In the last few weeks everyone who sees Catherine says she looks so great and seems to have tons of energy. They are right. She has so much energy now it is thrillng to us, she is smiling more, bouncing around, and seems to be bubbling over with energy.
At times, it is a problem because she doesn't have the self control to deal with all of her energy; we have to teach her self control. Plus, she still doesn't have the best balance and falls quite a bit as she runs (literally, runs) around the house. More falls means more minor injuries.
We have wondered what the difference is between two months ago and now. Several changes were made at one time, so it is hard to say what the difference is, but here are some factors:
- The January surgery allows us to do colon irrigations, which is keeping Catherine from being constipated. Although we are not getting enough out with the catheterizations, we are actually emptying her bladder completely when we do. Her abdomen is much flatter now and she looks totally different. She is likely not getting as many infections as she was because her body is more effectively eliminating waste. She rarely throws up now.
- With home schooling, we can let Catherine sleep until 8 or 8:30, rather than having to wake her up at 6:45 a.m. We still put her to bed at the same time each night, so that gives her an extra hour to almost two hours of sleep every night.
- We have moved all of her feedings to the day time to prevent us from having to wake her up all night to catheterize her every 2-3 hours. Therefore, she is getting calories all day rather than fasting all day. These calories are likely giving her energy.
- She may be sleeping better at night because she is not getting fed. I wonder if the influx of all of her calories overnight made her body work digesting it, thus disrupting the restfulness she was getting.
- We are doing her schooling in shorter bursts of two to three hours at a time. This is because both she and I get exhausted after a few hours of intense work. We both need a break. So, we school for 2-3 hours, then play for 2-3 hours, then school again, then play again. Finally, at night when we do her colon irrigations, we do another hour of school work. These shorter bursts of educational time have been very effective because we are both fresher. Plus, I think she is not as exhausted as when she had to attend school for a full 7 hour day. I don't think she had the endurance to go all day.
- She gets to play with her sister a lot now. And I mean really play, not just for a few minutes between dinner and bedtime. They act out scenes from movies that have seen, stage weddings in the playhouse, do treasure hunts in the backyard, teach school to all the Barbie dolls, host tea parties, etc. This is not rushed time; they can seriously play together a lot more than ever before.
- She gets a lot more physical affection and cuddling time from me. I am not sure if this has physical health benefits, but it is clearly a need which Catherine has. All day long Catherine asks for hugs and kisses. She requests that I sit with her on the couch while she journals. I thought this may stop after her surgery was over and we were home for a few days, but it has not abated. I think she may outgrow it over the next few months or a year, but for now she seems to have a significant need for physical affection. Fortunately, I can meet that need of hers for now.
Whatever the reason is, or more likely reasons, it is so exciting to see her now - a bubbly, happy child.