The Upsee.... yes, we belonged to the craze of special needs parents that drooled over each video and article leading up to the release. We woke up early on the first day of ordering, spent our $499 and then patiently waited for the harness like device that would change our child's life.
Think of the craziness that ensues every time there is a new iPhone coming out. That's the type of camping out, line around the building, I have to get one mentality that took over when it came to the Upsee.
The day it was delivered we had a total of fifteen minutes to strap it on, waddle to the backyard, take a photo and then we were out the door on to our next appointment.
Over the past few weeks we have taken the Upsee to birthday parties, occupational therapy and worn it around the house.
I've waited awhile to write a post on our experiences. This is mostly because there are so many other parents out there waiting and wondering if the Upsee would be right for them. I wanted to get this right.
The instructions state that the child's shoulders don't need to be above your navel. I'm assuming this is a balance issue. I'm 5 feet tall and Caleigh is still short enough that this isn't an issue.
I ordered a medium vest and a large sandal. The vest fits really well with some room to grow. We plan to order the large vest when she outgrows the medium. Caleigh is currently 40 inches tall and 36 pounds. The large sandals are perfect for mine and Caleigh's feet. Eric hasn't tried the Upsee because his size 14 shoes are too large to fit in the sandals. We do plan on trying though.
Yesterday we took Caleigh to Whole Foods. I'm not going to lie.... this is a workout for me. Going across the parking lot in 90+ degrees was a fun whipping. Did you know that Whole Foods has random black rugs throughout their store? I didn't either... until I almost tripped on one.
We got a couple of "that's the coolest thing" comments, and I probably ignored the stares because at this point in our journey we float through life not noticing the curiosity of others.
Every outing is an adventure with more to learn each time. You have to wear tennis shoes with the sandals. Flip flops just won't work. All the straps need to be super tight for Caleigh to be able to hold her core upright. You really have to pick up your feet with each step especially if your on uneven ground.
After the third time of using the Upsee, I can now get Caleigh in and out all by myself. It takes some coordination on my part and cooperation on Caleigh's, but it's easy enough to get it done.
The waddle... every video I saw had parents doing a waddle of sorts to walk with the Upsee. It took me several times and I really have to think about my leg movements, but I'm now able to bend my knees which actually helps Caleigh bend hers. I have to constantly think about my stride or I end up doing the stylish penguin waddle.
Caleigh bears weight in a fluctuating fashion. Her dystonia, attitude at the moment and her surroundings change how she either stands up tall or lets the harness do all the work. If she isn't standing up on her own the harness holds her. This is where it gets tricky. If she's just hanging there it really puts pressure on my hips and back. If Caleigh is upright and bearing weight there is no stress on my body.
There is talk that the Upsee could be a great replacement to the traditional stander. I can see the argument, but we use the stander for specific home situations that the Upsee wouldn't live up to. There is some research suggesting that the reciprocal movement facilitates the user taking steps. We haven't seen this yet because of Caleigh's dystonic tone, but great... we'll take it if it comes.
The whole new world of perspective for Caleigh is amazing and really I think it is the biggest selling point for the Upsee.
Overall I'm so excited that we purchased the Upsee. So far it has lived up to the hype that surrounded it. I see us using this in a variety of situations. I envision Caleigh volunteering, flying a kite, birthday shopping at the toy store, dancing with her daddy at the father daughter dance, taking books off the shelf at the library, walking at the zoo and actually getting close, experiencing the science museum in an appropriate way, and really almost anything that is typically taken for granted. The possibilities are pretty endless as long as my energy stays endless as well.
We're extremely excited about our many Upsee adventures yet to come.