31 July 2010

3 Weeks Later: A Surgery Update

I am sure that you have all been waiting on tenterhooks (you have, haven't you?) to hear an update after Eamon's frenula surgery. Well, there have been several results, some strongly hoped for, some quite unexpected.

1. Eamon is saying a lot more sounds and "words." I put "words" in quotes because you sort of have to know him to know what he's saying. He has this habit of dropping the last sound off most words. Therefore, "Doh!" means anything from "dog" to "door" to "the sound that you make when someone bumps into something." BUT, Eamon has started babbling more in general. We had read about how most kids talk to themselves for half an hour or so when you put them in bed, practicing sounds to themselves. Well, Eamon NEVER did that before his surgery. About a week afterwards, though, he suddenly started having long, in-depth (if unintelligible) conversations with his stuffed animals. There is, of course, no way to prove that it was because of the surgery, but the timing is awfully coincidental.
He will also attempt more sounds. For instance, it used to be that if you made a sound, he would try it once. If he couldn't get it right the first time, he would rarely try again. But now, we read books like Mr. Brown Can Moo, and he will actually say "muh" for "moo" and "zzz" for "buzz."
Sunday mornings are fabulous
2. Eamon can stick out his tongue past his lips! There is no doubt that this is because of the surgery. He still has a faint heart-shape where his frenulum holds his tongue down (they can only cut so much, after all), but his tongue definitely goes out past his lips now.

3. He can kiss more normally...when he feels like it. All Eamon's kisses used to involve him opening his mouth wide and sort of enveloping as much of your face as possible. If you were lucky, you got tongue too. They were wet, to the say the least. Now, when he chooses, he can pucker. We still get the sweet and sloppy kisses when he's feeling particularly loving, though.
Yell loudly and carry TWO big sticks

4. The pacifier is gone! I admit it--Eamon was a pacifier baby. He was SO orally fixated as a baby. I never wanted a kid who took a pacifier, but when he was first born, the nurses kept shoving one in his mouth. Family members did, too, and I was so tired and it made him stop crying, so I decided maybe that wasn't the battle to fight. And he loooooved sucking on things so much, that I figured a pacifier would be better than his thumb because at least we could take that away eventually (it is frowned upon to take away their thumbs). Our rule was that he could only have the pacifier when he was in bed or particularly stressed (such as going the doctor, sick, or on long car rides). Nevertheless, I was NOT looking forward to the inevitable pacifier weaning.

BUT! We didn't have to do anything! Apparently, after the surgery, the pacifier just felt wrong in his mouth. Or maybe it hurt? Who knows? Regardless, he just sort of stopped using it. Then he started chewing on the pacifier to the point that he was pulling off the plastic and making it a choking hazard, so we had to take his pacifiers away. AND--he didn't care! Not one bit. When he was sick a few days later, we tried to give him the pacifier just to calm him down and get him to stop crying, and he took it out of habit, but didn't keep it long. He just didn't want it anymore.

5. The oral fixation, overall, has ended. FINALLY. It seemed like Eamon kept putting EVERYTHING in his mouth a lot longer than most kids. EVERYTHING. If he picked it up, it went in his mouth. We had to watch him just about every second. It could get exhausting. But again, I guess because his mouth was hurting for awhile, he just kind of stopped. Things occasionally go in his mouth now, but not nearly as often--mostly just when he's teething and feels like chewing (as opposed to using his mouth to actually examine objects).

SO, for what's it worth, our opinion of the frenula surgery is a positive one. We wish we'd gotten it earlier, but I suppose in terms of the pacifier and the oral fixation, having it at 18 months wasn't too bad, either. Mostly, I'm just glad that Eamon is excited about making new noises and trying to talk so much more than he was (but it's nice not to always get my face washed with kisses, too).

So happy...we could just dance!

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