One of the more frustrating aspects of Corrigan’s development is the fact that he often learns something, perhaps a letter, word or skill, repeats the letter properly, picks it from a book etc. for awhile, and then never ever repeats that word, or letter again.
Take the letter “H.” Last summer he knew the letter clearly. He could repeat it perfectly (thankfully we have it on video), if you sang the ABC song and stopped at the letter “G” he would shout the letter “H” at the right moment. He could point at it in a book, he clearly knew the letter.
Then, after a few weeks, he stopped saying it at all. No amount of prompting would elicit the letter. All of the cute things that we did that incorporated that letter disappeared. To this day, despite now knowing several new letters, he will not repeat the letter H. It is so strange.
Recently, Corrigan has become a champion climber. There were whispers of core strength weakness but after catching him way too many times on the kitchen counter, and realizing the strength it requires to heave up and over the ledge the way that Corrigan makes it up there, I do not think that assessment is accurate.
The kitchen counter thing is my fault. Not long ago I moved the iPod speaker to the top of the refrigerator because I am a bit addicted to the Pandora radio app and I spend a lot more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. Corrigan loves music more than just about anything else and when he realized that all of that sound was coming from on top of the fridge he just had to get a closer look.
This is how I find him now…
He just hangs out there on the freezer door, waiting for someone to come in and turn on the tunes.
We were gone for many days last weekend and when we returned, I noticed that Corrigan seemed to have forgotten about the kitchen counter. A few times he climbed up on the two lower shelves, that he previously used as steps up to the counter top, but he seemed to have lost the knowledge on how to get up and over the edge. It was the first time that I was happy that one of his skills disappeared like vapor.
He forgot that he knew how to climb! Perhaps that skill was gone like the letter “H” and I could relax!
Until the next morning when I found him up there again, small pile of Cheerios at his feet. I cannot leave any food on counter now for fear of Corrigan eating something bad for him and getting very sick. In fact, we now are looking into ways to latch each of our cabinets shut (not that the duct tape isn’t super classy or anything!) because one sneaky adventure into the peanut butter (or practically anything else you would keep in a cabinet) would mean something horrible for Corrigan.
Thankfully, fruity Cheerios (only 22 grams mind you!) are safe for little C and I didn’t have a heart attack when I saw them open. They were measured out for a morning snack and apparently he can open lidded containers now. Oh boy.
We knew that there would come a point that we would have to lock down our kitchen. We now have to figure out ways to keep Corrigan from grazing at whim and prevent him from poisoning himself with food. The top of the refrigerator is not even safe anymore! The baby gate that we bought while away for the weekend worked for a day or so but then he decided to try and climb that too, and with his feeding tube button in just the right place to be ripped from his abdomen while scaling a baby gate, I quickly took it down.
For months before Corrigan was born, Mark drilled into our heads about picking up things that a baby could choke on from the floor. Nothing was missed by Mark in his attempts to prepare us for an infant. Long before Corrigan was ever able to crawl around, or have the fine motor skills to grasp a wayward pen cap or something, we would hear Mark yell, from the other end of the house, “Who left this ping pong ball where the baby could choke on it?” We rolled our eyes for awhile but it didn’t take long to realize what babies were capable of shoving down their throats.
Now, our fear is food. We have spent months and months reminding Connor that the pack of half-opened crackers that he left beside the couch are more dangerous to Corrigan than a wayward AAA battery. Just this morning, I found an opened tin of Poppycock popcorn treats at the foot of one of his friends that had slept over. I heard myself say, “Who left the open container of Corrigan poison on the living room floor?” The protein in a few of those pecans and almonds would be enough to make him super sick, especially if I didn’t know that he had eaten any and then fed him his regular alloted amount for the day.
So there are a lot of behavioral changes taking place in the Mooney household lately. Mostly, for everyone but Corrigan which is kind of strange…but we have to change our behaviors to keep him safe and healthy. Much like Mark’s insistence on choking safety, and to an even more urgent degree now, we have to be vigilant about where we store our food and even how we discard the remnants.
It is weird to live as if food were poison, but to Corrigan it truly is. We have a lot of learning still to do here, thank goodness we are all up for it. We really don’t have a choice.