The particular type that Abigail has (SMOs) are designed to help stabilize her ankles (her ankles, especially her right one, are weak) and force her to keep her feet flat instead of rolling inward (putting too much weight on her instep/big toe side). They are fully customizable from the color of the foam inserts to the color of the straps to the design sewn on top. (Note to all people ordering SMOs: consider doing without the extra design as it adds additional bulk and makes shoe fittings that much harder. Hindsight, doncha know).
Abigail loves taking them on and off, but hates wearing them. She refuses to stand or walk in them just yet. Abigail's physical therapist assured us that her behavior is normal. They probably feel restrictive on her feet, and they are forcing her to use the proper muscles instead of compensating, so even just standing and walking probably feels different and harder than before. Plus, they are pretty huge on her tiny feet. Well, they fit properly, but properly includes growing room. Which means the shoes are about a size and a half bigger than her normal shoe size (one has to wear shoes whenever they are wearing orthotics). Poor kid walks like her feet are encased in cement blocks.
She started out wearing them for 30 mins on day, then one hour the next. Today they are on for two hours and we'll increase by one hour each day until we hit five hours. Once we arrive at that point, on Saturday, she'll just wear them all day every day. Whenever she might be walking, she needs to be wearing them for an indefinite period of time. Some kids only need them for a year or two, other kids keep them on for much longer.
She doesn't have the finger dexterity yet to take them off, so the best she can do is un-velcro the shoes and they remain on her feet for the proper duration of time.
Other bits of news related to Abigail's progress include this fancy new change to her crib during the day:
We put the side back on for naptime and bedtime right now. I think it's a good transition to a big-girl bed. We decided to give it a go it because she often has the desire to crawl in her crib during the day to get a blanket or stuffed animal or to read a book in it. She gets a kick out of having free access, but, even though she has the skillset and physical strength to climb out, she gets very nervous about even slight heights and often finds herself trapped inside like a kitten in a tree. Being two is way harder than people give it credit.
Third, and lastly for now, we are trying to wean Abigail from her pacifier. I used to be an anti-pacifier mom when Abigail was born, but her inability to breastfeed (because of the heart condition, not the Down syndrome! Never let someone tell you that your child with Ds can't breastfeed!) forced us to turn to bottles, which made it less important to keep the artificial and the natural distinct. Then when she was on a feeding tube in the hospital during heart surgery, she had a strong desire to suck, so we gave in a bought her a pacifier and she's been hooked ever since. For quite a while now, she only uses it when she's sleeping or sick, but we recently starting sneaking it out of her mouth after she falls asleep. So far she's been great about staying asleep/falling back asleep without it. I've put in a TON of work with Abigail to establish healthy sleeping habits without using the cry-it-out method and I think our rock-solid foundation facilities easy removal of the pacifier. I have no pressing reason to get rid of them other than they are expensive and I'm sick of buying them.
Sorry if this is more boring than the usual mind-blowing, edge-of-your-seat posts you're used to reading from me. The next time you hear from me, it will be for a 5 Minute Friday post and then again next week in the throes of packing.