Today Ryan got her AFO’s and she also got some really expensive new kicks. Don’t worry I’m not going to get on my soapbox,. Yes special needs stuff is insanely expensive but I didn’t want good enough shoes. I wanted the best. I want to give this experiment the best chance of working. So I wanted the lightest shoes that I could find, to balance the clunkiness of the braces. I also wanted socks that would protect her shins and calves and yet breathe. Since I wanted the best, I paid for the best.
We had such a nice experience at the shoe store. The store is locally/family owned (love shopping local). I walked in and the first salesperson I came across was really friendly and held the door for me & the stroller. Do you know how many people don’t offer this simple kindness???? Tons, and tons, and tons
When I told her what I was looking for, she said “let me get my Dad, he is the best for special fittings”. No problem, no question, no irritation. He came right out, asked to see the braces, and he knew them. He knew that they were articulated AFO’s versus standard AFO’s. He measured Ryan’s foot on it’s own, and then in the brace. He watched her walk on her own and with the braces. He came out with a few pairs to try on. The AFO and all of it’s buckles force us in to a W I D E shoe. He told me that if we have any struggles with the velco straps no reaching (they do, but there isn’t a lot of room left), to bring the shoes back in and he’ll have his shoemaker extend the straps, at no charge. I bought Ryan some tennies and some black mary jane’s.
The owner engaged with Ryan, talked to her, but not down to her, told me that he recognized her from some of our other visits (they sell really cute headbands and clothes too). I told him that I was getting Ryan’s three year photo taken next week, and he asked me to bring a print in. That he would love to have Ryan’s picture up on their wall.
This man could have sold me anything he was so kind and caring, yet there was no pity in his eyes. You know that this will be Ryan’s store forever now. He saw my girl for being as special as I see her.
Below is a video of her in the AFO’s today and then after the picture a video of her running pre-surgery and pre-AFO. So you can compare her stability and speed.
Maybe this gentle and kind man knew that Ryan had a new outdoor play area at home. I bought a temporary dog fence and a climber. Hopeful that The Amazing Climbing Ryan will climb less inside if she can climb more outside. So we cleaned up the side yard (wood is all gone now) added Ryan’s water table and slide and the kid has freedom and safety. It does my nervous heart good to watch her enjoying herself the way a three year old should.