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.


  1. Oh Ian is such a cutie! Love your blog title and happy to read your story via Love that Max xx

  2. How adorable! I remember when Boo took her first steps using a pediatric walker. She is now running us in circles :) Good luck to Ian.
    PS--found you thru Love that Max