The hospital is massive. Like a small town with lots of seperate buildings that work their way up the side of a valley. Of course childrens services is at the top of the valley, next to the heli pad. Typically Mette and I went to the wrong side of "town" and had to hike all the way to the other side with seconds to spare.
The first day started at 10am with a check-in with the Doctors and a few forms to fill in. We got given our schedule and some informational sheets. The staff are really nice and embarrass us with their fluent English. We met one of the department heads and he reassured us that Lilian is already doing well and that we're going to enjoy ourselves.
At noon Lilian had her first of many play picnics. It's exactly like a normal picnic but the parents aren't allowed to interfere. If the child wants to pour a drink on the floor then they are allowed. Throw some mash potato over there - crack on! We're only allowed to step in if the child starts to cry or gets upset. This lasts for an hour and is meant to teach children that they can have fun with food and that it's not a bad thing. Adults are eating their own lunch during the session. I suppose part of the idea is that over time children see others enjoying food and start to take small tastes. Eventually learning that food is a good thing and actually tastes pretty good to boot.
Next up was occupational therapy. Lilian normally enjoys this one at home as to her it's play time. We first discussed her history and what she likes/dislikes. A few toys were brought out so they could gauge her skills. Then they attached a massive swing to the ceiling and put Lilian on board. Mette swung Lilian back and forth. Lilian loved it. This is meant to help strengthen her core mucsles as Lilian has to work against the swing to keep her balance.
Last session of the day was speech and language. Again we introduced Lilian to the therapist then some small tests were carried out. Lilian was taught how to feed a hand puppet which she thought was great fun. Some long thin snacks were brought out. The sour snake sweets didn't do the job but the pretzel sticks went down just fine. By down I mean the were licked to death but not swallowed. We think our little Lilian has a savoury tooth.
By then it was already four and we had a very special appointment to keep back home so we ran to the local supermarket to buy wine for daddy, sweets for mummy and pretzel sticks for Lilian then almost jogged through to woods home.
Remember we're in Austria and they do Christmas properly over here. We were just in time to get in doors before the actual Saint Nicholas arrived in his battered old Opel car or should it be sleigh? The manager of the house had organised for the local Priest to visit Lilian and Oskar to bless them and tell us the story of the proper Saint Nicholas from Turkey - not the Coca Cola fella from up north. He brought them each a small sack of treats too. The house manager had also freshly baked some traditional Austrian cinnamon pastries and made some lovely Christmas tea whilst also knocking together a gingerbread house. Like I said these guys do Christmas properly! Mette and I were truly touched by all this effort and whilst the kids are a bit small for the story I think they enjoyed being spoken too by some old geezer with a white beard and a funny hat.