I still find it hard to believe that Frog only started walking a little over a year ago, aged two years old. When I look at her now, I realise just how far she has come.
Moving to a new area has meant joining a completely new hospital system. Frog still has ongoing issues with her hypermobile joints – issues that may never go away completely. For example, she needs hospital-issue insoles in her shoes to correct her lack of instep and relieve the pressure on her knees and hips. In the future, she may need more physiotherapy treatment and – if she still suffers from hyper lax joints when she’s older – she may experience added discomfort during pregnancy. People with hypermobility are also sometimes prone to early arthritis, which is a bit of a bummer. (There’s more information about hypermobility and some of the symptoms on the NHS Choices website.)
The thing is, every day my 3 year old diva gets a little stronger and her past battles with those bendy joints are almost forgotten. This week we’ve ditched the buggy on the way home from pre-school, opting for a mixture of walking and mum piggy-backs instead. That wasn’t even a choice we could have considered back in September.
And then, the other day on our walk, Frog found a huge hill (Dartmoor is good at hills) and ran towards it like a bee to a hive. That’s when this happened:
At the bottom, she turned around and ran right back up it again. And again. And Again. I even got the opportunity to film it:
You might watch that video and think, “So what’s the big deal? It’s just a kid running down a hill.” But it isn’t. It’s a kid who, this time last year, could barely walk. It’s a kid who, 18 months ago, we feared would never run – let alone run down hills.
On the umpteenth hill run, Frog asked if I’d join her. I’m not a fan of running, but there’s something kind of tempting about watching a child belt it down a hill with such wild abandon.
Of course we both ended up falling over and half rolling into a muddy, squelchy bog at the bottom. But we laughed, and then laughed some more. My guffaws turned to wimpy sniffles when my formerly non-walking tot turned to me and said, “Mummy, I like running down hills.”
And that made me happy.
A side note: I get quite a lot of emails, tweets and Facebook messages from parents who are at the beginning of their journey with hypermobility. I’m not an expert, but I’ve picked up a few things in the 18 months since Frog was diagnosed. There is a difference between having hypermobile joints and having hypermobility syndrome. Lots of people have hypermobile joints and it causes them no problems at all. Hypermobility syndrome is often diagnosed when pain is added to the equation. Some sufferers also experience dislocation. We are still unclear to the degree of Frog’s hypermobility and, indeed, it may be something she grows out of. If you are looking for more information about hypermobility then The Hypermobility Syndrome Association is a good place to start. And, of course, speak to your doctor.