Just 18 months ago I let a geneticist who knew very little about dwarfism tell me that Addie would, most likely, not be able to sit until she was 12 months, walk at 24 and balancing would be very difficult for years to come. Although we have our falls and bumps, and there were some back-end milestone marks, we have not been delayed… which means this mama is playing catch up! I am finding that I am not the only parent of a child with achondroplasia who is battling the same issue, however- watching our kids who were supposed to be behind, suddenly climbing, reaching and needing, well… needing a place to sit!
In the past few months we have had the best luck with a few products in our home, and are looking to add another! Read on for ideas on tables and chairs for your LP!
(If you’re wondering, I have an unpaid love affair with Amazon)
Little Tikes 5-in-1 Adjustable Gym: Basically, the name says it all. We started to use it so Addie could use her feet to kick it, then turning it for tummy time. It was used as a music table with friends, a place to steady herself when she was first standing (which was the perfect height), and now it serves as a desk! With so many uses and the perfect height seat to get in and out of alone- this is my #1 product I am glad we were showered with! It’s also about 8 pounds, which makes it super transportable- from the car for travel to carrying from room to room, I have not spent a day not using this table since Addie was about 10 weeks.
Little Tikes Adjust n’ Draw Table: I think the Little Tikes company is so well suited for LP (our swing set is from them, too)- so when I saw this table (on Amazon, of course) I quickly added it to our holiday wish list! When we opened gifts with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I was so excited, I squealed. While Addie was more amused by the box, as soon as we got home, Dave and Addie put it together- from that point on, the table has been in use everyday. It’s not only height adjustable, it also turns, to be used as an art easel- with the bench used to sit- perfect for LP, as many easels are too tall to reach the entire canvas. The bench is a bit high for Addie, who is coming in between 28 and 29.5″, but she is determined and climbs in and out by herself daily. Her feet don’t touch the floor unless she’s all the way forward, so it is only used for play and not eating or art, as I don’t want her so distracted that she forgets she’s got no ground beneath her, but it is THE PLACE TO BE in our kitchen. All day the pitter-patter of little feet from the living room, where her kitchen is, to the table in the kitchen reminds me of where my heart was once afraid it would never be to being right where it belongs.
Brylane Bath Step: My mother-in-law found this gem, of which we have three- stacked neatly in the living room. When I found a step stool Addie could get her feet up on, I was SO excited. It was THIS one from Graco. I love it- it’s not only small and light, the color is super funky and fun and the bottom step isn’t so high that it’s impossible for A to get up on. But then this happened:
If Dave wasn’t there, I don’t want to imagine it… so, we pulled that up off the floor and use it for practice (which has been great for teaching her situational awareness, where her feet are and to tighten her belly when she’s getting up and down without a handle)… but we were in a hard place, unable to figure out what would be safe for use all the time. I called my mother-in-law to talk about it, because she was right about Addie not being ready for the Graco, but she got it for us anyway. I can be pushy.
Then, she emailed the Bath Step to me and I was bowled over. The platform-style was perfect for giving Addie space to move her feet on the step and still light enough to move if I need to. So, for Christmas, they arrived! We put them together immediately, and were so pleased that Addie could get up and down herself, that we packed one for our trip to Philadelphia (to use at my parents’ house- giving her all the independence she could handle). This is the only step stool that is set up 100% of the time and something I do not worry about her falling off of. Because the high height is still less than most other stools, Addie is learning to get on her tippy-toes, which is helping to build her balance and calf muscles and she’s learning what edges feel like and catching herself before incident really well! If there is ONE step stool that I suggest, it’s this one!*
* Some things to think about- these steps come one per package, not three. They only stack if you don’t use the pad on the bottom step, so they are hard to spread around if you need them individually then re-stack. They really have to be used as steps (they DO clip together so the steps don’t slide apart), or individually.
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And what do we want that we don’t have yet (but know will be perfect)?…
The Learning Tower: This beauty is something I kept seeing, but until my best friend came home with one, I wasn’t sure Addie would be safe in it. The beauty of it is that it is not just lifting your child up to your level (perfect for our babes when they want to start to cook with us), but the item, in and of itself, is height adjustable! OH MAAH GAAAH! I was so excited to see that, that I moved the platform all the way up and then we washed hands. Addie washed her hands. By herself. At the sink.
We are working with our insurance and Early Intervention to get this amazing tool for our home because of the balance issue. I would love to get a ladder-type of stool because it would be easier to move and store (vs. this wooden tower), but she isn’t safe perched up on something. The tower gives her solid ground, is light enough for me to move out of the way, but heavy enough to keep her in one place- and as she gets older, she will be able to climb in and out herself! I hope that we are approved for it because not only is it going to be great for now, but this is a life-long tool that will give Addie much needed independence in an average height home.
Ikea LÄTT Children’s Table and Chairs: This is amazing for more than one reason- for starters, I had this same set as a kid. Two, it’s less than $20- for reals. And for the more obvious reason- it’s built to be altered. Like many Ikea items, the wood is left unfinished. While it can stay that way (mine did), it makes it a perfect canvas for trimming! In my mind, we will alter the table legs a bit, and a chair to perfectly fit her, while the other chair we will leave as-is- this makes the perfect set-up for friends to visit and both sit comfortably at the table without anyone needing to make a concession. Having her feet on the floor and being at a safe height to get up and down is crucial for us to know that she can do things on her own. I have been in more than one social situation where a parent has said, “do you think that’s safe for her?” One, don’t parent me on being a parent. Two, that’s my girl. Her first motto in life? I got this.
I hope these items help you create a safe, independent place for your LP!