Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spring Swing

When you have an immobile toddler you tend to get creative when trying to find new and exciting ways to entertain them.  Bonus points if you can turn it into some form of therapy exercise, and double bonus points if you can bring a smile or laughter to your little ones face. 

We have discovered a handful of very specific things that will always bring Noah to a roaring laugh. 

#4 when the warm sun shines on his face or cool breeze brushes his skin. 
#3 Swimming pools (aka swim therapy)
#2 when loved ones sing him his favorite songs and tickle his face at the same time. 
                    BUT above anything else in this Universe the
#1 thing that makes Noah happy is JUMPING!!!!! 

Baby Noah all chunky and cute
As a baby this was an easy activity for us to do with Noah.  Other than bouncing him on our knee all we had to do is bring out the floor or door frame baby jumpers. We then had to secure him in with whatever blanket/pillow/or safety device we needed to use to bring him comfort, and our little guy would jump jump jump his little heart out.  The laughter and joy it would bring Noah was unmeasurable. It helped us parents and his caregivers provide an outlet for his energy that would otherwise build up and make him ornery.  We would pack those baby bouncers with us everywhere we went.  Vacations, family and friend homes, daycare's, ect.  He loved it.  Love isn’t even a big enough word to describe how much he LOOOOOOVED it.  It was his ONLY independent activity, his only source of repetitive vestibular movement that didn't break our backs, his only energy absorber when not doing physical therapy, a big scoop of sensory dessert for his body and soul, and I as his mom believe it was/is the #1 exercise that helped build strength and tone in his leg muscles, ankles, hips, and knees.
One of four different types of baby jumpers that we have used...and our least favorite as the three straps kept making Noah want to rest his head on the back strap.  You can see his joy in this video though :)

Crash! Thud!
His doctors have repeatedly commented on how strong his bottom half was in comparison to his core and upper body.  I frequently joke with my husband that I am going to invent and upside down bouncer to work on his shoulders, back, and arm muscles.  If only there wasn't that whole blood-rush-to-the-brain issue when being upside down to worry about :) 

One glorious afternoon as Noah was partaking in his daily allotment of jumping we heard a BANG! CRASH! THUD!  The spring broke on Noahs jumper. Thankfully it still had the safety strap so even though his knees fell to the ground he was still swinging securely in the chair. 

We tried fixing it on our own rigging and bending the spring and making due until we were able to get our hands on another jumper.  This whole Bang! Crash! Thud! Soon became routine as Noah got older and much heavier and had now broken a handful of these baby jumpers and was now falling all the way to the ground which was posing a safety risk that we had to prepare for ahead of time with a circle of pillows or door frame padding.  We were way beyond the weight limits for every single baby jumper on the market.  It was a sad day when this momma realized our only option was one that costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars because it was marked with the “Special Needs Equipment” stamp and therefore came with a price tag that was beyond our means.

Dang broken springs!
Determined, I began my own search trying to figure out a way to bring my Noah his favorite past time again.  I visited hardware and parts stores, researched spring companies and medical companies.  I called gyms and manufacturers of baby equipment.  Nothing seemed to pan out and I was really heart broken.  This was a dark time for my Supermomminess energy levels.  I felt defeated.  I would go home and stare at the latest broken jumper and examine its parts trying to envision a possible solution. I was also trying to entertain a bored boy laying on the ground staring up at the ceiling probably bothered that I wasn't hooking up his jumper and letting him play.  It was horribly sad….then a MIRACLE happened! 

I was casually perusing a daily deal website and clicked on some category titled outdoor playground equipment.  Among the many slides, swings, and blow up bounce houses listed was a device called the Spring Swing.  Basically a roped disk swing with a kick-ass super spring system designed by a company in Mississippi.  Spring Swings has designed not only their SpringSwing but also Ziplines and other “backyard recreational tidbits.”  I found myself going frantic clicking on every link on their website and trying to figure out a tactful way of reaching out to this company and praying they would actually return my email and many questions I had about their swing. 

You see, I didn’t actually want to purchase their swing to use on its own but rather buy one to tear apart and adapt to Noah’s jumper.  I didn’t have the heart to say “Hey, you don’t know me from Adam but can I have your secret to adapting a spring that will hold my fast growing heavy son.  Then I would like to take your idea and put it on another company’s baby jumper and then put it up in my own house for my son to use.”   Who would go for that!?!  I thought for sure I either wasn’t going to get a response or I was going to get some legal mumbo jumbo thrown my direction or a big scolding for trying to mash up two different company devices and use on my special needs son.  I was waiting for the wrath…or let down. 

To my surprise I got a really fast response.  Not just a response but a kind email from the company wanting to actually go out of their way to help me make this happen for my son.  I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading.  Someone who has no clue who we are wants to take their time and resources and actually help me put together my crazy device.  Furthermore they didn’t just want to help me…they wanted me to ship them my broken jumper and they were going to do it for me.  I cried.  Tears of joy and tears of humbled happiness. 

contemplating his new bouncer
I few weeks later, a couple days before Christmas the package arrived on my doorstep.  They had adapted Noahs baby jumper with their spring system. They went the extra mile making sure it was secured using bigger better bolts and other tidbits to help Noah stay secure and safe. It is a bit louder than one would like but that is the smallest price to pay for Noahs happiness and honestly he or the girls seem to mind it.  The best part is that they did this out of the kindness of their hearts and never once even asked anything from us at all other than a follow up picture to let them know how it worked.  It just goes to show you that there truly are angels in this world who can put smiles back on the faces of total strangers. 

This video was taken the very first time I put Noah in it.  He was not sure what to totally think of it yet as it sounded different than he was use to and we put an eye hook into a beam in our living room so he was jumping in a brand new area and taking in all the Christmas lights we had strung up for his vision therapy earlier that week.  You can see how happy he is from this video.  We have since put in other eye hooks into beams in other areas of our home so now Noah can be right next to us jumping in any main room we are in rather than door frames.

I just want to personally thank Jason and Frank and everyone at Spring Swings for helping Noah, who is once again jumping, laughing, and smiling with his momma following suit.  We could have never done this without you and your compassion.  We feel truly blessed. 

Spring Swings