IJ’s new accessories

Isaiah Jane has been in her SMOs for about a week now. Supramalleolar orthotics are designed for kids like IJ, with hypotonia (low tone). They keep her foot and ankle in alignment, giving her more support while learning to stand and walk. On recommendation from our physical therapist, we went with a brand called Sure Step. Their materials are a bit more flexible, to allow Isaiah Jane to move and learn what she needs to, without being hindered by a clunky brace.

The orthotist told me he’s seen kids stand mere minutes after he put SMOs on their feet, but I didn’t have high hopes. We’ve had to be patient thus far and I’m ready to wait as long as necessary. Until now, Isaiah Jane has only been able to stand for a few minutes at a time, propped up against furniture or her crib. She also had to be bribed with food, full of energy and a nap, and in a perfect mood. Little did I know that she’d take to them so well. The girl loves them. She smiles ear to ear when she stands (still with assistance) and she even takes little baby steps now. She cruises on furniture and bobs her head up and down with excitement each time she tries something new. Her personality even seems different, like she’s got more confidence. I’m so impressed!

The big boys have been very supportive, taking time out of their football games to help her stand against the porch. They tell her how pretty she is with her “new pink booties.” Ames & Honor don’t try to pull them off, which is nice. Lucas saved the day just before we left for church, when he pointed to her bare feet and asked where her braces were. I’d totally forgotten about them altogether. As he buckled her in to car seat, he went ahead and put them on her for me! They have to be applied very snugly and specifically, so it’s no small feat (oops, there’s a pun).

It’s very likely that she’ll have to size up a few times between now and age three, which is when the orthotist hopes to have her out of the braces. But at the rate she’s growing… we might only have to buy one more pair, which would be nice – those things are ‘spensive! And with the progress we’ve seen over the last week, who knows how long she’ll even need them? Regardless, it’s worth it. To see joy spread from face to face in my family has been indescribable. My tiniest is learning to walk!

17 thoughts on “IJ’s new accessories”

  1. I hardly ever comment on any blogs, but I have to comment on this one. I am so happy for you. My son is/was having issues with one of his legs where it was completely bowed out and the foot was turned in. As years have passed (he is five now) the leg has curved more in and the foot is turning back out. We (the Dr. and myself) are watching him very closely, as we do not know if it is severe paratoedness (is that a word? LOL) or something else. I have been reading your story very closely, especially when you talk about your baby girls legs and walking. I am so happy for you for this amazing breakthrough!

    1. I’m definitely no doctor, and I’m totally going on just the bit of information you offered in your comment, but this sounds an awful lot like talipes equinovarus (aka “club foot”). Has your doctor considered that? Either way, good luck to you and your Lil Man! :)

    2. Glad you and your doctor are keeping an eye on things. I feel grateful that we’re able to monitor IJ closely and with assistance. I hope you find some answers and peace soon!

  2. Awwww. This reminds me of, well, me. I didn’t have the same issue as IJ but I was born with a club foot, and a pretty severe case at that (I didn’t learn to walk until I was 3-4 years old). I definitely had little shoes similar to these, though, and also had to wear “Forest Gump” braces for a while. Anyway, no one was sure how far I’d come along with my ability to be mobile, but I eventually got there and so will IJ! :)

  3. I think the Internet ate my comment. Anyway, IJ looks so adorable in her new pink booties. I can’t wait to see her shine, making progress by leaps and bounds. And it’ll only be a matter of time before she’s a walking pro, and she’s walking right out of her magic pink booties!

  4. Such sweet news! So happy for you and your family. Your positive and patient attitude is such an encouragement to me as I’m learning to be a mama right now.

  5. I seriously get teary eyed every single time you tell a story like the one about Lucas. You have an incredible family.

    The braces are great. I’m glad to see they’re working so well. My husband has a heart condition, which resurfaced over the weekend. Medication got things back in good working order and my sister’s response was that science and modern medicine are amazing things that we are lucky to have. I think that applies here, too. Just imagine going through all this 30 or 40 years ago!

    1. As I wrote this, I stopped to thank God for our community, too… If IJ had been born into a different part of the world, it’s likely that she wouldn’t have access the resources she needs.

  6. it’s so incredible that, despite her struggles physically, she learned to crawl! the crawling to walking transition is surprisingly integral for brain development and it is so incredible that you are making sure to facilitate that in a naturally kinesthetic way!

    i work with a kiddo who is 9 and on the autism spectrum. his mom and i are teaching him basic types of crawling; belly crawl, hands & knees, etc. you’d be amazed at how difficult it is for him. it is so exciting for us to see how his gross motor development affects his progress in mastering verbal operants!!! his little twin brothers have even joined in to motivate him.

    hooray for family effort! and go, IJ!!!

    (keep an ear out for any verbal progress in IJ!)

    1. I’m encouraged by your words, Ally! She still doesn’t crawl properly, as she prefers to do the army thing. I try to stay patient and prop her up each time, so I love hearing stories like these!

  7. What is the reason for her hypotonia? My son has it. We just found out he has Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Do you have a diagnosis? I am interested to read about others like him.

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