Okay Dolly, here it is; I’m sorry but I’m putting and end to my ‘no rush’ policy. I warned you a while back that it wasn’t working for me any longer. Well, I can now see that it’s no longer working for you either.
I have to admit, you’re not a baby any longer. You’re not my delicate, tiny, premature baby any more – you’re my ferocious, determined, joyful toddler!
Somewhere within the past two months, you’ve flourished. Somewhere within the past two months, you’ve decided that you’re ready.
I wish I could take the credit. I’d love nothing more that to say ‘yes, she finally listened to my pleas’ but I can’t deny, your inner-strength definitely had something to do with it.
You see, two months ago, we were told you had cerebral palsy. One dismal afternoon, we headed to an appointment with a bone specialist. You’d been diagnosed with spastic hips and we’d been informed that you’d most likely require hip surgery. In comparison to the heart surgery you’ll undoubtedly require, this seemed nothing. I headed out that morning excited for answers, giddy about having a plan to move you forward.
It didn’t go to plan.
The specialist examined you within minutes. His hasty approach made me feel even more relaxed – I believed it must have been simple. Eventually, I felt as though something had transitioned smoothly. I sat confidently awaiting his diagnosis, convinced he’d agree that you could be fixed so easily.
I should have known, noting is ever as easy as it seems.
‘Siena’s problems aren’t physical, they’re neurological’ he brazenly uttered. To him, this revelation wasn’t anything new. It didn’t appear daunting or unusual. To me, it instilled fear right into the core of my being. It paralysed me momentarily. I wanted to vomit.
I don’t know why my reaction was so strong; we’d known that there was undoubtedly going to be some backlash from the bleed on your brain at birth. However, for seventeen months, it had been so easy to convince ourselves that these would be minimal.
Especially at the start! You’d met most milestones easily within your adjusted timescale. Doctors had been pleased with your development, we’d marvelled at your tenacity and prevailance. Other than your size, you competed with your friends. You were eager to be a part of the game.
At nine months, we registered that your physical developments were slowing. You couldn’t roll, couldn’t sit, couldn’t maintain neck muscles for a prelonged period of time. ‘She’ll do it when she’s ready’ we’d repeated – half convincing others, half convincing ourselves. However, internally I knew something wasn’t right. At your nine month check up, I insisted on physio. Luckily, your paediatrician took little persuading. He sensed it too, he recognised you needed help.
At seventeen months, physio seemed to have changed nothing. For eight months, I tried to maintain my patient stance of not rushing you. There’d been fear of hurting you, fear of pushing you too far. Nonetheless, I’d remained desperate for you to flourish.
The diagnosis of cerebral palsy had seemed so daunting to me initially. I didn’t know what it would entail, what barriers you’d have to overcome. The notion of stepping outside of our comfort zone knocked me. I had only just adjusted to all of the other challenges you’d thrown our way.
Naturally, your paediatrician had wanted to explore this further. Our last meeting resulted in many more medical appointments – weekly intense physio, hydrotherapy, portage, speech therapy, an eye exam, a kidney ultrasound and scan and an MRI to be precise (hopefully, the MRI will confirm the true diagnosis of your neurological ailments). To say this was overwhelming would be dressing it down.
But, it was exactly what we needed…a plan to rush you!
I think you sensed it, I think you understood that this was your warning to step up your gain.
Within two weeks of your appointment, whilst celebrating your friend’s first Birthday, you chose to sit unaided. It was as if you looked at your fellow peers and finally decided, you wanted to join the party.
Almost two months on and the transition has been impeccable. Tonight, you sat upright in the bath for the whole entirety. You held your hands out and splashed your brother playfully, you sang to the tune of ‘twinkle twinkle’.
Your speech is developing so quickly, in a way which is no longer mimicking your brother but in a way which is meaningful. You tell us when you’re hungry, when you want juice, a dummy or bed.
I can see you pushing yourself to limits you’d once found incomprehensible and I couldn’t be more ready to push you more.
You’re nineteen months old already. Nineteen months old and still sleeping in our room. Nineteen months old and I can’t seem to part with you being by my side. Although it pains me to admit that this can’t last forever, I know that I’m reaching the point of letting you blossom. You’ve shown a desire to be more independent and I know that this is something I must encourage, not hinder.
So, be warned Dolly, I’m relinquishing my control. Now that I know you’re ready to push yourself, that ‘no rush policy’ is limited in its existence.
I no longer worry about what your future holds. Whether your developmental issues are cerabral palsy or some other condition of your premature birth, I know we can succeed together. You’ve the power to overcome any obstacle, the passion to thrive.
I’m so proud of the charismatic, charming but boisterous little girl you’re turning into.
I can see now, you’re ready.