Maria arrived today with the Mama Cocha kids. She is always reluctant to get into the pool and often just sits along the edge while Joana splashes water on her. Both Monday and today, I tried to engage her with high-fives. Generally, she responded by intertwining and wrapping her fingers into mine. There was always a push and pull to this ¨game¨but I was happy just to be engaging her.
Today, Maria was leaning into the pool and then pulling back. It was like she wanted to get in, but then didn´t. I finally got her close enough that when she leaned forward, I just pulled her in. At first, she was frightened but she soon began engaging me eye to eye. She wasn´t quite sure what to do…and it seemed to me she was wondering what she was supposed to do. After a bit of in-water interaction, she began to relax. She put her head on my shoulder and allowed me to put my arms around her. We moved around the pool quietly and she became more relaxed. I began to sing to her…..truly? she is the only one who has ever gotten me to sing spontaneously! She really seemed to enjoy her time in the water although she seemed to be cold. Maria does not relate well verbally, but has some verbal expressions such as ¨No quiero¨(I don´t want to) and ¨Callate¨(Shut up)….and who knows where they come from. I tried to maintain eye contact with her and kept a monologue going about what a good girl she was and how great it was that she was in the pool.
Both Moises and Tracy enjoyed interacting with Doug. At times, Moises was rather aggressive toward Tracy….maybe a bit jealous of the attention she was getting. He has been raised in a macho masculine environment, and so it is no wonder he feels like the alpha male.
Moises still needs to have surgery to relieve the pressure the liquid surrounding his brain is creating. He has had all the pre-surgery tests and is only waiting for the funding for the surgery itself. This should come through in the next 10 days or so. Meanwhile, his spirits are good and he tells me God has his plan for him. He´s a fun kid, but needs to learn how to interact appropriately with other kids.
Another great afternoon with Mama Coche kids!
Brian, a volunteer from Australia, has been with us for several weeks with the kids. He´s been great with them.
Here he has Tracy and Hector on his shoulders. Both these kids have continued to become more and more independent. Tracy has not quite figured out how to combine her arm movements with kicks; once she does, there won’t be any stopping her. Hector has come a long ways in the last couple of weeks too. He has gained enough confidence to know he can stand up in the pool, but still needs support.
This young gal has been coming with the kids; we think
she is a daughter of one of the house mothers, but haven’t been able to confirm it. She is also very good with the kids and helps out. Fortunately, she enjoys herself too!
Elena was also here today. The last few time she’s been here she has sat at the side of the pool and put her feet in the water. I finally got her close to wanting to go in, so I picked her up and brought her into the water. She showed some concern, but was soon smiling and enjoying herself. She is almost always smiling and reaching out to others with her hands. She’s a real sweetheart. She actually walked up the steps to the house and back down to the car with Brian holding her up. She still doesn’t have the strength to stand for long on her own. She has the basic idea of moving one foot ahead of the other, but it’s still quite awkward.
Juliana is one of the “Moms” at Mama Coche and she usually comes with her young some, Juan. He is so cute, loves the water and hollers when he has to get out.
Two of the Mama Coche kids came today; Hector and Tracy. It was nice to be able to give them real focused one on one attention today.
Tracy has been so close to swimming on her own. I bought her a set of “floaties” that fit around her upper arm to see if that would give her the extra confidence and buoyancy she needed. Once she realized that the floaties would keep her upper body up and that she could stand on the bottom, she was off. It wasn’t too much longer before she didn’t want any support from me and actually pushed my hands away.
Once she gained her confidence, she even began trying to float on her back. She swallowed a lot of water, and came up sputtering a couple of times, but always shook it off and had a big smile on her face.
Stormy always likes to get into the act. She’ll bring one of her toys over by the pool and “accidentally” drop it into the water. Tracy is rather possessive of the toy and doesn’t always want to throw it back to Stormy or to any of the other kids. Today she stuffed the ball into the front of her bikini bottoms so no one else could get it! She later threw it over the edge but no one saw her do it. It didn’t take Stormy too long to find it though.
Hector also had a good day in the pool. He was not at all sure about the floaties and steered clear of them. He was able to stand on the bottom of the pool and actually walk a little ways.
He always thoroughly enjoys his time in the pool. He has a rather severe case of cerebral palsy but he is still able to walk on his own. He has a tendency to tighten up all his muscles and has trouble letting up and relaxing. We usually try to move his legs and get him to kick which he will do quite frantically at times especially with his right leg.