Spring has finally arrived in Vancouver – hooray! We’ve been really ready for it in our house, I can tell you that. It’s been a LOOOOONG winter. Consequently, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and spent a big chunk of this weekend outdoors.
On Friday, I took Miranda and Owen to a playground for a while. Of course, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva restricts what Miss M can do on playgrounds. The monkey bars are out, heh heh… However, as happens with any other child, Miranda’s confidence with playgrounds has been increasing as she grows older. On Friday, I noted she wanted to climb up on things more than she has in the past. She was more willing to try things out, and her balance was pretty good (such as when she walked on the stone wall around the sandbox – me hovering right beside her, of course). As for me, I’m trying very, very hard to try and strike the right balance between letting her try new things and still keeping her safe… I have a few “sphincter-tightening” moments watching Miranda do things like try to climb into the 6 foot tall wooden fire truck, but I’m keeping it under control, LOL.
All in all, the playground was a pretty good excursion. One bad moment though – after we’d been there a few minutes, I suddenly realized I had lost track of Owen (age 7). I shouted for him, but he didn’t shout back. So I shouted louder – still no answer. I looked all around the playground, but couldn’t see him. At that point, I started to get a tad alarmed. I started walking around the playground, Miranda in tow, shouting progressively more loudly for Owen. A few parents started looking at me, and someone asked what Owen looked like. By this time, I was really getting worried. Where did that monkey go?? My instinct was to start running around the area and searching high and low for him. BUT – how could I do this with Miranda? She wouldn’t be able to go nearly fast enough to keep up with me, and it certainly wouldn’t be a safe run for her. Just when I started to think I was really in trouble, Owen came sauntering nonchalantly out of the restroom. Gah!!! He got a good talking to about ALWAYS STAYING WHERE I CAN SEE HIM, or telling me if he has to go to the bathroom! This is important conduct for any kid, but is extra crucial when his mom is looking after his little sister who has FOP.
Anyway… Saturday found us at another playground, this time with M & O’s dad along and with family friends who have a little boy almost age 3. Miranda had to show off how she could climb up and go down the twisty slide – and she made it, with only a little help from Mom. She also walked from our friends’ home to the playground, to a pizza place a couple of blocks away, and then 3 blocks back to another playground. That’s a lot of walking for Miranda, but she handled it well. Sometimes I wonder if Miranda’s missing back muscles (ie, missing because chunks of them have ossified into bone, sigh) affect her core strength and stamina, but she seems to hold up better than I would have ever thought possible.
Finally, today saw us on a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium with my husband’s parents (aka “Farmor” – Danish for grandma – and Grandpa Carl). Again, Miranda impressed me with her stamina. She walked all over the Aquarium and didn’t seem to need much rest. She and Owen REALLY enjoyed when the beluga whale squirted water on the crowd – they thought that was really funny… After the Aquarium, we had lunch at a stone picnic table. This was not the best choice for Miranda, since she had to stand up on her knees on the stone bench to reach the table (her arms are too restricted to reach up from a sitting position). Me being always the worrier, I fretted over the pressure this was putting on her little legs, especially on such a hard bench. But, that part didn’t last long, and soon we were off to yet another playground near the Aquarium in Stanley Park. We played a rousing game of hide and seek at the playground. Owen, Miranda, Farmor and I hid, while Grandpa Carl amused himself watching us, and Miranda’s dad supervised her choice of hiding places (of course, his presence a few feet away from her hiding spots always gave her away, but she didn’t realize that!).
Here’s a pic I took of Miranda at the Sunday playground. Have a look at her protective neoprene headband, newly decorated for spring by the tremendously artistic Farmor…
You can see Miranda was having a really fun day. Look at that smile!
All in all, I think it was a great weekend. Yes, there was FOP always to be aware of, but mostly it was a little girl and her big brother having fun playing outside.