Sunday, June 05, 2005

Look Ma, No Hands

The impending completion of Sweetie's "pretty room" has set us all off schedule again today - no nap, and lots of room-decor shopping during "down time" (paint-drying time). Now we're finally back home. I've just put in her favorite movie, "Grease", so that should buy me some time to do a little writing now. (Lest you think I'm crazy for allowing a 2 1/2 year old to watch "Grease", she only likes it for its songs, like "Tubby More, Tubby More" and others).

I thought I'd write today about an incident that happened just this past Friday night. It's funny now, but at the time it was quite frustrating. Let me explain.

My husband and I picked up our daughter at my parents' house after work on Friday. She was her usual happy, post-nap-hyper self and was very excited to see us. We hung out for a few minutes and then set out for home. My husband noticed that as soon as he put Sweetie in her carseat she quickly put both her hands down by her side. She kept them there the whole ride home, not even taking them out to remove her shoes and socks, as is her usual car ride activity of choice. When we got home, she expressed her wish to stay in the car instead of go inside and she wouldn't reach for her daddy, as she usually does, when he went to unbuckle her from her seat. He ultimately carried her, kicking and crying, into the house and set her down on the kitchen floor. The only thing we could suggest to her to stop her screams were some cut up strawberries. When daddy went to offer her one as he cut the berries up, Sweetie took it from him - using her mouth only, just like a birdie. And this was the way it went for the entire evening.

I had to feed her the strawberries, as she would not unclasp her hands from behind her back to help herself. She even pointed to which particular slices she wanted - using her nose! After the berries, she wanted some veggies. Those I had to feed to her as we both sat on the kitchen floor because she would not use her hands to help herself stand up to go to her highchair. This continued on for the night. She climbed onto the sofa and chairs using the backs of her hands, and she motioned to daddy that she wanted "up" by going up on her tippy toes and thrusting her nose as high up into the air as it would go. I was able to get her to take a tubby - that worked out well enough. But she never likes to get out of the tub, so this time, after I had drained all the water and she was still in there, she got herself lying down on her belly, then wouldn't use her hands to right herself back up again!

For most of this time my husband was, you guessed it, working upstairs in the "pretty room". Meanwhile, I'm frustrated with Sweetie and yelling at her sometimes to just use her hands. She's frustrated with me and crying, determined not to use her hands. She told me she had an owie, but wouldn't let me see anything. She told me she was messy and needed to wipe her hands, which I did - still didn't help. Like I said, her daddy certainly heard all the commotion going on downstairs, but also knew how important it is, to all of us, that he finish the room as soon as he can. So he stayed where he was and Sweetie and I stayed downstairs to deal with each other, eventually coming to an unspoken agreement; she would use her one hand only and chill out and I would accept that she was a one-handed girl for the time being and help her to accomplish certain tasks as such.

By the very end of the evening, just before her bedtime, she was finally using both hands. I think she eventually just forgot about the whole thing.

Looking back, my husband and I can laugh at the situation and are even impressed with her sticktoitiveness and imagination. But, let me tell ya, in the moment it was no fun at all for me to have a no-handed child. I've got enough challenges on my own, thank you very much. It makes me so much more thankful of the healthy child we have and very appreciative of how well she usually behaves for us.

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