Pushing with Intent
It is easy to take simple actions for granted, but one must consider all the physiological integrations of the nervous system that are required to do the simplest of actions, even something as simple as maintaining muscle tone for the sake of posture.
Between last Christmas and June, Olivia destroyed 2 electronic toy keyboards. Why? Because she loves them so much. So, when Santa Claus came he brought one for her, but within 1-2 months Olivia dropped it on the wood floors enough times to render it useless. Subsequently I found an inexpensive replacement at Target for $11 and at the time even thought to myself, “sheesh for $11 I should get a back-up for when she destroys this one”. I didn’t purchase a “back-up”, but it was only a matter of weeks before the 2nd keyboard was killed.
I was perusing the toy aisles with the intent of finding something musical, possessed buttons, but might be more durable. I found this Fisher-price puppy that plays different songs or rhymes depending on what body part you press. He has buttons in his ears, paws, stomach, and a big red heart that lights up when pressed. Ah-ha! lights, music, buttons… almost perfect, minus the fact that she’s never really been interested in stuffed-animals, but I decided to give it a shot.
It has now been 3 months or more, and with a little disappointment thus far, Olivia hasn’t displayed much interest in the puppy. I have sat with her on occasion and helped her touch the puppy and we listen to the songs, etc, but I have yet to see her make any deliberate attempt to play with it on her own.
Well, well, well, we all know now that little miss Olivia is full of surprises. And what do you know? Saturday evening, I made her bed, placed the puppy on her pillows as I always do, and she immediately climbed up pushed the red heart and settled onto her tummy to watch and listen. My jaw dropped.
When the music stopped, she rose onto her knees, pushed the heart with her pointed index finger, again, and laid back down to listen. I was shocked. She persisted at this for several minutes! Obviously long enough for me to run and find the camera to snap a pic of her with that little finger pointed.
My baby girl is coming back! It has been 4 years or more since the last time I saw her point her finger.
And you may be confused about why this simple act is so significant to me and for Olivia. Think about the scenario, she had to notice the toy, recall its function, go to the toy, choose what to press to get the desired effect, and then deliberately use her motor function to press the button, linger long enough to hear the song, and then decide to repeat the action.