Our son is finishing up a round of pediatric physical therapy. He has been a ‘toe walker' ever since he took his first steps. While this doesn't stop him from getting around, his pediatrician advised we take him to therapy after his last check up. The reason for this is because toe walkers often don't stretch out muscles and tendons in their foot. This appeared to be the case for my son. By having him go through therapy, we would all learn methods to stretch these out. The hope is that it would lead to better walking habits.
So far, we're one for two on the goals noted above. He has improved the mobility in his foot, meaning that it stretches out better. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, he still often walks on his toes. We always tell him when we catch him, and he'll drop down while he walks, but it's just a habit that he's not ready to break yet. This isn't ideal, but it means we'll have to keep him engaged in the stretching exercises. The good news is that he doesn't have to go to therapy indefinitely. His movement will be measured by the pediatrician, and if needed, he might need to go back to therapy occasionally.
I know first hand that habits like this are hard to break. I never got over my fingernail biting as a child, and I still do it to this day. Who knows why some habits stick and others form?
Perspective After Attending Pediatric Physical Therapy
Since my son started attending therapy, my wife typically takes him. She picks him up from school and drives him, and I get our daughter off the bus. This worked best for us so that it didn't interrupt my work day.
Still, my wife thought it would be a good idea for me to attend. I had asked her a number of questions, and rather than be the go-between, she thought I should go.
So I did.
Attending was quite eye opening, but not for the reasons I thought.
Getting some of my questions answered and seeing how things worked was the easy part. That just involved sticking my head through a door and spending a few minutes chatting with the therapist. She clarified a few things and confirmed a couple of things I'd been thinking about post-therapy planning. That was the easy part.
Where it really opened my eyes was seeing some of the other children in for therapy. We were lucky to find a kids only therapy center, which has worked really well. But, just as is the case with any medical office, you see the other patients as they enter and leave.
Some Amazing Kids
And I have to tell you, there were some pretty amazing kids there. I saw a kid that didn't seem to talk. They were trying to work with her, and also have her communicate with a special tablet to make sure she had interaction. I saw a kid who had been in some kind of accident who was really struggling, but working hard to get back to doing what had once been normal. In the hour that I was there, I saw these and others.
And Some Incredible Parents
I also saw some pretty amazing parents. It really put things in perspective for me in a number of ways. We often get pretty wrapped in our own kids lives and their struggles, and we can sometime get overwhelmed in the process. If one of the kids comes home with a note from school, it's easy to get frustrated. When we tell our son for what seems like the 50th time that day to walk on his feet, we become that nagging parent we promised we'd never be. When we hear toilet talk, it pushes us closer to seeing red.
But, you know what? Seeing what these other parents go through gives some much needed perspective. For each other kid I saw there, I saw a parent that was fully supportive. They were immersed in making sure that their child had every opportunity to work through their particular challenge. The love was amazing.
It was really cool to see and it made me walk out with appreciation for what they do. I'm sure it's not always easy for them. It can't be.
Regardless, I had nothing but admiration for these parents. It was an honor to be able to see this little bit of their lives. And, it really put things in perspective.
Readers, have you had an eye opening moment like this? Has there ever been a time when you got a look at someone else's life, and it made you see yours differently? Let me know your story in the comments below. And, thanks so much for reading.