Monday, April 16, 2012

the middle.

yesterday was a big day for this one.

IMG_9999_9060

the last cast came off. we picked up two new braces: a small one for day time wear, and a big one for night time.

her “magic shoes” ;)

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two weeks ago she had an MRI, the results of which were normal. basically ava’s stubborn foot has her doctor stumped. a clubfoot is a tricky beast—wanting to return to it’s original position as the foot grows. by 7 or 8 it should be more stable—less likely to relapse. ava’s is not. it continues to relapse, faster and faster between each round of casting. and we don’t really know why.

that last cast was itchy. it was irritating. she has a sore on her heel where the last two casts were rubbing and it was painful. we are so, sooo happy it’s done. and so i planned on celebrating the cast removal—i told ava to think about something fun she wanted to do. it was just her and i and the baby all day.

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here’s where i go on a tangent…

(future ava: when you read this, please know this post is a proof of how much i love you—that i’m so concerned i turned to the internet, which is obviously the most logical place for child rearing information)
of all my kids, ava is the one i have the hardest time relating to. 
i. just. don’t. get. her.

i love her—i love her humor and easy-going spirit. her spunk and her freckly nose. i love that she only likes vanilla ice cream and doesn’t care for sweets and isn’t ashamed of it.

but when i ask her what she wants to eat? she doesn’t know. pizza? burgers? chinese? hibachi? buffet? mac & cheese? salad? pancakes? le bec fin? she DOESN’T KNOW.
what do you want to do? shop? museum? movies? park? she DOESN’T KNOW. the only thing she could come up with was roller skating—not exactly the best activity for a girl just out of 5 weeks of casts.

it’s enough to make a momma pull her hair out in frustration. i gritted my teeth and smiled and tried to suggest, gently, that she choose something—ANYTHING—before our entire day out was a bust. in the end we ate pizza. a trip to south street for slices that take 2 hands to hold. and then we spent almost 2 hours wandering the aisles at target. a choice between 3 different littlest pet shops was a 15 minute ordeal, complete with multiple rounds of eenie meenie miney moe.

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i’m trying. i don’t want to feel this disconnect with any one of my children. i don’t want her to be lost in the shuffle. i am determined that even with a big family my children will know they are loved and appreciated for who they are as individuals, and not just one of the herd.
only…i find myself saying more and more “she’s the middle child”—with that eyeroll that says “you know what that means”.

but do you? do i?

i looked up some things about birth order. ava is the middle child of five—two older siblings, two younger. i on the the other hand am the oldest child.
well now. right there it seems we have an issue. when i view myself in that light—as the oldest child to her middle status, instead of as mother/daughter, i can see where some of our differences come from.

and then i stumbled on this:

The Third Born:

  • has the challenge of overcoming the criticism of the second born by being strong and aggressive.
  • is acquainted with feeling vulnerable and can be clingy.
  • is strongly angered when put-down.
  • thinks in comparative ways, giving rise to new ideas and even practical inventions.
  • is sympathetic with others who are vulnerable and very protective.
  • has challenges being cooperative with others due to having to survive by being rebellious.

(source)

i read this to jeremy, giggling the whole time—because if you had to sum up our miss ava…well, this is probably how you’d do it.

strong and aggressive, yet vulnerable and clingy. angered and sympathtic. comparative, but not cooperative. these blends of seemingly opposing qualities—these are what make up our ava.

my mom is the middle of five, too. just thought i’d throw that in there. and yes, they have a very good relationship.

so what do i do with all my newfound knowledge? okay, so it’s not really new. it’s things i already knew about my girl. but seeing them down in black and white reminds me.

it reminds me that when i’m frustrated with her, there is so much wonderful and good in her. so many beautiful qualities that can be nurtured and encouraged. it reminds me that we all have our faults—firstborns aren’t perfect either. (i know, i was shocked too)
it reminds me that this is the child that laid patiently in a loud and claustrophobic MRI machine for an hour, doing--in the words of the technician--"better than most adults". it reminds me this is the child that the doctor again today said how sweet she is, and how she's so easy to work on. unlike so many other kids (who we hear yelling up and down the halls while we wait).

but here’s the thing: of everything i read, the real eye opener wasn’t birth order or personality traits or anything like that. it was this:

IMG_9999_9060 
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there’s no denying that. birth order and everything else (including hair color) aside--that right there is my girl.

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