Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Food for Thought

I was reading a blog post this morning from a mother of a 3 year old boy who has cerebral palsy. It was very thought provoking and I thought that I would paraphrase what she said because it caused me as a mother to rethink what I should say about Nathan. I'm going to put this in my perspective as Nathan's mother.

When I tell people about Nathan or describe him to others, I typically mention that he has Pierre Robin, Tetralogy of Fallot, and a host of other serious birth defects. Not because this defines him, but I think it will help answer questions about him when they see he doesn't speak clearly, eat or doesn't do other things a typical three year old does. I tend to focus on the things he can't do when talking about him. The biggest reason I can come up with is because of MY OWN insecurities. I feel like if I tell people he had these birth defects up front, then we avoid any embarrassing situations. If I tell people he has had jaw surgery twice and a total of 18 surgeries in his mouth and face, I don't have to explain why he can't and doesn't want to eat. If I tell people he has these problems, I don't have to step out of my comfort zone. But if I continue telling everyone he has Pierre Robin and Tetrology of Fallot as a basic introduction, I'm skipping over the most wonderful and amazing and cheerful and energetic and happy-go-lucky little boy I've ever met. I'm still working on it, but this post has definitely challenged me to find a way to describe Nathan in a positive light, leaving out everything he "can't" do.

So here's what Nathan can do:

Nathan is the kind of brother every kid should have. When Ellie is hurt he is the first to tell us even if he was the one who caused the problem. He immediately runs to give kisses and hugs to make things all better.

Nathan is great at volunteering and saying prayers (with help) when we pray as a family. He is ALWAYS the first to volunteer.

Nathan is a great singer. He has mastered Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Old MacDonald, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. His articulation could be better, but he loves to express himself through music and because of this we have found this to be a great outlet to teach him both in church, school, and therapy sessions.

Nathan still has times when he needs to go to Time Out. However, he will always stay in place without kicking, screaming, or crying. He is always quick to say he was sorry for what he did.

Nathan has a great imagination and loves to play with anything. His current favorites are having the IKEA plastic forks, knives, and spoons talk to each other and to dance around the table.

Nathan loves to play catch with footballs and baseballs. He is getting much better at kicking soccer balls as well. He is developing into a normal 3 year old boy right before our eyes!

I don't introduce Elisabeth as being exceptionally stubborn and strong willed so why should I not introduce Nathan in that same positive light?

So - this is Nathan. Nathan is a typical 3 year old little boy who loves to sing, play with footballs, and is extremely kind hearted. He's the brother that every child should have. He will be a great big brother in a couple of months!


Annie said...

I know I say this all the time to you (well, write it to you!), but every time you post about Nathan, and I see his pictures, I just want to give him the biggest hug and kiss his adorable cheeks. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he is blonde like Conner and they both have the most adorable cheeks. :)

carolyn q said...

I guess I am left to think after having Hope and you getting to add the joy of Nathan to your family, who by the way is totally cute, what is normal anyway? Each person born to this earth comes with challanges, just some are more visable than others.
You are a great mom and ALL your children are amazing. Can't wait to meet your addition due in June.