Personally, when telling certain members of my family we were expecting, they were rather apprehensive about how my body could cope with a baby running around. How would I cope, when as children do, my child would run off across a road, or out of my sight, when I’m not able to run after them? I always brushed this off. Surely I would just figure it out. But my goodness did my child challenge me and change my opinion and our families minds.
In my experience, children accept. Sure it doesn’t feel like that when you’re being asked ‘why?’ 500 times a day. But they do just accept. The sky is blue, Daddy tells bad jokes, Nanny wears glasses, and Mummy uses a wheelchair. They observe and question all the time. Often children will point at me and ask their parents why am I in a wheelchair. But when I then answer why, they just say ‘oh, okay’ (or something on those lines) They don’t then worry about the details, they just except. My daughter isn’t thinking about what I can’t do, more what I can do. Prime example not related to my disabilities, I am allergic to mint (yeah really strange), which means I can’t help her brush her teeth. So she knows, when it’s time to brush her teeth, to ask Daddy to help. Kids just adapt to their environment.
Gosh, I can feel myself building with worry as I type this (that now I’ve said it she’s going to start) but my daughter doesn’t run away from me, she just doesn’t. There’s no game in running away from Mama because Mama can’t run after her. She will run and I’ll ‘chase’ her in my chair for short distances, but when I say ‘all done’ she stops on the spot, there isn’t a game when there’s only one player. However on the other hand, she does find her own ways of being cheeky. She can suddenly decide she’s bored with waiting for me to look at something, and she just pushes me somewhere else! I swear from 18 months she could push my wheelchair, how is a baby that strong!! And its only gotten worst as she’s gotten bigger and can reach the handles. It’s lovely she enjoys it and it helps me keep her safe, but she has no sense of direction so we do crash a lot…
Something that I worried about was not being able to push a pram (I addressed this in a previous blog post) I thought as she got older and tired, we would struggle as my husband would have to carry her and push my chair or I would have to somehow hold her and push myself. But again, this fear was unfounded. When she’s tired she just sits on my lap. She will just start backing up to my legs saying ‘ride’ whenever she wants a break from walking. She has learnt she can stand on the back of my wheelchair and put her arms around my neck and ride, she will sit on my footplates and ride. If there is a way to make my wheelchair fun for her, she’s thinking of that… Not that it limits what we can do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she notices differences. (I mean that child LOVES stairs, as we don’t have any at home when she sees some she has to climb them!) But even as an adult if something is a novelty, like a trampoline, I want to play on it.
So were my relatives right to worry? Maybe, she’s still young I’m sure they’ll be challenges ahead, but maybe not. When you think of your own parent, is the first thing you see their flaws or struggles? Or do you see what you love about them? My daughter just sees her Mama,
nothing more nothing less. She doesn’t care what accessories I have, she just figures out how to make them fun for her. How wonderful would the world be if we all saw each other's strengths rather than our weaknesses?
I hope in a few years to revisit this topic to see how things change as she grows.