Last week at therapy I asked Ava's Physical Therapist for some ideas for what we could do at home to help strengthen her legs to start bearing more weight and eventually being able to walk. Pictured below is a device used at her therapy place for this very purpose, so the therapist took a polaroid picture of it so I could try to duplicate it at home.
Someone asked me if Ava is anywhere close to being able to walk, and the short answer is "no". The long answer is, she has several things working against her. Tiny little feet, extremely flat arches, wobbly ankles, low tone, a tendency to step on her toes instead of her heels, delayed reflexes, poor balance, and an upper body that is twice as big as her lower body. She also has weak quad muscles, therefore when she does have the opportunity to stand up, she wants to lean way forward and hold onto something instead of standing up straight on her legs. It is very cute but very awkward.
I had been searching on Ebay, Craigslist, at Toys R Us, Petsmart (looking for a giant cat scratching device) and I had no luck finding anything remotely close to this big sturdy tunnel looking thing.
So over the Christmas holidays we had the opportunity to spend some time with John's engingeering-minded uncle. He and his wife just moved into a new house that they recently built, and he happened to have this giant PVC pipe-looking thing in his storage barn. With a foam mattress from the attic tucked inside, it is absolutely perfect! She can stand in it upright, and she even, for the first time, attempted to move her feet around to play peek-a-boo with me hiding behind her last night. This is a little game we are playing, called, hit-the-kitty-cat. It's fun to swat it on the floor and make mom go chasing after it.
Of course, this drainage pipe is quite an eye-sore in the middle of my living room all by itself, but with this cute little toddler inside it suddenly it looks very beautiful and seems to go with the decor very well. Don't you think?