Columbus explores the New World

Written Sep 10, 2012 1:21am

Laura and I thought back to a year ago, during Timothy’s opening week, which ended with his successful surgery.  He received outstanding medical care at Abbott and then at Children’s Hospital, and his situation was never life threatening, but like any hospital stay, it was a matter of sorting through all of the information.

At times, when a doctor or surgeon asked ‘Do you have any other questions?’, we asked ‘What questions should we be asking right now?’  We just didn’t know and things were moving quickly, and we hadn’t managed the care of a loved one before.  It sometimes felt like being in a foreign country.

One nurse mentioned casually that Timothy had had an early test that would indicate many things, among which was his risk of leukemia (since kids with Down syndrome are at greater risk).  That caught our attention and we asked many people at the hospital about the results of that test, but didn’t get a clear answer.  We were pretty sure that there was no problem, but we didn’t know for sure.  Maybe we just weren’t asking the right question.  But we just wanted an answer.

A month later, a doctor in our pediatrician’s practice told us ‘No, he doesn’t have an elevated risk of leukemia.  They would’ve told you in the hospital if it was an issue.’

We just couldn’t understand where that simple answer had been for the prior four weeks.  Now, we had it easy — a low risk situation that turned out positive.  But it made us appreciate to a small extent the challenging reality for our friends who have been through serious and lengthy hospital stays.

The ink had not even dried on the TRBL blog entry from a few weeks ago — where we noted that Timothy was not yet crawling at 11 ½ months — when the little gremlin started scooting around the house.  Although he uses his legs a little, he does more ‘commando crawling’, pulling himself around by his arms.

The mobility process has been a good reminder that you can’t predict the rate of a baby’s progress, much less when you mix in a little disability.  If you had asked us when he was 4 months old, we would’ve said that we’d better baby proof our house because he was about to make a break for it.

At that age, he could perch himself up on his arms and hold his head up, but he wouldn’t go anywhere (rolling but no crawling).  And that state lasted for seven months.  Like many things we’ve seen, there is a lot more to crawling (physically and mentally) than we expected.  Our point of reference was our girls, who were crawling by 6 months.  So Jan and Joan, from the school district, gave us different exercises (getting used to using his knees), and ideas to encourage him to move forward (‘put a favorite toy just outside of his reach’), but he still didn’t crawl.  He may have been making gradual steps along the way that we weren’t noticing.  Or maybe he just decided that he was ready.

But now, like many parents, we wonder why we were so anxious for him to crawl.  Because the toothpaste is not going back into the tube.  The sedentary baby life is behind us.  He’s gotten a taste of freedom and now Columbus is ready to start exploring the New World.  And of course he is most drawn to the dark regions of the living room that we’d rather he not visit – the basket of newspapers, the front door with its pointy pieces of metal, and the fireplace, not to mention the underside of every chair.

You get a different perspective on the cleanliness of your hardwood floors when you have a toddler.  And since, like most of the Irish Lees, Timothy often has his hand in his mouth, you always think that he’s just swallowed a wayward coin or the dog from Monopoly.  The good news is that T helps clean by acting like a human Zamboni as he crawls.

We decided to roll up our old Turkish rug to in order to give the little buffalo room to roam.  We love that rug, even if it constantly reminds me that I got suckered into an unplanned rug purchase during our trip to Istanbul.  And whether or not it reflects Timothy’s future fashion choices, our little red headed baby is crazy about fringe, and he was drawn to that rug’s fringe like a magnet to steel, and that wasn’t the best thing for him to nibble on.  So the old Turkish rug had to go, at least for now.

That rug had withstood 7 decades of turmoil and war in the Middle East, only to be toppled by a suburban toddler in less than 12 months.

That’s our little TRBL,

The Lees

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