Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello, Orthotics

It is time to say goodbye to size 4 soft-soled shoes.
Say Goodbye

Say goodbye to size 4 strap shoes.
Say Goodbye

Hello, orthotics. And size 7 extra wide laced shoes.
Hello Orthotics!

The receptionist from the orthotic lab called this morning, "Yes, we got R's orthotics in yest... today. When would you like to schedule an appointment to get them fitted?" I had to hold my tongue when she almost said "yesterday." Their 1 o'clock appointment today had cancelled, so I loaded R in the car, met up with Senpai for lunch, then we all headed over to the doctor's office together. It was my first time meeting the receptionist face to face, and I have no idea if she was extra cold with me due to my... displeasure with the delay, or if that's her normal demeanor. We were taken to a room with lots of toys for R to enjoy (who are we kidding? Senpai and I had fun, too), and then a jovial gentleman tried R's orthotics on her feet and shaved off the excess material. We left the room, went back to the front desk to sign off that we received the orthotics, gave a curt nod to the receptionist, then we were on our way to the mall to buy new shoes that would fit around the huge things.

Baby Meets Orthotics

R just recently outgrew size 4 shoes. We had bought her an adorable pair of size 5 strap-closure shoes (seen in pic above) last year at Nordstrom Rack, and I had just put them on her yesterday. Today, we bought size 7 extra wide laced shoes. SIZE SEVEN EXTRA WIDE. The things are humongous on her, but she is able to crawl around without them noticeably holding her back. We didn't even get to choose what her shoes would look like; those were the only ones that would work. I told Senpai on the drive home that it was so surreal to walk into the shoe store-- Laurie's Shoes by Stride Rite-- and get R's feet (correction: orthotics) sized, because I remember being young and walking into Buster Brown with my Mom. I remember what it felt like to step on that cold, metal sizing plate, and how the part that slides up against your arch always tickled. We would choose my school uniform shoes for the year, penny loafers or (my favorite) granny boots. Maybe sneakers, too. And now I'm starting the shoe journey with R. When just picking something off the shelf at Nordstrom Rack won't do, when we need to convince our not-yet-walking baby to bear weight on the orthotic-covered foot placed on this funny metal plate, and get the only shoes available to provide some sort of traction to the slippery orthotics. It's so surreal.

Wearing orthotics and size 7 shoes.

We're supposed to break the orthotics in gradually. She wore them for a little over an hour today, it'll be two hours tomorrow, etc. It's too soon to see improvement from the orthotics, but we are already seeing improvement from physical therapy. It's so funny, I'm in the room with the therapist and R for the entire hour, and it just seems like play. Is the therapist working or playing? It's hard to tell. But then, magically, R is standing without supporting herself on something. I'm right there in front of her, jiggling toys just out of reach, while the therapist holds her feet. I ask, "Is she... standing?" The therapist replies, "Yes, this is the third time she's done it just now." I am amazed. My jaw drops and tears come to my eyes. She can stand without support. It doesn't last long-- she's upright for only a moment before her hands settle back on the beams in front of her-- though that moment is so miraculous. After that appointment on Monday, Senpai was able to get her to do it once more at home. Just once.

There's another physical therapy appointment tomorrow, followed by playing with friends at Storytime. She's got her orthotics and super shoes now. I can't wait to see what she will do.

Wearing orthotics and size 7 shoes



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