Learning to Walk

It ocurred to me today as I had Nathan in the Kidwalk that typical kids learn to walk by trail and error, they stand, step and fall thousands of time. WIth Nathan it’s different as he doesn’t need balance, but still, I love that I am “teaching him” to walk every time we go out on the kidwalk. It’s an experience I am enjoying and I love watching as he makes connections in his brain. Every day he seems to understand a little bit better how to step.

Today I braved the mall. Yes, I did it. I was scared and nervous but I figured it was time. We got a TON of stares. I can tell that very soon I am going to develop the ability to “insulate” myself. I realized that the only way to get through it is to block out everyone else and focus 100% on Nathan. So whether people stared or not, I didn’t even notice, it was like Nathan and I (and my mom and grandma, they came with me), existed in a bubble with no one else around us. I have a feeling this skill is going to become stronger and very useful as Nathan gets older.

Anyways, today I saw him initiate steps on his own. Before I would have to push it forward to encourage him to move his feet. But today, when he got excited and wanted to go somewhere, he would start stepping!

He’s not yet moving the walker on his own. His muscle tone is so messed up that I have to keep him slightly elevated so it’s easier for him to move his feet, and as a result, he doesn’t have enough surface area on the ground to really move it forward. But what he’s doing is, as he steps, I push the device forward so he’s getting an understanding that if he moves his feet, the device moves. With time I am sure he will be able to do it on his own.

The most important part – he LOVED being in the kidwalk today. I think with every day and every opportunity to practice he is understanding and enjoying the experience better. I think he loves being at peer level with other kids and he’s loving the sense of independence. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s this feeling I get when I see him that he understands that he’s in the position he should be – upright touching the floor, instead of high up in a chair or in a baby carrier or in someone’s arms. Also, he’s starting to realize that he can go when he wants to go. If I see him get excited and start moving his feet, I help himi step forward. Can you imagine the freedom this must give him? In the stroller or baby carrier, he has to go where we want to go when we want to go – he has no freedom to decide. Now he can start having some freedom and deciding where he wants to go and when. How amazing huh?

As for me – I LOVE this device. It’s nice not to have to carry him all the time. It’s nice to be able to plop him in there and know that he is benefitting and developing new skills. I think the wheelchair has become very obsolete in our house. Why take him in the wheelchair when I can take him in the walker? If I don’t want him to practice walking, I can just use the lift mechanism and raise him so he’s feet are not touching the floor. This way I can push him and we can walk quickly. It’s not as easy to push/navigate as a wheelchair, but I think it’s much better for Nathan. I push him for long distances, then lower him so he can practice stepping short distances, like 5 feet to the swing, etc. So instead of wasting time with him sitting in a chair where he’s not gaining anything, he can work on head control, feel like he’s near to the ground, and a myriad other wonderful things.

Finally, here are some videos and pictures so you can see for yourself:

THis is another reason I love the kidwalk. I can push him up to things and have him play with them. This is one of the first times in Nathan’s life that he can “play” with an object. His muscle tone in his arms is so bad that it’s hard for him to move his arms, reach, etc. But in this device he’s well supported so he can lift up his arms and play with things. I’ve been standing him up against toys, plants, anything that is at his level. He seems to really enjoy it.

Here are some other cute pics

Comments

  1. Hi Marcela,

    I had tears in my eyes watching you guys. You’re amazing and should be very proud of yourself. Both of you, you and Nathan. 🙂

    Hugs,
    Gala

  2. http://Administrator says

    Thank you Gala! I can take absolutely no credit for this – it’s all Nathan’s strength and will!

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