The first few weeks of fall have been full of firsts, adventures and exciting developmental growth for Miss Daisy.
On Monday, September 19, Daisy, Nick and myself were invited to speak on a panel with Daisy's doctors, nurses and therapists from the NICU for a group of 200 first year Jefferson med students. The purpose of this class was to illustrate for the students what a successful discharge planning meeting might look like and how best to approach communication between the patient's primary caregivers outside of the hospital and those inside the hospital. Walking into an auditorium packed with white coats, we felt a bit intimidated, but it was such a treat to be reunited with Daisy's team and we were so excited to pass on what we could about what worked well. It was an amazing experience.
A panoramic photo Nick took of the medical students we spoke to - look at all those white coats! Eek!
I didn't realize what an impact our family had made on the NICU staff - they obviously made an incredible impact on us but to hear how they were touched by our dedication to Daisy's care and our belief in her future was really special. We got to share many anecdotes about our two months working with the NICU and why our experience was so outstanding. Daisy was, of course, a HUGE hit. If even just a few of these students were inspired by what we shared, I will be immensely proud.
This past weekend, we took Daisy apple picking for the first time at our favorite local farm, Linvilla Orchards. We love this place - they are open year-round and they grow absolutely everything. We have been visiting since we first moved to Philadelphia with the intent of starting a special tradition even before our children were born. We visit at least once a season for pumpkins, to cut down our Christmas tree, to pick strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, and to pick apples in the fall. Daisy loved all of it. She adores being outside and she loved taking it all in from the baby bjorn - watching all the activity, breathing in the smell of fermenting fallen apples, feeling the breeze across her face... It all made her giggle and grin.
I made apple sauce with the apples we brought home and we have been feeding it to Daisy in this neat little thing called the Food Feeder which was designed for babies who are being introduced to solid food. She LOVES apple sauce and feeling the sensation of food on her tongue. It is such a delight to watch her experience food. So far she has tasted lemon, strawberry, apple, hot sauce and a root beer float. She liked all of it!
In addition to starting solid food, Daisy has been making huge progress with her motor skill development. She can now guide her pacifier into her mouth, she can grip her lamb toy with both hands and hold it up above her (Daisy's version of bench pressing :), she has figured out 75% of rolling over (still hasn't mastered removing her arm from underneath her body) and she can pass a ball from one hand to the other. Our Early Intervention therapist, Genevieve, thinks Daisy is a whiz kid. She visits with us once a week and works with Daisy on physical strength. Daisy gets a full body massage (tough life, huh?) and works on Tummy Time - specifically on "motor planning" which is the ability to conceive, plan and carry out a skilled, non-habitual motor act in the correct sequence from beginning to end. Her low muscle tone issues seem to have been completely resolved. She is constantly kicking her legs and waving her arms and building muscle. Basically, whenever she's awake she is working out. She did NOT get that gene from me.
Finally, this week Daisy went to her first ROCK CONCERT! My brother Fred, Daisy's godfather, has been touring with SeepeopleS, his Portland, ME-based anti-genre cult alt-rock band, and they have been opening for a British psychedelic rock band called Kula Shaker. The two bands played the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia September 27th and Daisy was the youngest (and obviously cutest) member of the audience, rocking out in her leather jacket with fur collar and noise-canceling headphones the size of her head. She danced and reacted to the first three songs then fell asleep, somehow, for the rest of the evening. After SeepeopleS played, Freddy took us for a backstage tour where we got to see the green rooms, steal some delicious snacks, take a peek at the stage from behind-the-scenes and got to see where NPR records World Cafe Live. It was my first ever VIP tour and I've been around for 32 years. It was Daisy's first and she's.... five months old. She's already The Coolest Kid Ever.
Finally, I am pleased to report that Daisy's health continues to be at 100%. She is showing no signs of developmental delay at this point, she is already enjoying solid food, she sleeps through the night uninterrupted every single night, she is happy, strong, and growing at a fast pace. I thank God every night when I lay my head on my pillow for the miracle and gifts he has given our family. We are blessed beyond measure.