Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Children Are Amazing!

Our children are amazing.  It seems such a generalized statement but in my 6+ years as a mother, watching my children grow and develop, they never cease to confirm this for me.  And I think there is something extra special when it comes to children who are born to parents with disabilities.  There has to be some innate ability for them to adapt to the needs of their parents.

The first time I started to suspect this was true was with my oldest child.  She was four months old when I realized that she was amazingly adept at balancing on my leg.  It was always easier to maneuver my wheelchair one handed if she sat on just one leg.  But where other babies would throw their arms out as if in a panic they would fall, she only held her arms out as if to stabilize herself.  Obviously, this was still with my arm around her but there was a subtle difference in the way she sat there and the way other children who weren't mine did.  And in case you thought this might very well be coincidental, my now two month old son will actually wrap his legs around my leg for further stabilization.

She also seemed to do everything a tad early too.  I guess this could also be attributed to oldest-child syndrome as well, but she crawled early, walked early.  For a child who's primary care parent couldn't show by example how to use those little legs, she sure did figure out pretty fast how to put one foot in front of the other.

The latest example of this has only come about because of my pregnancy.  There really was no changes in the way I got my wheelchair in and out of my car until around my sixth month.  Then my belly really got in the way.  And then all of a sudden the aerobatics I was performing to get from the middle seat to the front seat of my van were suddenly not an option.  And I had a child to get to school in the morning and a carpool partner that depended on me in the afternoons.  I couldn't have any of the adults in my life be there for me all the time.  What were my alternatives?  My daughter was 5 almost 6.  I knew she didn't have the physical strength to pick up my wheelchair and put it in the car for me, right?  A solution presented itself as I mulled over my problem with an experiment.

With me sitting the front passenger side of the van, I propped the front wheels of my chair onto the car floor and then had my daughter stand at the back of my  chair and push while I pulled the front end.  Neatly, the chair was pulled into the van and my daughter hopped into the car behind it and closed the van door.  Problem solved and more neatly than I had anticipated.  And its worked well.  I do this on my own now again, now that I'm not pregnant anymore but even then sometimes she and now my four year old will still volunteer to help mom out.  They are truly amazing.

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