Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Ways in Which They Blow Me Away (Part Two: The Baby Child!)

And, this one.  She's blowing me the eff away too.  Mostly with her go-go-go.  This girl is ON THE MOVE.  She doesn't stop.  I truly haven't kept track of milestones, so I'm not sure when it happened, but sometime soon after six months, Mia started combat crawling.  We were blown away, and then it felt like within days, she was up on hands and knees and going.  Slowly at first, and then, just like that, she was off.  Now, she's pulling up on everything in sight, whether its sturdy enough to hold her weight or not, and she's so fluidly pulling up, getting herself back to the floor, off to crawling . . . go go go. 

She doesn't stop.  It's funny.   It's mind-blowing.  It's all new to us.  B jokes that she's like a little wind-up toy because she just goes goes goes.  When she sees something across the room that she wants, she goes toward it, fast, mouth open, panting with excitement, like a little puppy dog.  Many, many times that something across the room she wants is one of our laps, but she comes to us, and climbs into our lap for mere seconds before she's off again, too busy to be held and snuggled.  I try to put her in the floor with toys all around her while I shower and she makes a beeline for whatever non-toy thing she can find that might hurt her (like the computer cords).

I can't even capture a good picture of Mia - they are all so blurry because she's on the move.  I get out the camera, and she comes toward me, mouth open, panting, so excited to see what I have.  So, I have a whole lot of blurry pictures of the little babe crawling right toward me.  Blowing me away.

When I dropped Mia off at daycare the other day, she saw a toy she wanted and another baby in the way, so she crawled OVER the other baby without missing a beat.  It's that energy that makes me giggle when I think of Mia.  She's a ball of sunshine and energy and happy.

When the girls visited me at work on my birthday, one of my friends said "Mia is such a ball of sunshine."  And, its true, she is.  She gets frustrated because she wants to go-go-go (like she wants to cruise and walk and run but of course, her body isn't ready to) but mostly, she just radiates sunshine and happy.   I cannot look at her without smiling.  

I'm constantly struck by how different she is than her sister.  And, not just in the ways we expected.  Not just because one of them has a movement disorder and one doesn't, but just in fundamental ways, they are unique.  Their own little people.  Whereas Sammie B, as a baby, and still today, studies things before she's ready to touch (like a new toy, she'd just look at it, and softly push buttons until she'd figured it all out, or she'd study it and wait for us to show her), Mia lunges for new things, including toys, and tries to just bang them into submission.  

When we skype with B's parents, Mia just wants the computer.  To bang on it.  She crawls as fast as she can toward it, over and over, and we keep pulling her back, over and over, and she gets so mad.  

She's started babbling more and more and the "mamamamama" has started - I'm not sure its with intention yet, but it makes my heart skip a beat just the same. 

We all went out to dinner tonight, and B and I sat on one side of the table with the girls next to each other on the other side, and he said, "can you believe they are both ours?  If we never do anything else right in this life, we did this right." So true.  These girls are amazing.  They blow me away.  

Mia is still oh-so-fascinated with her sister, and wants to climb all over her.  This part is hard for Sammie B - I think its hard that Mia is literally in Sammie B's personal space, climbing on her, and Sammie B can't just run away.  We get a WHOLE LOT of "No Mia NO!" and Sammie B gets so upset, but we are working on sharing . . . both things AND space.  I guess this one has me a little stumped because I "get" that its not fair to Sam.  I "get" that she wants her space.   It's just a tough part of this journey to navigate.   

Even though we are running into those moments of frustration, the amazing moments are there . . . we picked Mia up from daycare today and she immediately pulled to stand to be right next to Sammie (who was in the wagon) and leaned into Sammie B's face and just giggled with glee.  Sammie B leaned over and said, "Mia you are a funny girl!"  And, another day, we took them on a wagon ride and B commented on how quiet Mia was being and Sammie B leaned over, took her sister's hands, and said, "Mia you are being so good!"   Amazing.  They blow me away.  

As I watch Mia's movements, the "typically developing" kind, I am blown away.  I look at how she goes into side sitting so fluidly, pulls to stand, all the tiny pieces we worked so hard on in PT with Sam.   Sam's PT once told me (when I said I didn't get why side-sitting was so important) to go to the park and watch how the typically developing babies moved.  How they used side-sitting to transition.  Watching Mia, I get it.  I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little dose of "bittersweet" in all this.  Watching it happen the typical way.  Without PT.  Wishing it could be this way for Sammie B.  Wishing I could make it easier for her.  There's a ton of guilt in watching Mia speed across the floor and admitting that I feel sad for Sam. Those "No Mia No" moments really get to me.  Because I can't fix it.  I can't make an eight month old understand that her sister really doesn't want her climbing on her, and I can't make it so that Sammie B can run away.  I've had such guilt over these feelings, because I want so badly to let Sammie B's story be hers and Mia's to be hers, but here's the thing . . . our stories are intermingled.  They just are.  So, they are our stories, and we are all better people, leading richer lives because they are shared.

Sammie B truly has taught us not to take anything for granted.  She has taught us what hard work and perseverance look like, she has taught us not to take one word or movement for granted.   And now, we bring that lens, that perspective to parenting Mia, who is teaching us things too.  Who is blowing us away, just as her sister does, though in different ways.

For those that know the "Welcome to Holland" poem and the Italy/Holland analogy (you can google if you don't), B and I had a long talk the other night about our "dual citizenship."  (As an aside on that poem, I know special needs mamas all have very different reactions when they read it, and here's mine. I like it.  I think it has helped give B and I a very simple metaphor that's allowed us to talk about this journey when we might not have otherwise found the words, but I don't like that it kind of makes it seem like "Holland" is less than "Italy."  It's not.  Different, yes, but less than, no.).   Anyway . . . the other night, B and had a talk about our new "dual citizenship" so to speak, and he said exactly what I'd been thinking . . . that going to Holland and then Italy somehow makes both places all the more beautiful and our existence all the more rich.   Somehow, we are finding our way though Italy and Holland together, as a family of four, and marveling in the joy and richness of both.  In seeing the tiny details.  And all those details are just blowing us away.

Sammie B is the little girl who made us "mama" and "dada" but every single day, we are learning from both of them.   Mia is bringing us balance, in a way that I just can't describe.  A lightness that we are all benefiting from.   And growing from.  

Suddenly, I'm not just "Sammie B's mama," I'm "Mia's Mama."   And it feels so good.  I like being theirs.  

A perfect (okay, nearly perfect) four.  Balanced.  

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