Like everyone else who is thrown into the world of disabilities, we're kind of learning as we go. As Eden is getting bigger, wait, let me rephrase that... As Eden is growing up, we're running into issues regarding how to best accommodate her.
One of our concerns right now is going to restaurants as a family. This is something we love to do, and absolutely will not stop doing. When Eden was a baby it was easy, because we could bring both girls in the infant carriers and they would sleep or play while John and I ate. They outgrew the infant carriers for use as a car seat when they hit 26 inches, which was sometime after their first birthday. We moved them into the bigger car seats, but have still carried the infant carrier in the back of the car to use at restaurants. We sit Eden in her infant carrier on a chair, right up to the table with us.
Up until now, we have carried her in to the restaurant in the carrier because it is easier. One of the problems is that she is getting really heavy in that thing. The other problem, and more of a concern to us, is that she just seems to much like a baby in it. The hostess only brings one kids menu with crayons for Holland, and they often ask if we want a sling for the infant carrier. We've dealt with all of this for long enough that we can handle it okay, but I would really like a better option for Eden to feel more like a big girl.
One thing we have started doing, is to carry Eden and the carrier separately, so she isn't actually in the carrier when we go into the restaurant. This helps the "big girl" situation, but is really hard. If this is the best option, we'll probably just start carrying her booster chair with us. Maybe we can attach some sort of harness to it to make it easier to carry. Like a backpack or something. Eden can't really sit up well enough to use the restaurant high chair. What do other parents of children with disabilities do at the restaurant?
That brings me to my next point. At home Eden has always used the First Years reclining booster chair for feeding. Now that the girls are older, we have started trying to let them sit at the table with us for dinner. We bought a nice chair at Ikea for Holland, but it doesn't work very well for Eden. Her booster isn't quite high enough to reach the table comfortably. One person from the internet emailed us and recommended the Tripp chair. There are two places not too far away that sell it, so we are going to try it out. Does anyone else have any suggestions or recommendations for a good high chair? The chair has to adequate support, a foot rest to help her stabilize, and be able to push all the way up to and under the table. If we're going to have to spend big bucks on it, we'd also like it to grow with her (assuming of course, that she is going to grow).
Another problem we have revolves around the bath. Eden absolutely loves water, and loves her bath. She has been taking baths in the big tub for a long time. We just lay her in the bottom of the tub and fill it up to her ears. She colors all over the sides of the tub with her bath crayons, and manages to swivel and wriggle from one end of the tub to the other. She really likes being IN the water, and having freedom to move around.
She's just now getting to where I think she would really like to be able to sit up in the tub. We've tried a few different options, but nothing has really worked so far. She doesn't like the reclining bath seats because she wants to sit all the way up. She can't use a bath ring or anything that requires a broader base, because she tends to snap her knees together anytime she is sitting up. Eden has just gotten to where she is sitting fairly well in the Bumbo, so we have been letting her sit in that in the tub (although the manufacturers warn against this), but we have to keep our hands on her at all times so she doesn't topple it over. What we really need is something like the Bumbo, that is weighted on the bottom and sticks to the tub rather than floating. Does anyone have any good ideas?
Last issue...transportation. Having two makes this a bigger issue than it would be with just one. Actually, having two makes everything a bigger issue, doesn't it? Holland is not getting around well enough yet for her to walk when we go shopping. I imagine this won't happen until 3 or 4. Once Holland is walking well, we will definitely get Eden a wheelchair. But for now, I need to be able to transport them both. The double stroller we use most often is the Kolcraft twin umbrella stroller. I actually really like this one for the price, although it can be a pain because it is so wide, depending on where we go.** Kohl's, for example, is a nightmare, because they pile too much junk in the aisles. Anyway, back to my point. Occasionally the double wide is a pain, and if John and I are together we would like to each take a girl separately. We got the traditional umbrella strollers as a shower gift way back when, but Eden is too slouchy to sit in it. We tried another kind of cheapie umbrella stroller, with more support in the back, but it was impossible to steer. We just bought a third umbrella stroller, that seems nice in theory, but I haven't had a chance to try it out. I probably should have invested in a nicer single stroller from the beginning, but I am always thinking that it is just a short term solution since we use the double wide most often, and eventually Eden will get a wheelchair anyway. I wonder, at what age do kids usually get their first wheelchair? When she does get it, will she be able to sit in it at the restaurant? Jeez, it's just so much to think about... Can anybody help me out?
**Of course, every time I have a hard time with the double stroller, I start worrying about accessibility with a wheelchair. It is shocking and appalling to notice how much of this world is NOWHERE near accessible for people with disabilities. I know it is not something that your average person ever thinks about, so make it a point the next time you are out. Be aware. Think about how you would go about your business if you were in a wheelchair. What if Eden, as an adult in a wheelchair, wanted to stop in for coffee at the Starbucks in Plymouth? She wouldn't be able to. There's a step up to a very narrow doorway, then a door that is impossible to hold open. It's very frustrating and I really feel for the people out there trying to live their lives having to deal with this on a daily basis.