Clare has been working so hard on getting around. We are so proud of her! I am constantly amazed at how much work everything is for her, yet she keeps on going. The littlest thing we do every day without a second thought takes a lot of effort from Clare. But she is making amazing progress.
We followed up with her orthopedic surgeon yesterday. He said that if this was the first time he had ever seen Clare, he would not have prescribed AFO's - fabulous news! However, this is not the first time. The last time we saw the orthopedic surgeon was right before Simon was born, and Clare was not taking any steps. She has come so far in three months - Clare cruises everywhere. She holds onto walls, furniture, whatever she can use for support and can get pretty much all over the house. The doctor is not sure if the braces have made a difference, but in case they have, he does want us to keep working with her in them. He is having the orthotic man (I have no idea what his official title would be) unhinge Clare's braces so she has more rotation in her ankles. That way she can practice her sitting and standing while in her braces (something she cannot do with the ankles hinged because they are too stiff). We are going to re-evaluate Clare's need for her AFO's over the next couple months and follow-up again in December. At the end of the day, Clare does roll her ankles in when she is tired, and the doctor said we can address that with supports in her regular shoes once she is walking all the time. But for now, the braces will help with that.
As I said, Clare can get everywhere. And, as I have predicted, she is trouble! Although I have many messes to clean by the end of the day, it gives me so much pleasure to watch Clare's joy in making them. She has discovered all the fun things that toddlers get into - my CD collection, Jamie's board games, kitchen cabinets. Anything with many, many pieces is the best. This morning, I heard cries of outrage from Jamie who discovered Clare dropping his toy cars one-by-one into the toilet. This weekend is Clare-proofing weekend.
The most exciting news is that Clare has accomplished two very big goals. She has learned how to sit up from lying down. Her PT taught her the steps to connect her movements about a month ago, but Clare still did not do it by herself. Now she sits up all the time. I love coming into the bedroom in the morning and seeing her sitting up in the crib. And her proud grin tells you how she feels about it, too! Sitting up seems like such an easy concept, but Clare's PT explained to us that a child with flexible joints, such as Clare, does not have that resistance like we do. When a "normal" child rotates in one direction to start sitting up, eventually their body can go no further and they naturally switch directions and can get themselves upright. Clare, however, rotates in one direction and keeps going because her joints are so flexible (the orthopedic surgeon could almost touch her knees behind her back, that's how flexible and loose her hip joints are). Eventually, she just falls over. Her PT had to actually show her how to stop in one direction and switch to another to sit up. It's hard to explain all this in writing (I had the benefit of a visual demonstration), but the point is that Clare has to learn how to connect movements since her body does not do it naturally.
Clare's other big news is that she has started walking independently! I cannot believe I can even say those words. She does not do it consistently yet, but she is doing it more and more each day. Yesterday, she took about 12 steps to get to Shawn. Her back was to Shawn and she was holding the couch - she pivoted from the couch and walked across our living room carpet to him. We were all cheering! It confirms in our mind (and the orthopedic surgeon echoed this) that Clare CAN walk independently now. She knows all the tricks to do so. She just needs to build her confidence and not be so cautious. She even tumbles quite a bit now and is not scared when she falls. (Unless she falls flat on her face and comes up with a bloody nose like she did in the mall on Monday.) I have been unable to get Clare to perform for the video camera yet with her walking, so this will have to suffice for now!