Lucy Kim has now completed three months of kindergarten and continues to be much like a big 'ole sponge, soaking in and learning so many new things each and every day. She attends afternoon kindergarten which is only two and half hours in length. Afternoon school is good for Lucy as it fits nicely with Lucy's home and physical therapy schedules. She is doing well both academically and socially. This is nothing short of amazing, considering that two years and three months ago, this little one knew not a word of English, and lived in an orphanage on the other side of the world!
|Xi'an orphanage, China|
Her first kindergarten field trip was to a local pumpkin patch. Venues like this field trip are reminders that she is differently abled then her classmates in some ways. We don't think much about her disability on a day to day basis. A field trip to the pumpkin patch seems like a simple field trip: board the school bus, travel to the pumpkin patch, get on a big tractor driven wagon and ride to the pumpkin field, chose a favorite pumpkin, get back on the wagon for the ride back to the bus and then a bus ride back to the school. These things are not easy when you can't easily bend one of your legs. Do-able? Yes(at least with supports) but not easy. Bus steps are steep for Lucy, steps into the wagon didn't have any hand rails and the uneven terrain of pumpkin patches can be a trip hazard when you have an orthopedic disability. A hand (sometimes two) for help with balance is all that Lucy needed and Mama went along to join in the fun and lend a hand.
After what seemed like a lull, we are now seeing some measurable progress orthopedically. Most progress is being noted in her ability to bend her right knee (some) and also straighten again on command. Lucy has never had a proper walking pattern (gait). Her leg contracture along with a slight limb difference kept her from walking properly the first 5 years of her life and now because she's only recently had the ability and is learning to straighten and bend her knee, her gait is still obscure.
Lucy "peg legs"it when she wants to get somewhere quickly (which is 95% of the time). She has learned that if she holds her right leg straight and swings it out and around each step- she can run (sorta), and walk a lot more quickly which enables her to (almost) keep up with peers. However, this adaption has created bad form and habit. It's hard, very hard for Lucy to consciously walk extremely slow and mentally try to think about bending her knee with every step. Recently, I purchased "hip helpers" (very tight spandex like shorts) that she wears for short periods of time throughout the day. These "helpers" remind her both mentally and physically to not swing her right leg out in a "peg leg" fashion each step (or gallop!). However, she can/should not wear continually because of over correction. Once again, forward progress is happening!
|stock photo of "hip helpers"|
more pictures and updates coming in parts 2 and 3......