Thursday, August 27, 2009

Myrtle Beach 2009

We went to the beach for vacation last week (big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa!). I was really looking forward to the vacation--I needed days off from work, from therapy, from scheduling...and Elena did too. I was a little worried about the beach--after all, that would mean 1) a lot less time in her AFOs and 2) a lot more time being carried (see 1). I kept telling myself-"Elena needs a VACATION--she's earned it" and decided that time off her grueling schedule would not hamper her progress.

The car ride was long...normally it would take us 6.5 hours to get there, but it took us nearly 10. E needed breaks from her carseat, bathroom breaks, and little sister Vivian needed a high chair to eat, so the trip was slow going. Overall both children were angels on the long car ride. We arrived late, and went to the beach the next morning. E was super excited.

We spent a lot of time in the sand. Posture-wise, she spent a lot of time in the w-sit (she can move in and out of it, as well as taylor-sitting). That being said, she also spent a lot of her time on her knees in a high-kneel, so that was good. We did do some drills where we would "bulldoze sand" with our feet, or with our toes, or try to dig in the sand with our toes, so that was a nice drill. We also just had fun, too.

E loved the waves, but it wasn't very easy for the operator. E is longer now than her first trip to the beach; due to her weak core and tight legs, it's like holding a very long, heavy pendulum. She can help by holding on to your neck, and she can even wrap her legs around your waist (a little), but when in waves she is so excited she basically just keeps her toes off any surface to be "swept up" in the feeling of the wave. Great for a kid; painful for the operator's back. I imagine that doesn't change much as she gets older. I spent a lot of our water time reminding E to put her feet down. The pic below is an example of her leg tone when really excited--it's not always this bad. She can put her feet down, but she forgets after a few seconds. I do not think it is a sensory thing about having cold, moving sand/waves on her feet. I think it's just from being excited.

We also did some non-beach activities--fed the ducks, fed the fish and turtles in a pond, rode golf carts, went to a mall, and played mini-golf. I thought mini-golf would be a challenge, but a fun one. After all, she loves playing "golf" at PT (hitting small balls around with a noodle, she's pretty good at it). Well, I was wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG. We took E in the middle of the day, to avoid the crowd--it was 95 degrees and no shade (oops). She got very frustrated when she could not stand up well when grabbing the club, and then even more upset when she had trouble hitting the ball. We played a 4 holes, the one in the shade--she actually liked that one, but was ready to be done.

There were two huge surprises during the beach vacation. One was at the shopping mall, I took E to the bathroom in the family bathroom and they had a little mini toilet and mini sink. She wanted to do the potty by herself. I helped getting her pants down, but she got up on the potty herself, wiped herself, got down herself, pulled up her clothes (mostly) herself, and washed hands (mostly) herself. WOW. I was AMAZED. If only small toilets were a standard fixture in homes and schools!!

The second surprise was when E was moving around the beach house without her shoes/braces on. Her feet--the right one, in particular, didn't look that bad. She could stand with (mostly) flat feet almost anytime when asked, and spent a lot of time flat without being prompted. She did try to stand without holding on to the furniture, she can reliably do that for a couple of seconds. She also tried to walk without her shoes on, and she could take three steps and fall.

The third surprise was playing our Wii game console. I have heard from other parents that they love the Wii fit and other games--but their kids are older. We played Wii Resort Frisbee. Elena had a great time taking turns "throwing" a frisbee. She didn't know what she was doing (and sometimes we made it work for her) but she was receptive to moving her body to play a computer game, which I think will be a great tool later.

When we got home, bedtime was a bit of an adjustment but our regular program of wearing her AFOs, using her crutches, trying not to be carried as much, and doing exercises/treadmill went back to normal without a hitch. Whew!

1 comment:

LynneF said...

Hooray for beach vacations! We had to borrow a beach wheelchair this year, as Erica (age 7) is now too big for us to carry very far at all without our backs giving out. She could hang out in the waves as long as she liked, and we didn't die in the process.