I said I'd update on all of the things we were working with Stephen on this summer, so I'm staying true to my word.
Stephen is doing really, REALLY well! We are working on learning to jump, climb steps without holding on (or at least go up and down ONE on his own), and riding the tricycle. All of these depend on Stephen's leg strength, which we have been working on diligently. We have been taking 1/2 mile walks in the mornings (before it gets too hot), to work on his endurance, as well as practicing with the trike. With the trike, he is keeping his feet on the pedals, and pushing a little bit, but not enough to actually make anything happen, so Mommy and Daddy put up with the sore backs to push him while he "works" the pedals. We go up and down the stairs all day long due to Stephen's continued refusal to use the bathroom downstairs, and while he CAN do one or two completely on his own (without holding on to a person, wall, or banister), he is terribly nervous about it, so we are working on his confidence in this area. The funny thing about this particular skill is that he had it down really well about 2 months ago, and then it was like he realized what he was doing, and got scared. We got Stephen a small trampoline with a handle, and we have been trying to get him to jump on that. So far, all he has done is bounce a little bit, but its more that he was doing at the beginning of the summer, so we'll take it!
Speech has been picking up a little bit. We hear more words from him spontaneously throughout the day, but he still isn't communicating very well. I know they are in there, and will come out when he's ready. He HAS, however, been using the few signs that he knows to communicate with us much more this summer, which has made everyone a lot happier. Now we just have to get him to start using the sign for potty...
Speaking of the potty, I think we can say that Stephen is potty trained at home. He has very few accidents, and will usually just head in the direction of the bathroom when he has to go. Most of the time when we are out, he will just hold it, instead of trying to let us know he has to go. If we are going to be somewhere for a longer period of time, I usually pack up his little potty insert thing that goes on top of the toilet seat, and he'll go wherever we are. We are still having a bit of an issue at Church school, but we are confident that it will work itself out when he is going there and to preschool again regularly. Stephen is able to step up on his step stool, and sit down and stand up from the toilet all on his own. He can also pull his pants and undies down on his own, and back up with minimal assistance. He can also get undressed and dressed with just a little bit of help now too, with the exception of his socks and shoes (which are especially difficult when you are a child with exceptionally sweaty feet...).
Stephen has just made a ton of progress this summer! He hasn't been very excited about sitting still to do things lately, though, due in part to his highly increased energy level that appears to be a result of his heart procedure. By the way, the device is still perfectly in place, and Stephen is having no complications as of his follow-up appointment last Monday. We will go back in November, and then we're done for a couple of years.
That's all for now, though! Stephen hasn't been sitting still long enough for me to get many pictures lately, but I'll try to put some up later this week!