As many of you know, Riley's low muscle tone has caused him to have some delays in his gross motor development. He has been working on crawling up on all fours, instead of on his belly, for nearly 8 months now, and is still having a tough time. He has been able to pull to stand and cruise for a while, but he always leans his trunk against something for support. This low tone in his trunk means that, for right now, he can't support himself while standing, and therefore can't walk on his own. However, the boys are now 18 months old and he is developmentally ready to explore the world in an upright position. So, our fabulous physical therapist suggested that we let him try to use a walker for support, to see if he is able to move around with it. She arranged to borrow one to try, and said that if he is able to use it, we can pursue getting him one of his own through our insurance.
During his therapy session today, she introduced the walker. It is a reverse walker, which means that he needs to stand upright and pull it along behind him. He needs this type because a traditional walker, which he would push in front of him, would allow him to lean his trunk against it and avoid using his trunk muscles. I called home after his session, and heard that he didn't do very well. Apparently, he kept flopping to the ground and resting his armpits on the handles. I was a little disappointed, but figured we would keep practicing and see if he could do it.
Then, I came home from work and stood him up in front of the walker and .....he took off! For some reason, he "got it" at that moment. It was so exciting to see him walk and be so independent. Over the next hour, he made a continuous lap from the front door, across our living room, to the end of hall and back. He never stopped, and seriously must have made at least 50 trips across the room. Initially, he was a little frustrated when he reached a wall, and we helped him to turn around. After only about 15 minutes, though, he figured out how to turn around with just a tiny tap on the walker to remind him to go backwards and then turn. He executed three point turns perfectly!
I took these videos at the very start of the hour, so they don't even show how well he was moving after just a little more practice! Amazing! (That's Katie, the boys' nanny, helping him get started.)
I am just so thrilled! Of course, the twin mommy in me is feeling all sorts of guilt because I don't have a video of Ross walking yet. He is making great progress, too, and is now taking 6-8 steps on his own many, many times each day. I tried to get a video of him walking this evening, but he was just too darn tired. I think it may have something to do with his total refusal to sleep through the night anymore. But that's another post....