Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Another Weird Dream.

A few nights ago I had a very unsettling dream.  Actually I have quite a few of those.  In this dream I was alone with my children and had to find a new place to live.  As I am searching for a new home, I notice I only have Mack and Sophia with me.  Grace was not there.  We look at several places always keeping in mind that we had special circumstances and needed accessibility.  But Grace was not there.

I then realize that I have left Grace at home all alone.  We get home and Grace is there.  She's okay and has managed to work her way across the floor.  Why did I leave her?  Why was I looking for a new place to live?

I told a friend, who knows me really well, about this dream.  She said that it included many of my fears...being alone and leaving Grace alone and not having anyone to care for her.  What do you think?  I hate these dreams.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Status

My kids are now 5 years old.  My 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at about 18 months of age...3 1/2 years ago.  In those 3 1/2 years there have been tears but more than that, there has been a focus to help my daughter any way I could.  Therefore, the drive outweighed, and more times than not. overcame the tears and weariness.  I felt and appeared strong.  I was focused.  I was capable.   I was ready for anything.

What has happened over the past month...........
The tears come more readily and I often have to fight them off in public.
It takes me longer to make phone calls to find specialists, therapists, doctors, etc.
I don't all friends back.
I don't want to help with sit-ups and bridges...her many exercises.
I don't feel strong.  I just feel tired.  I feel weary.  I don't want to smile through it all.  I want to scream "my daughter has a disability and I don't know what to do anymore."

What is going to happen?

It will all come back...the drive, the focus, the answers.  I know...I hope.  But for now...I'll just get by and ask my Father for a lot of help.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Riding the Short Bus


A long time ago, when I was in school, I remember other kids saying things like "That kid is so (insert derogatory adjective), he rides the short bus." or "I bet he/she rides the short bus."  Since I grew up in a very small town, there were many of us who rode a short bus to school or to athletic events, but I knew that there was something no so great about "riding the short bus" when used in that context and that is was said in a mean-spirited way.  However, I wasn't exactly sure why people associated mental or physical disabilities with a bus size.

Well, now that I'm grown up, my daughter rides the short bus.  My daughter has a disability.  She has to have someone help her on and off the bus.  Every other child on the bus also has some type of disability (physical or otherwise).  It makes me wonder if my daughter will now be made fun of because she really does ride the short bus.  I think I hate the short bus, but I love the kids who ride it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

She's Not Normal

"You know, I think you should just treat her like a normal child." is said

"Well, I'm sure you're right. I really try to do that." is the reply.

BUT...what I really want to say is...

"So, you think I should treat my child with cerebral palsy like a normal child, because your experience with three "typical" children gives you enough knowledge to be an expert in the area of special needs. If she was a normal child then, we wouldn't have therapy four times a week and praying we can pay for it all. Instead we would have soccer, baseball and ballet to worry about. If she was normal, I wouldn't still be trying to potty train my 5 year old child and have boxes of pull-ups in the closet. If she was normal, I wouldn't be spending time and a lot of money to get the cutest shoes I can find, that will fit over AFOs. If she was normal, we wouldn't be spending time looking for just the right color for the wheelchair so that maybe her friends might think it is just a little bit cool and not just weird. If she was normal, my back wouldn't ache all the time because I wouldn't have to lift her and hold her and try to position her so that she can have a semi-normal experience with her siblings and peers. If she was normal, maybe you would treat her that way."

Thanks! I needed that!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Helpless


Yesterday we (the trips and I) went to the Dallas World Aquarium with some friends. If you haven't been, it is really worth the trip. I bit expensive for my taste but really well done.

As we started walking through the exhibits, I noticed Grace wasn't herself. This was our first outing in her new wheelchair. She wasn't talking, pointing or even really looking around at the animals. I tried to direct her attention and asked lots of questions but there was just no interest...her eyes just weren't shining like they always are. I started becoming concerned...Is she sick? Is she sad? Is the wheelchair uncomfortable? In the meantime, Sophia, Mack and our friend Matthew were jumping up and down with so much excited about the animals we were seeing.

I pulled her aside from the excitement and tried to talk with her. "Grace are you okay? What is wrong?" Her only reply was "Hold me." So I took her out of the wheelchair and she began sobbing. Big tears...big sobs. I was so confused. "I want to go home" she said. I was at a loss. Does she realize how different she is? Does the wheelchair make it that much more evident to her? It was all I could do to not start sobbing myself. I was helpless.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And From Ambergris Caye

It has been so interesting to me how my perspective on life in general has changed since Grace's CP diagnosis. Our life is not as we imagined. It seems now that I view places and occasions based on accessibility...can Grace do that...can we get her there...how will it work??

Abe and I are currently in Belize celebrating our 10 year anniversary...our first trip together since the birth of our triplets. We are staying on a beautiful island and have seen many families with their children. My thoughts of bringing our triplets, specifically Grace, here actually started as we boardeded a very small plane from the main land to the island. How would we get Grace's wheelchair on this plane? Then as we landed, how would Grace do with her walker on the very sandy and bumpy streets?

Yesterday we went on our first scuba dive in Belize. I thought of how much Mack would love seeing all the sea creatures he loves to read about about, up close and personal. Then as we donned our scuba gear, I realized that Grace will probably never be able to scuba dive. Will she ever be able to pat a sea turtle?

This morning over coffee, I watched a family with 3 kids and listened as they talked about the activities of their day. Will she ever snorkel or kayak? Will Grace ever be able to see Mayan ruins? Will she ever be able to cave tube?

Dear God, I prayed, how do I as her mother make sure she get to live to the fullest? Please don't let me fail.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wheelchair Weary


About a month ago we ordered a wheelchair for Grace. The wheelchair we picked will look much like the one above but is hot pink (of course). We had been putting it off this decision as long as we could but as we may be losing Medicaid soon, we decided it was time. I had been dreading this moment and praying for a miracle so that it would never come. Although Grace is still progressing and we are still hopeful that she will walk unassisted one day, it is inevitable that a wheelchair will be needed for long distances. I guess this is just one more detour from from denial that my daughter has CP and will always require some kind of assistance.

I guess I've been thinking a lot about the wheelchair and how it will affect Grace and our lives, because last night I dreamed I was in a wheelchair. I was not with anyone I knew but I was in place that we frequent. The only people that acknowledged me where those also in wheelchairs. Everyone else just ignored me...or if they looked at me, they would look away. How will this wheelchair exactly change our lives? I guess we'll find out soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yeah! Just What She Said!

I've done it before and I'm doing it again....I'm deferring to Ellen's blog. She is a wonderful writer and has an amazing son that she loves to write about. Just change "him" to "her" and insert Grace's name and you have my child and our situation. Ellen, you have said it perfectly...


Oh, and Ellen, I love that Max!!

So Many Unknowns

Grace at 4 1/2 years old weighs only about 27 pounds and can still be lifted and carried with reasonable ease. However, it is becoming more difficult and I defer to Abe to carry her much more than I used to.

This past weekend we went to a birthday party and much like most children's birthday parties, festivals, etc, there was a bounce house. Big hit for the kids and Grace wanted to be right in the middle of it all, as she always does. We have also been to several parties at Pump It Up or similar venues, where Grace wants to climb, slide and jump with her friends. Abe and I always do our best to facilitate this for her but it is starting to become increasingly harder and there are only so many of these things we can do with her.

Today, we had some friends at our house to play and they all wanted to get in the playhouse. Grace wanted to be right there with them. I couldn't get into the house with all the kids, so I did my best to help her through the door and then hung onto her shirt to keep her from falling. I can't believe she didn't and she had so much fun with the others.

How long will we be able to do this? Will she ever be able to do these things herself? What do we do when she is too big for us to carry? What will I tell her when she asks to play with the others and because of her physical limitations, she cannot? I can barely stand to think about it.

You see, Grace is the most outgoing and friendly of my children. Will her personality change? Will she want to hide rather than entice others to talk with her? Will I lose my sweet Grace?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mommy, Please Stay With Me




This week Grace started another session of "intensive therapy" at Beginning Steps Therapy. (sorry the photos are so bad, my camera is broken so I'm having to use my phone) She will go everyday for three weeks for three hours each session. This is her third time to do this and this time her sessions are from 1:00-4:00. The first time she did this I stayed most days for all three hours. I was able to do this because it was in the morning and Mack and Sophia were in school. This time however, I am not able to stay every day. Most days I have to meet Mack and Sophia back at the house by 2:00 and other days we have things to get done.

"Mommy, will you stay and watch me today?", Grace will ask me most days and when I can't she cries. But only for a little while. She loves Lissa, her therapist, and I trust her completely. She seems perfectly content when I pick her up but I still feel guilty. I especially feel guilty when I have to leave so I can take Sophia to dance lessons, somewhere I know Grace would love to be and will never really fit in. One day this week, as I was leaving I told Grace I had to take Sophia to dance lessons and I felt bad as if I shouldn't have told her and that Sophia needs to change out her leotard before we pick Grace up. But somehow hiding it from her also feels wrong. What would you do?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When I've Almost Given Up

As Mindy Smith sings "When I've almost given up, something about you draws me back again"; when I almost think I can't do it anymore, there are some very special people that keep me going...all those wonderful moms of children with special needs out there. You know your life and the life of your child will not be as you had hoped or expected. Your struggles will not include picking out soccer shoes but picking out shoes that fit over those awful AFOs. Your concerns do not include whether your child will make the cheerleading squad or debate team; you just wonder if they will ever speak...or see...or hear. However you still find the joy and the triumphs and you still manage to encourage others along the way. I really needed to go on your blogs today and see the sun.

Thank you...you all know who you are.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

See Grace Walk the Runway

On March 30, Grace and Sophia participated in the Spring Fashion Show fundraiser for A Child Can Do All Things. Well, I guess I should say Grace participated. Sophia did really well during the rehearsal but when it was show time, she remained frozen under the Barney's New York sign clutching her Ariel doll. Grace however, did great!

During the fashion show last year, I carried Grace down the runway and this year she was able to walk alone with her walker! She was so proud...just see the smile on her face in the news footage below. (she's the blond in the white pants and brown shirt)

Charity Helps Young Palsy Patients Walk Runway

Grace has participated in ACCDAT camps over the 2 1/2 years and we attribute much of her progress to this amazing program and her hard work.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All About Grace


I haven't written much about Grace lately. Not because there is nothing going on but just because I can seem to find the time to sit down and put it all into words.

As most of you know, Grace was in the hospital for six days in the middle of February. She handled it like she does most things...like a champ, and is doing great now. She goes through the therapies, doctors visits, surgeries, etc with a smile and a demand to see the Wiggles. There is rarely any complaining. If any, it's after a long day of being in her AFOs. I can hear the velcro rip as she tries to take them off. After a brief hiatus from therapies, we are back at it.

Grace did a four-week intensive session in Jan-Feb with our favorite PT Lissa (http://beginningstepstherapy.com/default.aspx) and is scheduled to start another one on April 19. In the meantime, she has OT twice a week and PT twice a week at the house. Thank goodness we don't have to be on the road for this anymore. She is also attending pre-school, when not in intensive therapy, with Mack and Sophia. She loves school and although she struggles still with writing, she's doing very well and is quite popular with her schoolmates. She uses a walker at school and writes on an easel which is different from every other child in the school, but is still a big part of class discussions and can hang with the best of them. At home, we walk with a walker and crawl a bit. She can now get out of her toddler bed onto the floor but we are still working on making the transition onto the floor for crawling.

As I have pointed out earlier Grace has a wonderful attitude and can light up any room but I wonder if this will change as she becomes more involved in the "world". A few mornings ago she would not get out of bed. I asked her why and she looked at me so sadly and said "Mom, I can't. I can't walk." It was all I could do not to break down in tears but I sat beside her on the bed and we talked a bit. Not specifically about her abilities or inabilities just about us and our relationship. I hope that we can always talk about everything. I, of course, did not ask her, but I often wonder...does she, will she blame me? Will she always love me the way I love her?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Focus Your Eyes! Focus Your Mind! Focus Your Body!

Today Mack finished his third day of his new martial arts class. They first day was kind of rough. He really didn't want to participate. But today he was really into it. The kids are so cute in their gees and belts. I love it when the class starts, they all stand at attention and look at the instructor and say loudly and proudly..."Focus Your Eyes! Focus Your Mind! Focus Your Body!" I'm thinking about yelling that every morning when I get up...it couldn't hurt could it ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Princess Play

Early this week we had our neighbor Evie over to play. As usual, they wanted to play dress up. They were all princesses except Grace who wanted to just be a "cool gul (girl)" Although Mack looks like a princess he said he was really a prince...I have really got to get him a Prince outfit. I was assigned to be the witch (Thank you Disney movies!). Luckily no one was there to take my photo but I actually looked kind of groovy...floppy hat, big green glasses and a boa (they dressed me). It was a little disconcerting at times much they loved bossing me around always calling me Witch, but I played along hoping they don't decide to call me that when we aren't playing.

video

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yep, That's My Boy

I think we need to find some boys to play with.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time to Dance

Monday was Sophia's first day of dance lessons. I know this is not that big of a deal...most little girls take dance lessons at one time or another, but it was a really big deal to me. You see, when I gave birth to my two beautiful twin daughters, I envisioned two little girls in tutus...two dancers. The thought of leaving Grace behind crushed me.

At first, I searched and searched for a dance class that would include Grace. Whether she would be helped by me or someone else, I wanted her to be included. We spend so much time, energy and money on Grace's therapies, it just seemed to make sense that she would be included in this. I didn't want her to be left out of the "fun stuff".

I have finally come to the realization that although Grace and Sophia look identical, and not considering the fact the Grace has cerebral palsy, they are not identical. They are two separate individuals with two separate journeys...and no one should be left behind. So...Sophia loves to dance and she is now in a dance class. It is our afternoon...time that just Sophia and I get to be together, just the two of us. I love this time...and I love my girls.

Grace has of course, been saying "Mommy I want to go to dance lessons" and I tell her "Grace there will be time for that later"...and there will be. I plan on starting her in the Fall.





Friday, January 22, 2010

Time and Attention

Today was beautiful. We played outside with some neighborhood friends. We live on such a great street. There are some wonderful families and it is always so much fun. We rode bicycles and tricycles, wrote with chalk on the sidewalk, played hide-and-go-seek and just hung out with our friends. When it was finally time to go in, we gathered, bikes, chalk, blankets and left-over snacks and went inside to prepare for dinner. I placed Grace on the front steps as I was getting everything inside. She sat there quietly waiting to be walked inside but I noticed after a few minutes how she was trying to inch herself over so she could pull the leaves on the hedges that poked through the railing on the steps. I watched as she leaned as far as she could, catching herself if she started to fall. Mack and Sophie helped gather our items and talked about dinner as we made plans. I wondered if she felt left out. Did she feel sad that we were all running about and she was left alone on the steps? Did she mind this or was her only focus on how many leaves she could grab. Should I do things differently? Should I have helped her picked up the toys/cups/bicycle helmets and then help her walk inside and place them in there respective places? Should I slow down and payed more attention? There seems to never be enough time or attention....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lil' Mack Freestylin"

Grace got a cool keyboard for Christmas (thanks Jerry and Neville..it's hit) with a mic. Mack is quite the rapper. Listen to the words...there is a good message.
video

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad Dreams


Last night, around 11:00, Grace woke up crying and screaming. It's pretty normal for her to wake up a few times each night but this sounded different. I went in and picked her up, trying to console her. She was crying and would not open her eyes or respond to my questions. It seemed that she was having a bad dream and couldn't wake up. I took her in my room and held her until she calmed...she never opened her eyes. Was it a bad dream? What was it about? Does she dream the same as my other two children? When she dreams, do her nightmares include her physical limitations and her inability to move the way she wants? Will this become a part of her nightmares as she gets older? I know it is part of mine....