Monday, July 30, 2012

Developing Interests

It's an exciting time in The World of Ian: our family just bought a new Casio keyboard. Justin and I had always planned on piano lessons for Ian, but we didn't think he'd be able to start until he was a bit older. Truth is, the keyboard was something I stumbled upon while browsing Amazon for running earbuds. The price was amazing, so I showed it to Justin and we decided to go for it. The plan was to put it away and save it for when Ian was older and starting piano lessons. Yeah right - we opened it the day after it arrived on our doorstep! Ian was very excited, and happily poked around at the keys for a while before trying to play with his elbows. He's shown a love and aptitude for music since he was a baby, so starting him out with a piano just seemed like a good first step.

Ian enjoying music at a young age :)

I myself started piano lessons when I was around eight - without much success - and it led to joining the percussion section of the school band at 10, which I did all the way though my high school years. I would love for Ian to play a musical instrument, if he wants to, so if he's already showing interest in music, I want to be sure to foster that interest from the start. I asked Ian's OT if she thought piano lessons would be good for him at this point, and she thought it would be great for developing his hand and finger strength and dexterity. I'm so excited to start him down the road of playing music, and I can't wait to see what other things he becomes interested in as he grows! 

Jamming out on the new keyboard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Lately, I've really been looking forward to Tuesdays. Tuesday is the day Ian has his out-patient physical therapy in the afternoon, and this Tuesday was his second session with his new HKAFOs (hip-knee-ankle-foot orthotics for those of you not in the know about lower body orthotics). They strap around his waist and go all the way down around his feet, and have movable joints at the hip and knee that can be locked or unlocked. When the joints are locked, Ian can stand with the support of the braces, as long as he holds himself up on something with his arms. At home, I stand him up against our coffee table or couch and sit close beside him to keep him from tipping over on either side. At PT, his therapist Jill holds on to him, and I can watch him stand and move from a little bit of a distance. I can see how wobbly and uneasy he is at first, having to stand on those two little legs that have been mostly decoration for so long. I laugh to myself about how his butt sticks out a little, even when he's standing straight up - a common feature for standing/walking people with spina bifida. He struggles to keep his upper half up on top of those two little stick legs. He sags down as he gets tired, and Jill has to keep a hand on his chest to keep him from completely dropping forward as he tries to support himself on a little walker.

Ian on the day he got his HKAFOs, experiencing standing for the first time.

As a mother who has never seen her first born child crawl, walk, or run, seeing him stand up on his own two little feet (which are the same size as his 15 month old sister's, by the way) is amazing. It's small, but it's HUGE. I know it, and I think he knows it too. He struggles and he tries, and he wants to do it. He sees his little sister walking around with ease while he struggles just to stand up in braces with a walker. He knows it's different for him, but he wants to keep trying. He gets tired, and then he gets stubborn, but the next day he's ready to try again. I don't know if he'll ever be able to actually walk with the use of braces, but I feel like we at least owe him the chance. With two weeks of HKAFO experience under his belt, Ian can see that it's not easy to even stand, much less walk, but as long as he wants to keep working at it I'll keeping sitting by him, trying to prevent him from face-planting into the floor.

Ian with two weeks of standing practice under his belt, using a walker for support.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Slowing Down: Vacation Remix!

*Sigh*...vacation is over. Back to reality. Justin goes back to work, Ian goes back to summer school, and I go back to being the shuttle that goes to and from summer school, therapy appointments, doctor visits, and so forth.

Our whole family had a nice vacation relaxing and slowing down. We stayed at a rented house on a nice lake and enjoyed the air conditioning during a Fourth of July heat wave. We were happy to find that the lake was so shallow by the pier that we could put Ian's fold-up camp chair right in and let him sit in the water! He had a great time in the water with his sister and grandpa, and also got to try kayaking and going out in a motor boat.

Ian in the kayak with his grandpa

Before we left for our trip I was lamenting a little over the fact that Ian would miss his weekly activities. Even though it was Fourth of July week he would miss two days of summer school, three therapy sessions, and a swimming lesson during the week we'd be gone. I figured he'd make up for the swimming lesson easily with the lake, but I hated to think of him missing therapy sessions, even for vacation. I briefly considered making the 4+ hour round trip drive to bring him to at least one of his sessions. Once at our destination though, the lake called and the hurriedness of everyday life was soon forgotten. Now that we're starting another busy week, I'm glad Ian - and I - got a week off of everything. We had a lot of fun and made many good memories that I wouldn't trade, even for therapy.