This evening Namine and I went for a short walk to the park. She got mad because I didn’t help her get into her wheelchair.
Namine had socks on, but not her shoes. Sometimes she needs help climbing up when she’s not wearing her shoes (and we’re still waiting for her new braces), so she asked if I’d give her a boost. I said sure.
I didn’t really even have to give her a boost. I steadied her, but she did all the lifting. When she was about halfway up, she asked for help. She usually plants her foot on the bar, in order to give herself a little leverage, but without shoes it hurt her foot too much. So I placed my hand under her foot, and she pushed herself up.
After Namine got herself into her wheelchair, turned around and buckled in, she asked me: “Daddy, did you help me into my wheelchair?” I said no, and she got mad. She was upset because I didn’t help her. She was mad because she thought I was supposed to help her, and I didn’t.
We do our best to enable Namine, but it’s hard. She’s so used to needing to be helped, that even when we encourage her to do things we know she can do — like climb into her wheelchair — she still expects to be helped. We explained to Namine that we want her to do as much as possible by herself. That’s the reason for her bench for the toilet, for her own sink, for her own lower dish drawer. Providing Namine the provisions for independence means extra work for us, but it’s worth it.
Namine and I walked — she wheeled herself, but she makes no quarrel with my use of that word — to the park, which is just across the street. Over the normal bumps of the parking lot and sidewalk are no problem, but tonight’s new challenge was getting herself across the grass between the sidewalk and the sand in the park. She performed admirably, requiring only a couple pushes.
Namine climbed down from her wheelchair and scooted over to the stairs. She climbed up, enthusiastic about sliding down. She’s never been totally thrilled with the prospect of sliding down a slide without a little handholding (I’m being literal), but she eventually worked up the courage to do it herself.