Although I have quite a few horror stories to tell, a few hospitalizations, surgeries, and countless doctor appointments under my belt, I am truly blessed to have three beautiful girls both inside and out. The twins have had their share of medical excitement since they entered this world, especially my little Shrimp and yet I know and am truly grateful for their health and happiness.
And yet as a mom, for me at least, even something as small (in the grand scheme of things) as braces is a big deal. We’ve been in physical therapy for both Tuna and Shrimp for a while and honestly I’ve learned quite a bit.
As far as Tuna’s legs are concerned we’ve been told there is nothing wrong with her legs/feet, all the way to, she will probably need corrective surgery. As in most cases where doctors are involved, we don’t really know what is going to happen so we are just embracing the braces for now.
She is receiving the SureStep SMO braces for kids with Hypotonia. Hypotonia means that she has low tone. So when you pick her up she is just a big gooey blob of giggles. Due to the hypotonia, when she walks she is basically walking on the inside of her ankles. She doesn’t have the strength or stability to walk properly and/or it’s very difficult for her to do so. It has a lot to do with muscles stretching and retracting, etc. I’ve learned a lot about it from our amazing physical therapists. They have been more than willing to explain as we go, but I don’t trust myself to get all technical just yet.
Today was the big day! I packed up the kiddos and we headed to the orthopedic doctor’s office to pick up Tuna’s braces. A few weeks back when we went to get fitted for them, we also got to design them. Since Tuna isn’t really talking much, big sister and I were in charge and boy did we go all out.
You can ask my family, my motto for when you have to just suck it up and deal with something is to go big or go home. When I was forced to get glasses in 1st grade, against all my wishes, desires, and I’m sure tantrums, boy oh boy did I go big. I chose the biggest, boldest, ugliest glasses in the history of kids glasses. Huge, bright blue, thick rimmed glasses!
Never Underestimate Your Kiddos.
So, likewise we did the same for Tuna. We could have settled for a simple dainty print and a pastel strap but we did not. B and I picked out the brightest, boldest butterfly print and a bright purple strap to go on top. If my poor Tuna has to rock these uncomfortable plastic booties for the next year or two she is going to make a statement!
Now my fear in all of this has been, how is she going to handle these hard devices on her feet for up to two years. I’m not worried about what people think, or looking for pity. As I mentioned before, I know how blessed we are that this is only a temporary situation and that she will not need these for the rest of her life. But Tuna is my DIVA. She is my fit throwing, screaming, “MINE” shouting, princess and I feared the worst.
I called in my prayer warriors. I asked them to pray for her that she would see how much they help her and that she wouldn’t hate them but embrace them.
In the doctor’s office today she took it all like a champ. At one point she gave me the, “why is this stranger touching my feet” look. But other than that she didn’t really have a reaction or opinion at all until…
I decided that since the sun was shining and I successfully got all four (yes as crazy as I may seem I’m watching a 2.5 year old little man 3 days a week) into and out of the medical complex without a single tear, fit, tantrum, or problem that we needed to go play at the park.
Sometimes what is best isn’t easy or fun.
I set Tuna down to climb up the steps to the slide and she lost it. She refused to put her feet down to stand up at all. She whimpered the saddest little whimper as she climbed the steps on her knees carefully trying not to use her feet. It took me probably a good 10 minutes to get her to stand or put any pressure on her feet at all. She still didn’t like it, and fought me the whole time but I could already see an improvement in the way she was standing. Success!
I hope that over the next few weeks and months she comes to realize how much these braces truly are helping her and I pray that they give her the stability and confidence that she needs to truly be able to take off. I know that she so badly wants to get up and do her own version of the “Frankenstein walk” that her little sister does and I hope that her time is coming soon.
As in all of my experiences with my girls, I’ve learned a few things on this adventure. But it’s really only just beginning. Never underestimate your kiddos and the strength they possess. They will always find a way to surprise you whether it be their talents, strength, or just their reaction or lack of a reaction. Kids are so much more resilient then we give them credit for.
It Will Be Worth It
Embrace whatever is thrown your way, no matter how big or how small. In most cases there is no getting away from what life hands us, so why not face it head on. A dear friend taught me this best, when her slogan for fighting cancer was “Embrace It, Own It, Fight It.” We will embrace the braces, physical therapy, and whatever else may come our way. But you can bet that we will work hard to overcome!
Lastly, there are many things that we as parents have to do, or should do, to help our kids that are not easy OR fun. Sleep training, just to throw one out there. Isn’t that just the worst! It’s never easy to listen to your kids cry whether it’s during a tantrum, at 2 am because they just want to be held. Or because of the new devices on their feet. That’s why parenting is such a tough gig, we have to be strong, at least on the outside. Strong enough to get through the rough moments.
We just have to remember that these rough moments will become more smooth. Remember that these rough moments will eventually lead to moments like sleeping through the night, your child understanding what the word “no” means, or your toddler walking on her own without braces. We just have to hold out for those beautiful moments because they will come and they WILL BE WORTH IT!
From my heart to yours, I hope this gives you peace. If you are overwhelmed, my wish is that this gives hope to those in the trenches.