The boys were given a wagon for their first birthday. Because it was winter, I tucked it away and only brought it out recently. Setting it up I noticed a big problem: lap belts. Each seat only had a lap belt - not even a crotch strap. See exhibit A below:
Exhibit A: Lap Belt
Knowing how things would go, I strapped the boys in anyway and took them for a little spin around the yard. Within 10 seconds Asher had slid under the belt and was in a heap on the floor of the wagon (Nolan was just fine). I was angry and depressed. I took Asher out and carried him around behind the wagon while Rio and Nolan zipped around the yard, laughing all the while. I tried to look happy for the sake of Rio but inside I was devastated. Asher doesn't get to do "normal" things. Twins, with a two seater wagon, don't get to ride in it together. So I took Nolan out, stormed all the kids back into the house, and pushed the wagon aside for a while, trying to figure out what we'd do.
A few days later I asked Jordan if he thought there was any way we could rig up a harness. He said he thought so, but we never discussed it further. Then several nights ago we were out in the yard together after the kids were in bed and there was the wagon again. Since he had to go to the hardware store the next day anyway, I asked if we could take a look at it and try to brainstorm some solutions. He grabbed an old backpack we had with a broken zipper so we could see some options of fasteners and how we could make it work best.
Long story short, several hours later (I'm talking 11pm and working under the light of the moon) we have done it! No trip to the hardware store required - everything we needed was found on that useless old backpack (Ok I lie - we were one strap short and literally ransacked the entire house trying to find another bag we could cut a strap off of. We had almost given up until Jordan spied his camera tripod bag which has never been used. The strap was exactly what we'd needed, hardware and all, and was the perfect length. Meant to be!)
The best part of our construction is that there was nothing budget looking about it - the strapping and the hardware all matches, and looks like the wagon came that way. See exhibit B below:
Exhibit B: 5 point harness
I was so excited that night I couldn't fall asleep. Yes, it was only a harness, but to me, creating that harness was a metaphor for our life - it showed what we are capable of if we put our minds to it. A friend whose niece has severe CP once told me that his sister's family does everything every other family does - they just have to work a little harder. Now I get it, and the same goes for us. We will work hard. We will be creative. We will ensure all of our children have every opportunity. See exhibit C below:
Exhibit C - big boy rockin the wagon
They've now been in the wagon a couple of times and it was a great success. Sure, he may not be in his ideal position (legs could be more bent, he could have more support at his sides, etc) according to his therapists. But this is one of those times that Jordan and I have learned that his "ideal position" is not important - letting him be a kid is. And although you can't tell by the look on his face in the photo above, he was loving life!
Now of course, a post about a wagon made for two wouldn't be complete without the second passenger, so without further ado, exhibit D:
Exhibit D - Mother get me OUT of here!!
Oh wagon, thank you for teaching me a valuable life lesson. The Trousdell Five will not be stopped!