Monday, August 1, 2011


Walking is great. Falling is, unfortunately, part of the process of honing those walking skills. Dean has always been one to fall easily. When he was learning to sit up, we put pillows behind him like any parent does when your kid is getting better at it. Eventually, though, we realized that he was using the pillows as a crutch when he just didn't feel like sitting anymore. With low muscle tone, people have to use sheer strength to overcome the deficits in the messages that their brain sends to their muscles. This gets exhausting. So when Dean "goes," as we call it, he really goes. FLOP. BOOM. Ouch. :(

When kids with normal muscle tone fall, it's like cutting off the power to a ceiling fan - it comes to a gradual stop. Kids put out an arm or twist to fall or do something to break it so they don't just slam on the ground (usually :)).

When kids with low muscle tone fall, it's like a power outage. BOOM, lights off. You look around - "what happened?" Seemingly nothing in particular, just a break in power. Dean's brain might give him enough notice to put out an arm to break his fall, but 99% of the time, that's not the case.

When Dean was learning to sit, we ended up taking the pillows away at some point because as hard as it was, Dean had to learn that he couldn't just "go" and fall over wherever he was when he got tired. There had to be a gentler way. It took him falling a few times to get the idea. :( But it worked in the end.

With crawling, there was not much falling. Once Dean started pulling up and eventually trying to walk, he falls and EVERY time it's a huge BOOM! It's alarming to those who aren't used to being around it, and results in constant spikes in our blood pressure as we try to get Dean safely through a day. I know that sounds dramatic, but seriously, if you've seen Dean in action, can I hear an amen?

With walking, it's farther to fall. We were at the mall playplace this weekend and if Dean was walking around and "went," it was like throwing a huge, wet blanket on anyone who was nearby. Even with me having to be helicoptering around him, he just "went" so quickly and clobbered a kid nearly half his size. The kid was fine, Dean was fine, and the dad watching the kid just said, "Oh, no worries!" and that was that. But I felt horrible. The truly constant supervision is a bit overwhelming sometimes. Our playroom is practically foolproof when it comes to danger (notice I said practically :)), so it's nice to have that assurance at home.

I'm not exactly sure how this progresses as someone with low tone gets older, but I'm assuming it becomes less of an issue to some extent. In the meanwhile, we're trying to keep the number of bruises to a minimum. :)

1 comment:

Candice said...

I totally know what you sre saying re: the constant supervision. Graham is still clumsy and I still feel like a helipcopter mama.

Part of the reason it is so dramatic when dean falls is he's so much bigger. Most of the time when kids are learning to walk they're tiny 12 month olds. I even noticed this with Graham when he started walking at 18 mos. The bigger they are, the harder they fall!!