Monthly Archives: February 2009

Cerebral Palsy, potty training, and other Emmy updates!

So this is a random post…but I’ve had several updates I wanted to put on the blog so I decided to combine them all in one! Some of you already know that Emmy went down to see a pediatric neurologist last month.  Well, we just got the write up from him so I wanted to share basically what it says!  It’s really hard to get into this specific doctor since he is the head of the Mind Institute of UNM.  So even though we’ve had the appointment for 4 months we waited about 3 hours past our appointment time to see him!   I was a little nervous how Emmy was going to do during his evaluation since we’d been waiting so long but she did great!  Alex had taken the day off to come with us, so between the two of us she was pretty entertained!

Anyway, basically he asked us a lot of questions about her birth and our family and her milestones and things like that.  The funniest question to me was if there was any chance Alex and I were first cousins.  Which I guess I must have smiled at or something when I answered, because he suddenly got very serious and was like, “It happens more than you think!”.   So I got in trouble from the doctor for being unruly I guess! 🙂 Anyway, after observing her walk and talk and interact he determined that she has mild spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.  Spastic means that her muscles are overly tight and diplegia means it is mostly showing in her lower extremities.  Cerebral palsy means that at some point there was damage done to the brain.  Emmy’s happened at birth when she didn’t have oxygen for 23 minutes.  However, they aren’t sure if the onset of CP happens because she didn’t breathe at birth or if she didn’t breathe because the condition was already present (possibly due to an infection during my pregnancy).  Cerebral palsy itself has a huge range of severity and can include a huge range of disabilities.  Emmy’s case however is very mild and seems to be completely contained within gross motor skills.  CP is a physical disability but it can effect many other things as well. Her verbal and cognitive are both actually a little accelerated.   Our physical therapist says that a lot of kids who have trouble moving find other ways to entertain themselves such as talking.

So what does this mean for Emmy’s future?  CP doesn’t really have a cure but it is non-progressive, which means it doesn’t ever really get any better or worse.  However, even though the CP doesn’t ever go away there are several treatments and preventions for the complications it creates.  So in time, since we caught it so early, Emmy’s motor troubles may become unnoticeable to the rest of the world.   So for now, we are going to continue with the physical therapy and orthodics until she is 3, at which point she will enter into the school district’s preschool for special needs kids. This is actually awesome because preschool is really expensive here and she will go for free!  So the school’s testing will happen in the next few weeks and we will transition in August.  Some other options in the future could include casting the feet, botox injections, and/or surgery.  But those things wouldn’t happen until like 4th or 5th grade and I have to admit that I haven’t really read a ton on any of them yet…because I’m not sure Emmy will need anything like that.

I have to admit that it was kind of bitter-sweet to get the diagnosis.  I really thought I would be excited to get an actual diagnosis so that we could have some answers about what happened at her birth and what we can be doing to help her grow and be happy!  And while it is nice to be able to look it up on the internet and read about what’s going on with her…I still feel kind of sad that she has to go through this.  It’s hard for a mom to not feel guilt about stuff like this I guess.  I still wonder what I did or didn’t do while I was pregnant…but anyway…I think I’m rambling now.  Anyway, I’m sure those of you going through things like this understand what I mean.  It’s nice to have answers…but at the same time you kind of wish the answer was “everything is totally fine!” but that isn’t always Heavenly Father’s plan!  I am so glad that Emmy came to our family!  And I am so grateful to all of the people who have helped with her birth, recovery and development.  So many of them have shared stories of what a miraculous situation it was and how they literally felt the presence of Heavenly Father and/or angels  in the delivery room!  (It’s funny to me how many people preface their story to me with “I wasn’t really a religious person…but…) Given her medical history there is just no way she should be doing this well.  But she is!! Total miracle child!

Anyway, now that I’ve bored everyone to death!  I wanted to share some other exciting Emmy info!  First of all she is potty training…which she is doing great with and she loves being a “BIG GIRL”.  Also, she is working on her ABC’s!  She loves singing the song…which she gets a little out of order but is getting better.  And she can read A-E !  We play a game where we put the letters on the floor and she has to run to the letter I say!  Also, she is working on counting.  She’s been able to count to 10 for a long time but she recently started working on 11-20.  However, once she says eleven she goes back to 8…and gets stuck in an infinite loop.  I finally figured out it’s because 11 sounds like 7 so she gets confused.  So she walks around the house counting 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (or elezen) 8 9 10 11 8 9 10 11.  And she’ll keep doing that loop until you say 12 and then she moves on to 13 and 14.  It totally cracks me up.  Sometimes she’ll do it for a couple minutes before I realize and help her out!  Funny!  She is growing so fast!  As is Kaylee by the way!

Anyway, long post!  Feel free to ask questions in your comments!  I’m getting pretty good at explaining it all!  Plus I love comments on my blog…it helps make the day go faster!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We had a pretty low key Valentine’s day this year!  One of Alex’s presents was sleeping in so I played with the girls downstairs in the morning.   Our ward did secret valentine’s families this year.  So that afternoon we got our present together and ran it over to our secret family.  Afterward we had our usual v-day meal: Baked linguini, rolls, triple chocolate bundt cake, and some kind of drink in fancy glasses.  Emmy really liked the fancy glasses!

Here are the Valentine’s outfits my mom sent the girls!  Emmy wasn’t really in a picture taking mood so this is the best one we got!  Can you believe Kaylee is wearing a  6 month outfit!  She is growing so fast!

Emmy and Daddy on their dinner date!

Our lovely meal!

I promise we are only  drinking juice!  I thought this picture was funny!


Here’s a pic of the cake!  Alex has it every father’s day, birthday, anniversary and Valentine’s day.  Emmy got some strawberry shortcake stickers and magnets (complements of the Target dollar section).  Alex got some silly golf balls and headphones (so he can have quiet while he does his studying)…and that little piece of paper is for me.  It’s an hour back massage in town!!! I am so excited!

Ice Skating!

Alex took Ice Hockey almost every semester he was at BYU so he loves ice skating!  I myself am horrible at it, so I usually let Alex pull me around the rink a few times and then I sit and watch him speed around everyone!  This year we went as a family and invited another family from the ward to go too.  All the kids had a really fun time!

This time I had the perfect excuse to just watch (seeing as I was only 2 weeks postpartum). So Alex asked Emmy if she wanted to be his skating partner and she did!  Alex took her around a couple times and she did great!  She was very focused the whole time and we worried if she was having fun, but as soon as she sat down afterward she told me how great it was and was just beaming that she had done it!  Good job Emmy!

Alex, Christina and Annah helping Emmy skate!

Here she comes…

She had a giant smile on her face and someone walked in front of me right when I snapped the picture…so this is the best one I got!  But she is cute all bundled up even without the smile! Alex looks pretty darn cute in the picture too!  What a fun Daddy!

Here’s the whole crew!  Christian kept Emmy and me company on the bench while we drank hot chocolate!

Fun with the Givens/Bakers!

Beth and Nathan got to stay the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s so Emmy and Kaylee got to play with their cousins a lot!  We had a lot of fun and here are the pictures to prove it!

The day after Christmas we got together to watch Wall-E.  Emmy finally decided it was okay to share her new Dora chair so here is Josh relaxing while watching the movie.

Kaylee being cute in her little bonnet!

Here’s all the kids playing Mario Kart Wii! It was fun having so many people to play with because I always beat Alex…so I was ready for a challenge! 🙂 (that’s just to see if he’s reading the blog)

Here’s Alex and Logan boxing.  Hey Logan, pick on someone your own size!

Even Kaylee got in on the Wii action!  She is so good she can play with her eyes shut!

Josh and Emmy hard at work!

“Hello Josh, it’s me Emmy!  How is your side of the step?”  This was funny to watch because Nathan has a nice blackberry from work and Emmy kept trading Josh our old cell phone for the new blackberry.   She loves to be accessorized with the latest technology!  Just imagine when she is a teenager!  Sheesh!

Emmy sneaking a peek at Kaylee over Daddy’s shoulder

Alex’s friend Albert was in town for the holidays and so everyone went out to eat at the China Moon!  Emmy had the flu so we didn’t get to go!  But they all had fun and got to eat delicious food!

I got Emmy this basketball hoop at the big resale they have in Los Alamos every year and it was a big hit at Christmas!  Someone even taught Emmy to say “SLAM DUNK”.

Logan and Emmy rocking out with Emmy’s new Hannah Montana microphone from Grandma Baker!


Another mom in our ward has two girls who are the same distance apart as Emmy and Kaylee so she lent us these matching Christmas dresses that her girls used to wear!  They were so cute and I was worried they wouldn’t get a chance to wear them to church (since Kaylee was born so close to Christmas).  So I had Annah and Christina do a photo shoot with them.  We did end up making it to church the week after Christmas so they did get to wear them for all to see!!

Emmy and Kaylee learning how to be sisters from two professional sisters!  Aunt Annah and Aunt Christina!


Emmy and Grandma.  Emmy has a sneaky look on her face…

Kaylee and Grandma Layman

Let me just rearrange these for you mom…

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Frosty the Snowman” are her two favorite Christmas songs.  During the week Kaylee was born she made my mom and Christian watch Frosty about 50 times and would look out the window and call “Frosty, where are you??”  And on occasion she still makes us sing the “Santa Claus to Town” song for her at bedtime!

Christmas Morning!

This was the first year Emmy understood what happened Christmas morning so it was really fun!  She could barely get to sleep at night so she was kind of tired the next morning.  We were supposed to be at the Bakers’ by 9:00 so we finally had to wake Emmy up.  She jumped right up and started saying SANTA CLAUS,  SANTA CLAUS!!  A couple of Emmy’s presents were pretty big so Santa left them at our house instead of the Bakers’.  Emmy got a brand new big girl bed and a crib and high chair set for her dolls.  She was really excited and we captured it all on video…but forgot to take pictures!  But we did snap some shots of her bed once it was all set up!  I’ll post those later.

After we opened the couple presents here at home we went to the Baker’s where Santa had brought the rest of our Christmas!  It was fun to see all of the kids so excited!  And the big kids (like Alex and I) were pretty excited too!!

The tree was up on a table to keep little hands away (which I thought was a great idea!) and then the presents were piled up from floor to the top of the table (which the kids thought was also pretty awesome!)

Emmy trying to carry a bunch of her presents at once!  We had to convince her to set down every toy after she opened it so that she could open the next one.  She just wanted to hold them all in her arms!

Kaylee and I relaxing in the big comfy chair!

Emmy opening Wall-E.  She had been asking for this ever since she saw it in the theater.  Her cousins are also very big Wall-E fans and they got it for Christmas too!

Emmy, Logan and Joshua thanking Grandma and Grandpa for all their new toys!!

Kaylee enjoying her Christmas morning pacifier while the rest of us enjoyed yummy waffles that Kath made.

Joshua and Emmy checking out Emmy’s present from Uncle Ray!

“It’s just what I wanted!!”  Logan was so excited when he opened this toy that he had to play with it right away!  That Santa is so good at knowing just what a little boy would want!

Emmy quickly set up all her toys in a giant circle around her!  The Dora chair was also a Christmas present…so she was surrounded!

“I feel pretty…oh so pretty”  Her ponies came with a mirror, combs, and bunch of barrettes that can also be used for people!  She loves to play beauty shop which is probably why Santa picked this particular box of ponies!  The barrettes even clip into Daddy’s hair which was so exciting!

When I was little my Aunt made us a puppet stage like this one.  Last year Kath got all her grandchildren sesame street puppets  so I thought it would be fun to make a stage for my girls and Beth’s boys.  This one is Kaylee’s and Emmy’s and they all had fun playing with it.  They are really easy and affordable to make so if anyone wants to know how to do it let me know.

Josh and Emmy playing Sesame Street!