Bracing Ourselves

Yesterday Ivy had an ultrasound on her hips. Everything had seemed normal clinically, but due to Hudson’s hip issues, it was recommended that Ivy be assessed as a matter of caution. Turns out she has moderate to severe hip dysplasia as well. During the ultrasound I responded very well, joking that we at least knew what we were dealing with this time and repeating platitudes like ‘at least it is being caught early’. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the phone conversation with Dave to break the news that the waves of emotion swept over me. It really does suck. 
I have vague memories of those three months of Hudson with the brace feeling like forever and that first night when he just kept kicking and kicking his legs against the brace only to eventually give up out of exhaustion. I remember both of us hanging out for that one hour a day when he could be free again and move around without constraint. What we didn’t know at the time was that Hudson was suffering from a groin hernia so perhaps his constant misery was as a result of that, but let’s just say he was not a happy camper. 
Ivy is doing so well at the moment too- actively kicking and rolling and using her body with full force. She loves tummy time and is so relaxed and happy, cooing and gurgling cute noises during her waking hours. Suffice to say I’m not really looking forward to the potential change.
On the other hand, I feel light years ahead of where I was when I was coming to terms with the news about Hudson. Despite the disappointment and realisation that there will be a lot of long hospital visits in my foreseeable future, I know we will get through it, and honestly, heading to the hospital with just one baby is actually almost like a semi-holiday from the craziness of the day to day with three… They have good coffee there (and donuts)! 
The more emotionally challenging part of the day was that Eli, who has- until now- lapped up his days at Kinder, really struggled with the experience, even needing Dave to take him out for about half an hour before he had to walk away from a bawling Eli upon going back. Apparently he cried for a good fifteen minutes before pulling himself together and having a positive afternoon. 
Dave and I really struggled to know how to respond. Do we rescue and show that we are recognising the gravity of Eli’s feelings, or do we encourage him to push through the discomfort and learn from it? We are keenly aware that you don’t get this option in Prep, but this is 3-year-old Kinder… an (expensive) optional experience that we feel is beneficial for him in learning to relate to kids his own age. As far as we can tell, the emotional reaction is seemingly tied to confrontation over having to interact with another boy who reportedly snatched his toy- a infraction that Eli is guilty of with Hudson at least once an hour!

At this stage, given the holidays are just around the corner and that the issue seems to be one that can easily be overcome, we have decided to press on and hope that Eli can learn more about the world and himself, even as we try and get him to stop referring to the kid as the ‘bad boy’ and use his actual name! In ‘Carry on, Warrior’ today, I read the story of Glennon’s similar struggle of releasing her son, Chase, into the big world of prep and her advice for coping with an older bullying girl on the school bus was to give Chase a mission to find out the colour of the girl’s eyes. When he did, he excitedly reported that the girl’s eyes were blue but that while he was finding out she stopped her mean face and and avoided eye contact for the rest of the journey. Maybe we’ll have to invite the ‘bad boy’ over for a play date or something. Who knows, Eli could even end up making a great friend!

Children come into the world so dependent and fragile, and it feels like each step of becoming independent can either be exhilarating (like when they can finally wipe their own bottoms) or rip out a piece of your heart as you see them becoming a little messy human just like you, with fears and hopes and innocence and resignation. Each step both defines them and shows them what they can become. I can see now how this parenting gig never ends. There is no way I’m going to stop caring about the way each of my children are developing, even when they are 60! Looks like we should brace ourselves for one hell of an interesting (and, no doubt, heartbreaking) ride…

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