Yet Another Plano Trip

Well, we’re back from eating our way through Plano, Texas and the surrounding areas. I am not kidding. My parents, some of the tiniest people on the planet, are really enthusiastic about eating. They are equally enthusiastic about feeding Charlie–that’s their idea o true entertainment.

Whenever I’m out of town I try to go to places that we don’t have in NOLA (that’s New Orleans, LA)–I mean, if I’m 400 miles away, why eat at Applebees, ya know?

So we started at Panera Bread Company–at this point we realized that we’d forgotten Charlie’s seat–the one we take with us everywhere, so he can actually SIT at the table. It was ugly for a moment, but we tried a restaurant high chair and lo and behold! He could actually kind of sit in one. He starts to list to the side after awhile, but man, what milestone.
So, Panera. Delicious bread, salad, and warm potato soup, which was good because it was COLD.

We also hit Carrabas Italian Something-Or-Other. I had pasta stuffed with cheese, which is how I like my pasta–stuffed with things–especially it it’s cheese.
And there was Pei Wei Chinese food.

And Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant–you should always get Mexican food when you’re in Texas–they really know how to make it there.

I think I’m still full.

You may remember that the purpose of this trip wasn’t to eat at a wide variety of chain restaurants, but rather, to learn some new therapy techniques and see how he’s progressing.
Things are good.

Improvements are there. They focused mostly on big, functional changes. Charlie used to be made of silly putty. There was no way he could sit up at all. At the six month mark, he was starting to have trunk control. At the one year mark, He can actually sit independently for brief periods. Our traditional PT has actually taken sitting off of our goal sheet–she’s moving on to bigger things like walking!

His neck is a lot longer in the back. Might not seem like a big deal, but when you start seeing how many CP kids have a hunched look and trouble raising their arms, you realize you need a neck. Also, Charlie’s physiatrist who can’t even remember the name of this therapy has commented on how improved his head control is.

They’ve also got some shots of him pushing into quadraped and honestly, these aren’t good shot–he’s actually a LOT better at this now–getting full arm extension and sometimes even getting his butt off the floor.

These pictures aren’t dramatic as my first set, but major progress is still visible. He can sit. Not for a long time, but still. It’s amazing.
Total, I think I spent about 520 hours working on Charlie with my two hands. My parents coughed up the money for the ABR machine and I think we got about 500 hours with that. Machine hours are NOT the same as manual hours, but they help. Is it worth all the time and money? For us, yes. For others, maybe not. I don’t think he’d be this strong without it. Also, his overall health has improved dramatically, which isn’t something you can take a picture of. He’s a great eater, a good pooper, and he sleeps relatively well. He seems to be getting better and better at fending off disease and when he does get sick, it doesn’t decimate him the way it used to.

Up next we’re working on little things like jaw strength and even more neck length, but also big-picture stuff like strengthening his pelvis, which should aid in standing and walking. Can’t wait to see where that takes us!
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  1. says:

    Katy, how fantastic! The before and after pictures are AMAZING. And he's sitting in a restaurant high chair – wohooooo!!!!!! How cool! I am so excited for you guys. Congrats on seeing the results of all your hard work.

  2. WOW…. that's so great!

    It's amazing to see your pics…. I know your goal is to provide the best possible therapy for Charlie and I am always so thrilled to hear your ideas & see Charlie's progress.

    Glad you're back!

  3. Wow, that is fantastic! I would be very interested if you could do some posts and show some pictures and videos of how you do ABR with Charlie, and what the schedule is like on an average week. How do you manage to find the time? I am intrigued with ABR, but don't really understand exactly what you have to do. My 2 1/2 year old has very little trunk or head control, etc. I don't know if I'd be able to put in all the time and energy that you do though! You are amazing.

  4. That's great news about his progress! Can't wait to meet you both the next time you're here.

  5. Great news! We must take you to some places when you come in town next time :). There are some great joints by our house, worth the drive

  6. Wow, great progress! Thanks for sharing. I love those ABR before and after. We have been doing ABR about 11 months now, and still no comparision photos like those. I am going to have to put my foot down if we don't get them this week in PA. I am getting frustrated. Is that 540 hours total since you started…or just since your last trip to Plano? That's really good for just a few months. You go!

  7. Candace says:

    YEAH Charlie, a real high chair! That is some great stuff! I remember when Faith couldn't do that and we would take rolled up baby blankets and stuff her in so she could sit up. He sure is making some great progress, Katy. 500+ hours of momma hands, what more could a boy ask for? The best hands on earth! I love to see all these updates they are inspiring, friend!Keep it up!

  8. Awesome news! All the way around!

  9. Amy Genn says:

    Wonderful news….in so many ways!

    You can use a restaurant high chair! WOOT WOOT!!! That's HUGE!

    I can see the progress in the pictures! Awesome :)

  10. MelissaInk says:

    Wow, all great stuff (progress and, you know, food).

  11. caryanne says:

    I don't think parents of typically-developing children understand the HUGENESS that is "being able to sit in a restaurant high chair". That is so freaking awesome than I'm almost jumping up and down in my living room (I would be if I wasn't so exhausted from 2 two-year-olds that fought each other all day long).

    When we finally got to that point, life became so much easier. Way to go Charlie…definitely take a blanket / towel along with you to stuff around him until he can do it all on his own…but WAY TO FREAKIN' GO!!!!

    Love the progress pics. I can't imagine where you find the time to put in all those hours but you are awesome.


    P.S. Sorry about all the over-the-top praise…but I'm so into positive reinforcement with the kiddos right now that it runs over to interactions with adults.

  12. Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me says:

    OMG those pictures are so dramatic from 2008 to 2009…what a huge difference! Money well spent, I say.
    I am creating a list of yummy places for you to eat on your next visit, at the top is Rockfish Grill (Seafood). Carrabas is quite yummy and my tummy is now grumbling so I will stop the food discussion.
    WTG Charlie on sitting in that high chair!!!!

  13. The progress is obvious just on the pictures to a total stranger…let alone the progress you see on a daily basis as someone who really knows him. How thrilled you are!

    And those restaurant high chairs are awkward for 'typical' kids even so high five Charlie for conquering that!!

    Even better things are coming!

  14. Ksty – He looks so great ! really amazing! I just got my DVD from the ABR center.. I might be emailing you with some questions/thoughts soon.

  15. I love the "before" and "after" pictures. Love. Them. Charlie has made some amazing progress.

    And the food? Whenever I travel I think of it as a mini-vacation–indulge while you can!

  16. TMI Tara says:

    Wow, not only is my mouth watering, but my eyes are too! I'm so happy about the progress you've seen! Awesome!!!

  17. Nadine Hightower says:

    Woo Hoo Charlie!!!

    You all are doing a great job!!

  18. AMAZING!!!! You have inspired me to look into ABR for Max; a friend of mine knows of a specialist who's great, and she's going to come do a consultation with us one weekend.

  19. Normally I'm so good at saying things like YEAH! or YOU ROCK! and not telling you that I'm sitting here and bawling my eyes out. Amazing progress.

  20. Wow you do such a great job of documenting all his work and progress! Great job. Charlie is looking great since the last time I popped in to check up on you guys. And a clean house is highly overrated.

    Your food vacation looked alot like my husband and myself own this february except for the mexican. We tried Panera just by chance and we quite happy with it. We ran away for a night so there were children pandering around lol.

    Keep good and keep strong.

  21. Jessica says:

    Charlie is so cute and looking so much like a little boy (not so much like a baby anymore) I'm really excited by his progress. We've been slacking lately and pretty much only use the machine but we're going to the next ABR satellite we just havent decided which one. Question for you – you mentioned a chair that you normally take with you for Charlie to sit in, can you tell me what it is exactly?

  22. Man, these comparsion pics are awesome! Go Charlie!

  23. Small Town Girl says:

    I'm a crazy person when it comes to food and eating while travelling! It's a MUST to eat at different places!!

  24. Charlie looks so great! You can really see the difference when you compare prior pictures.