She Be But Little

“And Though She Be But Little, She is Fierce”

And that sums up perfectly Gretchen Estelle.

Today we had another IEP/CPSE meeting, this time for Gretchen, to talk about her progress in physical therapy.

IMAGE Gretchen in the NICUO

Gretchen in the NICU. My first mother's day.

Keep in mind that at almost age 5 Gretchen is still fitting in size 3T clothing. She’s longer than she is wide, so adjustable waists are cinched in as far as possible. She’s more comfortable in leggings only because she usually runs out of jeans and pants, literally. Her feet are small too. She’s just small.

Just don’t tell her she’s small. That’s a no-no.

Gretchen, you see, is the only one NOT bothered by her size. Never has been and hopefully never will. We are followed closely by an endocrinologist in Syracuse at the Joslin Diabetes Center because her growth has been so slow, but she is growing and that’s all that matters. She was recently tested for Turner’s Syndrome which I kept telling the doctor she did not have.

She didn’t.

And you can’t pin her size solely on the fact that she was a micro-preemie at 1 lb, 4 oz. After all, have you seen my sister Lesia (no offense sis) compared to me? I am a giant. She is petite. Then there are my gorgeous nieces Stephanie and Justyna. Both are very petite.

The Workhorse

While meeting our endocrinologist the first time the doctor decided to test Gretchen’s skills by asking her to get on the exam table by herself. She did so not by swinging her leg up to the table like most kids would do, instead she used her arms combined with her core to lift herself on the table. The doctor stood there with her mouth gaping open.

“I have never seen a kid do that.”

That’s my Gretchen for you.

Fast forward to prekindergarten. Some of her classmates (her sister not included) picked up quickly that Gretchen was smaller than they were. So, being nice kids, they’d offer to put stuff away for her, to carry her packpack, to assist her with other tasks. To them, she would say, “No. I can do it.”

And she would! She will not let anyone do things for her at school.

That’s my girl!!

Physical Therapy

Which brings me to today’s meeting with the Canastota School District. We met to talk about possibly continuing her physical therapy sessions. She currently receives therapy three times a week at the sitter’s house. While she is making progress, and is building the strength in her legs, she still needs some help with balance, with resisting to walk on her tip-toes, with jumping over objects with her two feet in unison. (Has anyone ever seen me jump? Gretchen is better than me…believe me!)

It was decided that because she is still struggling, physical therapy will continue through June. A summer session will not be needed (yay!) and this fall, in kindergarten, she will be taking gym with the other kids to see if she can use the “regular” equipment. If this becomes too troublesome, or if she gets too frustrated, because she can’t keep up with her classmates she could be placed in a smaller adaptive PE class.

Is that a DONUT?!

Gretchen's other love: eating!

Although I think she may be frustrated at first, I’m pretty sure she’s ready to compete with her classmates.

And besides, I reminded everyone, the whole reason Gretchen still gets up on her toes (she does walk “normal” if you tell her) is because this world was not built for her.

With time she will get taller, and she will manage to jump over blocks two feet at a time. I’m pretty confident she will try anyway. After all she has been a workhorse since day one… this part, a piece of cake! And I am ever so proud of her accomplishments.


4 thoughts on “She Be But Little

  1. Thats my Gretch! Great things come in those small packages, Lex. Where we lack in physical stature we make up for in other areas. Gretch will always hold her own, don’t you worry about that. She’s been that little fighter since day one. She is truly an inspiration. She’s always melted my heart with that fight of hers…and she would never be what she is without you and Rob as her parents! Congrats to the littlest Conrad princess on her most recent milestones. Love you all!

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