One of the keys for my husband (aka Wheeler Dad) and me to independently parent Hannah has been several of what I call “landing pads” placed strategically around the house. I’ve heard other parents wish for
another sets of hands, but we’re additionally challenged
with the necessity that at least one hand is always needed to push our manual chairs. We’ve figured out ways to carry Hannah around the house and out in public. It’s sometimes difficult to complete certain tasks though while we’re holding her. Here are the landing pads in our home that help us get things done:
A swing. We use Fisher-Price Starlight Papasan Cradle Swing: Hannah usually hangs out here at the beginning and the end of our days. She loves the mobile and she’ll hang out there if I’m doing something in the living room, answering the door, doing laundry, or otherwise scurrying out. It holds her attention the longest of all the landing pads.
- A high chair. We use Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair: We keep it just outside the kitchen and in the dining room so she can watch me while I prepare a bottle or sit with us while we’re at the table. She can seem most of our living areas from this height and she’s generally content if I’m within her sight. It’s about the height of me in my wheelchair so it’s a fairly easy transfer. This is another place she can “land” when I need to do something relatively quickly.
- A soft place to land: We use two different Boppy pillows. One is the traditional Boppy and the other is the newborn lounger Boppy. They allow her to sit up, lay down, or lounge and I keep them in whichever rooms we’re frequenting. It gives her a safe place to hang out on the couch with our dogs and the lounger is just high enough that I can put her from my lap to the floor before I also transfer out of my wheelchair down to the floor to pay.
- A bouncer: We use Fisher-Price Playtime Precious Planet Bouncer: This one is placed (quite strategically!) in our largest bathroom. She can bounce away while I’m getting ready in the mornings or (if she’s still awake) taking a bath at night.
One of the ways we’ve made our landing pads most accessible is by removing all the trays and things that hang in front to make getting Hannah in and out easier. Now that we’ve got our confidence and (more importantly) she’s developing the desire and skills to bat at toys though, we’re slowly putting them back. If this makes getting her in and out impossible when she gets heavier, we could find other ways to play and stimulate her though.
There are lots of other favorite places to play and nap around our place, but these “landing pads” are our most frequent go-to’s for a place for Hannah to sit safely so we can have use of both hands, our laps, or both! I’ve (obviously!) never been a mom without a disability, but I imagine landing pads would be relatively useful for them too. What do you think?