I want to tell you about a piece of clothing I made for The Kid. I'm way proud of it! And: I think it may actually be worth it sharing it on the internet here, because if it has helped me and The Kid so much, chances are it may help someone else, too.
So: a week and a half ago The Kid's legs were put into bilateral casts. His bones aren't broken - the casts are there to try lengthen his Achilles tendons which are a little short - and so he is allowed to put full weight on his feet, to run around, to climb things.
But he isn't allowed to get the casts wet. Or dirty.
It means no showering or baths (wet sponge cleaning only), and no sandpits or otherwise dirty play which may get dust / sand / dirt inside his casts. In fact, if casts do get wet or dirty, it's back to the hospital to take them off and to put new ones on, and it's... let's call it cumbersome.
Usually wearing casts means lots and lots of inside play and taking great care when going outside, but with a child like The Kid it is hard. He loves sandpits. Like, really, really loves sandpits! Our usual routine when dropping him off at preschool in the mornings is that when he says goodbye to me and gives me a kiss, he goes straight for the sandpit (and the various digger toys) and stays there until morning tea when it's time to come inside again.
Also, he likes getting dirty which is a habit that's encouraged in our family - not getting dirty per se, but not minding getting dirty if it's part of something that is fun. When he explores, he goes for it, and when we get home I just chuck everything in the washing machine (again); he rarely gets told off for it. He is also a bit clumsy which comes with getting dirty, so let's just say we use a washing machine a lot.
But with the casts on for an average of six weeks I was... dubious about how we were going to organise this. Either way we were going to find a way to deal with it, but I very much disliked the idea of having to keep him out of the sandpit for six weeks and for the preschool to keep him out of the sandpit whilst allowing all other kids play there.
Which is why I came up with this:
They're kind of like waders, except they're not waterproof (though they are water-resistant) and they only go up to his knees where they continue as usual children's pants.
Here, a few more photos:
I basically bought a pair of waterproof pants from the second hand store, cut up that rubbery fabric to make a set of "boots" and then sewed those "boots" onto sturdy children's pants. And, voila!, The Kid is allowed to go in the sandpit, and get dirty, and do almost everything he normally does, even though he is wearing leg casts underneath.
I even showed these pants/waders to our physiotherapist and she was way impressed. And I am, like, really glad it's all working out for us, because if I had had to come up with something else every time he wanted to use the sandpit or run through dewy grass in the park or do other stuff that is fun (and dirty), I would've been more tired than I am now.
However, they are very warm (it's 20 degrees Celsius outside today), which is why I am planning on making another, lighter pair. A friend of mine works for Macpac and has given me a bagful of Goretex-like fabric, so I'll try to sit down behind a sewing machine again one evening.
Because the pants/waders are not meant to be waterproof - only water-resistant - then it doesn't matter that I don't tape up seams from the inside and do all the other stuff that producers of waterproof clothing do.
And they work. They work!