Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Lesson

Being too dependent on others almost cost me Naama tonight.

Just because I have Cerebral Palsy, I depend too much on Mary Poppins or my husband to keep an eye on Naama when we are in public places. After all, they can run after Naama faster than me if they have to, so I figured I don’t have to watch her so carefully…what a fool I am!  I am Naama’s mother. I am responsible for her always and forever, disabled or not!

 Tonight, Mary Poppins, Naama and I were at the mall buying Naama rain boots.
Naama was walking around the store in her new boots.
With my back to Mary Poppins and Naama, I said “I’ll go pay.”
Not even a minute later, while I was still rummaging around in my wallet, I hear Mary Poppins ask “where’s Naama?”
“I don’t know,” I said as I turned to the left to look for Naama.

At that moment I heard a woman behind me say “there’s a little girl here…”
“Yes.” I said, thinking that Mary Poppins for sure heard the woman and took Naama from her. I was so sure Mary Poppins had Naama, I didn’t even turn around to check!

All of a sudden, I glanced out the window. Naama’s cream colored coat caught my eye against the night. Naama was standing outside right next to the curb of the busy mall parking lot! She turned to look back at me in the store at the same moment I saw her standing outside.

“NAAMA!!!!!!!” I screamed.

In total shock, I dropped my wallet and started running toward the entrance. Thankfully we were in the store right next to the entrance.
People say that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body. It’s so true. I always feel like there’s an invisible cord still connecting me and Naama. A cold fear ran through my body in the split second that I saw Naama standing outside so close to danger. This isn’t happening, I thought.

Mary Poppins heard my scream and ran ahead of me out of the mall entrance and grabbed Naama. On my way out right behind Mary Poppins, I glanced at the security guard standing at the entrance.
Some security guard! He didn’t even think to stop a toddler from walking out on her own! There weren’t that many people near the entrance at the time and I highly doubt he didn’t see her. He didn’t even react when I screamed and started running toward the entrance! I felt like punching him in his expressionless face, but getting angry wouldn’t have accomplished anything, so I let it go.

On the bus ride home, Mary Poppins apologized and explained she lost sight of Naama for a split second when she went rooting in her bag for a tissue. A split second is all it takes for a 2 year old to run outside in a flash. I was upset, but not with Mary Poppins. I was upset with myself. Why did I put so much trust into others just because I have Cerebral Palsy and can’t act as fast as an able-bodied person? Mary Poppins hugged me and apologized again.

I knelt next to Naama’s stroller and asked her why she ran outside without mommy or Mary Poppins.
“Abba boots,” she said.
Abba means father in Hebrew.
Naama ran outside because she wanted to show her new boots to her father even though she knew he didn’t come to the mall with us.
“You know you can’t run outside by yourself, right?
“You promise you won’t do it again?”

I’m not sure Naama really understood our conversation, but I let it go. She’s 2. How can she understand the consequences of such a dangerous action?
I'm sure this type of situation happens to countless parents and children. I feel like it's almost a right of passage that this happened. Now we can move on to the next trying experience of toddlerhood! 

Kidding aside, I’ve heard parents of older children say that when their child does something really dangerous, they spank their child so the child will associate pain with danger. I'm not so into that type of punishment/teaching a lesson. How do I teach a toddler that going outside on her own is very dangerous?

Monday, December 2, 2013

First time Bath

We are just 2 weeks short of Naama's 2nd birthday, and tonight I bathed Naama by myself for the first time! Guess you can say it's a Chanukah miracle since this happened on the 6th night of Chanukah.

I went into the bathroom with Naama and my husband so we could watch her sit on the potty before her bath. Naama decided peepee wasn't coming out, so she got up and walked to the bath. As usual, I turned to leave so my husband could bathe her.
"No! Mommy!"
I turned to face Naama. 
"What is it my love?"
"You want mommy to bathe you? ", asked my husband
"Yeah, mommy."
My husband and I exchanged surprised looks.
"OK", said my husband and he left the bathroom.

I have placed Naama in the bath before but I never bathed her. I guess I just never tried, since either my husband or Mary Poppins bathe her, so I figured if it ain't broke dont fix it, plus I was always a little nervous Naama may slip when she stands in the bath so her bottom half can be bathed, but apparently I don't give myself enough credit because I was totally fine bathing Naama.

I didn't actually intend to completely bathe Naama, but once I got started, I just kinda went with it, especially since my husband was still clearing the dinner dishes in the kitchen.
I knelt down by the bath's edge, soaped my hands and started to lather Naama's chest and arms. When I washed under her neck she broke out in giggles and looked at me so happily. I can't explain it, but in that moment, we connected. That bonding moment between mother and child is what I had been missing by not bathing her or just periodically hanging around as someone else bathed her. 

Naama laughed harder as I washed under her arms.

Hearing our laughter, my husband walked into the bathroom and asked incredulously, "you're bathing her? wow! go mommy! You're ok?? you can handle this?"
"Yes", I said.
My husband walked out of the bathroom

"Alright Naama, what do we wash next?" I asked.
She stuck out her leg for me to wash.
"Now it's tushy and private part time" I said.
This part I was a bit nervous about, because Naama had to stand up so I could soap her properly and I was afraid she would slip, but I had nothing to worry about. Naama stood up slowly and stood still as I washed her, guarding her back with my free hand.
I can't believe I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to stop Naama from slipping in the bath that I let my fear prevent me from bathing my own child for so long!
When Naama  was younger it was more of a concern, but now, washing her as she stood in her bath was as easy as a walk in the park! and even if she did slip, it's not like she couldn't have slipped when being bathed by my husband or Mary Poppins, in fact, she has slipped by both of them! Disabled people need to give themselves more credit.

Towards the end of the bath, my husband came in to take over so he could take her out and towel her off. As I got to my feet, Naama burst into tears.
She wanted me to take her out. I comforted her, telling her mommy was staying there with her and daddy was just going to take her out and towel her off. She continued to cry, but when she saw I wasn't going anywhere she calmed down.
Naama wanted me to put her moisturizing lotion on. It was such a warm feeling putting the lotion on my baby with her soft baby skin and small body parts.When I got to her back and tushy, my husband said "don't forget to kiss her yummy tushy!"
Apparently Naama was used to this routine because when she turned on her stomach, she thrust her tushy high into the air. It was so cute I couldn't help myself. I planted a big kiss on each smooth butt cheek.

Tonight, when Mary Poppins went to draw Naama’s bath as she usually does on Sunday and Tuesday nights, Naama looked at her, shook her head and said “No. Only mommy.”
Mary poppins and I looked at each other in surprise. Naama LOVES Mary Poppins. She must have made a mistake in pushing her away. Again I turned to leave so Mary Poppins could start the bath.
“No! Only Mommy!"
Ok I guess Naama wasn’t mistaken.
Mary Poppins looked at me questioningly. I filled her in on the first time I bathed Naama a few nights before.
“That’s great! You don’t need me then!”
I smiled and told her I’d prefer to have her around just in case.

I drew Naama’s bath and lifted her into the bath as Mary Poppins looked on.
“I’m very proud of you, said Mary Poppins.
“Thank you,” I smiled and began washing Naama.

To hear such praise from Mary Poppins was very special and meaningful. Mary Poppins began as a nanny when Naama was 4 months old, a time when I was nearly completely dependent on someone else for baby care. Mary Poppins took me under her wing, teaching me, encouraging me and strengthening me to care for my baby despite having Cerebral Palsy. Slowly but surely I reached this point, this moment where I am able to bathe my daughter on my own. A far cry from the helpless, useless mother I felt like as I watched Naama’s previous nannies lovingly bathe her as I only watched.

Tonight, Naama smiled shyly at me nearly the entire bath and she didn’t make a peep when I brushed out her knotted curls and rinsed her hair. Even when I accidentally poured water over her open eyes, Naama just kept smiling at me and Mary Poppins. It was like she knew my bathing her was irregular and something new for me, so she wanted to be on her best behavior.
“It’s so beautiful to see the two of you like this,” said Mary Poppins.
“I’m thrilled for you and not offended in the slightest that Naama prefers you over me. It’s the way it should be now”, she said.

Afterward, I wondered what triggered the change in Naama. I realized the week we spent together during Chanukah break from daycare made Naama feel much closer to me. We went to the park every day. We went for pizza and her first ice cream cone and we played games and did many activities at home, just the two of us.