Forgetting can be an incredible gift. Remembering can trigger all kinds of emotions. Fourteen is my first-born and he was Ten when Larkin was born so I was long past newborn/toddler stages (although there are times when I swear he is still a toddler but I digress) amyway *giggle* I had forgotten those stages for the most part. I saw Larkin as more typical because I already had a child but my frame of reference was fogged over. However with the birth of the twins I now have 2 versions of what typical development looks like and it’s been a roller coaster of emotions for me.
Given that in the past 7 weeks I had a c-section, babies, no sleep, hormonal, and another surgery for complications on Christmas Eve, I am pretty emotional and weepy at times. I can’t chalk these feelings up to that though I would like to blame all of it on those things. Larkin developed horrible looking blisters on her hands that spread to her legs so I took her into the doctor to see what was up. She was clearly miserable and crying off and on and anyone who knows Larkin knows that she doesn’t cry unless she is in major pain and even then she has such a high tolerance that no one can be quite sure how bad she feels.
Recuperating required that I not pick Larkin up and she has spent a lot of the last 7 weeks with our sitter, daddy, and grammy. I think all of us mothers worry we won’t have the same bond or time with our other babies when we have more. I missed her terribly and our routine was so disrupted but I had to take care of myself. When she is sick it has always been my job to care for her so we easily fell back into our way of life and off to the doctor I took her. The waiting room had a few parents and children spread about and I let Larkin run as she wished in a large open area. Of course there are the stares. We are used to that … sort of. Children watch her either with grins on their faces because she is fun to watch or they are puzzled as to why a kid their size acts so young or can’t speak and walk that well. Adults usually watch her with a smile and open admiration of what they see as accomplishments or that she is just plain cute, which she is. And sometimes there is the stare of pity/curiosity/fear that comes with a quick turning away when I look at them. I am cool with all of that, as I couldn’t care any less what anyone else thinks of my child or me. You are either a part of our parade or you can sit on the sidelines and watch as we pass you by and maybe just maybe when you are sitting there alone you will realize the party you just missed.
Back on topic – I was tired and worried about her. She was crying off and on so I grabbed her and sat down with her little book she loves while we waited. I quietly sang the same little song “I love Larkin” in her ear that I have since she was born to the tune of Frera Jaqua. She relaxed back into me and together we melted into one. It felt “normal” as goofy as that may sound but 4 years of being her mother and caretaker is what it is. Now for the past 7 weeks I had been taking the twins into the doctor for well baby checks and weight checks so I had slowly been brought back into the reality of what it is like to have a typical child doctor visit. It’s been weird to not have to list medications, symptoms, therapies, and the like. The girls are undressed, weighed, we talk briefly, and then we head out until the next 4-week check.
To be perfectly honest (as if I am anything else ever) it’s been a little hard. I took Larkin back as we were called and the assistant is talking to Larkin asking her to step on the scale. At least the assistant is talking TO Larkin and treating her just like any other child but I know that Larkin has zero idea that she is being addressed or asked to do anything, furthermore it is very difficult for Larkin to balance standing on a scale but we give it a try and it was good enough. We get to a room and the exam is painful for L. Her ears have to be checked as does her throat but we get through it and the doc leaves the room.
L is still on the table and turns and looks at me and her entire mouth goes upside down and big tears start and she is sobbing. And then I am sobbing. Both of us locked around each other sobbing. For the first time I am beyond angry that this is so damn unfair. She shouldn’t have to feel this way. She should be able to TALK to me and tell mommy what hurts and what mommy can do to fix it. She should just be able to catch one damn break. And let me tell you this about that – I have endured many a horrible diagnostic conversation without tears. Terrified yes but this was hand, foot, and mouth. A virus people. A simple virus. Yes she is covered with painful blisters on her hands, joints, and now her ears but TEARS? Really mom?
Yes I sobbed because my frame of reference is remembered and the emotions I feel are all over the map. I can now see where she is delayed because I have a comparison x2 in the house. Not that I didn’t know it prior – geeze I have enough paperwork alone to remind me of it if the daily medications weren’t enough – but at least it wasn’t a daily thought as I watch the twins develop and already meeting milestones. This is all a part of the journey of grief and it will always be a part of our lives and I am very comfortable with that.
But there will be times in a small waiting room where a mommy holds her sweet beautiful amazing little girl ….. and cries.
Thank you for sharing your experience Amy.
You and Larkin are amazing and the new little ones will be better people for having Larkin as their big sister! Just because they pass her in development mile stones in no way means she does not have a lot to teach them…in the same way she has taught you and everyone around her. I know you know this, in this possible botched attempt, I am just pointing out that Larkin’s beautiful soul is here to teach all of us how to be better people. God knew what he was doing when he made her and when he chose to send her to you. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions that flow through you everyday. I will say that as a mommy I understand your deep desire to transfer all your baby’s hurt and discomfort to yourself. The prayer begging God to stop your child’s pain. That, as a mommy, I understand.
Just hugs. That’s all. For you and for L.
Ah,a frame of reference,I too have mine,my darling 6 month old granddaughter.All part of the journey,yes,but nonetheless painful in some moments.And we are here to journey beside you.Sending you love.Lots of love.
This is a very touching post Amy. I’m so sorry Larkin has caught this painful illness. I hope it passes quickly.
I too understand, my 11 month old has passed Hunter in development about 5-6 months ago and it is heartbreaking. I would give anything for just a little bit of development for Hunter, but I guess that is not his plan at this time.
Great post Amy, and so so true. Actually one of the reasons I’m sort of scared to have another typical child … like I’m afraid I’ll be bitter if the child passes the girls up. Not sure if that would be reality, but a thought that I have definitely thought about.