Friday, May 31, 2013

Sprout count (31 May)

34 zinnias, 3 lettuce, 40+ carrots

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sprout count (30 May)

34 zinnias (total for both planters), 3 lettuce, 2 carrots

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Garden update

We replanted seeds on Saturday (4 planters total: 2 of zinnias, 1 carrots, and 1 lettuce). As of today the zinnias have already sprouted!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The quotable preschooler

"This has been a beautiful adventure."

"This juice is amazing!"

When was the last time you felt that way about going to a meeting at church or eating your breakfast?

Friday, May 24, 2013

How many diagnoses does one kid need?

We have noticed that Addy's right foot turns in now, so I made an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon to get it checked out and make sure we weren't undoing the surgery from earlier in the year. Another appointment, another diagnosis: interior tibial torsion (twisting of the shin bone). The surgeon said it's not uncommon in people with spina bifida and it's usually caused by uneven pulling of the ankle muscles. The good news is that he said it won't cause her knee to have abnormal wear and he also doesn't recommend surgery at this point. (There is a surgical option, but he said that you usually just have to repeat it if it's done at an early age. He said 4-5 years old was as young as he would recommend it.) He said there's a night brace we could try, but it doesn't usually work well with kids with SB and may just cause other problems. His best advice: just use the KAFOs as much as possible and work up to having them be the primary brace during the day. Since it does impact her walking when she isn't wearing the KAFOs, we may want to pursue the surgery in a few years if she wants to walk with AFOs, but for now we just need to use the tall braces. This is one of the things I love about our orthopedic surgeon: he explains what's going on, tells you the surgical and non-surgical options for how to address it, and tells you the one he thinks is the right one, even if it doesn't involve cutting into your child.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New gloves

With the wheelchair comes a whole new level of grimy, dirty hands for Miss Addy, so we went to a sporting goods store to look for tiny gloves for her. We tried T-ball batting gloves, but they all had full fingers and were way too big. These princess bike gloves were the smallest ones we could find and they're the half-finger style, but even they are a tad big on her (and they came with bonus knee pads, which we probably won't ever use):

Bike gloves (aka, wheelchair gloves)

We also had a pair of leather crib booties that we aren't using anymore. I had gotten them to protect Addy's toes so she wouldn't accidentally chomp too hard on them during that disgusting developmental phase where babies start sucking on their toes. Nora kicks too much and won't leave anything on her feet, so she doesn't wear them either. I cut off most of the side and heel, and cut three holes along the outer edge of the sole (1 for her thumb, 1 for her pointer and middle fingers, and 1 for her ring and pinky fingers). Voila, tiny finger-less wheelchair gloves:

Repurposed Glove

(At first I tried having individual holes for each finger, but she's 2.5 and she has tiny fingers that wiggle. A lot. Leaving some of the leather between her middle and ring fingers should help keep them from slipping off, and it was tons easier to get them on her.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feline status update

So far (knock on wood), I think we've managed to find a solution to the food situation for our cats. We've gone with an all wet diet in order to have the low carb + high protein that Sam needs for his diabetes as well as the high moisture that Merry needs for her urinary issues. (Poor Spooky is just along for the ride; he's good as long as we don't feed him beef.)

Sam goes back to the vet in a couple of weeks to do another glucose test to see if we're actually being successful. I will say that I've noticed increased energy from Merry lately, so surely it's doing SOME good, even if it's just for her.

Cruisin' along

Another first for Addy this week: she actually cruised along the front windows yesterday (taking sideways steps, using the windowsill to steady herself)! She's also getting a LOT stronger lately. I noticed this morning while she was walking with her KAFOs and holding on to my hands that she wasn't putting as much weight on me as she used to; she still needed some support, but she was definitely using me more for balance/security than even a month ago.

And because a cute Addy story should have a cute Nora story to compliment it: Nora is now super speedy fast at rolling around the house. And she (of course) thinks that Sister's toys are the best toys, which is providing copious ... teaching moments, shall we say. Because she is just so big, I sat Nora on the Dino ride-on toy this morning (I hovered near her the whole time, but she did really well at staying on the truck by herself). She thought that was pretty awesome!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I'm sure they meant well

We took the kiddos to the "accessible" playground this evening. I was not impressed. First off, the big, wheelchair-accessible, ramped play structure is on some kind of AstroTurf surface, which was darned near impossible for Addy to roll across. I don't know, maybe it's because of all the rain we've had ('cause we've had a LOT of rain in the past couple of weeks), but it was just too squishy.

That was my first turn-off. Next was the play structure itself. Admittedly, some of this is unique to Addy. See, she doesn't realize she's disabled. She firmly believes she can do anything and everything that her peers do, so having a ramp that leads to slides and tunnels and things that she can't do in the chair is really not all that fun for us. (There was at least one activity station that a wheeled kiddo could use, but the one to which I paid attention really was kind of lame and just had a little spinner thing that didn't do anything.) Who names a playground "Everybody Can Play" and designs it so the differently-abled kids are left out?

Then there were the swings. There were a number of "special needs" swings in a couple of sizes (they're high-backed, slightly inclined, and have over-head restraints; kind of like a rollercoaster seat). They supposedly fit kids age 2-7. All of them were too big for tiny Addy. There were also regular swings. Addy can't really use them yet because her core strength isn't totally awesome right now. What there were not any of was regular baby swings (?!). Addy does great using them at the park by our house. Nora could use them. But not at the "accessible" playground. "Everybody can swing" as long as you're at least 40 inches tall.

Lastly--and this is really my biggest complaint about the place because it shows the complete lack of planning that went into it--the swings and almost all of the little ride-on bouncy critters face west. WEST! As in, INTO the afternoon sun. And they're all on the east side of the playground, so it's not like you could just turn them around to face east. Who does that?

The important part is that Addy had fun, and she did get to ride on the Clifford the Big Red bouncy critter, and she got to roll her wheels through a gigantic puddle. But next time she wants to go to the park, we're just going to go to the one next to our house. It at least has baby swings that don't face into the sun.

So sweet

I had laid Nora on the letter tiles to roll around and try scooting the other day. When I picked her back up, I noticed that she had spit up a little bit so I sat her in the Bumbo and got out some wipes and started cleaning. Ever observant, Addy asked me what I was doing and I told her that Sister had a little spit up but I was cleaning it up. As I was cleaning I noticed that the spit up had gotten into the crack between the letter and the tile. I figured the easiest way to get it cleaned up would be to actually take the tile to the sink and wash it, which I did. When I came back I saw that Addy had gotten one of the other tiles free and was bringing it over to where the container of wipes was at.

"What are you up to, Addy?"

"Helping clean up. Sister had some spit-up, Mama."

Friday, May 3, 2013

In other news...

One of our cats is now diabetic. Fantastic. I feel bad for him, but this is going to be a logistical nightmare. Merry and Sam both think they need the same food (they both suffer from your-food-is-obviously-tastier-than-mine-and-I-must-therefore-eat-yours-before-you-do-itis). When Merry was the only one with a special diet, we took the easy route and just fed all 3 kitties the "Merry kibbles," but now we have competing health issues requiring very different diets. We'll get to a balance point eventually, but for now we're all a bit testy about the situation.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A first for everything

We took Addy and her wheels "out on the town" (aka, shopping at Target) for the first time tonight. I've heard horror stories about ignorant/insensitive comments made to/about people who use wheelchairs, so I was completely prepared with snippy come-backs if we got any nastiness from anybody and I tried to keep an extra eye out for any suspicious looking trouble makers. I am pleased to report that not a single person said anything negative (within earshot of us at least) and only a couple of kids did a double-take to watch her in her wheels. However, when we got home I realized that I hadn't enjoyed our outing as much as I could have because I had spent the whole time being on the defensive and ready to fight. Now I'm mad at myself for not having more faith in my community. But I'm not naive and I know that there will be a time when we will face a bully and I don't really want to be caught off guard when that happens. Oh, the struggles of parenthood.

(On a positive note, Addy did awesome in the store and kept a pretty decent pace while we picked up a few things. She had a tendency to want to wander around the store, but part of the point of the trip was to get her used to having the freedom to explore where she wants to. Definitely mission accomplished in that regard.)

Rollin with her homies

Addy has wheels! Loaner wheels at least. She had a wheelchair evaluation on Tuesday and got to try out one to see what she thought of it. She loved it and has been having a blast using it this week!

Addy in the loaner wheelchair

Super motivated

Addy had physical therapy this morning and wanted to walk outside to show her therapist how well she's been doing. So we went outside. We started at the sidewalk right in front of our door, walked to the driveway, down the driveway toward the street, then turned at the sidewalk and went all the way to the edge of the park before she was tired. Best guess is about 100 feet--wow! She really (really!) likes going to the park, so I think she was excited to get an extra trip to the playground out of the deal.