Is it me or does the month of Love, also known as February stir up the exposure of your true emotions, those deeper ones that you don’t always like to come out? When we honor the accumulation of these feelings growing from our hearts, it gives us the courage to ride the waves of society.
This year we ALL took a leap of faith, trusted the process, followed the tangent principle, living an extra day. Given once every four years, time for our modern day Gregorian calendar to “catch up.” Why the catch up? Well because the sequencing of 24-hour days, i.e. human’s attempts at regulating structure, falls slightly short of matching Earth's revolutions around the sun. Archer’s genetic sequencing happens to have a slight duplication, his evolution more deliberate, yet continues to be measured against a comparative time table with no “catch up” period granted, more over excessive assessments and focused goals. Instead of being pressured with meeting criteria, we have chosen instead to follow the changing of the tides, blooming under the rising light of the sun and removing barriers under the exposure of the moon, constantly growing roots, living a boundless journey expanding beyond the limits of Archer's world, and pushing our family past systematic barriers.
March arrived fierce as the Lion does. We faced our third trip back to the ABM center in the thick of the lion’s mane. The duration of our trip heavily compromised by late winter storms, but this didn’t dampen Archer’s vibrancy. While at the center, we have been so astonished with the gains, absorbed in the learning experience, we have forgotten to put much emphasis on creating visual accommodations. The day Sylvia wore a solid red shirt, it reminded me of how important his vision needs are. He paid great attention to the bold, red, colored movements leading his body. Archer’s spatial interactions flowed with gravity, and he exhibited countless moments of pure joy. His brain was ignited in its entirety, vision centers and movements systems working in unison. As CVI remains the forefront of Archer’s needs, ABM has become the gateway to access his world.
Without dad, this trip was a little more wearing. I’m not sure if it was my weakness showing through the cracks, or the growing relationships, but each practitioner found a moment to snuggle up with Archer giving him a little extra care, and mom a much needed moment for clarity! Neil with whom we didn’t even have a lesson, took the time to greet Archer and get a report on his progress. I was so excited to share about Archer’s new position in the bath! He now has the understanding to stay on his belly, and the confidence to splash, wiggle, and even is beginning to explore cross crawl movements. Recently he has found the drain plug and finds it fascinating to play with. Feeling and listening to the velocity of gravity as the water transcends down the drain pipe.
The waiting room of the center acts as a catalyst for parental connection, gestures of understanding, and helping hands. During this 3rd trip a family was visiting from Australia for an entire month. We had the pleasure of most lesson times paralleling. Over the weeks’ time we shared small parts of our stories, finding we were both yoga teachers, turned bloggers titled with our childs’ name followed with ‘Journey’! In passing the family exchanged uplifting words, even giving me an extra hand when I realized I’d forgotten to put Archer’s socks on, and he was already nuzzled onto my back.
Archer continues to learn at the ABM center, the amplitude of his experiences are awakening his brain to heightened levels of cognizance. The third voyage to the ABM center was a big trip, as we had a consult with Anat. Archer sat on my lap as she gathered a brief history, and gave Archer time to acclimate to her voice and presence. Then it was time for the lesson to get started, I laid him down on his side on a high table. He rolled to his back. She began working with gentle movements, then his pelvis engaged and he shifted to the side, rolling belly side down. Here he stays and reaches towards the edge of the table, exploring the new territory, but it is unsafe and he must learn this lesson. So, she quickly and safely with a grip on his ankles let him experience the plummet off the high table! Holding him there a moment to process. The lesson goes on, he finds the edge again, but doesn’t take the risk, she proclaims, “He is a LEARNER!” Anat hypothesizes that he would be sitting up on his OWN soon. We as parents are learning to integrate the ABM philosophy into our daily interactions. By applying these new connections into his daily exploration, Archer’s brain is defying the structural odds, empowered with plasticity.
Archer has a new found glory! To pronounce his very OWN name. Along with other communicative experimentation's, one we like to call “baby eagle”. Which he so kindly shared on a recent 2 hour flight! ABM has enabled us to give Archer his independence. We are working on saddling him up, and giving him both reigns, letting em’ buck and enjoy the wild ride! We no longer are tethering him along the side.
With exploration of his OWN movements, a creative side has flourished. Connecting with the experience of his OWN abilities to think, move, communicate, and play! When we resist the urge to provide our instant feedback, he is given space to cherish his OWN sensations of the moment, allowing for his OWN brain to arrange the inputs and harvest his OWN outputs.
We wrapped up the month of March with a visit to the Pediatric View at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh where we visited Dr. Christine Roman, leading expert in CVI, whom was accompanied with her husband, and partner in practice, Dr. Alan Lantzy, neonatologist. The two are quite the duo, expertise delivered with compassion. Our time a treasure box, each unique sparkle of Archers jewels addressed with kindness, an appointment that touched tender emotions as reality rose to the moment. Archer’s visual pathways and visual cortex are greatly impacted by the structural anomalies. Although our efforts are meaningful, much more support and accommodations need to be in place for him to develop a strong preference to use his vision.
It has been a journey settling into Archer’s pace. Teaching ourselves to: reduce being multiply connected, keep things simple, follow Archer’s lead, and embrace the small things that often go overlooked. Like how Archer can identify a person in near space by just listening to their breathing pattern! A youngster with a visual impairment prefers to sort thru the environment first relying on his greater abilities to tactilely and audibly processing surroundings. Motivating Archer to visually engage takes some modification and we work to ease the flood of inputs in many ways by: decreasing background noise, removing tactile distractions, reducing visually cluttered backgrounds, use of lighted surfaces to play on, and depicting scenes with comparative language for Archer to create a comparative thought process. As we enable him to visually build scenes, he increases his abilities to perceive differences. These modifications will give him the opportunity to distinguish the features and learn to visually interpret these relationship in varying arrays.
In the past few posts I have primarily been gloating about Archer’s successes directly at the ABM center, which I will continue to do and more! The education he is receiving from the practitioners has really begun to reflect in his everyday interactions, and this is where the real change is happening, where the real improvements matter. The impacts are real, and our efforts are compensated with parental bliss. I’m pleased to say in less than a week home from our March trip I found Archer awake from his nap sitting up in his bed! At this point I’m happy he was on a bed, as his exit strategy was a fierce roaring arch, straight back, leading with the head. Fun, and only safe on a bed, as it gives some resilience and a buoyant lift back up. In just 3 short weeks, daffodils were blooming and March near the end, we visited the Phipps Conservatory while in Pittsburgh. The spring flower show titled "Masterpieces in Bloom" one display being Van Gogh's Starry Night, a favorite. As we took time to smell the flowers, Archer mostly napped, as mom and dad enjoyed the horticulture, and vivid aroma of the every changing famous scenes. We returned to the hotel room and Archer displayed the organized blossoming of a sequenced flow from laying to sitting! Rolling to the side, pressing thru the elbow, and lift off! The exit, with a curved spine, lowering down like a lamb so dear!