I am happy to start this post with the news that Gabe’s leg healed perfectly and he is out of his cast!!! On top of being 16 months old.
Life with the cast
Life with a cast wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Limiting at times, yes. But very workable in part to Gabe’s determination. As I mentioned last month, he found his inability to walk very frustrating. It took him a bit to accept the fact that he had to go back to crawling. But once he did that, he was all over the place. It took about a week and a half for him to start walking on it. He gained back a whole new sense of freedom. We couldn’t help but call him “peg leg” from how he walked. But it didn’t stop him from doing anything. He did everything as he would have. We ended up putting a sock over the cast to a) keep him from messing with it, b) keep it clean, and c) add a little grip for walking on the wood floors. It ended up working really well. I also had to buy a few more pairs of wide leg pants so that it would fit over the cast. No jeans and snug fit jammies for the month!
One of my initial concerns was the cast setting him back developmentally but thankfully it didn’t seem to have too much of an impact there. I felt a bit limited though in my ability to get him out to play. Adventuring like we had been was kind of off the table. I also didn’t feel as comfortable just setting him down anywhere to walk, even with the sock on. So there was a bit more time in the stroller and a few extra shopping trips. The unfortunate side effect of this was a couple of weeks of bad naps. He simply wasn’t burning the energy he needed and I paid for it.
It wasn’t until the week before the cast removal did I start counting down. I was ready to be done with this! I was ready to give him a normal bath… goodness, he was not a fan of being wiped down. May 26th finally arrived. The removal of the cast was actually pretty quick. They used a depth set dremel like tool with a vacuum attached to it. He cried a bit but not because of the noise, loud noises don’t bother him. He wasn’t a fan of being held still. I don’t think it took more than a minute for it to come off. His poor leg was so dry! We were then whisked off for a quick x-ray. Gabe was not a fan at all. Being held down and this big scary thing looming overhead is not his idea of fun. Lots of tears. And of course the tech messed up the first image. Back into the doctor’s office to examine the x-ray. Everything looked great. You could easily see a whole new layer of bone growth. He was given the green light to resume life on his leg… with a few cautions. It is going to take him a couple of weeks to get his gate back. Between muscle stiffness and a little atrophy it will take a bit to get it back up to where his other leg is at. Because of this he will walk as if he still has the cast on. She also warned to not do anything to injure the leg like go down a slide together. Oh darn.
As soon as we got home he was walking like nobody’s business! Stiff? Yes. A couple days of pain? Yes. A sense of joy and freedom? Absolutely. I’m not sure who is happier to have the cast off, me or him! We celebrated that evening with a super long bath. Oh how he has missed his baths. I don’t think I’ve heard that many squeals of delight and splashes coming from the bathroom.
We were blessed to have the best experience you could for such an unfortunate incident. Now, to not repeat a similar incident.
Every month Gabe is able to amaze me at what he is learning to do. Its funny, you “know” kids develop at such a rapid rate but to watch your own child do it before your eyes is something else. His strength amazes me. He is officially lifting weights now. He can lift 3lb weights from the floor to the hearth and back down no problem. While in a cast. He’s going to end up being more motivation to keep my butt moving than anything. I’ve also seen a real increase in his fine motor skills, specifically in his dexterity. He will grab up numerous blueberries in one hand and is able to turn knobs and clicky things very well now.
Gabe has picked up a couple of new hobbies; stacking and sending things over the baby gate. One day he just decided he wanted to pile all the things on top of his activity cube. And now he spends at least 20 minutes a day filling any basket/trash can/vessel that can hold things with all the things… blocks, balls, socks, vacuum cleaner attachments. Then he dumps it out and repeats or fills another vessel with items from the already filled thing. As for his other activity… I really hope it doesn’t become a thing. So he has long since enjoyed sending his 3 wooden balls through the baby gate and down the stairs. Sometimes he will send a few other things but not often. Well the other day he decided to send ALL the things over the baby gate. We shall see if and how this progresses. I’m not too keen on the idea of cleaning up the stairs every day.
I am feeling a bit of caution to see him start moving through the more challenging stages of development. He has certainly taken a few steps in that direction this month. As he is learning to express himself and learning that he has a bit of autonomy we now have situations where he doesn’t want to give things to me. Sometimes taking things, say a tube of healing balm or something he shouldn’t have, away from him results in a small fit that includes tears. Thankfully with a bit of redirection I can usually get him over it pretty quick. I know it is inevitable to go through these things, I just want to do my best to find ways of helping him work through these challenges.
I have seen a big shift in eating patterns this month. Milk isn’t holding him over as long it has used to so I’ve had to adjust mealtimes. It hasn’t been too big of an adjustment but has certainly changed the order of the day and how fast we can get out the door. He is still eating well and a lot so nothing new there. He has taken to tossing food off his tray when he is done with it. :/ needless to say, we are working on teaching him that you don’t do that. It’s a slow process. :) He is also finding great amusement in poking his food now. Especially when it is soft and gooey like brie cheese.
I finally started the process of weaning him from the bottle. I tried to do it a couple months ago using the sippy cups we had. He had no problem drinking from them it’s just that they weren’t very efficient. He wanted his milk and he wanted it now. And then I got distracted and never followed up with research on sippy cups (oh my goodness there are so many!!!!). But now I’ve found one that mostly works and he is doing okay on. I’ve ordered a couple more so we should have this figured out pretty soon. I’m tired of washing bottles! Though the complexity of the parts to some of these sippy cups are just as bad, if not worse, than the Dr. Brown bottles we use. I am thankful though that he really didn’t have any problem giving up the bottle. It’s just finding the right cup for him.
Not a whole lot of adventure this month but we did have some good times with friends. My best friend and her husband came up for a short visit. We went and explored Pier 39 with them and Gabe got to watch the harbor seals up close and personal. And then we spent Memorial day with some of our local friends. Kids running around, stopping Gabe from stealing wine bottles, amazing food and wine. I truly love gathering with these people. We also welcomed new friends as new neighbors! And to top it off we had several great playdates with a new friend.
Summer is officially here. Not that that really means anything for us. Though I’m hoping to bring the beach into heavy rotation for activities.