Saturday, May 26, 2007


Joseph's physical therapist ordered him a hand-powered tricycle. Now that the wheelchair has finally arrived, all we ever here from Joseph is, "We should go get my hand-powered trike." He's had a chance to try one out at the hospital a few times. The handlebars, you'll notice, look something like one of those hex keys that come with furniture in need of assembly.

I left such a tool lying around after a long, futile attempt at highchair reconstruction and Joseph found it. I was busy doing something and was only half paying attention as he kept saying, "Mommy, I'm riding a bicycle." Finally, I looked more closely. He had hold of each end of the hex key and was turning it around and around while crawling with his elbows. Strong kid! And imaginative. Hope the real thing arrives soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chores for Margaret

We've finally gotten one of our kids to start helping out around the house.

Folding laundry:

Making the coffee:

And unloading the dishwasher:

And as long as she doesn't stop moving, Margaret has gotten an early start on the constant stream of chatter so characteristic of our family. Da da ga ba da da da prffft ga da. Can anyone translate that?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The little engineer

Joseph has had two train sets since his second birthday (October). He asks to play with them all the time but they only actually turn into a usable train track when one of the adults in the family has time to play, too. He was always happy to drive the trains around the carpet. I glanced over while folding laundry the other day and saw this little train track, complete with ramps at either end so the cars could get on the track more easily. All by himself!

Joseph's play has definitely reached a new level of imagination--he's also teaching his teddy bear to walk. It's a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Look at this girl!

I was going to give Margaret a break from photoshoots. She has pinkeye and one eye is all swollen. It gives her sort of a fierce sailor look.

Then she went and did this!

Maybe she'll skip crawling.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


It's finally here. After six months of waiting I think it was all rather anti-climactic for us. We wanted to get pictures up right away but technical difficulties combined with very busy life delayed things.

First, Joseph. He loves the chair but it took a couple days to get there. It goes VERY fast on hard surfaces which is a bit frightening. When we're out and about he doesn't stray more than a few feet from us--at least not yet. In the apartment he is very comfortable, partly because our thick carpeting makes the chair almost impossible to maneuver. He can do it, though, and he's discovering lots of fun things that were out of reach before. The mobile stander gets him up high, but he can't lean out of that very easily to get a book off the shelf, for example. He's learning to get in and out of the chair from the floor. He can get out pretty well on his own by just scooting his bottom forward and sliding down. He still needs supervision, but he can't unbuckle his seatbelt independently, so we always know when he's going to be jumping down. He's sill building the muscles needed to climb in and once he has that down he can learn to transfer from the chair to the couch or his bed.

Second, the rest of us. It's a big adjustment all around. We've taken him out a bit to public places. Reactions to seeing a two-year-old in a wheelchair have ranged from curiosity to looks of horror to pointing and laughing (loudly). We're trying to take it all in stride. The small front casters on the chair light up pretty wildly when the chair goes fast, so we assume people are laughing at that. I think it will be a long, long transition to Joseph using the chair all the time. Partly, he just doesn't have the stamina to wheel himself all the way to church (which isn't far) and he doesn't have the awareness to not crash into people. We're still working on, "Don't run over your sister." Also, we have a very pedestrian lifestyle now, and taking two kids out with Joseph in the wheelchair means Margaret always on my back and limited ability to carry anything else (like groceries).

Finally, because I know some of you are very curious about such things. The chair is made of titanium and is lightweight--until you add on all the features a wheelchair needs (like a seat and tires). It weighs about 25 pounds. It comes apart . . . sort of. We've found that putting in the trunk in one piece is easier and takes up less space (though we may have to look into buying a station wagon before our next trip to New England). The chair has stroller handles for pushing that come off easily. The chair could last 3-5 years--which is good because a new manual wheelchair costs roughly the same as a new compact car.

Good things in Joseph's life. The braces and walker are progressing as well. A hand-powered trike is on its way. Yesterday we were at our semi-annual all-day appointment at Children's Hospital where Joseph got a clean bill of health. We almost saw Queen Elizabeth. We had great seats, but had to leave before she arrived to go to our appointment. But, we were only a few feet away from her all afternoon. Oh, well.

Monday, May 7, 2007

She never stops moving!

I know that parents are not supposed to compare their children, but I'd bet that all moms do. It's only natural. Of course, I'm not trying to decide which child I like better or anything--that changes from moment to moment . . .

After such wild success for the first two years, I did think I had the parenting thing pretty well figured out. Then along comes Margaret. She was pretty mellow for the first few months, but now she won't stop moving. I sit her down on the floor and within seconds she's across the room. And she is still only crawling on her belly! What is going to happen when she gets up on all fours? By the time Joseph had her gross motor skills, he was well past the "everything in my mouth" stage. Margaret is still there. She follows the vacuum around the apartment eating everything I don't pick up. She crawls into spaces I can't even see--never mind vacuum--and finds tasty choking hazards galore. I'm amazed she is still alive.

Joseph loves to snuggle. He always has and he still often does. Margaret wants to be held most of the time, too, but only so she can try to escape. Set her down and the fun is gone.

She still sleeps in our bed. As long as she is actually asleep, I have no worries. The second I turn my back on awake Margaret she makes for the edge, pauses, contemplates the three feet to the floor, and dives! I've caught her almost every time so far.

The good news: the wheelchair is finally here, so Joseph will soon be faster than his sister again. Pictures and details to follow . . .