OK, motherhood really isn't for the faint of heart. I know I need a tougher skin for some of this shit, and people, I am a litigator. I beat people verbally for a living. I can make you crumple before me. But not now.
Yesterday, a woman I work with somewhat peripherally came to me to ask me what was up with Hannah. As often happens, I cried while telling her that she has a small brain injury, it means mild cerebral palsy, it affects her right side and is called hemiplegia but I am on it and working the kid with physical therapy, occupational therapy, lovin' spoonfuls, and all. She (an overwrought woman on the best of days) seems to be near tears herself and she says (get ready):
Jane: But do you even care?
Me: (stunned silence)
Jane: I mean, don't you love her anyway?
Me: Well obviously I love her, I just want her to get the most out of life she can, and I'm sorry she'll have to work extra hard to get there.
Jane: Oh I see. Well I think everyone, every child, should have an MRI, so you have a baseline.
Seriously, this only improved because someone else showed up in my office, but WTF?? She thinks I don't love my baby because she is broken? She is not broken, bonehead, I just want her to be able to go through life kicking ass and taking names, I want her to suck the marrow from the bones of life, I want her to have the capacity to do any damn thing that strikes (except drugs and underage sex and most of what I did as a teenager, dur) her Hannah fancy. And I don't want her dragging her arm and leg behind her because I didn't have the huevos to make her cry sometimes during physical therapy. So once she is as able as she can be, if she wants to sit about on sofas and read, I get that, because I like that too, but this amount of effort now means broader options of mobility later.
So then later, at the day care, which I adore by the way, the co-director says they are moving the biggest babies up to the next class and Hannah's peers might go up to the fairly mobile baby room, but she assured me no, Hannah would stay with smaller infants. I thanked her kindly and said no, Hannah's PT wants her moving with her age group even if it means an awkwardly walking baby steps on Hannah lying there practicing rolling over, because she needs the cognitive challenge of being treated as her age dictates, not within her range of delay which is at this point about three or four months behind. See what a good mom I am? Bring your kids over so they can step on mine . . . I feel so Darwinian telling the day care to let her get out there and practice survival of the fittest.
But I do believe it is best - she should have every experience I can offer, from grabbing of toys to pushing her body up off the floor, to watching other babies learn to transition from sits to stands. Until I had Claire I never knew how much behavior is a direct reflection of what is observed, and now I am watching how the sum total of how much we know is directly formed by experience. Experiential learning is all the rage in adult education as we recognize now how other methods fail some learners, and it is the basis for the idea I wrote about below in Hope, and it is the basis of Hannah's body training her brain to make some new neural pathways around the old. I keep telling people this would all be so interesting if it was happening to someone else, but since it happens to us it is painfully interesting.
Now that I have wrenched your heart strings and stimulated your essential mommyness, let me close with a couple of photos of Claire, that show you what I want for Hannahkins.
This photo is here to give you a sense of scale, relative to flight potential.
This shows you a little girl who made a kite in art class and took it out for a spin, and gives you an idea of what I want for Hannah.
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