(I must first preface my thoughts on the above by saying that I recently realized, after 45 "50 Lessons" posts, that the chain letter of this list that I was working off of was quite inaccurate in the order of Ms. Brett's actual list. I went back and corrected all of my previous entries to match the correct Lesson number. Which is why you find me covering Lesson #16 just now. You will find the remaining lessons to be in random order. For myself, who values accuracy and proper quotation, this is annoying. For you, it shouldn't make any difference - the lessons and my thoughts are in the end, the point - not their order of appearance.)
See that sorry mug up there? That's my sweet Sammy Sam, leaving the hospital with a full leg cast on his right leg. A week ago, we were out with my parents on a playground, after a celebratory birthday lunch for Grandpa. Riding down one of the big kid slides on my lap, Sammy's shoe caught the edge of the slide on an unexpected turn at the bottom. It was enough to twist his foot and leg to cause a "toddler fracture." It seems this often happens when kids get their foot stuck in the slat of their crib. Of course in my world, it happens with him in my arms, trying to have fun. Mother of the year.
After breaking his leg, Sammy was wrapped up in this cast and I was told that it could not get wet at all and it would stay on for three weeks. And since it is a full leg cast, disallowing him to bend his knee, walking would be out of the picture too. Well, Sammy had just spent the last two months perfecting this walking and running skill. He had been waiting his WHOLE LIFE to walk and run. And now it was off the table. He also is a big fan of baths. Ernie's "Rubber Ducky" tune could be the boy's theme song. So, you can imagine how bummed out he felt that first day.
As a baby, Sammy was miserable before he could crawl. He would sit there and flap his arms and wail for someone - anyone - to come by and pick him up and move him to wherever it was that he wanted to be. His demeanor changed dramatically when he figured out how to crawl. And it got even better when he figured out how to walk. Now that he found himself being held back in "being mobile class," he was furious. When he woke up to find that stupid cast still stuck on his leg wasn't just a bad dream, he fussed and whined and played the injury card every minute. And of course, I coddled and spoiled and begged forgiveness. And although he enjoyed the attention, the novelty wore off pretty quickly when he realized I still couldn't read his mind after 14 months of effort. If he wanted what he wanted, he'd have to come up with another way to just get it himself.
By the end of the first day after the cast arrived on his leg, he had climbed in and out of his toy basket and all the way up the stairs without a slip. It was a noisy climb - lots of thwacking of the cast on the wood stairs. It was a hairy climb - as his spotter, I had endless visions of a tumbling toddler needing a full body cast and calls to Social Services. It was a tiring climb - a deliberate pace and impressive display of upper body strength. But most importantly, it was a joyous climb - Sammy plopped on the landing at the top, turned around with a beaming smile and clap-clap-clapped with great pride. He had discovered that he wasn't trapped in a cast after all. He could still be independent.
The next day he improved upon the dragging crawl and perfected the crab crawl technique. From there, he began to prop himself up on furniture and then shuffled into some furniture surfing. By the fourth day, he was pushing his toy car around and around the kitchen as if there was no cast underneath his pant leg. On the fifth day, he started walking.
I am concerned that this walking skill may harm his healing process. At the hospital, I was told by the orthopedic doctor that Sam had no restrictions aside from water. But the doctor also said that Sam would not be ABLE to walk because of the cast. This child is able to do anything because of his powerful will to do everything his mother wishes he wouldn't. I need to call this doctor and find out if we need to strap Sammy to a board for the remaining two weeks or if his peg leg maneuvers will be okay; Sammy's definition of a walking cast is a little different from the medical one.
I am very thankful that our little boy has such a determined spirit. That he recognizes already how much better it is to do things than to wait for things to happen. By the time his Get Well Soon care packages arrived from sad friends and family, he was making his way to the door to say hello to the delivery truck. He does not want or need a pity party. Instead, you should feel sorry for Tedy, the cat. As you can see at the end of this video, he just can't catch a break...