One Step at a Time
I have enjoyed watching Nathaniel adapt to having his right hand in a cast. He is very creative. Like in the way he decided to look at a book today.
He carried his Daniel Tiger book around all day and refused to go outside unless I let him take it along. I am not sure about that cast pillow, but he seemed comfortable and happy in the moment. Pretty happy playing with big brother in "bean dirt" earlier this week too.
Sometimes in watching Nathaniel cope with all his problems I am reminded of how important it is to find peace in the middle of chaos. Resting his head on his arm while reading today was a sign that he was ok. Occasionally, he holds the cast above his head or grabs at his fingers with his left hand. I am unsure if the discomfort is pain or just an intolerance for the whole situation. One night this week he fussed with the cast so much he pulled a half inch off the back side near his pinky finger. A sock over his good hand stopped the destruction, but frustrated his little heart and body. How I would respond if had to endure the things Nathaniel is coping with daily? A tube in the throat. A constant flow of secretions. A tube in the stomach. A continual no to putting things in my mouth. An arm in a cast. And then - a sock over the good hand. Nathaniel cried, turned his head into my chest, and fell into a deep sleep. Holding him tight, rocking through the early morning hours, and whispering, "You're ok," into his soft reddish too-long hair were my mommy ways of offering a path to peace in the chaos. It seemed like so little.
In the midst of it all, he not only copes, but shows signs of growth and achievement. It must be uncomfortable to have someone hold his cast arm to steady him when going downstairs, because he decided just to manage steps on his own this week. Check out this short clip of his first time going down a full flight of stairs alone.
When I watched Nathaniel do the stairs yesterday afternoon, I realized how important every little detail is to helping him hit milestones. He's an always-keep-the-big-picture-in-mind kid. He could not do the stairs alone in December. But he has grown three inches since then and can reach the handrail now. Continued gross motor development is dependent on actual growth and growth is dependent on meeting his nutrient goals and meeting nutrient goals is dependent on managing secretions and managing secretions is dependent on.... I could go on. But being aware of the big picture has helped ME through hand surgery recovery. It is a very small piece in a big puzzle. The times this week when I have wanted to metaphorically wave an arm in the air and cry over all of it, Nathaniel has reminded me that we just have to keep going. One step at a time.