Yesterday the bright pink forearm crutches arrived in the mail. A. was here and helped Y. get set-up with them. (I was with another child at another doctor's appointment. It's what I do.) When I got home, Y. was very excited to show them to me and how she could use them. Plus, they could also double as toy guns and as baseball bats. They seemed to her like a really cool toy. J. and I decided that the transition to using them was not going to be as bad as we were anticipating. Sometimes I love it when I'm wrong.
And then this morning came. As everyone was getting themselves ready to leave for VBS, I told Y. that she should remember to grab her new crutches. There was a pause as she stared at me and then said, "Why?"
"Because they are for you to use so you can keep your balance and move faster."
"I don't want to. There are stairs."
"Well, hold them while you go up the stairs and then use them again."
A pouting face and stink eye was then directed towards me. I'll spare you the rest of the downwardly spiraling conversation and leave it at she did ultimately leave with the crutches in hand.
I feel for her. I know she hates anything that sets her apart from everyone else. I can't blame her; who does? Y., we are learning, is fantastically smart and along with that comes a keen awareness of others, her surroundings, and how she fits into it all. She knows other children as a rule don't use crutches and given a choice she would rather fit in than use them.
I wish I could give her that choice. The truth is, though, that without them she will have a harder time just keeping up and not using them will limit her more. Without them she falls... a lot... since her balance is one of the things affected by the CP. She also moves slower than the other children and has complained about this to me on more than one occasion. The crutches, once she learns to use them effectively, will help her increase her speed significantly. They may make her look different, but in the end they will allow her to keep up with everyone.
This is why we had to play the mean parent card this morning and insist she take and use them, even though it wasn't making her happy. Blessings on our church family who all reacted extremely positively to their appearance with positive statement all around. This is going to be a stretch for Y. as she learns to use the tools available to her, even if she is not in love with them. I wish I could wave a wand and erase the need for them.