Saturday, January 9, 2016

Kinsley is 4!

Well, it has been far too long since I updated everyone on our sweet Kinsley girl. But, it's time to share how far our sweet girl has come in the past year. Kinsley had an amazing third year of life and we can only pray her fourth will be just as amazing.

It was a few weeks ago now that Kinsley turned 4. She was a bit spoiled with three different parties (all small family affairs) and too many presents to count from all her loving family. We're continually grateful for the amazing amount of love and support Kinsley receives from our families. She is one loved little girl. Here are some pictures of her celebrations:

Relaxing with Uncle Jared
(they have December birthdays and celebrate together!)

Cake is good!

For my own sake of record keeping and to update all you wonderful people who constantly pray for our sweet girl, I wanted to list all the amazing things Kinsley has learned in the past year. So here's the list as I can remember it!

  • She can walk! Independently! If you've read the last few posts on her, then you already know this, but since her first evening walking around the house on her own back in June, she has made soo much progress. Kinsley is much more stable now than she was then. She still falls occasionally, but her balance is improved so much that I don't feel she needs her helmet most of the time. Even when she does fall, she is very good at catching herself and getting back up and going.
    Kinsley walks all around our house, she walks around her classroom at school, all around the church building, etc. Anywhere we go, she walks. I can't tell you how much easier it is on us now that she is able to do this. Not to mention just amazing to watch. Praise God for this amazing blessing!
    She is currently working on walking around obstacles (which she's getting pretty good at), stopping and going on command (a game she loves to play with Ms. Christina), and walking up and down a ramp (a skill which requires assistance, but that she is slowly improving.
  • She can push to stand from the floor! For a long time she's been able to do this with assistance, but in the last few months it has become more of an independent skill. I wouldn't say it's completely mastered, but about 75% of the time she is able to do it on her own (not to mention that when asked to, she understands the direction). This also helps with her walking more. When she first started walking everywhere, if she fell, she would just continue by crawling where she was going. Then she transitioned to falling, crawling to somewhere that she could pull up on and then walk again. Now she's finally realized that she can push herself back up from the floor. She doesn't do it every time, but definitely is starting to without being reminded that she can. Yay!
  • She can walk up and down 3-4 steps without assistance (sometimes). This is a big skill still being worked on at physical therapy. Every time she has PT, she does this skill 5 or 6 times. She often still needs a bit of assistance, but has on many occasions walked up the four steps only with the help of the railing. Going down is harder, but she does at least one on her own each time and has done two on her own many times. Such a big, strong girl!
  • Kinsley is able to enter and exit the bath tub on her own! She started this skill on her own when she started walking. She started wandering all around the house and I'd find her in the bath tub. She used to just put her hands down in it and pull her body in the rest of the way. Then she would just lay happily in the tub until I took her out (she loves baths). So, I talked to her PT about it and Ms. Christina has taught her the correct way to get in and out. She now is able to hold on, put one leg in at a time and then sit down. She can do the same to get out. She usually requires little to no assistance. Once again, this skill helps my back out and makes her more independent. So thankful for these skills!
  • Kinsley can pull her body on a scooter board down a long hallway and make a turn! This is a skill worked on in OT and a huge testament to the upper body strength she's been gaining. And it's fun to watch her be such a big girl!
  • She can scoop with her spoon! For a long time she's pick up a spoon and eat off of it, but wouldn't try to scoop the food out. Ms. Kelly has worked on this with her in OT for several months now and she's made much progress! It's still a skill we're working on, but every day she does this on her own at least two or three times.
  • She can pinch something in her pincer grasp (sometimes)! This is a loooooong time skill we've been working on forever. Usually she finds it easier to use a raking motion and pick foods up that way, but she is FINALLY showing an ability to get her two pincers out and pinch a puff between them. Yay! Now we just need more practice to make it perfect.
  • Kinsley can scribble! It's not her favorite thing to do, but she can do it!
  • She can remove her shirt with minimal assistance with the sleeves! And she can partially push and pull her pants up and down. Big girl!
  • Kinsley can choose between three photos to request the item she wants! PECS has been going great with Ms. Connie and with her teachers at school. She can also do it at home, but admittedly, I'm still trying to figure out how to make it a constant. I'm hoping we can get an evaluation for an electronic device soon. With this evaluation, she'll be given an opportunity to try out an electronic communication device that would work well with her abilities.
  • She can understand and follow simple one step instructions. Kinsley's receptive language has made leaps and bounds of progress this year. I can't begin to list all the words and phrases she understands, because the list is so long. I'm so thankful for this as this was something I worried would never come in my bad moments. I'm so thankful to God for his amazing provision!
  • She has a favorite TV show! I realize this isn't a skill, but it still is a development I wondered if she would ever gain. Now, it's just one episode that she likes, but each time she watches it, she is so happy and pays such close attention. It's adorable to watch. (In case you were wondering, it's Baby Genius Favorite Sing Alongs.)
  • She loves music! We've always known she loved to be sung to, but in the past year she's shown us an even greater love of music. I've played nursery rhymes and toddler songs for her in my car for years now. I couldn't tell if she cared or not, but I still did it. Sometime last year she started crying and whining every time she rode in Luke's car. It was frustrating and we couldn't figure out why. Then one day in my car she started to do the same thing. I turned on her music hoping it would distract her. It did immediately. No more complaining. I immediately transferred some of the music to Luke's car and told him to try it. He was skeptical at first, but the second we turned the music on in his car, her crying stopped again. We finally understood what she had been requesting for so long! Now, anywhere we go, her music is required if a peaceful car ride is desired. :)
  • Kinsley loves to be read to! She's always enjoyed books with texture or buttons to push and she still does. But she's also developed an enjoyment of books that are repetitive or silly. She just smiles and laughs at books like Dinosaur Vs. Santa by Bob Shea, Time to Sleep Sheep the Sheep by Mo Willems or But No Elephants (a favorite from my childhood)! It's so fun to enjoy these typical things with her and I'm so thankful for the cognition she's gained in order to enjoy these things.
This is the list I can think of. And these are the big things. There are many other tiny little things that have led to each of these major things that she has learned as well. It's amazing to be able to see her growth. Each thing she learns is something that was in doubt before. Maybe she would learn them, maybe not. What a blessing it is that she has!

As this new year progresses, I pray she will gain just as much this year as last. Please be in prayer for two major goals in my mind. First, I want improved communication. I would love for her to talk! That would be a miracle from God at this point, but I KNOW He can help her do it. And I am praying for it. Will you join this prayer, please? However, I am aware, that sometimes, a no is the answer we receive to our prayers. If that is the case, I know He will provide in another way. Maybe the communication device evaluation will be the answer to our prayers. Only time will tell.

Second, a goal that wasn't on my radar, but Kinsley has shown us may be time for, is potty training. This will be a long process that may never be fully completely controlled, but only God knows the answer to that. And our girl peed in a potty on just her third try at it! I was so proud of her! So, please pray for this as well!

I want to thank each of you again, who read this, pray for our girl and our family. Without you and your prayers, many of these gains would not be possible. So, THANK YOU! You are loved and appreciated.