I realized recently that I am holding Bridget back more than her disability. All because of a TV show, her favorite Sofia the First, where there was a line: “well it’s time you made some room so your buttercup can bloom”
I realized it started so simply.
She likes to be carried, I’m grateful that I have her to carry. Then she got bigger and heavier. Now my left hip is in a semi-permanent tilt. I have good reasoning, for carrying her. It is safer. She gets tired. It is overstimulating for her. I like carrying her.
I am not helping her when I carry her.
At mealtimes, when she is tired (and my willpower is nonexistent) I will spoon feed her. I will give her a different meal. I will allow her to sit on my lap. I have good reasoning: she is tired, I’m tired, and I just need her to eat.
I am not helping her when I feed her.
I dress her, I wipe her bottom, I wash her and I do almost every little thing for her. I am not helping her though. Especially when it comes to doing things that I know she can do independently. I am unintentionally making her life more difficult. Does it take longer? Um, yes. Does it mean she will fail, fall and become frustrated? Definitely!
Can I be excused? NO! I know many of you right now are thinking, Kerri don’t be so hard on yourself. Here is why you would be wrong:
I’m spending thousands of hours and money on therapies for Bridget to be an active member of her community. I have therapists and teachers doing their very best, using every tool they have in their arsenal, to function way beyond her first diagnosis. These wonderful people do not go off the clock. They will call and text me with ideas. They will share their experience and provide a safe place for our family.
And I am undermining all their hard work. Every time I take the easy way out with Bridget, I am letting them down. I am setting Bridget up for failure. I am putting limits on her and I am making her disabled rather than differently-abled.
Starting now I am going to fix my mistake. I am not going to carry her because it is easier. I am going to wait for her to get into the car, rather than lifting her into her car seat. I am not going to put her jacket on, but will continue to help her wipe her butt (hello, let’s not get an infection). I am going to hold her to the same standard as her sister when it comes to mealtime.
It is going to be difficult. There will be tears. There will be wine (don’t judge).
But I am not going to be the reason Bridget doesn’t succeed.