Monday, December 23, 2013

Wheels = FREEDOM!

Our girl has got wheels, and she is PROUD and HAPPY!

This picture was unposed. Just her sheer joy caught on camera!

It has been awesome to see her be so happy to be wheeling around this past week.

When the wheelchair company came a couple of months ago to fit Tessa for her wheelchair, they left a demo chair for us to practice with for a couple of weeks. She was definitely excited to be driving around a little, but she was also quite frustrated about not being able to drive it well. It's not easy teaching a one-year-old how to drive!

So it was our expectation that there would be some frustration and a bit of a learning curve when Tessa got her own chair. But she surprised us all by taking right off, navigating the reverse and all the turns around the house by herself. She was a pro within minutes!

The wheelchair guy made all the necessary adjustments to customize her chair, and as soon as he left Tessa took off towards the kitchen. Her first stop was a total surprise to me- the junk drawer. Of course! What 2-year-old doesn't want to dig around in a treasure chest like that?!

It was so endearing to watch her for the next 20 minutes, taking out items and examining each one and opening and closing the drawer a million times. She's been watching all of us open that junk drawer (which is the MOTHER of all junk drawers) multiple times a day but was stuck watching from her view from the floor. I love that her new independence is enabling her to satisfy her curiosities!

Tessa's chair is small and when the chair is in normal position, she is eye-level with other kids her age. But she can also push a button and raise the chair to counter height. As you can imagine, she LOVES this button. I've found her several times this week carrying things around that she has gotten from high places that even the other kids can't reach!

She asks to be in her wheelchair as soon as she wakes up and then just takes off, exploring and figuring out how to do new things like....

Coloring on her wheelchair tray with Merin

Getting crayons from the art supply box

Giving little rides to her older sister

And getting drinks on her own

We have some changes to make so that life is more wheelchair accessible for Tessa. The big ones are a new house and new van. Yikes!  But I'm thankful that although we live in a two-story house, our downstairs is completely accessible for Tessa's chair. We will move in a couple of years to a one-story house, but for now it's perfect for Tessa to access almost everything she needs independently at this age.

God has provided so much for us and we are deeply thankful for this precious beautiful daughter He has given us. Life with her is adventurous and sweet!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tessa is on the move

Tessa's has progressed so much in her mobility. When I first met her she couldn't even sit up in a bumbo, much less move around. 

After mastering the bumbo, her first attempt at mobility was scooting on her back: 

Then her main mode of mobility became rolling..... rolling......rolling. She started slowly at first in June and now she's like a speed steamroller. Merin and Elias try to roll with her but their legs always get in the way so Tessa always wins the race. 

The other day at Walmart Tessa was begging me to let her roll down the aisle. But I just have to draw my boundaries somewhere and just couldn't let her do that. I'm okay with the filth on my own floors but I'm not so sure about Walmart. 

Here's a video of my rolling queen: 

Isn't she awesome!?

A challenge has been figuring out how Tessa can go from laying on the floor to sitting up independently. She started sleeping in a twin size bed recently that has a bed rail on it. One morning I walked in to get her and she was sitting up! She had figured out how to swing her little arm around the rail and pull her body up to a sitting position. 

So that got my wheels turning on how I could make something that she could use to do the same thing in the other areas of our house. I also wanted a walker for her. Then I saw my friend Kristin's blog and the walker they are using for their son (who is just like Tessa). It was easy to create the walker, spray paint it red (Tessa's choice) and put some flowery duck tape on it and now Tessa is "walking". She LOVES it! The low side allows Tessa to pull herself up independently and then she can use the other sides for movement.

Next up for mobility is her new wheelchair which arrives tomorrow. We can't wait!