It occurred to me this weekend while MiniSir was away being a soldier and I was looking after Little Grunt by myself that I don’t do things “normally”. More accurately, that I can’t do things “normally”. My mum keeps asking me if I have put Grunt on the floor on a blanket to help him learn to crawl, and every time she asks the answer is “no”. Not that I’m not helping him learn to crawl, but rather that I just haven’t done it the way it’s “normally” done.
Since the accident, I’ve learned to do things a little differently than most people. Physical tasks most people take for granted are more than a little painful for me, like getting down on my belly on the floor, for example. Not only can I barely get back up, but lying on my stomach at all is extremely hard on my back. I used to be a stomach sleeper before, and now if I spend 5 minutes lying in bed like that I seize up. It takes another 5 painful minutes to transfer to my side and then my back before I can get up. So getting down on the floor with my son is just not ever going to happen. Instead, I put him in the middle of the bed and get down face to face with him to encourage him to crawl. We have tummy time together there too, where I can lay on my side beside him. It’s supportive for me, and softer when he decides he’s had enough of being on his tummy and starts to smash his face into the covers.
The bed itself is special too: it’s a full mattress width higher than most beds. The delivery guys questioned my request to make it so high, but it is easier to climb up into it and slide down off the edge than it would be to struggle to get up and out of a lower bed. It’s a solid wooden frame too, and according to my husband it’s killer on the knees in the middle of a dark night, so if I need a bit of a boost up onto the mattress I can use the side rail as a step.
But it’s not just in the bedroom that I have to make accommodations. I sit differently in a car seat now. I have to elevate my feet several times a day or they turn purple and get fat. I can’t go more than a half-hour wearing heels, even if most of that time is sitting down. I have limited stamina, arthritis in pretty much every joint in my body, I have to manually check my legs after I shave them because I can’t feel if I’ve nicked myself in the process, and every single piece of my wardrobe has been replaced in the last 3 years.
But the point of this post wasn’t to be all, “oh it’s awful for me”, it was actually this: I have become so accustomed to doing things differently, to making accommodations to my injuries, that I had to really think about why I don’t get down on the floor with my son. And then I had to wonder why my mum always seems so disappointed when I do say “no”.
The weird truth is, I’m so used to living and dealing with all this that my family doesn’t even see it anymore. Things that I can’t do seem to slip their minds. I know it’s because of all the things I can and have done since the accident, things the doctors were unsure I would ever do again, that the small day to day things I am still unable to do get glossed over; in our house they do too. And while this is a good thing, it does take me aback every once in a while when people expect me to do something and don’t get it when I can’t. I guess it’s up to me to be more vocal, to be my own advocate. All right, world, here it is:
Yes, I’ll try it your way, but if I can’t do it, let me try it mine.