I need some creative, resourceful brains to help me out! Here's what life will look like for us in the next 3 months:
January: 2 surgeries (1 per kid) with two hospital stays
February: 2 kids in casts (Ellie in bilateral full leg casts to her hips and bilateral arm casts & Will in a full arm cast totally covering hand)
Also - the new kitten will have his claws removed so he will be in casts too!
March: 1 surgery (Ellie) & new casts for her on her legs, arm casts off, Will's casts off
April: Ellie finally gets casts off & we are casts free & I can breathe a sigh of relief!!
Here's the deal: I need help! I'm trying to stockpile some ideas for "activities to do with kids who are recovering from surgery and stuck in casts." I'm working on the assumption that they are going to be mostly stripped of their independence while in casts. I mean, Ellie will have all four limbs in casts. Yikes. Though Will will only have one limb in a cast, he basically uses both of his arms/hands to pretty much do everything... with his right arm/hand totally encased in a cast, I'm assuming mosts tasks will be difficult or impossible for him for awhile.
(As a sidenote, thanks to this journey we are on, we've met several friends who don't have hands or arms at all... and therefore my perspective is so different now than it was several years ago! I do know that it is completely possible for someone to have independence and function well without hands or arms. It just takes determination and perseverance and creativity and time to figure it out. I do believe that by the end of his recovery period, Will will have figured out how to do things using his left elbow or somehow using his cast & left arm. Hopefully, by the end, he will have figured out some basic tasks like toileting or feeding himself. But, I think those adaptations take time. So, really, it's the first 2-3 weeks that I think will be the most difficult for him as many of the things he has adapted to do independently with two arms (like going to the bathroom by himself, getting dressed, feeding himself, taking a drink, playing, writing, etc) will be very difficult and will require assistance.)
So- I'm trying to gear up my own brain to really assist my kids a lot while they are in casts. I'm realizing that likely they will need assistance to eat, go to the bathroom, hold a color, get dressed, play with their toys, etc. And I'm trying to build up my patience reserves :) & wrap my brain around the sudden lack of independence... combined with soreness and crankiness post-op.
I know. Sounds like winter 2013 is going to be fun here, doesn't it? I'm sure you are all going to be lining up to just come hang out with us. :)
The silver lining so far has been that I've worked hard at organizing several areas of my house that needed some attention. My pantry has never looked better. My laundry room looked great. Last week. Now it needs work again. It's like I'm nesting for a newborn that will be time consuming except that instead of a new baby, I'm bringing home a 2 year old and a 5 year old from the hospital that will need extra attention.
I've stockpiled movies (they each got a new one for Christmas and I promptly took them and hid them.) But. I don't want them watching movies all the time nor do I want to use that as a crutch for myself.
I need help to come up with ideas for games or toys they could potentially play with independently. Also, ideas of where we could go to entertain them would be great. I've thought of the zoo when it gets warmer - they can ride in the stroller and watch animals. I've even thought of escaping to some fun big city for a few days and wandering museums but I'm not sure that's going to happen.
Ideas of easy recipes I can make too that they might possibly be able to eat independently or with little assistance. (Seriously - I think I'm going to end of feeding Will. He just doesn't have as much strength in his left hand - it doesn't have bones or a way to grip without his right.)
If you've been through surgeries with older kiddos before and can offer any tips I would so appreciate it! Mine have always been babies or toddlers so this is a new phase for us. Any games or toys or food ideas would also be helpful! Just leave your ideas in the comments. Please oh please oh please help this mama out!
I'm hoping to complete my stockpile this week! Thank you!!