I decided to start blogging about Jordan from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Jordan was born with a little arm that didn't grow like most babies. Her left arm stopped just above the elbow. Now I'm committed to making sure Jordan gets everything out of life. We feel blessed to be the parents of a very special little girl.


16 Months Old

Today you turned 16 months old! I can't believe you're this big. At the same time, you prove it every day. You are trying so hard to talk. I left town this past month. It was the first time I had been away from you. EVER. I was nervous. When I came back, I noticed you kept growing when I wasn't looking! You started getting aggravated when I couldn't read your mind. You've started screaming to try and drive the point home. I'm working hard on trying to show you other ways to communicate. We've been in the car on some short road trips the last two weekends. When you start your loud high-pitched squeals, it makes your dad's head spin. My tolerance level is a bit higher than his... But it can make my head spin after a while as well.

I'm pretty excited about how big you're getting. You can say night night, bye bye, hi, uh oh, dog, bubba, dudley, duck, wow, mama, dada, more, yes, no, ball... You can even make a barking sound like a dog. I know there are more. And the thing you do every time you want more of something: You say "moh!" You make the sign for "please" at the same time and flash this HUGE smile like you know you've already gotten what you want. It's an awesome, pure happiness. I smile every time.

I smile a lot with you. This is such a wonderful time watching you grow. This past month, you started getting closer and closer to walking. You got amazing at standing up on furniture and walking along all kinds of stuff. This past week, you started standing without holding onto anything. Every time you do that I brim with pride. You're figuring everything out by yourself on your own pace. You know what you want and you'll do it when you're ready. I'll be honest. It's hard for me to be patient. But I'll work on that. That's my problem, not yours.

I get to work late some mornings because you are so happy. I just can't rush out of the house. The time we spend together is probably why you cling to me. We're alone together a lot... In the morning, at appointments... You love to cuddle on me. If I'm in the room, you need to be with me. If I'm not in the room, you look for me. I'm sure that I'm to blame for that. Sorry. But as you get more and more independent, I know you won't need me as much.

By the way, you still suck your thumb every time you hold your little lamby blanket. If I ask you if you want your blankey, you smile big and beat your chest saying "please" in sign language. Once again. I smile right back at you.


Let's get to work

We had our First Steps meeting yesterday. Our PT and OT met with our case manager. It turns out that we didn't really have to have the meeting this week, but it did give us the opportunity to get approval for two months of intense PT to get Jordan into the walking mode. Since then, we've taken the family to the grandparent's house. It's clearly a better environment for walking just because it isn't Jordan's home. The best walking I've gotten is outside. That's how I caught this shot of her: Holding my hand. Notice she also happens to have a pen in her hand. Even if she's holding my hand, she feels the need to hold onto something else. I'm just thrilled to see her moving around comfortably, even if she needs assistance.

So the upped PT means Jordan will get as many as 3 PT visits at school a week for the next two months. She'll also have two a month at home. I call those visits "train mommy" time. It's great to be around family members who want to work on the walking thing along with me. Jordan's Poppy is all about finding ways to movtivate Jordan to move from one piece of furniture to the next. Another development - The girl is getting better and better at standing on her own. 10-15 seconds at a time!

You know. I read this stuff and obviously I'm obsessing on the tiniest details of Jordan's development. Randy says I'm psycho documenting Jordan's growth. I tell him it's just easier to document compared to when Cam was little. I had to build a web page a week for him... And I'm impressed I did that much. (If you're curious visit reevesbaby.com) BTW, I switched my Flickr pictures to private for friends and family only. So if you want to keep up with our photos, join flickr and request to be friends with NerdyMom. If you use a funky username, you may want to identify yourself. If I don't know who you are, I'll assume you're an amputee freak and I'll block you from coming near my flickr account.


Interesting meeting

Jordan went to work with me this morning because she had a meeting with the physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at a nearby rehab clinic in town. The doctor checks in with us every once and a while. We met up with him a year ago when I was struggling to find therapists for Jordan. Since then, he's offered his knowledge of the medical community and his knowledge of rehab to make sure we're staying on track. The state program is also keeping an eye on Jordan's needs, but I kind of like someone on the outside of the program making sure we are doing the right thing.

He's concerned about Jordan's left leg motion when she tries to walk. I agree. But after tomorrow's big First Steps meeting, I'm hoping we can up Jordan's PT time to really get her to focus on her walking skills. With that focused time, we should be able to knock out her leg motion problems. If it isn't better, the PM&R doc would like Jordan to visit with a pediatric specialist. I'm okay with that. I'm pretty sure this current physical challenge will go away with time. Oh. She's finally hit past 22 pounds. Today she was 22 pounds 4 ounces.

This evening, Jordan and I were following her brother up and down the driveway... He's a great motivator to get her walking. Suddenly she stopped, let go of my hand and just stood there for a good 20 seconds or so. My jaw dropped. She was sturdy and just reached her hand out again to keep walking. WOW. Cam was yelling: "WOW! Did you see that! That was so cool!!" I totally agree.


Little changes

So I did two things today. First, you clearly got to this blog because you noticed that I changed the URL for this blog: bornjustright.blogspot.com
I decided that as my site gets more activity, I should transition out of a URL that includes our last name.

I also asked for special treatment for Jordan for the first time ever. Of course I've asked Jordan's care takers to try to pay attention to her therapeutic needs, but I've never demanded that. I'm just lucky to have teachers who love Jordan and who are willing to put in the extra effort. But as she starts walking and gets better at new skills, she's going to need a few helpful things. So I'm trying to plan ahead. When Jordan gets bigger and moves to the bigger kid room (around 18 or 19 months), she's going to start going down stairs. At her school, there is only a kid-height railing on the left side when you're going down. That isn't very helpful for a right-handed only child. So I asked the owner of Jordan's school to consider putting a kid-height railing on the other side. I realize this is a change that is solely for Jordan's needs. But I did talk about it with a couple of teachers and they think it would be helpful for all kids. I still felt a little funny asking.

The semester is wrapping up and my students are FLIPPING out. They have the majority of the class due by this Monday and the Monday after that. Many of them have waited until the last minute. It's ugly, it's unfortunate and I'm exhausted thinking about it. I also found out that I didn't get a provost's teaching award for the second year in a row. I'm disappointed because I put my heart and soul into my work. I'm also disappointed because we could have really used the money that came with the award. But I'll plug on, keep working hard.

Here's a little slideshow of Jordan's week-by-week pictures for the year so far.


Oh I remember this

Cameron started this screaming thing earlier in life. I forgot the mind-bending stress that comes from a child who can't communicate enough. And this all happened while I was away!! We have a lot more screaming in the house. I've also noticed things are aggravating her for the first time... Or at least she's verbally expressing the aggravation: Taking a Mega Block apart, getting raisins out of a little box... I could go on with the list. I know she'll figure out answers to these challenges, but in the meantime I get screams.


And I thought Vegas was loud.


Wow. Could you get some words please?

We're soundly in the phase where my girl needs more words. She has taken to screaming a lot since I got back into town. Really painful screaming. I'm using words back with her, asking her to use the few signs that she knows... But she will fall into a ball of tears and an on-the-floor tantrum if I can't figure out what she's asking. It's rough. I know it's hard when you can't communicate. I'm thankful she isn't hitting the floor with her head or doing any real physical damage to herself. But add in a tantrum across the dinner table from her brother at the same time... It's mind-bending stress.

But along with the screaming communication, Jordan's getting braver with holding my hand and walking. It really is stunning how she walks better when she's anywhere other than our house. She walks better outside, inside a tent and at my cousin's house.

Randy put our new tent up in the backyard -- Going inside totally freaked Jordan out and then suddenly it was the coolest place around. She started walking around me and there she was: Standing. It lasted about 5 seconds. I'd have to say it was the longest standing moment I've seen with her. I have a meeting with our First Steps coordinator on Friday along with Jordan's occupational and physical therapists. Hopefully we'll be able to get our PT into Jordan's classroom on an intense level for the next month or two. Her PT thinks focused time with Jordan away from me will be very productive and help push Jordan into walking full time. I keep thinking that she isn't as fearful about her safety as Cam was because she's willing to climb stairs... But I watch other kids learning to walk and I realize she really likes things the way they are. She doesn't like pushing herself into something new physically. That's why it took her so long to notice her little arm when she was 4 months old. That's why it took her so long to sit or sit up by herself. Why do I have kids that are worried about their physical safety? It's strange.

Anyway. Here comes another week... Crazy schedules and all kinds of juggling between work and kids. Standard stuff and I'm tired just thinking about it. Did I mention I had a sinus infection last week? The drugs make me tired and a little dizzy. Oh well. Just another hurdle to jump over.


She loves me

I stopped by school to see the kids when I got home this morning. Jordan saw me from across the room, threw her hand high in the air and started waving.

I walked (fast walk) over to her, sat down and gave her big hugs. She just hugged me and would lift her head up to look at him with a HUGE smile and go back to hugging me. She kept doing it. That smile, it was awesome. It stunk needing to go to work. But when I got back to her this evening, the smiles were back.

It's good to be back.


I'm getting closer to home

Amazing. I've bumped into and talked to so many people on this trip... Many who I've worked with in other markets or know through the many, many connections you make in the broadcast industry. But in the end, I think I got to know a lot of my students a little better. I also helped many of them make connections and get closer to finding a job. I have one of the best jobs in the world.

I miss my kids and I can't wait to go home.


2 hour time difference

This 2 hour time difference has kept me from talking to Jordan since I left town yesterday. She's always in bed - either taking a nap or sleeping for the night. It sucks. But it sounds like she's doing fine without me.

I'm having a pretty good time -- Went to a crazy, trendy bar tonight. Got hit on by an Itallian who I told how my 5 year old can speak Itallian, but I can't. Then I walked away to chat with my students/friends. I met a couple of Australians and a bunch of girls who went to summer camp with one of my students when he was in high school. Strange stuff.

Vegas is so large and strange. My biggest question is why to parents bring their kids here? I really want to know. This is a grown up's play land and I can't imagine bringing children here. I'm confused by that.

I have all kinds of morning meetings so I should go to bed. I miss the family and I can't wait to go home. But it was fun to go out to a bar and dance VERY silly with my students. I didn't feel too lame, but only because one of our students dances like she's the whitest white girl on the planet and it was so fun to watch and giggle that it made my night.


Getting my head into the game

I'm going to a conference today... I'm leaving the family, the whole family for the first time since we became a family of four. I'll be back late, late Wednesday, so I won't really see the family until Thursday. I'm a little nervous for some reason. So I have to get my head into the game. I'm hoping to help get my students jobs, build more contacts for the university and find some opportunities and products that might help make my job easier.

So I have to finish packing.

But first, I learned about a new blog: Failure to Form. He tipped me off on a fantastic quote by Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins:

"When you start out with a disadvantage, you have to work harder to do what others take for granted In the end, that gives you an advantage."

He said that quote when he was talking about Mordecai Brown who became a Cubs pitcher even though he had suffered a farm accident that badly damaged his hand.

But that quote... It's so fitting for my kid and all our limb different kids... or any kid that was born with a challenge.


How is she doing....

A lot of people check in on me to see how Jordan is doing. Usually one of the first questions is: "How is she doing with her prosthetic arm?" And I have a hard time answering that.

Jordan is using her prosthetic arm more. She can throw it up onto a table, chair, stair to climb or stand up. She holds her arm more sturdy and balanced. But she's still stiff. She still doesn't hold onto things with her hand and prosthetic hand. She's better at pre-walking without it on. I'm not sure why.

I know the prosthetic is helping her in some ways and hindering her in others and that leaves me very torn. I want her to feel comfortable in both ways. It's just hard. As I've said before. I wish it were easier. But Jordan is lucky. She doesn't know any other way. That will certainly help her in everything she does. But that torn feeling remains in the pit of my stomach. I can never really say what I want to say when I'm asked about Jordan's prosthetic. Yes, she's learning ways to use it. Yes, she's doing pretty well with her prosthetic (especially now that she isn't getting heat rashes in it anymore!). Yes, she is building muscles and growing in ways she wouldn't without it. Yes, she'd be okay if she wasn't using it. Yes, I still think we made the right decision. Yes, I still question that decision from time to time. Yes, I wish someone made a how-to book on raising a child with an above elbow amputation... Anything that would tell me what to do. Maybe I'll be able to do that for someone else someday.


Easter fun

1. Easter Smiles, 2. Egg happiness, 3. Alas! An egg, 4. Playing with an egg, 5. Egg play, 6. Egg smiles, 7. Dogs sniffing a basket, 8. Bunny hugs, 9. Smiles with a bunny, 10. Hi little bunny, 11. Sly grin, 12. Peeking, 13. Jordan's basket, 14. New book, 15. She got all kinds of stuff, 16. Smiles

I don't know why, but I kept visiting these pictures online today because the pictures make me smile.

I changed the name

The blog has a new name. I decided "Jordan and Me" wasn't witty enough. I work with words. So this one feels right: Born Just Right. She was born just the right way. I love her and she's perfect. And she's right handed. Completely right handed. Just right.

I like the play on the words. I like to play with the girl.

I've uploaded TONS of pictures to Flickr. But one little story.

I took Jordan to the grocery store today. We had so much fun and I just kept smiling the whole time I was there. Jordan was bright, smiley and LOVING her new bunny. (you can see pictures on Flickr) As I left the cash register with her I couldn't remember the last time I had so much fun spending 114 dollars. I wasn't stressed out at all while I was there. I wasn't worried, I wasn't dealing with Cam begging for a snack or something at the store. I just had fun. And I reveled in the moment with my girl. It won't always be this easy to get enjoyment out of our time together. It was special and simple and we just smiled together.


What a weekend

Little Miss had a heck of a weekend... Her brother had a huge party yesterday and today the Easter bunny delivered all kinds of cool stuff. I learned a good lesson: Jordan is not the kind of kid you can pose for pictures. But in the end, I caught some AWESOME shots. I just can't get the girl in a good shot with her brother. It's kind of driving me nutty. The kids love each other, but they can't smile together.

I've worked hard trying to get the girl walking. She's doing a fantastic job. Our physical therapist thinks I need to buy a bunch of overalls for the girl so I can get a good grip on her when she needs a little help with balance. I have no overalls. I gave them all away. I figured they were too "boy-ish." Now I have to go beg all of the families at Jordan's school to borrow overalls for the next month to help the girl walk. I think that's kind of funny.


Interesting experience

So I was helping edit video for a conference this past week. Yesterday I had to bring Jordan in with me for a little while. She came in while a panel discussion was underway. Every once and a while, she had to babble about how happy she was with her apple slices. I'd shush her and hand her milk to drink. It was sweet. She was so happy and smiley in her stroller. I was able to keep working. It was great.

At the end of the panel talk, I went to the front to talk to the conference attendees and Jordan could hear my voice. So I said hi to her and mentioned that my daughter was in the room. So all kinds of people had to come over and say hi. Miss Smiles was putting on quite a sweet show. People said hi and moved on.

A couple of people came back to play with her more (after they opened up the cash bar). And eventually some of them were willing to ask about her arm. I had been commenting on how awesome she was doing with her walking skills. That's when one of the guys (it was all guys, I don't know why, but that seemed strange) said that other people were whispering "she doesn't have an arm!" And he said how strange it was to see people walk away instead of ask questions. Our culture is so scared of differences. I'll be honest. I'm not sure how I would have handled meeting a baby with a missing arm 15 months ago. Probably the wrong way.

I honestly see my ability to raise Jordan as publicly as possible will not only help her feel more comfortable in this perfectionist world, but it will also help inform so many people that you don't have to look "perfect" to be wonderful.

Today Jordan had her 15 month check up. She's 21 pounds, 8 ounces. She's 30 and a half inches long. 25th percentile on weight. 50th percentile on height. She's doing just great. I'm still shocked to have the skinny baby. Cam was a monster!! Jordan had three shots this morning. It was the first time she didn't handle it well at all. Poor baby. I took the band-aids off tonight and she cried like I just gave her the shots again. It was miserable. I just cuddled and snuggled her and sang her a lullaby before she went to bed.


Sudden Realization

I picked up Jordan at school today... And she made MASSIVE strides towards walking. She can go long distances by herself using the play walker when she's outside. Today, she made her next big step towards walking: She will hold your hand and walk distances. I did it with her a bunch of times. WE HELD HANDS AND WALKED!!! How sweet is that?

You can see a little bit of her walking skills right here:

I'm working at a conference these next couple of days and got to bring Jordan with me while Daddy and Cam went to their first T-ball practice. She showed me all of her growing walking skills.

That's when I realized the fact, the real fact of life. My girl is going to walk for the first time without me around. I happened to catch Cam's first steps just because I was lucky. I had just come home from work and his babysitter and I were floored by what we had just seen. I know she's going to do it without me. She's too busy at school to wait for me.

I am going to start working on this new reality. I'll be okay. Really. (I'll convince myself eventually)


Poor baby

I didn't have the heart to take a picture. But this afternoon, I was helping Jordan walk around in the backyard when Dudley came up and started licking Jordan's face. Then he rolled onto his back and scraped her face. It's minor. But it made me sad. My poor baby got her first scratch on that beautiful skin. I'm a total dork. I just feel bad that I didn't shoo the dog away.

Anyway. The family took Jordan's big brother, the birthday boy to the movies this afternoon. I figured it would be worth the try to try to get all four of us in the theater to enjoy a little popcorn and big screen action. A little more than half-way through, Jordan was done. She had no interest in staying on my lap, eating any type of snack foot, drinking water or walking between Daddy and I. She started peeking into the row in front of us and waving hello. Then she just started getting angry. We hung out in the entry way and waited. It's a bummer, but I know Cam appreciated us all being at the movie with him for as long as we did.

I'm exhausted... And I have a really long week ahead. I should stop blogging and focus. It was a long weekend, and I don't really want to work until 2am (which has become a Sunday night tradition).