Laelia’s New Kid Walk!

So sometimes my daughter just amazes me. Just knocks me back! Two weeks ago it was while driving home from physical and occupational therapy. I  told her that  she earned three animal crackers for her good behavior. (Three because she’s three years old.)  She said she earned five. (Five because her imaginary friend is five and he was good too.) We went back and forth a bit–three, five, three, five–and finally Laelia says, “How about three AND five! Then I get eight!” And I said, “No, when Mama says three… wait, did you just do math?!” The way I said it must have been funny because Laelia fell into a fit of giggles. And even though I was driving on the freeway at the time, I just had to call my husband at work to tell him. :)

But smarts aside (because I could go on and on), Laelia’s physical abilities are really taking off too! On Thursday (August 4th) I had the hardest day. It consisted of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work, getting off work and picking Laelia up from school, doing occupational therapy with Karly, then doing physical therapy with Michele, then driving to drop off a prescription for KAFOs at Johnson Orthopedic (that I had to get redone by a California doctor since my Philadelphia doctor had originally done the script), then getting an appointment with Larry Johnson for brace measuring and discussion (casting for the brace is waiting on insurance), then racing to my doctor’s office for my lab work  before they closed, then getting home and putting Laelia down for a nap and then waking her up in the middle of  said nap  in time for our National Seating and Mobility rep to  show up. He measured  Laelia for her Kid Walk in our kitchen while she cried for sleep  the whole time! *whew*

I was cuddling Little Screamers on the couch when my husband got home and  asked, all excited, “Where is it?!”

“Where is what?” My brain was back two or three medical appointments ago and then it hit me: WE HAVE A KID WALK!

Ooooooooooooh Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

If you were wondering what Laelia was using to get around at Penny’s party (see pictures below), it was a Kid Walk! We have wanted a Kid Walk for a long time now. A lot of our friends helped us research it too.  The problem was that it was $3,000. But our former physical therapist started  the process of getting one approved through insurance while we were still going to the south MTU (medical therapy unit). It went  like this: CCS –> Laelia’s pediatrician –> Insurance –> National Seating –> Laelia! And each step took begging, pleading, demanding and holding someone’s hand as they did their job. Or maybe I’m exaggerating. ;) It just took a long time. But, boy! It was worth it!

The reason Laelia is adapting well to the Kid Walk is because she’s had a wheelchair for a month now.  And how we got  the wheelchair  was a total blessing! (Stop me if you’ve heard this one.) At the beginning of August we rented a wheelchair for our trip to Kansas City. It was $30 for the  whole week.  Laelia loved it and it gave her so much independence!   But when the wheelchair rental guy didn’t show up to pick it up, and it had been over our week, I started to worry we’d be charged more. So I was texting and calling  him daily to figure out a time for him to take the darn thing back.  That Sunday we took the chair to church since we still had it. A lady commented on how well  Lali maneuvered in  it, and I said, “Yeah I wish we could keep it.” The lady responded, “I’ll pray specifically about this.” (And I was a little surprised by this response. I know we were at church, but most people would have just offered some sympathy!) Three hours later I was still texting the rental guy, but  he couldn’t get it that day either.  Finally I just asked, “How much would it cost to buy it off you and save you the trip down to San Diego?” I got a reply really fast, “$100 and it’s yours.” That was the cost of renting it for just  a month! Now it’s ours forever! And Laelia has been  Little Miss Independent ever since!  I want to find that church lady and ask her to pray for a million dollars next. ;)

And I know what you’re thinking: ‘But isn’t the Kid Walk just a  wheelchair?’ A Kid Walk is actually a gait trainer; meaning the child is suspended in a seat, not standing on her legs like in a walker,  and not sitting in a seat like in a wheelchair. It’s something in between. Her feet are on the ground and she can use them to propel her forward. After having Laelia’s wheelchair for  so long, the Kid Walk wheels were a breeze for her to master. In fact we had to keep reminding her to use her feet and not her hands! But she’s doing great! And she’s upright!

We took  the kid  and the Kid  Walk  to Target for a couple hours so she could practice running into the aisles walking. Two older ladies actually thought this was one of those child leashes. It was something about the way I was holding the handle bar in the back. Laelia has a leg difference  (bone length and contractures make one leg two centimeters or so longer than the other) so if I’m not holding the handle then she veers off to the  left. One of the ladies actually  dragged her friend  back to see the child in the “harness and cage.” At first I thought she was joking, but  the more I think back on it, I don’t think she was. She kept saying things like, “So this way the kid can’t get close enough to the aisles to grab stuff off them!” And, “That’s one way to keep your kid in check!” I can’t make this stuff up. :) Another lady started petting my daughter’s head and cooing. Laelia just said, “You’re a nice friend, but I’m just walking.” Later she told me, “That friend who was nice was walking just like me.” She said it in a confused tone of voice, like, So why was she so weird about it?! :)

We’re going to get a wedge attached to Laelia’s shoe next week that may help her walk straighter. That way I don’t have to hold the handle to her child-cage. ;)

Maybe  a psychologist could explain away  this feeling I’m having, but it’s a great feeling. I mean, I have a child who is upright! I left her in Sunday School last week standing at a play table with other children! She stood at the little play kitchen in the corner of the room too! She “ran” into the road when I was struggling with some bags last week and I was terrified! “Don’t you know better than to run into the road?!” I asked,  horrified. Then I realized that I had NEVER taught her NOT to run into the road. So after that I had a great time teaching my daughter to look both ways, not to run off without me, to stay where I can see her, to hold my hand when we’re in the street and to not run into strangers. I felt like a new parent–a  parent of an ambulating child! I always wondered what this would feel like.

So here are some videos of Laelia walking in her  Kid Walk. She’s getting better  all the time and I’m sure I’ll post more videos. :)

Penny helping!

David helping!

Just feet!

4 Responses to “Laelia’s New Kid Walk!”

  1. Carolyn says:

    That’s AMAZING! (And I ADORE Laelia’s comment about the lady being nice but she was just walking, that’s AWESOME! I can picture her being like, “Okay weirdo, you’re pleasant and all, but can I get on with my errand now?”) :)

  2. Linda Record says:

    Wow… oh wow… Wowie wow WOW!!!

    I recall some three years ago imagining Lali wheeling across a stage to accept the university degree she had earned. Clearly it’s time for me to up my imaginings ’cause this girl has already exceeded *my* earliest hopes and prayers.

    I LOVE that she has figured out math and would have thought that an amazing feat even if she wasn’t using her feet in such a grand way. Astonishing and wonderful and exciting and *so* great that you must be concerned about whether she’s running into the street!!! :D

  3. Linda Wesley says:

    WOOHOO!! That kid looks great. =D Is it bad to be happy that your niece is running into the street? It’s probably kind of like being happy that your niece pulled everything out of her mother’s bathroom cabinets. (Only that feat is less dangerous.) Also, LOVE the math anecdote!

  4. Erin Mudd says:

    Wow, that was beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Alexis! I love your writing style and your stories. Lali is improving so well, God is so good!

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