Cerebral Palsy, Our Son, Parenthood, Photos, Toronto

Summer Walkin’ Stories

On a walk with Mama

Happiness

Seb and I, we like to go for walks. We go for walks in our neighborhood. To the local library. To the local shop. To the local park. To the local walking path in the Don Valley. This summer, our routine, or lack of it, saw us on a lot of walks.

The Park. On hot summer mornings, we went to the park nearby. Sat on the swings and then went through the water play area. Many mornings were busy with kids in their summer camp groups. I would push Sebastian through the water sprinklers and spouts in his stroller. Sometimes I’d help him stand up or jump through them. Kids would come up to say hello. Sometimes they would get shy and run off. Sometimes their screams of delight would startle and frighten Sebastian and it wouldn’t be fun for him anymore. I was always so thankful for the kids that came up to say hello and play with Seb. His face would light up as soon as we’d get to the park. When we’d sit on the swings, he’d look over at the water play area, so obviously wanting to join in on the fun. After we worked up a sweat in the sun, we’d go over and cool off in the water. It was his favorite time and I could really see how much he missed being at school with his friends. One morning we arrived and it was very quiet. There was only one little boy with his grandmother. He came over to the swings to be near us and called to her to push him. After a bit of swinging, Seb and I went over to the water play area. The little boy followed us. I put Sebastian in his stroller and pushed him through the water. I held up his hand to feel the water. The little boy watched and the next time we went through the water, he reached for Sebastian’s hand and held it up to get wet. Each time he ran through the water, he asked Sebastian to follow. We had so much fun together. I through I would burst in gratitude for this little boy including my son. And I thought Sebastian would burst in happiness from playing with a new friend. And the little boy, he didn’t care that Sebastian was in his stroller. He didn’t ask why he wasn’t running through the water too. And in the moments I didn’t care either. I didn’t care that he wasn’t able to run through the water and chase after the little boy. Because he was enjoying every moment and being unable to run didn’t matter.

The Path. We’ve been walking on the wooded Don Valley path, about three times a week. If it’s going to be a hot day, we try to go out in the morning. Sometimes we have busy mornings and we head out in the afternoon. Sebastian takes a nap on the walks. At the beginning of the summer I set him up in his reclining stroller. It was so hot and the sun shade is extra big, so he was cool and protected from the sun. As the summer went on, I took him out in the carrier. I started asking him which he preferred and he would simile and jump up excitedly when I offered the carrier as one of the choices. I would chat to him until we got down the big hill and onto the path, then the rhythm of my walking and our hearts against each other lulled him to sleep. For a couple weeks I’d listen to the audio book of The Help (amazing!) and then just tunes on the old iPod. He’d wake up on the first hill on the way back and I’d chat with him some more. These walks are probably my favorite thing about the neighborhood where we live. I’m going to miss them when we move end of October. I felt rejuvenated after some exercise and the facade of being in a forest (the path is wooded, but it’s in a valley next to the DVP expressway, so you can hear the cars along part of it). And Sebastian was well rested, which was most important. With the laid back schedule and consistent naps, he’s gone a few weeks without seizures, which is highly impressive.

The Library. We have a local library about 5 minutes from where we live. Sebastian’s school is in the same building as another local library in that neighborhood. Libraries are very important to us, we spend a lot of time in them. We choose books to read before bed and even get some groovy new kids movies to watch on rainy days, because those happen too. Some of Sebastian’s favorite books to read are Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggie books. We also read a lot of books about potty training and watched the Elmo Potty Time DVD (another post for that topic). This summer there has been a bit of controversy over the state of Toronto’s libraries. Seems the city is in need of making some pretty big budget cuts and is in search of what to cut out of our local communities to help the city save money. One of these mentioned was closing libraries because as one councilman put it, there are more libraries than Tim Hortons (coffee and donut shops) in his jurisdiction. Which is untrue. The famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood (one of my favorites) spoke out against this comment and her support in saving the local libraries. The councilman sadly said ‘Who’s Margaret Atwood anyway?’ What followed has been a plight to save our local libraries, one that I have gladly signed up for. Although I didn’t make it down to City Hall with the other couple hundred folks who spoke out to save the libraries. Us Sharp’s, we love books. We have four bookshelves overflowing with books, but kids books, these get expensive. We can’t buy every one we want and even though we have plenty and we read and reread them over and over again, we need some variety. And we also need to learn about new books and new writers. And our local library helps us do that and more. Save Toronto’s libraries!

The Kid Walk. Sebastian finally got his walker! Of course there will be an entire post dedicated to this happy event, but news is news and I had to share.

Walkin’. We love it.

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5 thoughts on “Summer Walkin’ Stories”

  1. I can’t seem to find your email. I’m ecstatic to learn the Kid Walk arrived. I hope Sebastian is loving his new freedom! We’re eagerly awaiting your report. We can’t get it provided through our insurance, but we’ve found a used Kid Walk locally and we are contemplating forking out the out-of-pocket funds to buy it. It’s a lot though and it is pretty large for our house so we’re holding off for the timebeing. Such a hard decision when you wonder how your child’s development may suffer as a consequence. Sounds like this fall will be tough with the impending move? But I want you to know we’re thinking about you. Hang in there!

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    1. Hi Jenn! Thanks for your thoughts! We were able to trial the Kid Walk for about two weeks, at home and at school, as well as in a PT session, before we committed to purchasing it. We then secured funding through the gov’t program, Easter Seals and insurance. We had also done a fundraiser in the past to help fund the equipment. Is there any way you can try before you buy? When we spent summers in MI Sebastian was in the Early On program and was also able to try a couple walkers through that. We tried about 4 different ones and the Kid Walk was the best. It’s the most like us holding him up and helping him walk. So far he needs us to push it for him but I know that in time he will get there independently. It can also be put up to a table and used as a stander. Good luck with your decision, definitely get in touch with Easter Seals for funding help and see about contacting vendors to do some trials. As far as the move goes, yeah, first we have to find the perfect place! Not easy!

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  2. Love. One of my favorite posts to date! I loved hearing about his water adventures and the kid who helped to hold up his hand. Children are so amazing. In terms of the carrier, what do you use? I don’t know if Alex would use one but I miss having her next to me and maybe she’d enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks! Our walks are my favorite times. We use a Boba Carrier http://www.bobababycarrier.com/ I got it when Sebastian grew out of the Baby Bjorn, he loved that one since he could face out. The Boba is great because it carriers up to 45 lbs and can go on front or back. I bet Alex would love to go on your back so she could see out or even on your front for those sleepy times. Sebastian loves it and so do I. We’ve done it with him on my back a few times, but it’s harder to do on my own since he can’t hold on, but it’s not impossible! I just don’t like to do it when we are alone since I can’t see him and he can’t tell me what’s going on.

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  3. I’ve just discovered your blog. I’m a new mom to a baby with CP. . .as yet undiagnosed, but we know it will come. She is 6 and half months now. I too have already started walking around my neighborhood and a local park with Emmy in a carrier. And we love it. Loved hearing about the water park story. Seb is so precious. You can find my blog here: http://www.palmranchramblings.blogspot.com/

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