With Liv arriving 16 weeks early and being a micro preemie, the outcome of her quality of life was unknown. There were so many things I was afraid she would not get to experience. Even so, I kept my faith and did everything I could to ensure she would be a normal kid. Since the time she arrived home from the NICU, Olivia has done rigorous early intervention therapy.
When she aged out of her in home therapy at the age of 3, we began the process of the rocket program--"Reaching out to Children Kindly Early Together" The Rocket program is an early intervention program designed for children with special education needs between the ages of three and five years. With this program, Liv receives special education services in a variety of areas including speech and language, vision and hearing, physical and motor development, emotional development, adaptive development, and other health impairments while attending school 5 days a week.
When a child comes into this world premature, and in Livs case, barely half cooked at 23 weeks gestation, her brain and body did not have enough time to grow the way they normally do. Being so, she has some delays and physical constraints. We are incredibly blessed that her impairments are not severe, and through therapy, many things can be taught. The brain is a powerful machine, and Olivia is a strong willed, determined(stubborn) child, who refuses to give up--since birth.
When she started school, I was excited. I mean, I do own a pretty awesome kids fashion brand so the planned outfits were essential. I would dress her up in cute ensembles and matching shoes until one day, her teacher sent home a note that read " Please have Olivia wear shoes with more support." So hunter rain boots aren't supportive? lol They must think I'm nuts! It didn't really click because I've never seen her struggle while playing outside. I started to put sneakers on her but struggled because again, the fashion mama in me thought style instead of function! I know, I'm selfish. But in all honesty I really didn't think much of it. That was until one of her therapist had to break it down for me in an IEP Meeting and I felt terrible.
See, Olivia didn't really crawl like most babies do. When she came home from the NICU, I kept her in a bubble. A germ free bubble that is. The thought of her on the floor with all those germs and her low immune system was not something I was willing to comprise. At the time, It was what was best for her. After 5 months in the NICU, I was desperate to keep her out of the hospital. I mean I wouldn't even let my brother hold her until he had showered! Yep, it was that serious. Years later though, it affected her core. That is the area of her body where we utilize most of our mobility to balance, walk, run, and basically actively play. With Olivia's core not as strong, she couldn't do simple things like run properly, or kick a ball. Couple that with cute but unsupportive shoes, and well you get the idea.
Finding shoes that were both modern and stylish, yet still supportive for Olivia to get all her physical therapy in, was challenging. Lets not forget that she's 4 going on 14 and she has an opinion on EVERYTHING. So you already know she has her favorite shoes that yup, you guessed it–were not supportive. I had to find a solution, and it was actually beneficial to me! I managed to convince her that she must have matching shoes with Greyson and I. Once I planted the tiny seeds, she was on board. After searching through many online options, we tried Skechers, and I don't know why I didn't think of them sooner. They used to be my favorite growing up. With a rather good selection to choose from, I selected styles that reflect our modern, fashion forward esthetic--which Olivia approved of course!
I can't say enough good things about these Flex Appealsneakers! They are the comfiest sneaker I've walked in and are perfect for all the daily errands I'm constantly running. I was heading out the door and I have similar Nike ones, but grabbed my Skechers instead. They are THAT comfy! Liv and Grey were super excited about theirs as well! If you know Greyson, he has an obsession with shoes! Oy vey, already. Liv picked out the Skech Stepz in black & pink. Since she wanted to match Greyson, she picked out Skech Lite Comfy Stepz in black and red for him. She was so excited to wear her new shoes with us that they have become her favorite. I'll be honest, Im not the matching type of mama who buys or coordinates shoes and clothes with her little babes, but seeing their excitement changed that!
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do!! These two make my heart all kinds of mush, especially the one with their sun glasses! They were most definitely feelin' themselves. xx, T
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