We have been fighting tightness in Caleb's legs since he had tethered cord surgery 3 years ago. This was never a problem before but has been an ongoing issue since. His legs are never relaxed. Never. Even at night when he is sound asleep his legs are tight, so tight that I can't move them. It's like his nerves are constantly firing. The nerves just fire and his leg will shoot out uncontrollably. We have done everything we can to keep his legs from getting contractures. I use his KAFO's daily to get his legs as straight as I can for at least a couple of hours each day. I feel like I'm fighting a battle I can't win. I've noticed things have gotten just a little bit worse in recent weeks.
This cute toe is moving forward for some reason. The other toes are kinda curling downward. His big toe is super tight....it's weird.
The right leg is crazy tight. This is as straight as it will go and this photo was taken AFTER I had him stretched out with his KFAO's for two hours.
While the tightness isn't new, I do think it is worse even with everything we are doing to stop it. Caleb has even noticed that the tightness is worse and it is starting to bother him. Of course tethered cord is my first thought. So, I called his neurosurgeon and he said that tethered cord is a possibility. Caleb will be having a full MRI on June 3rd to see how things are looking. We'll go from there.
I had the rare privilege of meeting a fellow SB family that I have known for years....even though we had never actually met. You don't have to meet someone to know them. The Orr family came all the way from California to attend a local WCMX event and we were able to finally meet face-to-face. They came over for dinner one night and we had a fun day at the zoo on Monday.
"Hey mom, take my picture."
Watching the baby elephant splash in the water. So cute.
"Hey mom, take my picture."
Benjamin and Silas had to check out the map. These two were peas in a pod.
"Hey mom, take my picture."
A quick game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Caleb adored Aimee.
Caleb and Carson rollin' down the road.
We had a blast with the Orr family. I'm so thankful for my online SB family and it is always such a blessing when we actually get to meet (and hug) in person.
We just wrapped up Unit 3 of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. You can read about Unit 1 and Unit 2 as well. This unit walked us through Ancient Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and into Ancient Greece.
Fun fact: The ancient Assyrians actually invented wheels with spokes. They figured out that having spokes made the wheels lighter and faster. Caleb thought it was so cool that he could thank the ancient Assyrians for the spokes on his wheelchair wheels!
Here are a few of the activities we did over the last 9 weeks.
We learned that ancient armies would create banners or flags that they would carry into battle. We made our own flags.
From left to right: I made our official homeschool flag for "McLelland Academy". The boys thought this was awesome. Caleb made the middle flag and Benjamin did the one on the right.
We learned about ancient relief carvings and made our own using bars of soap.
We studied Babylon and the Ishtar Gate. King Nebuchadnezzar was behind this amazing architectural construction. It was fascinating to learn about. We made our own, much smaller version of the Ishtar gate using clay.
Finished Ishtar gates. Benjamin's is blue, Caleb's is orange.
We spent some time on the book of Esther while we learned about the Persian Empire. We learned the history behind the Jewish celebration of Purim and we attempted to make Hamantashen which is a traditional dessert served during this holiday. They are supposed to look like this:
Our's looked like this:
Despite the appearance, they actually tasted pretty good. Don't judge a book by it's cover people. And don't judge a cookie just because it's insides are running out.
We also made our version of the "Cyrus Cylinder". The original Cyrus cylinder tells how King Cyrus captured Babylon and let all the captives return to their homeland. It was basically a declaration by the King.
Benjamin's Declaration: "I, Benjamin McLelland, declare that everyone must be creative with Legos. You must practice building everyday with Legos. No instructions allowed. You must be creative in a certain way."
Caleb's Declaration: "I, Caleb McLelland, am the bird man. I love birds and you should too! You should do what the bird man says!"
We made our own seals. These would have been dipped in wax and then used to seal important documents.
Once we got to Ancient Greece we started learning about famous mathematicians like Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Eratosthenes. We made our own Platonic bodies.
We also explored the concepts of geometry by making a Stomachion.
First we created a grid and drew shapes. The shapes were then colored and cut out.
The shapes could then be arranged to create pictures.
The boys used Legos to build a labyrinth. They had to see if they could get a marble through the maze.
We learned about Greek theater.
Comedy and Tragedy masks.
Astrology was very important to the ancient Greeks. They were able to chart more than 800 stars during that time. They even designed a planetarium. We made our own constellarium (a smaller version of a planetarium) using a toilet paper role and black construction paper.
And we completed another lapbook!
I continue to love this curriculum. We only have one more unit left and we will have officially survived our first year of Tapestry of Grace! I will definitely continue with this curriculum next year. I have absolutely loved it. I love learning history in the light of God's plan. It's been amazing to read and really study how history just lines up perfectly with the Bible. The two are not separate. I've learned so much...and I think the boys have too.
Every spring bluebonnets appear all over Texas. They line the highways and there are fields of beautiful bluebonnets. They are gorgeous. Unfortunately, they only last a few weeks so you have to take advantage and get some photos before they disappear.
Rollin' on the trails.
A field of bluebonnets.
Um, I guess Benjamin needed to pee or something....
Every 6 months Caleb's physical therapist does a re-evaluation. Caleb's progress over the last few months is discussed and goals are reviewed. I've always hated therapy evaluations but I understand they are necessary for insurance. Therapists have to be able to show that there is progress and evaluations make that possible. Currently Caleb has a therapy goal of being able to walk in his KAFO's for 5 minutes without stopping.
Caleb can do it...but he hates it. He doesn't like walking with his KAFO's. He doesn't like walking. It's hard, awkward, and cumbersome. Honestly, it's not functional...it's simply walking for the sake of walking. He hates it.
As we are getting ready for a therapy re-evaluation next week and knowing that we will have to set goals, I asked Caleb if walking is important to him.
His answer without hesitation: No.
Walking is not important to him. He's 9 years old and I think he is old enough to be a part of his goal planning. He should get a say. And he says "no" to walking. I get it. I really do. Walking is really hard work for him. And he needs a lot of support to do it. Even when he was walking really well (before the tethered cord surgery 3 years ago....wow, has it been 3 years?!) he would choose his wheels over his walker when given the choice. After that surgery he lost everything. He had to start all over. He's had to work so hard to gain back even some of what he lost. I was hopeful that he would gain back the ability to walk but then weeks turned to months...and now years. I'm not so hopeful now. And honestly, I'm okay with that. I've never had a problem with his need for a wheelchair. I love his wheelchair. It is independence, speed, confidence and mobility. It is a blessing.
I'm okay if he never walks again. But I want him to be okay with that. I think he is. Walking isn't important to him. I respect that. I'm actually relieved to hear him say it. I feel like a weight has been lifted.