Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Joseph!

Six years have sure flown by.

Joseph is a pretty low-key birthday guy. Margaret just lives for the hype and anticipation but Joseph gets pretty overwhelmed by it. We opted last year to skip a party and lots of presents and take a fun family outing instead and we liked it so much that I think we'll make it a tradition. We have plans for a boat ride around Manhattan for this Friday and Joseph is very excited.

For today we let Joseph choose the menu and we were extremely relieved when he asked for cheese fondue. We also had banana splits which I guess is another Joseph tradition. For breakfast he requested blueberry scones with scrambled eggs and lunch was supposed to be the hot dog truck in the park which had to be postponed due to rain (what is it with rain on this kid's birthday?).

Joseph was also the recipient of books and a book rack:

This is a great gift for him because he often wakes up slowly in the morning and prefers to sit quietly in bed reading rather than having breakfast with us. We're fine with this habit and it's nice for him to have books at hand since there is no way to fit a nightstand near his bed.

Our only other plans for the day were to play Joseph's new games and read his new books. This was especially the extent of our plans when Joseph's wheelchair all but fell apart on the way to church this morning. He was fitted for a new chair back in June and we were expecting delivery next month. We've been nervously watching his tires deteriorate and this morning was the last straw. I called the wheelchair company in what I figured would be a futile attempt to speed up the new chair process and just minutes after Eric finished duct-taping Joseph's tire the delivery guy called up and said that, in fact, Joseph's new chair was on his truck and would we like it today?

Joseph doesn't pose well but here are a couple of shots . . . The changes are subtle but important.

You can see, maybe, that the wheels are the same size but the seat is higher. You might notice that his old seat is flopped forward. We've had trouble with that seat for about three years and it's really compromised Joseph's efficiency. The new seat is very, very solid. The new chair also has permanent rather than removable handles. They are lower and, therefore, less comfortable for the pusher but it's great to realize how seldom Joseph needs us to push him these days. On the rare occasion that he needs help up a hill, Margaret is all-too-glad to give him a boost and these new handles are much better for her. They will also make it easy for Joseph to use a backpack if he wants.

The new chair is considerably wider which is an adjustment for everyone. Joseph says it is "easier to wheel, but harder to jump." The "anti-tippers" on the back can be raised much higher on this chair which will be a good way to transition Joseph towards having a chair without that safety mechanism. Down the road he will want to be able to jump curbs and even negotiate small steps on his own and he'll need excellent backwards balancing skills for that.

Otherwise, the chair is very similar--it was even made by the same company. It should last him at least three years and we're all very glad to not have to worry about it falling apart in the middle of an outing. And, one last shot--Joseph is asking me, "Is this a good pose?" Uh . . .


Angela said...

I love Joseph's poses! Happy belated birthday from the DeWitt boys! By the way, I noticed "A Cricket in Times Square" on the new book rack -- that is a family favorite here.

Emily said...

What a handsome young man!! HAppy Birthday Joseph! Congrats on the new chair!

Brett said...

I don't pose well either :)

What a great kid.