Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Push to Walk

Ah...the famous question we hear so often..."Is she walking yet?" One day, I really hope the answer will be "YES!"...but right now its still "no."

It really is pretty amazing how people and animals just learn to walk. Its just programmed in to our brains, and it happens. It takes time and skill for all babies to learn to walk, and some do it faster than others...and some not ever at all. In Bailee's case, it is like the "on" button just isn't automatically set to walk. Like on a hair dryer, every once in awhile you have to press the reset button for it to work. Bailee's button just needs to be located and switched to "walk."

Children with cerebral palsy can have a harder time accessing the command part of their brain that makes their body work. We just think (without even really thinking) to move a part of our body and it just works. Bailee has to concentrate so hard to try to get that same coordination happening, and some times it still doesn't work. There isn't a moment that passes during my day that I am not thinking about ways to help Bailee learn to walk. How can I find a way to locate that button inside her and push it? We can't just move her feet and hope her brain catches on to the process. We have to actually tap into the place inside of her that controls walking. And when we find that place, we have to find a way to stimulate it to go. At first, a little "buzz" of movement would be great...but how can we get the button to switch to "on" continuously?

One time I had someone tell me that we were actually lucky Bailee wasn't able to walk...that way we didn't have to chase her around the house and she couldn't get into things. I thought "Hmmm?" On the one hand, I see that what they were doing was trying to be positive about the situation we were in and find something good in it. On the other hand, I would much rather have her tearing the house apart and have the opportunity to chase her...because then she would be walking.

I understand walking isn't just going to make our life just poof into normalcy. But if Bailee could walk, it would open up so many opportunities for her. She is making good progress. Prior to her recent surgery she was stepping in the gait trainer, sitting independently for a bit, and standing strong. Since her surgery last month, her muscles are weak now and need to get strong again. This surgery is now giving her a stronger foundation for standing and walking since her hips are now straight and her muscles have been loosened. So now we just have to strengthen those legs and find that button and push it to walk.

"One day"...we keep telling ourselves..."it will happen."