Friday, April 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I would LOVE to do a long update with lots of pictures and stories about how absolutely wonderful it is to be back in Australia, but that will have to wait for another day when I have more time. I have been spending all my time with my family and haven't been on the computer much since we got here. 

Our trip back went quite well. As we were getting onto the plane, we had one very upset girl - "I don't want to go on the plane! I want to go home!" - we had to drag Lana onto the plane, kicking and screaming. As we were landing, we had one sick girl (me) who had to use those little paper bags that airplanes are famous for. And besides that, we had absolutely no other incidences. Maddy was a perfect angel on the flight and we didn't need the oxygen :) We weren't expecting her to need it and she coped with the flight better than all of us. It continues to amaze me how healthy she is - all three of us; Bernard, Lana and myself have been knocked around a bit by this cold, but it hasn't even touched Maddy. She has literally been the healthiest person in our family ever since she came home from the hospital (and even most of the time she was IN the hospital, she was healthier than us as well!!)

I'm so thankful to be back here in Australia and we have been having lots of fun doing things that we would never do in Hong Kong - we've been to the beach (although it's too cold for swimming), sat on the grass (I will HAVE to post Maddy's reaction to that, it was hilarious!), seen a few horses and cows, and tonight we caught a fabulous sunset off my parents' balcony :) 

I will try to update more during our trip and hopefully put up a few of our FANTASTIC photos - but for now, I just wanted to update and say that we made it back safely and soundly :) And we are enjoying every minute of it!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nearly there...

We have two days before we fly back to Australia and this past week has been very busy getting ready to go. In addition to that, Bernard's been working longer hours than usual - getting home around 8pm most of the week, plus he had to work on Saturday as well. We shouldn't complain though because for Hong Kong, there are many many people who work much longer than that on a daily basis! 

I just wanted to write one more post before we left - I have a few more pictures I wanted to add that I hadn't put up yet (they're a month old as well) - and I wanted to ask for you all to keep us in your thoughts and prayers for a safe trip back! It's unlikely that Maddy will do poorly in the plane (if it was likely, we wouldn't be flying) - but we don't really know 100% how she will be until we're in the air. In case of emergency, we do have the oxygen available for her, but of course we'd prefer not to use it! So please remember to pray for us on Tuesday that all goes smoothly, and that the two girls will be angels for us and we don't have any unexpected emergencies :)

Firstly - some pictures from Playtown (be warned, that place has one of the most annoying websites with loud, bouncy music ;) ) - it is a great indoor playroom here in Hong Kong. Maddy LOVED this bead table, and with the little chairs, it was the perfect size for her :)

Secondly - last week we went to the park and Maddy loved watching her sister play from her stroller :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holding onto MORE stuff!

One of the areas of development that has been very hard for Maddy has been the use of her hands. In January I blogged about the topic in this post - Holding onto... STUFF!

It was really only back in January when she was five and a half months old that she was just beginning to hold onto any object at all. Back then, she would hold things for only ten seconds before she lost her delicate grip on it. The objects that she could hold were very limited. I believe that at the time of the previous post, that particular rattle was one of the only things, if not THE only thing that she really managed to hold onto for any significant period of time.

This particular skill of holding an object between her two hands has improved greatly since January and she is now able to hold a much wider range of objects too. Her grip, though improving, is still not fantastic - but it is getting better and better all the time.
One of the best suggestions that I have had has come from some other DD parents, and they advised me that Maddy will need to learn to use her hands as they are in her own way and in her own time. My responsibility is to provide her with the opportunities to learn how to do so by providing her with lots of opportunities to hold many different things of various shapes, sizes and textures. Lana is getting involved in the process too - she loves to give Maddy toys whenever she needs them ;)

Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a HUGE improvement in Maddy's motor skills, in particular her fine motor skills. She can now hold objects quite well with only one hand and  has also developed a "modified pincer grip" for holding small objects - two actually! 

First: the thumb to ring finger pincer grip, demonstrated below:

Secondly: the index finger to ring finger pincer grip: (if you look at the picture of Maddy's hand in the header of this blog - or way back in this post if you prefer, you can see why this works for her - these fingers are naturally very close together, and the middle finger is more "set back" so it's not in the way)

It has been really fantastic seeing Maddy develop these new skills! I never even thought much about "hand function" when Lana was a baby - but seeing Maddy struggle more to achieve these skills makes the milestones SO much sweeter when she gets there! 

And you can't deny from the grin on Maddy's face that she feels the same way :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Counting Down

I know I have been horribly slack with updating this blog lately! There are a few reasons for that:

1. Maddy's condition is so stable and there is little to report, medically wise. Unlike when she was in NICU and when she first came home from hospital, our doctors visits are much more infrequent now and so there is little "news" in that area.

2. I've been very busy these past few weeks, I don't think I've mentioned on here before but I've started studying again after a few year break. I had actually enrolled in a full time Diploma of Education before I found out I was pregnant with Lana, but pregnancy and parenthood put a stop on that! After Maddy was born, I decided it was better for me to pursue this degree via distance education at just one subject a semester instead of four. Yes, it will take me six years to complete a 1.5 year degree - but I'm doing it! My first assignment was due in today and so I've been working on that a lot over the past few weeks. Putting so much time into writing THAT left me little inspired to write some more on my blog!

3. We are also busy counting down the days until we are flying back to Australia! As a follow up to my last post two weeks ago, everything ended up being approved in time, the doctor corrected the mistake in the form and the airline accepted it and Maddy will have access to oxygen on board (just in case - we aren't planning to use it, even though we had to pay for it!). We will be back before Easter and will be there for nearly six weeks in total which we are all SO looking forward to. This is my first time back since Lana was 10 months old and Bernard's first time back since she was 2 months old. Lana is now 30 months old - so it's been way too long for all of us! 

So now that I've finished my assignment, the next week will be full of lots of pre-departure fun for us. We have two mornings of swimming since we need to catch up LOTS of lessons with being away for so long! Both Maddy and I have physio (Maddy may have physio twice), I have a couple of last minute meet ups with friends, a dentist appointment (I wouldn't have scheduled it in now except that Lana was learning about dentists at school and so I think maybe I should take advantage of that and schedule her visit now instead of later) - plus I need to pack for at least three and maybe four of us ;) (although Bernard is awesome in making sure we have all our chargers/cameras/computers etc - I wouldn't know where to start with all that stuff! Plus he's already printed out a list of what we need to pack.)

Before I sign off, I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of Maddy that are already a month old but I'm just slow these days ;)