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As those of you know who follow me on social media (his cast made a couple appearances on here as well!), Major broke his little leg a couple of months ago. His tibia, to be exact. It was so sad and stressful, but the way it happened made it even more frustrating. He was jumping on a trampoline at a trampoline park, and his bone just broke. He didn’t fall off, or bump in to anybody– nothing out of the ordinary! The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children under six should not jump on trampolines for any reason, and unfortunately I learned why the hard way. I had never even heard that warning before, and I think most parents don’t realize how dangerous trampolines are. Case in point, when Major went to the ER for his X-ray, he was the fourth child that DAY with the same break from the same trampoline park. Enough said.
Anyway, this blog post is not about trampoline parks! What it IS about is the tips, tricks, and words of wisdom I’ve gathered since having a toddler in a cast up to his hip for a month. I hope this same situation doesn’t happen to any of you, but if it does– this is the blog post to reference! Feel free to share if you know anyone in need of some tools to get through it!
I really underestimated how tricky, frustrating, and emotional it would be to have a small child with a full leg cast, unable to walk for a month. I wish I had cleared my schedule as much as I could, had taken it easy along with Major, and had lowered my expectations for what we would be able to do as a family during that time. It’s the perfect time to relax as a family as much as possible and to slow WAY down. Also, buy extra wine. LOL.
The Shower Is Your Friend!
My friend Sarah’s daughter broke her leg at a couple years older than Major, and she had some great tips for me when we went through it! Her best recommendations revolved around shower prep, and I’m telling you, getting the bathing problem under control totally saved us. She recommended this cast cover for the shower, as well as this shower chair. I would put the cast cover on his leg, and put the shower chair out of the direct stream of water. Then I’d use a piece of Tupperware to rinse him, wash, and repeat.
Cover The Cast
Major dragged himself all over the place for an entire month, and covering the cast with one of Kyle’s socks really helped prevent the cast from getting torn up and rubbing or scratching the wood floors. Plus, I think it kept the cast cleaner since he would drop food, drinks, or other messes on the sock instead of his actual cast
Buy Bigger Underwear
We just happened to start potty training Major a week before his leg was broken. So we had the divine pleasure of potty training and healing a broken leg at the same time. Where’s my eyeroll emoji? Aaaanyway, getting underwear up and down “in a hurry” over a bulky cast that went up to Major’s hip, was not fun. I bought his some boxer short style underwear after the first week, which made everything much easier!
Pull Out All The Screens
Having Major immobile and grouchy for the first month of Summer was a total bummer. He had to watch his sister at barbecues and pool parties every weekend, and I felt absolutely horrible for him. I gave him unlimited iPad time or movies whenever big sis got to do something extra fun, and I think it made him feel special and less grumpy. I also downloaded a bunch of reading, learning, and math type games and so I felt less guilty about it!
Get A Wagon!
We ended up pulling Major around in a wagon in the house about 70% of the time. It was a lifesaver! We loved this soft sided one because the sides zipped down to let him sit with his leg over the edge if he ever wanted to. We used a pillow under his leg for comfort, and a blanket under the small of his back. It was so much easier than carrying him around every single time we had to bring him to another space. I highly recommend investing in a wagon that stays indoors at all times while the cast is on so dirt isn’t tracked inside!
Be Emotionally Prepared For The Cast Removal
Thank goodness my friends who had been through broken legs with small kids before reached out to warn me before he got his cast removed. They told me not to get freaked out if he didn’t walk…for weeks. Before his leg break, Major was honestly more agile and more coordinated on his legs than Marlowe is. He was jumping all around, loving gym class, running, and tumbling. When he got his cast off, he refused to walk for almost two weeks, and would cry every time we tried to get him to put a little pressure on it. It freaked us out so much, and I was so worried that this break had really changed his capabilities permanently. I ended up taking him to a pediatric chiropractor at the end of week two sans cast, and she was able to make some adjustments to help him feel more comfortable on his leg. After having that heavy cast on, his body and muscles had tensed up to overcompensate and he was just totally out of whack. He started walking again after his first appointment, and I plan to take him back again next week since he still walks with a pronounced limp. I am looking in to physical therapy as well!
Book A Massage For You
Whether is a nice little massage chair at the manicure place or a full body massage at the spa, trust me you will need a massage once the cast is off! My back and neck were both thrown out so badly from carrying the extra weight from the cast, and needing to carry him so often. If you regularly get acupuncture or see a chiropractor, I’m sure that would help as well!
Those are my best tips for surviving a real bummer of a situation– but please add to the list if you have any tips to share! I’m sure people visiting this post will really appreciate it!
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Photographs by Julia Dags