Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Changing Tones

Since birth, Crew has been accused of having slightly high muscle tone. High muscle tone (spasticity) can be a sign of Cerebral Palsy and it's been a red flag that every member of Crew's medical team has had on their radar.

I am probably the only person that hasn't been uber-concerned by it at one time or another. I seem to remember Kinley having unusually high muscle tone for a baby and no one ever accused her of having Cerebral Palsy. Granted, she didn't have Crew's alarming medical history, but still.

It is very common for micropreemies to present with high muscle tone early on. Sometimes that muscle tone resolves and relaxes over time. Often it does not improve, interfering with gross motor development. In typical Crew fashion, he has thumbed his nose at the statistics: his high muscle tone has, indeed, resolved, relaxed, and all but disappeared. In further happy news, he also has normal reflexes (they are not "brisk", for you nursey types).

Interestingly, however, it has become apparent that his high muscle tone has been masking something very unexpected: low muscle tone. It seems he has been hiding a little developmental secret from us while we've been working to loosen him up this last year. It's odd, but it does make a certain amount of sense and fits perfectly with what I have observed over the last few months.

Basically, while he has been growing stronger in some well-exercised areas of his body, he has actually been growing weaker in others as his high muscle tone, which once passed occasionally for "strength", has diminished.

What that means for Little Crew is that he needs further strengthening. So, we have backed up the PT train and gifted him an exercise ball! He absolutely loves it and I will have to try to get pictures of him working out on it. Having him love anything related to PT is a blessing these days. This is technically a backwards step, but I feel really good about it.

In other Crew News: He has molars! Two gigantic molars (which also explain a lot about his crummy attitude last month). He is sleeping well again and has recently dropped down to one long nap each day. His food intake has been steadily increasing and his culinary ambition has improved as well. He is becoming more brave in terms of texture and temperature. Hydration continues to be a struggle, but he has recently discovered a love of peeled grapes. There is a lot of water in a bowl of grapes! Next up: watermelon!

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