Monday, March 5, 2012

what ifs

it seems like all kids hit that age eventually.
after the “why?” of 2 and 3, you enter the “what if?”.

and it’s kind of like you never really leave the what if stage. it’s just the caliber of your questions that change.

we’ve been getting lots of what if's around here lately. seems like the older two kids have whatifitis. and it’s catchy…mommy seems to have it too.

to illustrate:
little man asked yesterday “what if everyone in the whole world farted at the same exact time?”
not really sure, harrison. possibly a huge gas cloud ending life as we know it?

and guinevere, watching her brother hang upside-down by his ankles and being reassured that unless his feet popped off like pen caps he was in no imminent danger of falling on his head and dying from a concussion, “but WHAT IF they did mom? what if his feet DID pop off?”
umm…well, i suppose a concussion would be the least of his worries then.

on friday i was supposed to be sharing some party tips here on my blog to coordinate with the party tip fun being featured over at bugaboo, mr, mini & me. i love me a good party.
instead, this past friday we were getting this:

Annnd...another cast. NBD.

we’re no stranger to the long leg cast. memory fails right now, but i’m thinking this is somewhere around #25 in her 7.5 years of life.

but that’s exactly the problem—it’s #25. our last round of casting not even a year ago.
WHAT IF it’s just not working? WHAT IF her foot continues to be stubborn and resistant—arching up and returning to the curve it seems to favor?

the doctor doesn’t have any solid answers for us. x-rays show her bones are aligned (as well aligned as clubfoot bones can be). her tendons don’t seem to have too much imbalance; she maneuvers her foot quite well. but still…this arch continues to return. the pain and cramping in her muscles increase. so we cast and we cast and we cast, and we hope for the best.

what if?

this smile wasn’t as free as it normally is. this cast is not as exciting as it once was. you can see it in the picture. she's humoring me--smiling only because i asked her too. honestly it's achy and itchy and annoying and she doesn't feel like it.

i can't help but think back...

her baby casts were annoying, mainly because she was my baby and i wanted to dress her in pretty outfits—outfits that unfortunately didn’t fit over a bulky cast. a cast which also hurt like the dickens when she kicked you with it in the dead of night.
but she was a baby…and didn’t really care, so—no big deal.

the relapse casts she got at age 3 were annoying to mom and dad because we were flying cross country to get them. and when she had an accident the first night home because we didn’t carry her to the potty fast enough…that was annoying. but it was her first relapse, and she was still little, and it was kind of to be expected since clubfoot is such a stubborn beast. so we all took it in stride.
besides, she was the recipient of much attention: from brother and sister, from friends and family. poor little adorable 3 year old in a big cast. not a problem.

there was the casting at age 4. she hopped around on one leg for a few weeks. she got more attention. her siblings wished they had casts, too. she picked out a new color each week. NBD.
the casting last year…that was tougher. i was 8 months pregnant, and not getting around too well myself. she’s bigger, the cast is bigger and heavier, she’s in school now. bathing her was…interesting, to say the least. all around the challenges are and were more…well, challenging.but ava has an easy-going spirit with this, and she took it in stride.

and even though my mommy instincts told me this new round of casting was coming it’s still hard to take. because i can see it in her face. it’s lost the uniqueness it once had (the casting that is, not her face). when you’re one of five you’ll probably take anything that sets you apart from the crowd…but eventually not so much. she’s quiet and sad looking and i’m not really sure what to do for her.

as a parent you’re on the tightrope—WHAT IF i give her too much attention and the other kids feel neglected? WHAT IF i give her too much attention and she becomes a “princess” and i can’t break her of that? WHAT IF i don’t give her enough attention and all she remembers is a horrible childhood with casts and casts and casts and sitting inside while everyone else played basketball? and then she becomes an ARCHVILLAIN like samuel l. jackson in unbreakable???? WHAT IF?????
so we do this:

WHAT IF we all just take a deep breath. we breathe in, we breathe out. and we go about our day. a little slower, perhaps. but with five monsters we aren’t exactly the speediest bunch out there anyway.

and WHAT IF we let ava pick where she wants to eat dinner after spending half the day bouncing from waiting room to x-ray to casting room to physical therapy back to casting room.

and WHAT IF we just have some extra snuggles on the couch…because extra snuggles never hurt anyone, right?

sometimes the WHAT IFs aren’t all bad.
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