The Shapiro Files

Friday, March 23, 2007

Melody Crawls!

Just a mere few days after posting about Melody’s delay with crawling, our little girl hit that all-important milestone.

Naturally, it happened while we were elsewhere.

Melody was staying with Grandma and Grandpa Lewis (Nana and Papa) while Marcie, Julianne, and I were at the hospital for Marcie’s post-C-section recuperation time. I guess Melody figured her grandparents’ house was a good place to start moving around in a more traditional manner (not that her scooting around wasn’t surprisingly effective). We got the news from her proud grandma over the hospital room phone the next day — something to the effect of “Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that Melody started crawling yesterday.” To which I responded, “Whaaaa?”

I got a chance to see Melody perform the feat shortly thereafter, but also learned that scooting is still her preferred method of mobility — after all, she’s certainly had lots of practice! Still, she’ll crawl if we ask her (a big advantage of her excellent verbal recognition skills) and that’s good enough. The important thing is that she can crawl and will crawl if asked or otherwise just feels like it.

And now with this milestone behind us, just around the corner will be cruising (walking sidewise while using an object such as a couch or coffee table for support). We’re really going to have to take a second look at our house baby-proofing-wise in the near future!

This great news notwithstanding, I’m sure many of you are especially interested in hearing about how things are going with new baby Julianne. So here’s the quick summary:

  • Julianne is very sweet, enjoys sleeping, and is just plain adorable!
  • Melody loves having a little baby around the house and always wants to be near her (she says “baby” and points at Julianne constantly!)
  • Julianne is a great eater (nursing is going dramatically better than it went with Melody) and is gaining weight at a very impressive rate
  • We’re sleepy (naturally), but very happy and truly considered ourselves blessed to have two wonderful little girls!
I’m hoping to have a two-week album up in the near future (and I still hope to get a new Melody album up as well...hey, I’m only six months behind), so please keep checking back for more news from “Baby Land” (thanks to Cousin Jody for the name) very soon!

Our first family portrait, taken at the hospital less than 12 hours after Julianne’s arrival

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's a Girl!

We are thrilled to announce a new addition to the Shapiro Family Variety Show cast! Julianne Sophie Shapiro entered the world on March 7 at 8:20a.m. at El Camino Hospital. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 19 inches, Julianne is proud to be taking on her new co-starring role with older sister Melody.

In response to the exciting news, Melody had this to say: “Ga!” Mommy Marcie is recovering very well and Daddy Steve is doing likewise!

Below are a couple of photos from Julianne’s first photo shoot. Stay tuned to The Shapiro Files for updates and plenty more photos in the near future!

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

Monday, March 05, 2007

Melody Update

Baby Shapiro 2 will be here in less than two days! I will be sure to post photos and details as soon as possible after his/her arrival. But until then. I thought I should take some time out to give an update on Melody. It occurred to me that I never posted anything about our adventures involving her gross motor delay (a term that sounds much worse than it is) and thought it might be helpful to other parents who are going through the same thing if I shared a little bit about what’s been going on.

First and foremost, Melody has been a wonderful baby. She’s sweet as can be, social, and very bright. The term “gross motor delay” simply means that she’s late to crawling and walking. Her fine motor skills (i.e. picking things up and manipulating small objects) are perfectly normal and her verbal/mental skills are especially strong (more on this in a little bit).

I should note that Melody does get around on her own, but her method of transporting herself is by sitting upright on the ground (with her legs mostly stretched out in front of her) and scooting from place to place, pushing with her arms in an almost skiing-style motion. It’s as funny as it sounds and she has so much fun doing it! She particularly loves scooting up and down the hallway and around the kitchen. And after several months of getting around this way, she’s gotten extremely proficient at getting wherever she wants to go.

So overall, the gross motor delay is a pretty minor issue in the larger scheme of things and one that’s pretty easily addressed. But just why has she been delayed in crawling/walking? Well, there are three prevailing opinions:
  1. 1. Increasingly more kids have been delayed in crawling over the past decade because just about all children sleep on their backs nowadays as a result of SIDS-related concerns. So if parents aren’t highly proactive about implementing “tummy time” on a regular basis, their kids don’t always get sufficiently comfortable with lying face down (pretty much a prerequisite for crawling).
  2. 2. Melody happens to have an incredibly easy-going temperament (family friend Alice calls her “Mellow Melody”). While many kids take to crawling in order to get to something out of reach, Melody has always been content with hanging out and entertaining herself with just those things within reach.
  3. 3. We’re first-time parents and as is often the case with new parents, are extremely attentive to each and every one of Melody’s wishes. So without realizing it, we help Melody to get the things she wants without making her work for it. This is why you’ll very rarely see a gross motor delay in second (or later) children.
It’s most likely a combination of all three of these that has resulted in Melody’s delay. To address this, we’ve been taking her to pediatric physical therapy since December and she’s been making very good progress. Over the past few months, she’s gotten very good at rolling over from back-to-front and then pushing herself up to a sitting position. She is also able to stand unsupported for very long periods of time when bracing herself against objects such as our coffee table, couch, or her crib railing. She’s even able to walk with our assistance (keeping her upright by holding her arms in front of her). She definitely seems on the verge of performing all the main gross motor actions on her own (pulling to a stand, crawling on all fours, cruising, and walking) and no one — certainly not her physical therapist — seems particularly worried about her getting to where she needs to be. In fact, I’m always surprised how many other parents tell us that their kids have had a similar delay, with several not walking until they were 2 or even a little older. So while Melody’s tardiness to crawling/walking is outside the average range, it’s not incredibly rare either.

On a final note, Melody’s pediatrician recommended that Melody have a full evaluation at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford just to be on the safe side. I’m happy to report that she completely blew us away during the cognitive/language testing. She did great on all the tests and is even at a 2-year level with language recognition and organizational skills. We were worried that she might be a little uncomfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings and would freeze up. But she had a great time and loved all the “games” they had her play. Her physical evaluation also seemed to pretty definitely conclude that she doesn’t have any sort of neurological issue. In the end, the recommendation was simply that she just needs more physical therapy. As bright as we know she is, it was wonderful to get that validated from the professional community!

So that’s the saga. I hope hearing our story will be helpful to other parents whose children are also late to gross motor activities. Feel free to click the “comments” link below to share your stories. We’d love to hear them!