Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bubble wrap

Would it be wrong to wrap your child in bubble wrap before sending her out to play? Would elbow and knee pads be appropriate when playing on the playground?

Having a child with a developmental disorder that is largely motor based means dealing with a lot of falls. Top that off with her overall balance problems (stem from cerebellum), difficulties in using the two sides of her body together (from partial agenesis of the corpus callosum) and trouble gauging how far to step or reach (dysmetria)... and you have a child who falls all the time.

Despite all of her falls she isn't afraid. This is because she is a very tough cookie and she is very persistent. I love that about her but as her mother I wish she had a *little* bit of fear... just enough to protect her. Every time she runs I cringe. Every time she plays on the playground I want to hover behind her and help her on every piece of equipment. When she rides her bike I want to scream SLOW DOWN. But I can't. I can't be the person or thing that holds her back. I can't let my fears of the inevitable fall where something breaks turn her into a fearful kid. I can't. My job is to keep that fire burning in her. But it isn't easy.

Sometimes when I watch her running and trying to keep up with other kids I want to cry. She is slower. She is clumsier. She falls ALL. THE. TIME. She is often covered in bumps and bruises. Her ankles roll over if she runs too fast. It's hard to watch. A big part of me wants to keep her inside where she's safe from herself and safe from other kids.

I also know that hurtful words will inevitably be in her future. I listen to the neighborhood kids taunting each other when someone is slower or less talented. No one wants to be the kid who can't shoot a basket or kick a soccer ball. I guess that is another issue for another day.

For now I will continue to resist the urge to bubble wrap my baby before sending her out to play. I will limit her helmet usage to her bike or the playground at school (she has to wear it there). I will NOT buy her another helmet for at home even though I desperately want to. I will keep on cringing.

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