Felix is 1!

We made it!  Felix is a year old!  He has grown and changed so much since he was born.  For the first six months of his life I didn’t think we’d make it to this day, but we sure did.  Nowadays, Felix is a very busy boy.  He is working very hard in physical therapy, building up those muscles that it takes to crawl and eventually walk.  He crawls a little bit at a time once or twice per day, so he DOES know how.  But he finds it easier and faster to army crawl on his belly to get to what he wants.  He likes to use his walker toys to pull himself up onto his knees or his feet.  But he’s not at all steady on his feet yet.  I am excited for him to learn how to use his body in these ways, but I am in no hurry.  He’s moving on his own timeline and I’ve finally come to a place of acceptance with that.  He’s healthy and happy and that’s what matters the very most.

Felix is still breastfeeding, though less these days.  He eats breakfast, lunch and supper with the family, mostly eating what we eat.  He still has some purees and softer foods because with his motor delays, he has some delays in how he eats as well.  But its getting better every day.  He loves bath time…. in fact I think anything involving water is his favorite!  He splashes and crawls around in the tub.  And when I take him to the pool at the local YMCA, he is very excited and kicks and splashes the whole time!  His other favorite part of the day is breakfast time with mommy and daddy before work.

I don’t want to jinx anything and say everything is on track with sleep… because nothing is perfect.  But for the time being things have improved.  In general he’s sleeping more at night, but still never took up napping.  I’ve accepted that as well, and quite enjoy him being awake and keeping me company during our days.  He’s so fun, smiley, and really likes helping me do household chores and having me play with him in his playroom.  He also has a couple of friends for play dates now.

Some things coming up for Felix: he had an eye exam and they found he needs glasses.  Hopefully that will help inspire him to keep working on crawling.  We’re hoping if he can see further and more clearly, he will want to explore his surroundings more.  Also, when he stands, he has a tendency to turn his feet over and stand on his toes and the tops of his feet with his toes curled under.  The PT says that is what some kiddos do for stability, though it is terribly counter-productive.  So he’s getting SureSteps (braces) for his feet that will go with shoes and help create the habit of standing on his feet properly.  He is expected to need them for only about 6 months, since he’s so young.  Also, since we’ve been working so hard on large motor skills, we’re going to get new evaluations for fine motor skills and feeding.  He’s making wonderful progress, so we expect a little extra help will help him get caught up all the quicker.

This has been a challenging, but exciting year.  I’m very happy with how far we’ve come, and where we are now.  I’m excited to see what the next year brings and beyond.  Felix has become such a wonderful little boy.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.

The Stories I’m Told

I met a gentleman today. Like many elderly before him, he saw me walking around in hyvee with Felix in his carrier, and said that it would’ve been nice to have when he had been raising kids. He then went on to tell me his life story.

His wife passed away when they were both 35 years old. They had a son and a daughter, and the daughter was still a baby at that time. So he raised his kids alone. He never remarried.

He had polio as a teenager and beat it. He joined the Army when he was young and was in the Korean War. He enjoyed the Army, and worked with explosives. Not explosives like we have nowadays he said, but the ones with glycerin, that can go off for any little reason. He enjoyed traveling and all that he was able to learn and do.

Then he jumped ahead to talking about his wife passing away, and raising and taking care of his son and daughter. He said his son passed away at age 51 to MS, and his daughter passed away at age 46 (I don’t remember why). He said he took care of them as long as he could, until he could no longer. He then helped raise his grandchildren, and they all look out for him when he has medical procedures. He also helps with his great grandchildren now.

This gentleman was proud to tell me he is a born again Christian, and when he was diagnosed with cancer he certainly was not afraid. They told him he had it everywhere, including his lymph nodes and many organs in his body. He had 10 surgeries and watched every one of them he was awake for. He said the nurses and doctors got a kick out of it, but he said it’s his body and he wants to make sure they’re doing it right. Plus he was fascinated to watch them work. He listed off all the organs affected, which included his pancreas, liver, and intestines (plus several others). Many surgeries, many ICU stays, and even life support. Doctors told him he would never survive it all, but years later he stands there in hyvee telling me about it, cancer-free. He told me about the surgery sites not healing properly and needing to care for it at home. And then he told me about being diabetic and needing to change his diet in order to have a final surgery to repair the open wounds. He changed his diet so much that he no longer needed insulin.

He claimed to never have drank soda, coffee or alcohol other than tastes earlier in life. He said that’s why he believes he does not have dementia. He currently visits folks at 3 different nursing homes here in town.

He said he drives a pickup truck now because it’s easier to get into. But until recently he had a Mustang. He said just once he got it up to 140 mph. He said he’s heard you’re supposed to die with grace, but he wants to go out with a bang. He wants to enjoy life, every moment of it, and live to be 120! He said the hardest part about being as old as he is, is watching all of his loved ones pass away or lose their memories. But he’s happy to still be alive at AGE 91!!!, against all odds.

I could’ve listened to him talk all day long. I’m absolutely fascinated with his stories. And I didn’t even catch his name. Just a photo of him as he left.