Piper’s 7 weeks post op this week. And, as far as gross motor skills go, I feel like we’re where we were about a month BEFORE she went in.
It’s been frustrating. And I keep having to remind myself that I wouldn’t be wanting to do my normal stuff after having that kind of insult to my body, either.
I’ve said before that 90% of Piper’s refusal to do new things is her lack of confidence to do so. She accidentally does things long before she purposefully does them. Unfortunately, this experience has made it even worse. She’s been very overprotective of her body (again, not that I blame her, for sure) and won’t do things that she thinks might hurt. We couldn’t practice her big skills, like walking and standing, because the way you give support could pull her chest funny. We couldn’t even use her walking stick- we tried once, and she slipped and scraped it the whole way up her chest. Now she refuses.
So, her confidence is broken. And she’s even more dependent on others than she was three months ago.
I’m pretty bummed about the whole thing; I thought she’d be walking for sure by Christmas, but she’s got a lot of ground to make up and now I don’t see that happening. Bummed. She will take about 4 or 5 steps toward the chair with the cushion off (if there is sufficient motivation (ie Kix) on the chair), and she’ll mess on her baby walker during the day, but that’s about it.
Anyway, so her therapist and I were talking, and we got her PT to come over, too, to try and get some ideas.
Now? Now I’m excited. We got a new toy- a medical grade walker. That’s all of about 10” tall. The cutest thing you’ve EVER seen. And best of all? Piper LOVES it. I do mean love. It takes her a little out of her comfort zone because she doesn’t have the bulk of things in front of her. And it lets her get close to things, too. She can sit down inside of it and crawl out if she wants, and she can get in and stand up all by herself, too.
She was in it for about 45 minutes today, without stopping. She’d stand up inside of it and play with something, then decide she wanted to go and explore somewhere else.
We’re hoping that it’ll do several things for her:
-increase her endurance- we might as well be working on that as we wait for her to decide to walk. The hope is that, by the time she is walking independently, we don’t have to wait for her endurance to catch up.
-show her what it’s like to WALK everywhere, and how much fun (and quicker) she’d be. She’s already learning to run in the thing (which she thinks is very funny when she’s going after the dogs), so I’m hopeful that it’ll work on this front, too.
-increase her coordination, again, so that by the time she’s walking, this will be more natural. The coolest part about the reverse walker is that it forces you to stand up straight, as opposed to the baby walkers where you lean forward to get your momentum to get moving.
-most of all, build her confidence. Show her that she can go and that she’s capable of taking those steps.
I’m not against using trickery, either. One of the most powerful motivators for Piper is over-the-top, way exaggerated, so-crazy-your-neighbors-can-hear-you-through-closed-doors excitement. And if loud and crazy don’t work? Strangers telling her she’s cute is an easy second. So tomorrow I plan on taking her to the shopping center to let her walk. And hopefully get some attention for doing it. Manipulative? Probably. But it’s for her own good so it’s okay, right???