Where he is now though, is pretty amazing. My little rockstar has been showing off the past month.
Starting at the top: his shunt is doing fine. No problems to date. We are closing in on his one year shunt-iversary - less than a month to go. That's a big milestone. His hair has grown a lot lately. I'm tempted to get it cut. It will no longer go into a cute faux-hawk, so I've been settling for the classic church boy (or Senator Kingsley, for my sister), which makes me laugh. It's starting to grow back over his new scar, which is also continuing to heal nicely, or so I'm told. I don't have a lot of experiences with scars. His still seems angry red and huge to me, but what do I know. Soon, half of it will be covered by hair and it won't be so obvious. I feel like I'm hyper-aware of it when I'm out in public with him. I don't want freak-show stares and I don't want sympathy stares. I realize he has a lifetime of awkward stares coming at him and this is probably a really stupid and futile thing to be wishing for. So... there.
More head stuff... He had his third tooth pop through this morning! Top right. He's congested, but otherwise is taking it in stride. I have really good teethers! He is also chatting so much, which I can't get enough of. His little voice is adorable! He says buh buh buh buh bah bah all day long. In the past week he's added in puh, pa, and now MAMA! I think he means it, too, not just random mamamamama babbling. He does it when he's mad or when he's upset about something. He'll look around and sort of half-whine, half-yell it until he sees me and then it's all yell until I come rescue him. That's my boy. ;)
One more head thing. I have read about kids with SB having reactions to loud or sudden sounds. I can't recall if it was attributed to the shunt or the Chiari, but I've noticed Kingsley definitely has this problem. He hates when I use the handheld mixer on any level above one - instant screaming. The vacuum is also feared. The Magic Bullet is a nightmare to use when he's anywhere in ear shot. Christmas has produced quite a number of toys that seem to be on the same decibel. He got this cool car race track thing from Grandma that sends him into hysterics. The girls are in love with it, unfortunately.
An exciting development for me is that Kingsley is beginning to eat more. Yay! He eats three meals a day, about 1/2 jar or 2-3 cubes for breakfast and lunch, a full jar or 4-5 cubes for dinner. He doesn't always eat it all, but he is getting there. He's currently into the meat/veg combos and not really interested in anything fruity or sweet. Definitely Jeff's kid. I've also caught him putting something in his mouth three times in the past week. That seems like nothing, but for a kid who gags on his own fingers, this is a big deal. He opens his mouth when you put things in front of him. Whatever you put in there, he will automatically spit out, though. Baby steps.
("You want me to do what with this cookie thing?" he didn't eat it)
Kingsley used to rock at tummy time. He would push up into a baby upward dog, pre-surgery. He could roll from his tummy to his back going left and right. He could do Superman's with his arms out, his chest up. He was just on the brink of army crawling. Since his surgery, this has been the biggest area of regression. It has bothered me a lot that he lost this area of strength, although it's for obvious reasons. I'm sure it didn't feel good, considering where his incision was. He's regaining the strength quickly now. He gets up on his elbows and tolerates being on his tummy without too much complaint. He tends to lie sort of sideways with his head down, then push up for a bit, then lay back down for a break. He is able to roll tummy to back again.
(down, up, down, up, down... this is as high up as he goes now)
The B and B stuff (bowels and bladder) are just fine. Nothing exciting going on there, which is just the way we like it. His urodynamic study in mid-November was fantastic.
So, moving along down the line we are at the big stuff. Looking back now, I'm able to think more objectively about what he was actually able to do by the time we got him in for surgery. The truth is - he couldn't do much. His PT had told me in September that he was functioning at L1, but I would be surprised if he was doing even that well by mid November. He rarely moved his legs at all. They mostly just were there, still. If they moved, I would get excited. It was a rare event. He also was losing some strength through his torso. He slumped in the highchair and couldn't hold himself up in the Bumbo very well. I had to put extra padding in his booster seat for when he played on the tray. When I would hold him, he'd snuggle into me, which I thought was sweet. But, now I realize it's because he wasn't able to hold himself up. Bittersweet.
Where is he now? Well. Realistically, probably still around L1/L2. But, so much stronger. He holds himself up beautifully. He has come further in the past 3 weeks toward sitting independently than he was even in the summer. It's so close. Maybe it'll be his birthday present to himself. :) He moves his legs a lot, I've mentioned that previously. He is just always moving them. They move from the hip, if you can imagine that? He tucks them up when he's on his back. When he's on his tummy, you can see them starting to pull up under him a bit. He uses them to push himself over, which he didn't before - previously it was all upper body and arching his back. A bit more strength there and he'll be able to flip from back to front. He hasn't shown quad functioning to his PT or my mom yet (I have no clue), but he has medial hamstrings (still, no clue). I can feel things working in his upper legs. If I hold his legs down straight when he's lying on his back, I can feel resistance. When I push against his feet, I feel resistance. I have so much hope for the next few weeks and months. I'm so anxious for more.
We have a lot more help lined up for the new year. Just before Christmas, we met with the PT from our SB clinic and she is setting up regular PT for him, in addition to his visits with his Parent Infant Therapist (who is an OT). They'll come out to our house, which is wonderful. He also has a post-op appointment with neurosurgery next week and clinic with the developmental paediatrician on the 10th. I have to remember to call and book his one year check up with his paediatrician. In February, he will see ortho for some baseline assessments, and then in early spring we start rounds all over again with neuro, uro, and dev paed. That's also when he'll go for the follow up MRI to show what surgery has done.
He was supposed to be measured for a standing frame in late November, but surgery has postponed that. I'm excited to get him standing. I'm trying very hard to look past the accessories that are coming and just focus on where it's going to take him.
I think that's it! Now, I have a birthday party to start planning, don't I? I can't believe my baby is almost one year old. It's so silly, I swear I wasn't this emotional when the girls turned one. Maybe it's because he's (probably, likely, maybe??) my last baby. Oh, my sweet little boy.