Jessica and I will be taking Namine to the pediatrician this afternoon. Last night, she threw up a bunch of mucus, and she started to get really congested as we got closer to bedtime. Namine didn’t actually go to sleep until around midnight, and it was a fitful sleep at best. Laying there on the flat mattress, she was breathing very loudly as she slept. She didn’t seem to have any repiratory distress – that is, she wasn’t struggling to move air – rather, she was just breathing around a whole lot of boogers.

After Namine was really, truly asleep, I put her on her Boppy pillow. The elevation seemed to help a great deal, and she no longer sounded like a miniature John Deere plowing through the bedroom. She never even woke up during the night; she slept right on through until after both Jessica and I had left this morning. (No, we didn’t leave Namine asleep by herself. My mom came over to watch Namine so that Jessica could take her mom to her own doctor appointment.)

Nowadays, when I put Namine to bed, I no longer put her on the Boppy. Or any pillow, for that matter. Pillows are playthings to her now, and she never sleeps on them. She plays with them, tosses them around or out of her crib, but never sleeps with or on them. This came about pretty much as soon as she was able to roll over and sit up by herself. Laying on a pillow seems to be close enough to sitting up for her, that she just decided to finish the job. And once she’s sitting up, well, she’s not going to sleep now.

I suppose it’s my own fault, really (not that I mind). Since Namine came home, therapy had been working on getting Namine to be able to roll over and sit herself up on her own. But things changed. They tried to teach Namine to crawl, but she herself figured out that scooting was better for the unique condition of her body (of course I’m talking about the caudal regression, here). Namine’s dislocated hips and fairly useless left leg refused to co-operate, and they moved on to working on other things. On my own, I kept working with Namine to roll over. We were close; so close.

Then Namine had her clubfoot repair surgery, and the casts went on. That put a hold on rolling over, as she had to get used to moving around with the casts – with her motivation, not much more than a minor setback. Once the casts came off, we got the AFOs (Ankle-Foot Orthotics), which are significantly less restrictive, in terms of both bulk and weight. Since she was free of the braces – and in those early days, she could only tolerate the AFOs being on a few hours at a time – I worked with Namine once more on rolling over, at first with nothing more restricting than socks and her own stubborn hips. Time and time she tried, and tried, and tried. And then, one success!

I doubt she even knew what happened until it was over, that first time she rolled from her back to her front (from which she can sit up, no problem). For a few days, she couldn’t duplicate that success. No worries here; I had faith in her that she could do it, and I told her so every day. Every time she tried, I told her I loved her, I was there for her, I believed in her. At first Namine needed her arms to do so much of the work; she doesn’t have very much strength in her abdomen, and remember, the musculature isn’t even completely there in her. (That’s what the hernia repair will attempt – connecting all those insides of hers that should be connected.)

Now, of course, she can roll over and sit up in no time at all. It just took work. Work, perseverance, and encouragement. I firmly believe in lots and lots of encouragement. Being there for your children, getting to know them, it’s worth everything in the world. I live for that moment when I come home from work each day. When I open the door and see her there, playing in the living room, she turns to me and smiles. It’s such a small thing, but it means so much. Her smile brightens the darkness, sweeping away all stress and worry. I live to see that smile again.

  • Michele Eiche

    me too. And her laugh. She has a great laugh!