to progress, but I feel better knowing whether or not he would benefit with some physical therapy assistance. Who knows? Maybe by the time we head to the beach over Labor Day, he’ll be walking all over the place! Wouldn’t that be a major change around this house?

Enjoy his 11 Month photos here.

Posted: June 23rd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

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