Thoughts from a stander

If you & I are friends on facebook, you may have seen me post recently that Zoe got a new (pink, of course!) device called a stander. It’s a crazy looking contraption that more resembles some weird torture device than anything that could be medically useful.

Well, it is really a genius piece of equipment. I am very thankful we were able to not only get her one, but get her this particular stander.

Zoe’s new stander is called a Squiggles stander. Here’s what it looks like…

The whole purpose of getting a child a stander is pretty self-explanatory. To get them standing. Zoe is 10 months old, which is the age when babies are learning to crawl, cruise & pull to stand. Zoe is doing very well, she is rolling like a pro, and can get herself turned around in a circle. She has the motivation to crawl & is very interested in it; she will pull her legs up under her but still needs to get stronger before she can keep them there. Once she figures that part out, I think she’ll take off 🙂

There are TONS of benefits to using this piece of equipment. Strengthening muscles & joints, stimulating bone growth, aiding in digestion, & of course, all the great cognitive benefits of just being upright where other kids are are awesome. We’ve had Zoe’s stander for two weeks, and I do believe she has already benefited from using it.  Most kids seem to get these anywhere from 10-12 months, and of course, if you know me, you know I want to be on top of things so we got on the ball early to get one for Zoe.

We chose the Squiggles stander for Zoe for a variety of reasons, using the input & recommendations from our therapists. This stander will allow Zoe to stand in both a supine or a prone positioning. Basically this means we have a lot of flexibility in how we put her in it, and we can change the positioning of it to give her the maximum benefit from its use. It will also grow quite a bit with her, and we have the option of converting it to become mobile should Zoe eventually want to move herself around in it. No, she won’t need it forever. But infancy & childhood are such crucial periods for growth that we want to maximize this time to allow her to reach her full potential. It supports her at the head, chest, trunk, & knees. As she grows & gets stronger, we will reduce the amount of support she uses.

I really thought I might feel a little down when we got it, or when we put her in it. You know, sort of sad that she even really needs it to begin with. To my own surprise, I was actually excited! It was so great to see her standing up, and to even more of my own surprise, she actually LOVES it.

The stander puts her on eye level with Faith, which means lots of tea parties.

Something else I hadn’t thought much of until recently, is how all of these new contraptions we’ve acquired to help Zoe grow big & strong will affect Faith. The girls are close enough in age that I am always mindful of Faith feeling a little jealous, as though these are “presents” for Zoe. We try to be honest with Faith & explain what each of these things do.

The glasses help Zoe see.

The braces help make Zoe’s ankles strong.

The stander helps Zoe stand & grow strong.

Faith is such an amazing big sister (& motivator!) to Zoe. I love nothing more than to see the two of them together. They are quite the pair. I have spent so much time thinking of how I want to teach Zoe about her spina bifida, and that I don’t want to ever let it define who she is. After all, I think she’s a little superstar 😉

But lately, I’ve been noticing some new qualities emerge in Faith. There is no judgment or preconceived ideas about Zoe, her abilities, her future, or all her new gadgets. There is FULL acceptance. Love. Compassion.

Faith loves all of Zoe’s new “stuff” and goes out of her way to try to help make it exciting.

Decorating Zoe’s stander…

Sometimes I think we can learn the best lessons from a child. We are all sometimes so quick to stereotype, to make assumptions based on what we see. But we never know the full picture. We only walk our own journey, not someone else’s. We have no clue what someone else has been through, and it’s so easy to just put them in a category.

But there is so much more to what meets the eye sometimes.

I am trying to learn this lesson; to remember how easily my oldest daughter accepts my younger daughter for all she is, and will be, with nothing but love. And vice versa.

There will come a day I know, when my children will figure out that the world is cruel. People are rude sometimes. Hurtful words may be spoken to them. I can only pray now that they will begin to grow in grace & wisdom, to see past outer appearances, and to show that same unconditional love that they do now.

“Be completely humble & gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Ephesians 4:2


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