Playing With My Son During 'Tummy Time' as a Mom in a Wheelchair
As a paraplegic mom, I always have to adapt things in order to play with my son. When my son was first born, his pediatrician and neonatologist stressed the importance of tummy time to strengthen my son’s core and neck. When my husband got home from work, we would put my son on the floor. I felt disconnected from him since it was not easy for me to transfer to the floor and back up to my wheelchair.
I started to research ways to play with my son in my spinal cord injury / wheelchair moms group. Many people suggested putting him on a table to be at the same level as him. My son wasn’t moving around yet, so the dining table worked out great for us. We have a large dining room table that was barely used before our son was born. It was long and wide enough for him to lie down on. Our table is made of wood, so it was pretty hard to lie or play on without something on top of it.
My mother suggested putting down yoga mats. My husband was into yoga a while back and had a thick mat that was almost the whole length of the table. The yoga mats I used are by ProSource and were purchased from Amazon. What I like about these mats is they’re a lot thicker than a regular mat. If my son accidentally bonked his head, I knew the cushioning would protect him more than a regular mat.
I had two mats to put on both sides of the table. I would lay them horizontally on each side and put toys on the table for him to play with. I was also able to move around the table and play with him since the mats were pretty long and wide when together. By doing this, I could play with my son easier and be at the same level as him.
Creativity definitely plays a big role when you’re in a wheelchair. I was glad I was able to find a creative solution to help create a stronger bond with my son. It made me feel less disconnected and I was able to work on a lot of his motor milestones while he was on the table.
Photo provided by contributor.