Sunday, January 9, 2011

Orion's Physical Activities, Eye Update and Online Communication Resources

The Withrow 'boys': Skyler, Orion and Thomas. 12/27/2010.

The events in this blog post happened the week of January 3rd. Orion is 5 1/2 months old.

Orion's Physical Activities

Orion is holding the bottle more and more. He still likes to hold a finger of the person who is holding the bottle for him. Earlier this week, he tried bringing the bottle's nipple to his mouth but 'over-shot' and gave it to his forehead. Now after a little more experience he's gotten it to his mouth once so far. He is giving himself breaks, sucking milk and then stopping, whatever the reason was. One time when I didn't put the bottle back in his hands fast enough I saw him bring both hands together as if he expected the bottle there already. Orion's big sister, Anastasia, helped hold the bottle for me one time and I saw her squeeze his forearm. Good girl! As for Skyler, he loves to snuggle, hug and kiss his little brother.

The video below shows the two brothers during a snuggle session where Skyler realizes Orion has him in his grip. 12/27/2010

I was violently, but thankfully briefly ill on Sunday (1/3) and somehow Orion's sleep pattern spun out of routine- he's now awake at night and sleeping during the day. If I don't make sense, you know why. Monday morning/Sunday night, Orion was VERY active. Our bed was jostled by his constant movement. He was excitedly bicycling his legs, picking up both knees and plopping both of his legs back on the bed at the same time, arms thumping the mattress, arching and dropping his back on the bed (repeatedly). It was as if he discovered these new movements he could do and entertained himself at his parent's expense. The past week has been a sleep martyrdom experience for us. I just looked up a book on a no-cry sleep approach, so I'll be visiting our local library or soon. Physically he's doing wonderfully even though he still hasn't lifted his head off the floor, mat or bed long enough/stable while on his stomach. I know he'll get there with consistent, regular workout/tummy times. His arching his back and turning his legs over is giving him enough leverage to roll over from his back to his stomach, the only catch is that the arm that is rolled over gets stuck underneath him. He's outgrown his current clothes size range (3 to 6 months). Imagine the fun and challenge of doing certain motions for the first time and constantly readjusting while your body grows quickly.

Orion plays with links. 12/30/2010

Orion's Eyes

Orion and I went to the ocularist in Bethesda on January 7th for the shell for his right eye. The right side shell been put on hold because I need to take Orion to see a pediatric ophthalmologist to check what kind of vision he has (in his left eye) and make a plan for Orion to have maximum access to the vision he has. Probably still only light perception but what raised a flag for the ocularist was that Orion appeared to be tracking, or trying to track with his left eye. Thomas and I did notice quick eye movements recently. I thought it looked like nystagmus (smooth movement in one direction then a quick eye movement back) and I've only seen it happen with him once in a while. Maybe once a day or less. I looked it up and nystagmus is associated with blindness. The ocularist was very pleased with how Orion was doing with his shell. The shell certainly enabled Orion to open and close his eyelids, giving him access to what's out there beyond his eyelids, even if it were only light. So, on January 19th we'll learn a little more about Orion's vision when he sees the 2nd pediatric ophthalmologist. (The first one was a plastics ophthalmologist who recommended we do nothing for Orion's eyes for 6 months. I blogged about it in 'Second Opinion' here.)

Online Resources on Learning and Communication

I found a terrific series of short videos online by Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA) with a lady named Barbara Miles talking about Deaf-Blind children and learning through touch. Heart-touching! Did you know that you and Orion can look at things together? You can touch and his hand can 'ride' on top of yours over the object or activity you are doing. I've always told myself that when Orion gets older, I'll tell him about how I've often admired his face and beautiful white hair, from merely inches away. Now, I'll just touch his face or hair and he'll know.

Also enlightening was an article posted on, "Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands," by Barbara Miles, It's a bit long, but an exciting read for those of you interested in learning about communication. Get your favorite drink (in my case I enjoy Thai iced tea very much) sit down and read on!


  1. Heather, Thank you so much for this blog! Frank has been sharing the link with me and I love reading about Orion and all that you are doing and learning. The photos and videos are wonderful, too -- such beautiful children! I know there is so much you can get online, but if there is anything you need from the Perkins School in Watertown, I don't live too far from there and could absolutely get it for you. Keep that in mind.
    Much affection and good wishes to you, love to the kids, and a special hello to Thomas!
    Kirti (his cousin)

  2. The video with Orion and Skyler was heartwarming as it was so cute that the boys are connecting with one another! The informating you are sharing is awesome and thank you! HUGS!

  3. My heart melted watching Skyler and Orion sharing gentle love :) I feel proud of your kids, especially when Tasia squeezed Orion's arm.

    You probably hear it a lot but I want to say it from my heart that Orion is not only so fortunate to have you as his mother, but also fortunate to have Skyler and Tasia as his brother/sister. Of course, Thomas, too as a father ;)


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