This is one of my all time favourite photos. It was taken by the lovely & talented Annya Miller on Sept. 1, 2008. Gavin was only a month and a half old. *sigh*
I love the dimples in his chubby little hand. I also love the two dimples on the end of his arm and his tiny little fingers. A lot of people refer to them as nubbins but we just call them his little fingers. That's what they are :) That's how big they got before they stopped growing and I think they are so cute. Gavin loves to get kisses right on the end of his little arm. It is just so extra soft and lovable that I can never resist!
I think it was a positive thing for us that we found out about Gavin's arm when I was pregnant. We had a lot of time to think about things and it just wasn't a very big deal to us. But I have heard about others who were very surprised when their baby was born missing missing a limb or some other little bit. Some people have a hard time dealing with it because it is such a shock. There are a lot of different emotions involved and it can feel very overwhelming at first. Especially if you don't have much support and don't know of anyone else who has had a similar experience.
If I could give parents a little bit of advice, it would be to just show your baby as much love & affection as possible! Of course you would do this naturally, I know! But I think it is really important. There are lots of studies out there about the importance of touch to a newborn's bonding & development. There are so many benefits to skin-to-skin contact with baby and mom and dad! But pay lots of attention to your baby's "special part" (I don't know what to call it because it could be anything! An arm, leg, foot, hand, ear, cleft lip, birthmark...) I just mean that we want to show our children that all of his or her parts are beautiful, even (and ESPECIALLY!) if they are different. Babies pick up on our cues from a very young age. They understand a whole lot more than we give them credit for.
I think one of the most important things about raising a successful child is instilling a good sense of self-worth in them from the very beginning. A child who has good self-esteem is much more resilient and better equipped to handle all the challenges and hurdles that life is bound to throw at them. And if they receive all the love & support they need from their family, they are a lot less likely to care what other people think about them.
So give your little one an extra kiss and an extra long cuddle today and make sure you tell them what you love about them that makes them different from everyone else! As my husband likes to say, if everyone were the same this world would be a very boring place!