Monday, March 1, 2010
Dubiously sane things I have done concerning Max...perhaps you can relate?
I was e-mailing with a mom over the weekend; her baby had a stroke at birth, like Max. Until recently, she had measured her baby's head every three days because she worried about microcephaly, a condition in which a head is abnormally small (it indicates the brain isn't developing properly). She joked about getting committed to the psych ward, and I knew just how she felt because I've done that.
For the first year of Max's life, I was obsessed with his head size. It was small, very small. Still is. I'd regularly measure it and dread visits to the neurologist. When Max needed winter hats, I'd buy two sizes: one in the age-appropriate size, one in infant size. Inevitably, only the infant hat would fit, even when he was three. But I kept buying the age-appropriate size hat, as if I could will his poor, sweet little head to fit into it. At some point I finally quit freaking about Max's head size—as long as he made good progress, I decided, that was all that mattered. And he has, thankyouGod, he has.
Over the years, I have done some wacky stuff related to Max, driven by anxiety, fear, terror, love. For the first few weeks after Max was home from the NICU, I slept on our living room couch with him resting on my chest. Literally. I felt I needed to be that close to him to make sure he was still breathing. I can still vividly recall the day my boss at the time called to check in on me. At some point, I mentioned that Max was sleeping on my chest every night. Awkward pause. "Oh! Is that safe?" she asked, logically. I must have seemed so strange.
I have also reached into Max's crib as he slept to massage his hands in the hopes of loosening them from the tight grip of cerebral palsy, stared obsessively at other kids' hands in the mall to see just how open/functional they were in comparison, spoken to Max in different accents to see if he'd notice and, once in a fit of desperation, ate an entire jar of baby food (bananas) to show him how to chew right. Dave has been my partner in special needs lunacy; when Max was little, he used to gargle water to distract Max while we were feeding him so I could get in some food.
OK, here it is, your chance to share the out-there things you've done. That way, they can haul us off all at once to the loony bin!