March 27, 2010


While changing my buddy's diaper the other day, I got to thinking about all the "side effects" of hypotonia.  Hypotonia, aka. low tone, is the ability of a muscle to respond to a stretch.  It has nothing to do with the strength of the muscle.  I looked it up and the best description for me was - low toned muscles do not fully contract before they again relax, they remain loose and very stretchy.  Our physical therapist said it's like my buddy has some extra gravity that he has to work hard against.  Kind of like the opposite of floating in water.

You may be asking yourself - why this thought during a diaper change.   Typical babies, you grab the ankles and push them towards their face and the bottom magically lifts.  Not my buddy.  You can put his ankles next to his ears and his bottom is still flat on the ground.  I have to physically lift his ankles up into the air... easier before he reached 26 pounds and knows how to squirm and roll.

My buddy wears cloth diapers - which I love.  But at night, you need to "double stuff" the diapers which adds a little to the bulk.  Usually not an issue unless you sleep on your stomach with one leg hitched up so your foot is next to your ear and your knee is pointing out, causing a gape and allowing lots of leaks.  We are in disposables at night.

As an infant he was so hard to hold.  It's not easy to pick up a limp noodle of a baby and even harder when they are soapy and wet.  It was so long before I could sit my buddy on a hip and hold him with just one hand.  And the low muscle tone also impedes speech development.

Yet with all that is stacked against him, here he is at 17 months old walking.  The past week he has perfected his skills and now walks 90% of the time in the house.  He even walked around a playdate and at the mall playground.  The "normal" range for walking goes up to 18 months.  We hit a milestone for typical kids!!!! I think I owe it to monkey bear.  She has walked up and down the hallway with him, encouraging him along the way, for countless hours.

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