Saturday, October 11, 2014

Siblings

In one of the limb difference groups we are a part of, a mom posted this:

"I felt like adding a discussion post of the siblings of limb differences. The awesome kids who may lead the way and very protective of younger kids with limb differences or admire the older siblings who are different. Then the challenges of creating balance of fair between the normal and limb different siblings. For example my youngest daughter gets more attention at times and she is very limited in amusement parks. Then I am sure in the future she will attend special camps and conventions to meet kids like her. Then have more specialized extracurricular activities for balance, flexibility, confidence and strength.

Is it weird to seperate kids based on abilities? The boys go on fun amusement parks, get bikes early, and play a wider variety of sports while their sister is left out. Then she goes across country, go to camps, and enjoy specialized extracurricular activities that I will likely deny the boys for cost reason"

My response was this:
"I think it's also important to recognize the siblings. I also think it's important to recognize that each child is different whether or not they have a visible difference! My youngest son loves balls and being outdoors. My middle son loves baseball and playing catch. My daughter (who has a limb difference) loves arts and crafts and prefers to be inside. Embrace them all for their differences! As for camp, we all go as a family. It's important for the siblings to be supportive and get an opportunity to see all different kids and met other sibs of limb different kids."

I thought more about this post all day. I couldn't shake it for some reason. Is my daughter "limited"? In my opinion, she anything but limited! Does she have to adapt, you bet! We all adapt in different situations that are new or uncomfortable to us. I always wondered how my brother and I were so different when we were raised in the same house, with the same parents and the same rules... then I had my own children. From get go, they were SO different! I learned as I had each baby, that you have to adapt to each child. You must figure out what works for THAT baby! It was like starting all over each time, hell I was starting all over each time! 

Bella is independent, strong and stubborn. She falls and hurts herself and she pushes you away (she's just like I was as a child!) She's strong willed and has her opinions. Her style is very unique. She's picky about how things feel on her body, how socks lie across her toes and how waistbands feel on her belly. She's a leggings girl all the way, she hates wearing shoes and would rather be barefoot. She loves arts and crafts and being indoors. She's quick to make new friends anywhere she goes. This girl could run on no sleep for days, I'm pretty sure she did as a baby :/ 

Grayson is hot or cold. He is a lover, a "nuggler" and desires to be curled up in your arms. He loves being outside and playing catch. He's easy going with his clothes and will wear almost anything. He loves wearing shoes and zip up hoodies. He's quiet and is timid to put himself out there to meet new people. He can go from happy to ticked in 2 seconds flat. He's NOT a morning person at all. He's a master sleeper. He loves dance parties.

Luca is a circus animal. He will walk into a wall and not even realize he did it! He loves to be naked. He loves to kiss and also loves to hit. He'll play with any kind of ball and has a heck of a throw. He's a wild toddler, a climber, no fear at all. He loves to read books and be dirty... really dirty! He's a fickle sleeper to this day. 

My point with all of this? My kids are all very different. Bella's limb difference does NOT define her even though it is part of her. Each child should be embraced for their differences and those differences should be celebrated. We don't treat her different because of her limb difference. We treat her different because different things make her tick.

As for camps and activities, Camp No Limits is a family affair, at least for now. The boys don't have a choice in that one. It's a good opportunity for them to see other limb different kids and adults, to ask questions about differences, to be exposed to siblings of limb different children and it's a fun vacation with great people! There will be times in their lives when they do go to different camps due to their different interests. There will also be times in life when we all go to camps together to have a vacation or show support of one of our family members. For us, each of our children will be treated different. Not due to their physical appearance but due to their needs, whether that is physical, mental or emotional. As for sports, so far Bella likes to talk too much and isn't into sports yet. We've given her the opportunity and she's been part of the parks and rec soccer program, it just wasn't her thing. We are all about exposing our children to a variety of things so they can explore what makes them happy. As for this mom asking about amusement parks, I have a strong sense that their daughter will have fun even if she doesn't get to ride all of the rides! Maybe she won't even like the rides! It's hard to say because she's so young. 

As for us and our family, parenting each child is different. We treat them with love and support no matter what. We will also teach them to be supportive of each other's hopes, goals and desires. 

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