Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baby Steps

Watching Henry learn to walk again has had me reflecting on when Henry first learned to walk.  I wanted to share his story...

I have had the privilege to watch 3 little baby boys get up on their feet and take off in the world.

I will never forget my oldest.  He was 13 months, and I was home for the summer.  One July afternoon he finally took off across the morning room.  I remember my excitement and how anxiously I tried to catch it all on video.  I remember calling my mom to tell her all about it.

It was just as cool with my youngest.  He, too, was 13 months old.  It was a May afternoon after he had tubes put in his ears that morning.  He had taken a few steps here and there, but that day he took off across the living room.  I remember calling my dad to tell him about our day of firsts.

With Henry it was different.  At 10 months, we came home with Henry's first prosthetic, his lucky leg since it was St. Patrick's Day. His PT began to focus on helping Henry learn how to use it.

Bringing home Henry's first lucky leg. :)
Over the next 8 months, baby steps took on a new meaning.  With Henry, we witnessed the many little skills each baby needs to take those baby steps.  BABY STEPS to get to BABY STEPS.

Climbing on tables was our little monkey.
First there was walking around furniture.  Then between pieces of furniture.  And did you see when he learned to turn around and reach the other table? Then there were steps while holding hands, and then railings, and then with a walker.  Then Henry learned to take steps while pushing toys.  Each step took weeks.  Each step was celebrated in its own right.  Each baby step just as exciting as the one before.

Toy to couch. Couch to toy. Toy to couch.
Up, up.  Look, ma, look what I can do!

Future fire fighter.  Already our hero.
Too cute!  How has he grown up so much already?
First with the walker.

Even learning to stand took practice and time.  You could never keep Henry down.  He just never gave up.

More climbing.
Showing off his standing skills while his leg was being adjusted.
Then there was the independent steps.  Backwards then sideways.  Wait, we didn't practice backwards?  Why wouldn't he just walk forward?  I can never forget the tears he shed during PT as he walked, safely strapped and supported by his PT, on a treadmill.  The movie, Cars I believe, did nothing to distract him.

                                                   Walking backwards... we kept trying.

Just giving me that smile when I was trying to get him to walk.
                                           He didn't like it, but he did it.  What a trooper!

                                                   Sideways walking!  Love this kid!

We tried tricking him to walk by getting him to grab things that we would drop as he held.  Got 1 step here, another 1 there.  Did you see him take 2 teeny tiny baby steps when I dropped him off at the babysitter? And later in the kitchen?  Then we had him walking while using one hand to push the ball popper toy.

So when the fall day came that Henry, 18 months old, finally let go and independently took more than a step across the room, the joy in our house was palpable.  I got a video as we made him do it over and over again.  We clapped, and I screeched.  I sent my sister a text with a video.  It was Nov. 16, 2010.

           Me: "Here he goes! I cannot figure out how to put this on FB, so I will have to play with it.  I had to share in the meantime."
           Kelly: "Ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Omg!!!!! Go Henry go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

You see, with each of my other 2 boys I hadn't noticed all of the other steps.  I noted when they first pulled themselves up, that first tiny step, and then suddenly they were off.  With Henry, there were so many more steps and firsts.

Not once had I doubted that Henry would walk with his brothers, but until he did it still seemed too big to be true.  Each baby step carried with it so much hope, so much to celebrate.  Now Henry is unstoppable. :)

Working on steps and improving his posture after he started walking.


I am a planner.  Those that know me are nodding their heads right now.  So, as we prepared for this journey I tried to expect and plan for all sorts of possibilities.  Mostly, though, I hoped for and planned for best case scenario.

I hoped to see Henry trick-or-treating on his own steam.  That was the plan, that Henry would be far enough in his PT and have his prosthetic to be able to walk from house to house and collect candy.

Thus, Halloween was truly joyful as we walked outside in our family themed costumes and the boys each ran to the neighbor's houses.  Henry did have trouble holding his trick-or-treat basket with his crutches, so I followed behind him up each driveway so he could put his candy in.  Henry made it about 45 minutes before he slowed down and got into the wagon I had been dragging around. I couldn't be more proud or grateful.

Can you guess our theme?  Is Henry not the best Luke Skywalker you have ever seen? And the cutest!

It was truly a family adventure.
Henry making strides (literally) today at PT.  He is working on building strength and agility with his new Spiderman prosthetic.