What a difference four months of love, encouragement, and 29 doctors and therapist appointments can make! Our little Caston (who is not so little anymore) has shocked us all in the past few weeks. He is almost the same weight as Caleb, but that’s not the big news. Our dude is WALKING! We have been working with him so much, having him walk back and forth between us, enticing him with toys and iPhones. It has finally paid off! A few weeks ago, he just let go and took off. I love the little Frankenstein walk with his arm outstretched in front of him. It kills me! He loves it too. He walks all over now. He totally cracks me up because he has no place in particular he wants to go. He just wanders the house all morning because he can. The down side to this is that I can’t hear him sneaking by me now that he’s not slapping his hands against the tile floor when he passes by. The other night, I was microwaving his bottle, and in the 65 seconds it took, he very quietly walked through the kitchen into the laundry room and dumped the cats water everywhere. He was happily moving pieces of cat food back and forth from bowl to bowl when I got in there.
This is my attempt to show him that doctors’ offices are NOT the norm. This is what normal people do. We go to the mall play area and eat fried food later. Riding a gigantic caterpillar? Also totally normal! I don’t understand why he is confused.
AND, he is EATING! Not just purees, now but actual pieces of food! It started one day at church when Caston got Caleb’s snack trap full of Cheerios. Kevin and I held our breath and tried to act totally cool as Caston started getting Cheerios out and eating them. He began tolerating food that was pureed with chunks, and then one day he shocked us even more by taking Caleb’s bowl and eating popcorn. (Fortunately, Caleb is a very good sport about all of this.) Popcorn of all things! Now that’s a strange first food for a toddler. It certainly would not have been my first choice for a kid that’s new to solids, but he ate more and more so I let him. Even though he still prefers for Kevin or me to feed him with a fork or spoon, he is now able to tolerate all sorts of textures like rice, chicken, soft veggies, and pasta. He would have cried if we even offered things like this a couple of months ago.
Popcorn is not the only favorite. He also enjoys Lucky Charms. It works out well because Caleb only eats marshmallows, and Caston only eats the crunchies.
Another useful tactic. Caston is completely intrigued by food that is at any location other than his place at the table.
Chewing food is exhausting.
I can’t say enough how valuable it has been for Caston to come into this family. I have to give a shout out to Kevin, Braden, Annalise, Waverly, and Caleb because I see every second of attention and help they have given to Caston as fruitful. Every time we have responded to Caston’s cries. Every time we have snuggled him. Every time we have played peek a boo. Every time we have reassured him. He is truly not the same baby that we brought home. It took months and months for him to finally show consistent happiness and not just a coerced smile. He truly is a delightful baby. He has recently started laughing out loud at the kids’ antics. He no longer fears loud noises or water. He loves to “trick” me now when I ask if he wants to get out of the bathtub. He stands up and reaches for me, and as I bend down to get him, he laughs and plops back down in the tub. He thinks he is a real comedian! And of course, Caleb eats it up too, so he has to “trick” me as well.
One thing has not changed though, and that is his breathing. He still has the same rattly, congested breathing and cough that he had the day that we met him, the sound that the caregivers said he always had. So, to celebrate four months home, Caston will be undergoing surgery on Wednesday. He is scheduled for ear tubes, adenoid removal, a laryngoscopy, and an upper endoscopy by our ENT and gastroenterologist. He has had fluid on his left ear ever since we brought him home, so the ENT doesn’t feel like this will resolve without intervention. Our hope is that removing the adenoids will alleviate the breathing issues. Thankfully, the ENT and gastroenterologist will take a look at things via a camera while Caston is sedated to rule out any sort of structural issues. We would appreciate your prayers for Caston’s surgery and recovery and that the doctors can make an accurate diagnosis during the surgery. I just have this nagging feeling that something is not right in his esophagus. Hopefully, I can say that I was wrong!
We had his pre-op appointment this morning, which I found to be quite comical. As the child life specialist tried to explain to Caston that he would wear a mask and breathe medicine so the doctor could fix his owies, I just sat back with reassuring head nods and, “Uh-huhs” while thinking, “Lady, he’s not even two, and he’s been exposed to English for four months. Unless you’re talking about cats, bottles, or squeezie applesauce, you have totally lost him.” Nonetheless, she sent us home with a mask similar to the one that will be used to administer anesthesia and a couple of hospital hats so that “Mommy and Daddy could play doctor.” And with that, I had to bite my cheek to stifle the laughter of my inner middle school boy. Because really.