An AT-AT walker designed for a four-year-old

April 7 |
All photos by Stephanie Kaloi.

Back story: my four-year-old son had a scheduled surgery on both his legs last Tuesday, and was sent home with a walker and knee immobilizers — neither of which he enjoys. He especially associates the walker with pain, since while in the hospital they asked him to stand and walk with it and it hurt (a lot) post-op.

We happen to be good friends with comic artist and illustrator Ben Dewey (author of the Tragedy Series, a Tumblr you should have checked out, like, yesterday) and his wife, Lindsey. We're all big Star Wars fans — and so is our son. The other day I Instagrammed a photo of my son's walker, and the Offbeat Empire's Megan Finley (you know, the Offbeat Bride editor who hates babies?) made a comment that it reminded her of an AT-AT. This had me thinking: what if we made the walker look more like an AT-AT and let our son shoot at us (something we usually strongly discourage) while he was standing and walking? Another friend suggested we print out a picture of an AT-AT and attach it to the walker, and then Lindsey told me Ben had volunteered to create an AT-AT for the walker.

Around 20 hours later, Ben and Lindsey came over to our place with the most impressive walker I've ever seen:

To say this is above and beyond any expectations we had is an understatement: this thing is incredible. Dude loves being able to call Darth Vader (his favorite character) for instructions, and has mastered the sound of a laser being fired. More importantly, the goal was accomplished: our son happily walked all around our living room firing lasers at us for nearly an hour without once being scared that the walker would cause him pain. He'll need the walker for another three weeks, and having him happy to use it is a huge leap forward for his recovery.

It's absolutely magical, and yes: the Force is mighty strong with this one. And if you REALLY want to geek out, a friend of mine posted a photo on Reddit and WILLIAM SHATNER COMMENTED ON IT. Did your fandom heads just implode? 'Cause mine just did.

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