Monday, January 30, 2012

How is Anabelle?

It seems that I cannot leave the house and go anywhere in our small community without running into someone who asks how Anabelle is doing.  A simple enough question, and yet I always pause before answering.  Because I am never completely sure what it is they want to know.  Are they asking after her physical health?  Interested in her emotional status?  Or do they want to know about her development?  Anyone one of these could be covered by the simple phrase, "How is Anabelle?"

More often then not, I answer with a simple, "Doing fine," unless she is actively ill at the time.  The truth is that, healthwise, she is doing fantastic.  She is rarely ill, even when the rest of us seem to be down with something.  She has had only one small bout with pneumonia, which cleared up very quickly.  She has had only 3 short hospital stays post-NICU in her life.  This is remarkable in comparison to some of her friends.  However, I am always afraid that if I wax too effusive over how well she is doing, people will think I mean she is on the verge of walking and talking.  I can never be sure of their expectations for my response.

Emotionally, she is fantastic, except when something is wrong physically.  When all is well, she smiles all day long, she coos, she sings, and she loves to be kiss and pet.  If she is NOT smiling, then we know that something is bothering her (usually just something simple, like she is over-tired, or needs to poop).

Developmentally, Anabelle has gone about as far as she is going to go.  There are "inchstones" here or there, but what you see is pretty much what you are going to get, until she starts losing skills.  On our recent visit to our new neurologist, he told us not to expect any more development, only a decline.  Now, mostly he can suck it, because we are still going to provide Anabelle with as many tools as we can to help her reach her fullest potential.  "Live and learn" applies to everyone, and every day she is here is a new chance to spread her wings.  But, whereas the first year of her life was all about testing her limits, this second year the focus has really settled on maintenance and quality of life.  If the only thing Anabelle ever learns to do is smile, I will be forever grateful for my little ray of sunshine.

So, if your question is, how do I think Anabelle is doing?  I think she is an amazing miracle.  I guess it all depends on your definition of the simple question, "How are you doing?"

This is a sick baby: during one of her rare illnesses

Instead of working on rolling, we are going to work on eating our hands

Head so heavy...

Naptime?  I thought you said PLAYtime!

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