Kohl is a little over a week away from hitting the 6-month mark, which makes it a good time to give a developmental update. Developmental milestones are based on what most babies can do at different stages of their first year of life.
Parents use developmental milestones to make sure their kids are developing appropriately and to give them a sense of what to expect down the road. For us, they are our primary means of assessing Kohl’s neurological development. So far, he seems to be mostly on track, which is incredible news considering his background.
Our main goal right now is for him to start reaching for objects because that is the one milestone that eludes him. Part of the reason is his tight muscle tone. One of the common side effects of a neurological injury like his is tight muscle tone, particularly in his hands, which he tends to keep clenched up. It can also be an early sign of cerebral palsy. We do daily stretching exercises with him to help loosen him up and he gets to wear hand braces that make him look like he was either injured at the X-Games or has abusive parents.
Once he figures out that he has these tiny little things called hands at the end of his arms, it will open up a number of doors. For instance, it will bring his relationships with Marty the Moose and Sophie the Giraffe to a new level of intimacy. He will be able to appreciate the gargantuan size of his Pop’s nose. Most importantly, he will be able to put Mr. Binky back in his own mouth at 2:38 am, then again at 4:19 am and then again at 5:06 am.
To ensure he develops to his maximum potential, he has two physical therapy sessions and two occupational therapy sessions per week. He is enrolled in the Early Steps program that fortunately survived the most recent round of state budget cuts. He has two therapists with Early Steps and two therapists at Children’s Hospital. In all, he has a veritable Dream Team of caregivers, and we consider ourselves very fortunate.
Sometimes joy comes out of sorrow. After what happened to Kohl and what we continue to hear from doctors about the likelihood of developmental delays and/or disabilities, every smile is that much sweeter, every milestone achieved that much more special. Yes, we worry every day about what problems Kohl might have as a result of his brain injury. Yes, we get angry and ask why. But one of the many lessons this tiny little sage has taught us is that every moment spent worrying about the future deprives you of enjoying the present.
And so far, we’re enjoying the ride.