So I want to start letting you all into our little world with London. I'm gonna start by telling you a little bit about why simple things like giving London a bath can be so difficult...
With London, as with many differently-abled kids, she tends to curl up when she isn't comfortable or when she's scared or upset. Well, either that, or she arches her back. Either of these things can make what should be a simple task very frustrating!
A lot of the time, her arms are bent at the elbow and wrist, tucked into her sides, with her hands pulled up by her chin. Those are her chicken wings. When she does her 'chicken dance' (chicken wings with legs bent, crossed, and tucked into her tummy)- EVERYTHING is more difficult! Holding her, putting her in her wheelchair or car seat, getting her dressed... She's surprisingly strong (more of a muscle spasticity issue than her guns being loaded), and she doesn't like having her arms moved FOR her, so trying to get her to relax those little chicken wings long enough to strap her in or dress her can be a challenge all in it's own.
Other times, she'll arch her back, stiffly hold her legs, knees dropped and heels brought together. Those are her frog legs. She does this a lot when we pick her up by holding under her armpits and almost always when we give her a bath. So there we'll be, her in the tub, me on the side of the tub with my feet on either side of her, holding up her head and torso with my left hand and washing/rinsing with my right hand... as if she's not difficult enough to hold on to, add frog legs to the mix and not only do things get more difficult, but she usually ends up hitting her knee on the side of the tub and that, obviously, makes her cry. Add crying to the mix, wait, actually she's usually already crying (being lifted up out of the water partially like that sends her into hysterics usually... but we'll cover that later), so she cries even harder, bring out the frog legs, and twists her wet soapy body all while I'm trying to hold her up with one hand... just thinking about it makes me tired- and, honestly, a little anxious. Bath time is NOT our favorite activity around our house.
Anyway, that's ONE (or would it be two?) that things can be a little draining at our house.
I will continue to post about London and our life at home with her- I've learned that so many people want to know about things like this, but are afraid to ask and risk offending us. Let me tell you this: I, and so many other moms of special-needs kids, would LOVE for you to want to learn more about my sweet girl! Your questions don't offend me! What offends me, or hurts our feelings, is when people stare and whisper things like, 'she must be retarded' or when parents quickly pull their children away from us as we walk by, like we're carrying a contagious disease, or when a mother tells their child to 'look away'... I actually really love when kids ask me questions about London or her wheelchair when we are out and about (well, at least I have so far)! I like knowing that they aren't just quickly turning away from her and ignoring her presence. I like that it gives me a chance to show them that London isn't scary or gross or dirty. She's just a kid in a wheelchair, who needs a little more help than most kids because her brain is different. So thanks to all those parents who haven't been afraid to get close enough to us to let their kids ask about London or talk to her or touch her wheelchair! :)
Hugs from me and London!