Saturday, December 17, 2011

Training Wheels

As with any child, new freedom is both a good and challenging thing. On the one hand, new freedom lets the child grow, move on to the next step in life. On the other hand, new freedom is many times extra work and frustrations for the parents of the child. This is a situation we're entering with Ian. He's had his wheelchair since August, but its use has mostly been restricted to school and our home. Since his maneuvering has improved so much in the past months, my husband and I decided it was time to introduce the wheelchair to more everyday life situations. Like Target...on a Saturday...in December.

So, with our eight month-old daughter perched in the cart basket and my sister-in-law in tow for extra adult support, my husband and I wheeled Ian into Target to pick up some essentials and finish our Christmas shopping list. Ian has been in our local Target store enough to know where the good stuff is, so as soon as we were inside the entrance and had our hands off him, he started for the back of the store -- where they keep the toys and electronics. Once there, we found that it was very crowded, so we wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Ian apparently had his heart set on seeing the wall of TVs, so he took off down the aisle in that direction, showing no concern for the people crossing back and forth in front of him. Most people are very surprised at the site of such a little boy in such a cute, little wheelchair, so they mostly smile and jump at the chance to get out of his way. Problem is, we're trying to teach him to be considerate with his wheelchair in public. When we stop him from going where he wants to go, he sometimes screams and puts up a fight, much like any other child would in that situation. Things are sometimes different for us with Ian, but many times they are the same as they are for anyone with a young child.

I look forward to the day when Ian can wheel beside me in a store or at the zoo, instead of me pushing him to keep him on track. I know the day will come. If anyone has been there or has any stories or tips, I'd love to hear them!

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