Being the mother of a strong-willed 6-year old with whom I have entirely too much personality in common means that there are many times when I fail to appreciate the person that she’s becoming and focus more on how I want her to behave. We fight about the same things on an almost daily basis. While I love being a mother, and feel blessed to be her mom in particular, sometimes it’s hard to keep that in perspective on a daily basis.
My peanut has been off of school for the past two days and I’ve been home with her. Yesterday was a snow day; today we had doctor’s appointments at the local children’s hospital. It was also a chance for quality one on one time with her and a chance to appreciate her again. While yesterday was filled with playing in the snow and making an igloo, today I got to appreciate what a brave little girl she has become.
Peanut was born with one leg longer than the other. While we don’t exactly hide this fact, it’s also not something we talk about often either. I took her to a pediatric orthopedic in New Jersey from birth until the time she was about 2 1/2 years old… Every six months like clockwork to keep an eye on the discrepancy and make sure it didn’t get any worse. There was also a concern that she would develop tumors in her belly, which is another symptom of a potential disorder. When that doctor started talking about leg-lengthening surgery, I stopped going to him. The surgery would basically consist of breaking her left femur, separating it slightly, then pinning it in place and forcing the leg to mend itself and the space. It’s extremely painful and was something I deemed unnecessary. Please keep in mind that she was walking at 11 months, has been taking gymnastics since she was 2 1/2, plays soccer and t-ball, and runs just like any other kid. This “disorder” has not hindered her in any way, and this is her normal. To put my child through that much pain… I just couldn’t do that. Ever.
Last March, however, she started complaining about her belly hurting. This brought back concerns over tumors and the like. MedExpress diagnosed her with an ulcer and gave her medication for it. It seemed to help. In December, the pain came back. I immediately scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician, who was concerned about the previous diagnosis considering they went off a blood test rather than doing a scope. I also brought up my concerns about this being related to her leg discrepancy. This led to today’s appointments at Children’s.
As we left the house this morning and took the drive up there, we talked about what might happen at her appointments and her concerns. She was worried she would have to get another finger prick or a shot. All she wanted was stickers and a lollipop. I told her what I knew they were checking for, but I was honest about not knowing what the day had in store for us. First up, the orthopedic doctor. She had to change into a gown, which was shorter than she was comfortable with so she wrapped a towel around her waist, and went in for her x-rays. She did wonderful. The doctor was amazing – very personable and easy to understand. Spoke professionally, but did not use all medical jargon that a layperson wouldn’t understand. He was also great with her. We talked about the discrepancy, how it had stayed roughly the same over the last 4 years, and what his concerns and plans were. There was a brief discussion of surgery around age 11, but there is still plenty of time for monitoring her condition before that becomes a major discussion.
Next came the gastro doctor. We talked at great length about Peanut’s eating habits, drinking habits, defecating habits, etc. She spoke to my daughter directly and only asked me questions when she needed more clarification or my child didn’t know the answer to a question. We talked about her “ulcer” and how we’ve remedied the situation since last March. My daughter sat there so well behaved and answered so clearly and distinctly. I was very proud of her. Then came time for testing, and she had to give blood and a stool sample. She cried during the blood draw, but I can’t blame her. It’s scary for a 6-year old.
As we were sitting there, it occurred to me how brave my little one really is and what a wonderful person she’s becoming. Here she was, out the door at 7:30am, seeing doctors and running all over the hospital until after noon, and almost the entire time she was calm, barely complained, and did exactly what was asked of her even when she was scared beyond belief. I felt like it was an honor for me to be the one to hold her hand while she went through all of this.
We went to lunch after and talked about how she felt, what the doctors had said so far, what we were waiting to find out, and what we would do with the rest of our day. She took off her bandage from the blood draw by herself even though it hurt to do it. Then she finished her milkshake, and we headed home. As she napped in the car on the way home, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am that I get to be her mom and how often I forget that lately. This person changed my life 100% for the better. She welcomed my husband into our little circle with open arms and creates beautiful little cards for him that say, “To Dad.” She constantly comes home with art projects made just for me, kisses me and tells me she loves me for no reason, and gives me hugs at the exact moment I need them. While I get lost in the day to day stresses of telling her again and again to shut off her bedroom light, clean up after herself, and complete her homework, she’s floating along in her own world, singing at the top of her lungs, totally unphased by me. She is such a wonderful little person and as I tucked her in tonight after reading a chapter in her book, I made sure to tell her as much.
Right at this moment, with a daughter I appreciate more than words can express, a wonderful husband who loves and supports us, and another child growing inside of me, I am overcome with a feeling of joy. I am so lucky that my life turned out this way.
Until tomorrow when we fight about combing her hair or brushing her teeth, anyway. LOL
Have a great night.