Sebastian is almost one. And despite remember back to his traumatic birth, I’m also looking back on the amazing things Sebastian has been able to learn how to do. He has worked hard in physical therapy since he was four weeks old. There have been a lot of tears, but now there are smiles too. He likes his therapists, even if he doesn’t always like doing all the exercises, all the time. He can roll over, but mostly prefers not too because when he ends up on his belly he can get stuck. His legs stiffen up and he doesn’t have the upper body strength to lift himself yet, but he’s working on it. I am also learning from his occupational therapist that some of his primitive reflexes aren’t gone yet and this can interfere with his motor development. He does work hard and he will get there!
We’ve had some fun sitting him in the laundry basket, long enough to take a photo shoot. Look at those two bottom teeth! His two top teeth have been coming in the last two months and are almost fully in. He has a gap in between them, just like I did when I was a kiddo! And I think Ali did too. So CUTE. I love his teeth. The biting part isn’t so fun, but he’s learning.
Although Sebastian may not be able to lift himself off the ground yet from prone position, he can hold himself up when places on his knees, using his arms. He still has his hands in his fists but since we have started occupational therapy (We were on a waiting list since we arrived as there are only four in all of Egypt!) he has been reaching and opening and closing his hands so much better. Which of course is good for playing and exploring.
Sebastian can sit up without assistance using his arms and hands to hold himself up when leaning forward. But when he straightens his back he tends to fall all the way back. He is doing a great job using his arms to lean from side to side but hasn’t mastered it yet. His startle reflex has something to do with this as well as the dystonic movements in his arms. The dystonic movements are involuntary movements which happen when he is excited or upset. I remember the doctors in the NICU calling it ‘posturing’. I remember them saying he might do it. And now we know that he does. He holds his arms straight down in front of him. He does this when he is jumping because he loves it so much. Over time he will do it less and I think even be able to control it more.
Another exciting development for us is that Sebastian is happy in the pram/stroller. Since birth he was not very excited about being in the pram. I used to make sure he was asleep before putting him in it to go for a walk. He never fell asleep while we were walking. But that’s all changed. A friend of mine lent us her old pram and he loves it. He looks at the world around him, reaches for his toys and even falls asleep! This gives me hope for his ability to sit in a car seat without crying uncontrollably!
These photos are from ages 9-11 months old. We are so proud of Sebastian and all of his achievements and know that we will continue to celebrate many more in the future. However long they may take to happen. And these are just motor skills. He has been amazing us in many other ways too. More on those next time.