Sunday, 7 August 2011

Equipment Excitement

We've had a very exciting week this week and one I've been dying to share!

We received a phone call on Monday from Bee's physio to say that the walker we've been waiting for has finally arrived!! Excited? I could barely contain myself!! Thankfully Foz was off work that day so we were able to go down and collect it together as a family. The phone call came mid-morning and the physio said she could fit us in for the collection at 1pm. So 1pm it was, only a couple of hours wait but my word, did it drag.

We didn't take the little toddle truck Bee has been using as we wanted her to give the walker a really good try and not see the toddle truck as something to fall back on. Bee generally enjoys physiotherapy. It's a large room with lots of space and lots of things to climb on, plus toys that are different from her 'home' toys. All that equals lots of fun and a very tired Bee! This time there were no toys out save a musical toy Bee especially likes and a doll with a walking frame.

We'd be expecting standard-issue NHS equipment: black and/or silver, very ungainly and ugly. Yet in the middle of the room was a lovely, shiny gold walker with red rubber handles, small and dainty, perfect for my little miss. I was thrilled! My only slight reservation was the way in which Bee would have to walk with it. She's used to a toddle truck she pushes in front of her. this walker wraps around the back of her legs and has two handles on the sides to hold. I wasn't sure how well she would adapt to this new technique.

Bee did not like the walker. We had tears and tantrums before she would finally try it and even then it took a lot of encouragement. We'd been prepared for that and expected it. Bee can take a while to adapt to anything new and to be honest we didn't expect her to master her discomfort, verging on fear, in the first session. The doll the Physio had brought out was a masterstroke though and a wonderful aid to ease Bee's tension about her new walker. It took lots of encouragement from myself and Foz for her to walk and then it was slightly under duress but she did it! I can't begin to describe the pride when I saw my little girl walking, under her own steam, and choosing where she wants to go. Such a small thing but so huge.

The walker has swivel wheels which can be locked so they only go in straight lines. We started with this as Bee is used to a toddle truck which doesn't turn and we were a little concerned about her ability to steer, as she's never done it before. In short order Bee had straight lines down to a tee and I was feeling giddy with excitement! Throwing caution to the wind we decided to try the swivel wheels, just to give Bee a go. She was a little tenative at first and had a tendancy to drift one way when walking but she soon had that down too. The Physio was happy with her progress and we were confident that with more practise Bee would fly. We were deemed ready for home and so we headed for the door... Daddy in front, Mummy in back and Bee chugging along in the middle! We had a couple of small mishaps into walls and doorframes, partly due to steering inexperience and partly due to being unable to stop herself before hitting something! After making it out of the appointment room, through the waiting room and to the main door we gave Bee the choice stop and be carried. Carried be damned! My girl wanted to walk!!

Walking back to the car

And so she's away! Tomorrow we'll have had Bee's walker for one week and she's flying! She loves to walk! We've walked round Tesco, around a garden centre, down the road to meet Daddy off the bus, even just around the front drive. Any excuse is excuse enough for Bee. Not a day passes when she doesn't say "mama, dior, a-hide", which translates to "mummy, door, outside". What an achievement for her! Not just the words and stringing them together, but that will and desire to walk, to have her independence. We couldn't be happier.

Whoops, wrong turn!

Of course with this new-found freedom comes a small sting-in-the-tail: when Bee wants to go <<- this way and I need to go that way ->> we get some epic tantrums!! We've been amazingly lucky so far in that we've had barely any 'terrible twos' and so this is all part of the bargain. Those tiny rare meltdowns are an insignificant price to pay for such pure, unadulterated freedom for my girl.

A while back I found a piece of equipment online that looked just perfect for Bee, only it was £90, a lot of money. It's called a Little Helper FunPod and is designed for use around the home to replace standing on chairs and such to reach things. Bee is getting to an age where I'd like to do bake with her, let her help with the dishes and similar activities. Unfortunately Bee does not have the balance or co-ordination to stand on a chair, she isn't even standing unaided yet. I could never trust that she would be able to stand safely on a chair or similar. The FunPod states that it's suitable up to age six so in theory Bee would get a lot of use out of it.

We recently ordered one and I've been waiting impatiently for the day of arrival. Coincidentally delivery day happened to be the day we were out collecting Bee's walker with the Physio, we came home to a 'missed delivery' note. How frustrating! The following day Bee and I travelled to the parcel warehouse to collect it, a lovely big and heavy box with 'FunPod' emblazoned all over the sides.

Bee's FunPod
Getting home I unpacked it, built it up and put it in the kitchen. Bee came snooping around and was very interested in this wonderful new addition and was very insistant about being picked up for a good look. I placed her in it, hoping she'd love it but worrying she'd be afraid. Not a chance! Such excitement from her! She had a good look at the edges, a bit of a nibble and did lots of standing up and sitting down inside it.  All in all, a win! That first session we spent eating chocolate biscuits and playing 'peepo', with Bee sitting down and standing up shouting "hiya, bye, hiya, bye".

Since then it's more than proved it was worth every penny of that £90. Bee stands in it to colour or munch on snacks while I cook tea, we play splashing in the sink and I can't wait to try baking. All the while I know she is perfectly safe, at no risk from falling.

Fun in the kitchen sink

There are so many things that parents take for granted with their children, the small things every day that you don't think about. For them to jump in puddles, run and kick a ball, climb in the park... Such simple pleasures a child has and ones that should be appreciated. Now, thanks to this walker and FunPod, my girl will get those same opportunities. I can't wait for the grazed knees, grubby trousers and rock-hard cakes!

1 comment:

Mikaela said...

Cath! I love all the new posts! It brings tears to my eyes to see all the progress Bee is making lately! Experiencing and accepting new textures alone are a major reason to celebrate (they always were and still are in our house!) but to also master new words and new steps with new equiptment have me bursting with excitement and pride for your sweet girl, whom although I have never met I have come to adore! What a wonderful and supportive family she has, you should be just as proud of yourself for helping aid Bee's progress as you are with her for her courage and determination! So happy for you all! xxx