Caiden is a little over 5 months now. He is so happy, just smiles all the time. He is also just a laid back kid, nothing seems to faze him too much. He is a social little bug!
Since the summer began (2 weeks ago!), I get to stay home with Caiden and just hang out with him. I LOVE being at home with him. I get to see him try to crawl, give me the MOST DRAMATIC frowns, and give me the happiest squeals and giggles. I am also VERY protective of him.
I think the reasoning is that, well, first off, I’m a mommy. Secondly, I feared (okay, I admit, I still fear) what others would say or think of him having a mommy in a wheelchair. I get the vibe at times that some people are not too pleased that I made a conscious choice to get pregnant. I could have “spread” my disability to him, or made his life harder than it needs to be. WELL…to be honest…who’s life is NOT hard? Seriously…!
However, the thought still stays in my head. I keep thinking…well, I grew up like this (you know…not walking) and I’m used to the stares, the nervous smiles and the “OH @#*&$ how am I supposed to handle this situation” looks. Chris (the hubby) married me knowing he would have to deal with the above types of people. He is used to it. I am quite in awe of how brave and self-confident he is about the whole situation. It never bothered him, even when others were worried for him.
BUT…I brought a baby into the equation. Caiden wasn’t really born into it (not really), and he didn’t choose this lifestyle or his mommy. So, I fretted (as any normal mommy would do) about how others would treat him, what other people would say to him, or how others would treat me when he’s around. I know I can do anything I set my mind to. If you give me a challenge, or just tell me I can’t…well, I will do anything in my power to prove you wrong…and then some. Still, you have people out there who do not know me well, and will still try to limit me. Not really on purpose, but trying to be the good Samaritan, or trying to “help”. It’s condescending. Plain and simple. I do not need to be taken care of and I usually don’t need assistance…unless I specifically ask. =) I don’t want Caiden exposed to that type of mindset.
Yesterday, for the first time ever…Caiden and I went out to a place that wasn’t with my husband or family members. I took Caiden to the store. Just me and Caiden. I was so nervous and scared. I wasn’t nervous because of the transferring in and out of the car, or being able to carry him around, that’s EASY PEASY! It was how I thought people were going to react. I thought people might stare at me or at Caiden and judge us. I thought people would be rude, or disrespectful.
I got out of my car, put Caiden in his front carrier and we rolled in to the store. This is the store that Chris, Caiden and I usually go to every week. It was so intimidating at first. But everyone cooed and smiled and played with Caiden and greeted me in such a respectful manner. The employees were so nice and friendly. The customers were hilarious. Chris was right…they weren’t judging, they weren’t disgusted. They wanted to help. They wanted to see what they could do to make things easier. Why was I so worried? I forgot, most of this world is actually…good. =)
God knew what he was doing when he gave me Caiden. We are a perfect match.
So, that’s one fear confronted….so many more to go. But you know what? I’ve got time. =0)
Typically when I transfer (into a bed or my wheelchair), I use one arm to support myself and the other arm doing a…well, I call it the “one arm, handstand with a twist”. My little bottom is in the air and up I go with the rest of my body. I will record it one day, because it sounds very technical and difficult. It’s really not.
I have an after school program with my students. It’s a sign choir and we like to participate in different school activities. One such event was the anual parade. It’s a homecoming tradition and a very fun event! One day we decided we wanted a big banner to carry with us on our route around the neighborhood. I got out of my chair and was on the floor helping the kids paint when my student, AQ, looked at me with big eyes and said…”Ms. Cates…do that again!”. She wanted me to get back into my wheelchair and show her how I transferred on and off my chair. I was glad to do it, and realized what a teaching tool that was.
I wonder if little Zoomie will ask me questions about my disability (or my handicapness), or will he think it’s just “mom”. Sorry…errant thought.
Oh…my point…(darn this pregnancy brain!!!!!)
My little trick to transfer is quickly developing into a wild gymnastic routine that I can only explain as…exhausting…but I think it’s kind of neat that as my body changes…so will the way I normally do things. I promise…a video will come soon. (Yes, Heather…with captions). =)