Since we got it I had been looking for one of our own, new or used, to replace it when it inevitably had to be returned. It had come to our last option...to buy it direct from Little Tikes in the US for $50 USD, plus about $40 shipping, plus exchange, plus duty and customs charges. A little rich for this family with one of us about to take a huge cut in pay to go on maternity leave for a year! So I happened to mention that I was looking for a used one on a message board I frequent, which was met by a response from a lovely lady named Devin in upstate New York. You see, Devin has a son named Brenden who is 3 years old as well and has autism, so she understood how incredibly difficult it is to find that special toy that just "works" for a special needs kid. So, right away she asked Brenden if he would be willing to give his toy to another little boy who needed it. Brenden is non-verbal but understood and shook his head "yes". 3 days later the UPS man arrived with a big box containing Joey's new tractor, along with a note from Brenden and a picture of him riding the tractor!
So of course we put Joey on the tractor right away, took a picture (the one below) and sent it off with a thank you card to Brenden from Joey, explaining to him that Joey's muscles don't work the same as other kids and that this was one of the toys that he is really able to use, and thanking Brenden for doing such a kind and generous thing.
The really nice thing is that this tractor is in much better shape, since it hasn't been used by a school of children, and much more stable for Joey to ride on. I' m pretty sure the expression on Joey's face says it all! Thank you Devin and Brenden, many tears were shed in this house the day that tractor arrived over the kindness of strangers!
In other Joey news, he received a new loaner walker last Friday. This one has much less support that the "Pony" he was using before. We still use the Pony purely for exercise and for Joey to experience the freedom to move around outside as he wishes, but it certainly wasn't aiding in getting him to walk independently anymore, he had surpassed its usefulness. So along comes the "Spider", as Jason calls it. It definitely provides less support and causes Joey to work harder, and has all kinds of adjustments that can be made as he gets stronger in it. Surprisingly he took to it right away, unlike the Pony which took him months to make a move he started moving a bit right away:
So that's pretty exciting for us, and he will start bring it to preschool as well so he is upright with his peers.
Today is our last day as a family of three. I had all kinds of mommy-son stuff I wanted to do with Joey on our last day alone together, but it just wasn't in the cards. Joey picked up a bug after only 2 days of preschool and last night I started feeling under the weather too, so today we moped around being sick together. After dinner he is off to Gramma's since Jason and I are headed to the hospital at 7am tomorrow morning for my scheduled induction. Our next post should include pictures of Joey and his new baby brother!
- P, J & J