There’s this great gymnastics gym that I discovered through my MOMs group that has open play for toddlers 3 days a week for 1 hour. For $5 they can run all over the gym, jump in the bounce house, play with the foam rollers, wedges, mats, hula hoops, balls, jump on the trampoline, etc…
It is a great way to burn energy and Jake usually takes a nice long nap afterwards! There is one section of the gym where the floor mats are different densities and some are more firm than others, one day we were playing in that area and Jake stepped between two of the mats he fell to his knees and cried out. I was sitting just a few feet away, he crawled into my lap and just sat there holding his left foot. I took off his socks to see if he scraped his foot and there were no visible signs of any injury. So I figured he probably just scared himself so we sat there for a few minutes to give him a break. Then I tried to get him up to walk around and the minute he would take one step he would get down on his knees and crawl. He didn’t cry, he just wouldn’t walk. That is when I figured that he probably did hurt himself. So we got our stuff and I took him home, put him down for his nap and planned to see how he was when he woke up before calling the doctor. He woke up from his nap and was acting his normal self, no crankiness, no crying, nothing, but he still wouldn’t put weight on his foot and anytime I tried to get him to walk, he would hold his foot and say “uh oh”…so I called his pediatricians office and they said we needed to go to urgent care since we would need x rays. So I packed up some toys and food and loaded him up in the car and we were off to his first urgent care visit. We were there for 3 hours and had two different x ray sessions and Jake was a champ the entire time, wooing the nurses with his charm and putting stickers on every surface he could find.
During the x ray sessions I couldn’t stay with him and had to watch through a glass window in the next room since I am pregnant and can’t be around the x rays while in use. I gave him my phone so he could play his games to keep him distracted. It didn’t even faze him, he was totally chill with the whole process.
As I was watching I couldn’t help but get a bit teary eyed at the thought of my sweet boy with a broken bone and how proud I was at how well he was handling the whole process. I kept thinking of all those parents who have watched their kids suffer through much much worse, such as childhood cancer or some other kind of painful ordeal. And watching them go into the MRI machines, receive their chemo and radiation treatments and how strong those kids are. I’ve heard it said so many times that kids feed off of your energy, and that is true, but I also believe that when the kids are being strong and brave, it helps the parents to be strong and brave as well. When we were done the radiologist had already gone home for the day, so we had to wait until the next morning for the results of the x rays. The urgent care doc was not too concerned and said he wasn’t going to put a splint on him since he could easily pull it off. So we went home.
The next morning we got a phone call that his ankle was fractured. The good news is it is not the weight bearing bone (tibia) it is the smaller bone next to it (fibula) and the fact that he is so young and his bones are so “pliable” he would heal quickly. They then told me to call a pediatric orthopedic group to follow up with them. I called them right away and they told me that their first available appointment was 2 days later. I said, “okay…well since his ankle is fractured and he doesn’t have any kind of splint or brace on it, should I be keeping him from putting weight on it?” (at the same time I’m thinking in my head, how the heck am I going to keep him from doing that? The kid is constantly on the move!) The nurse said “Oh! He doesn’t have a splint on? Can you come this afternoon?” So that afternoon, we met the doctor and he agreed that the x rays showed that it was likely a fracture and he said since he’s not putting weight on it then he should get a cast, but he only has to wear it for 3 weeks. I’m thinking…okay, no big deal, just a little cast to protect his ankle. Nope, he got a full leg cast all the way up to his upper thigh. The doctor said that if he put on a short leg cast then Jake would pull it off before we could leave the parking lot.
Checking it out, hmmmm…what’s this thing all about?
The first day, he was pretty chill and was content sitting on the floor surrounded by toys to play with.
Then he started wanting me to pick him up and carry him everywhere so he could be up higher and see what was going on. He quickly learned how to crawl and scoot around with it and it didn’t take long after that when he figured out how to walk with it. Justin was calling him our little pirate with a wooden leg.
Since he couldn’t get it wet, and we had to try to keep it “clean” we were not able to go to the beach, pool or playgrounds. So I was keeping him busy doing things where he can ride along in the stroller or shopping cart. We were running errands, going to the aquarium and when my mom was in town we went to the Safari Park. We saw the tigers, elephants and watched the gorillas playing around.
Jacob had his first visit to the local voting booth on election day.
I bought him a few new toys to keep him entertained while staying in one place.
Bath time became a two person job. Some nights he just got a sponge bath and we called him clean. However, anyone who has ever experienced an almost 2 year old boy, knows how dirty they get and whenever Jacob eats anything that involves syrup or any other kind of sticky, gooey substance he decides to wipe his hands in his hair. So we were often giving him a “full” bath and needing to wash his hair as well. I had the idea of getting his infant bath tub out and putting it on our bathroom counter. We wrapped the cast in a plastic bag and hung it over the side of the tub. It worked…but again, this boy LOVES his bath and splashing the water is the BEST part, right!? So those nights became a scene from Waterworld in our bathroom and Justin and I (and the mirror and bathroom counters, walls and floor) were soaked! After a few of those kind of nights, I had the bright idea to put the infant bathtub inside his bathtub so the water would be (somewhat) contained and easily drained. So we finally got the bath time routine under control. And the 3 weeks went by (kind of) fast.
We went back a week before Thanksgiving to get the cast off. By then it was filthy, scraped up and the area around the toes was all worn down from him dragging it around.
He was fascinated with the saw as the nurse was cutting it off of him, she found a sticker that he had stuck in there at some point 🙂 We got more x rays and the doctor said that he didn’t see any evidence of a healed fracture, so it was most likely just a really bad sprain. They gave us the bottom half of his cast and an ACE bandage to use as a splint. The doctor said not to expect anything from Jake soon and that it would take a little time for him to get back to normal. He said to put the splint on him and let Jake decide/tell me when he wanted it off, and come back in 3 weeks for a follow up.
Since a sprain actually takes longer to heal than a fracture he still is pretty sore and occasionally will sign hurt while pointing to his foot. He wore the splint for a couple days and stuck with crawling around. About a week and a half after getting the cast off he started standing up and walking around slowly. Every day he gets a little faster and more confident, and I’m sure he will be back to running full speed in no time. In the meantime, he is climbing on every surface he can find. Every time I turn around he is standing on top of something with a big smile and giggle of accomplishment. Here’s to hoping that we don’t have any more casts in this family!