February 24, 2011

The dreaded question

It finally came. Earlier than I expected. The moment where he asked what happened to his arm.

It really caught me off guard. He is only two and a half!

This morning as we were getting Gavin dressed he pointed to his little arm and I think his exact words were, "What happen? What happen for my arm?"

John and I just kind of looked at each other for a few seconds and for some reason I couldn't think of what to say. I thought I would have the perfect response because I have thought about it many times but all I said was, "Umm...that's just your little arm that you've always had."

And he didn't ask anything else. (Surprisingly...because he is at the stage where everything is "Why? Why Mommy? Why?")

I kind of know where the question came from because a few days ago I took him to the Early Years Center and there were a few kids that were asking a lot of questions about his arm. That always happens when we go there but we haven't been in several months.

There was an older boy that was playing with him for quite a while before he noticed. It was after almost an hour of playing that he suddenly grabbed Gavin's arm and said, "What kind of an arm is that?" and then asked me what happened. I gave the usual response that he was born that way. The boy said, "He can't even hold anything with that arm." And I told him, "Yes he can!" He asked, "How?" and I said, "Well why don't you ask him and maybe he will show you." The boy quickly saw how Gavin can hold things and after that, he moved on and they continued to play together.

Later, some more older kids came and the boy decided he would rather play with them. He started asking me when Gavin was going to go home because Gavin had a toy that he wanted. Then he loudly said that only 4 people can play the game and he counted, "1-2-3-4", pointing to himself and 3 other children and leaving Gavin out. Gavin loudly said,"1-2-3-4 play the game!" and pointed to himself! He was completely clueless that the boy was trying to exclude him and was simply copying him but I was still proud of him!

Then a little girl noticed Gavin's arm and ran to her mom and was pointing and saying, "That baby's arm is broken!" She kept grabbing his arm when he was trying to play and I had to step in and tell her not to (While her mom stood by and pretended not to notice, by the way, which is my biggest pet peeve ever!!! I understand it may be awkward and people don't know how to handle it but COME ON!) She was asking questions and I was answering her but she continued to say that his arm was broken and point at it.

On the way home I talked to Gavin about saying, "Don't touch me please!" if he does not like it when someone touches him.

This experience was nothing out of the ordinary. The same thing pretty much happens every time we go there because there are always different children and children are curious. But now he is at the age where he understands when they point out his difference and I'm afraid of him getting his feelings hurt or worrying that something is wrong with his arm.

It makes me sad that he will always have to deal with the questions, the stares and the pointing. All we can do is help him feel confident about himself, develop good self-esteem and get used to answering the endless questions.

February 22, 2011

Thank you from Holland Bloorview‏

I received this nice email today that I thought I would share :)

Dear Megan,

On behalf of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and its Foundation, I offer our congratulations to you for your achievement in our filmpossible contest.

Holland Bloorview set out to create a contest that would bring visibility to disability. Our hope was to change the way the world views childhood disability in order to help create a better world for children with disabilities.

We challenged people to bring us their own creative twist on this theme. Holland Bloorview, our sponsors, judges and supporters alike were overwhelmed by range of entries and the courage, creativity and passion that was so evident in the entries we received.

Your video, His Abilities, was among the top 20 and was reviewed by our celebrity judges. I am pleased to share their comments:

From Karen Shopsowicz: "Gavin is a wonderful inspiration."

From Allen Braude: "Message well conveyed. Great to see Gavin always finding a way."

From Tania B. Reilly: "Great opening! Enjoyed the focus - day in the life of Gavin."

From Justin Hines: "Abilities indeed! Gavin looks like he blurs the line between able bodied/disabled."

Your contribution to filmpossible has touched people far beyond the scope of the contest. You and your fellow entrants have inspired our staff, our volunteers, helped attract new volunteers, inspired the media to cover these issues, opened dialogues among parents and children and in schools and workplaces across Canada, and brought hope and inspiration to children with disabilities and their families.

We salute you, we congratulate you, and we thank you.

Jean Geary

HERE is the link to Gavin's video if you would like to see it again!

February 18, 2011

Red Monster

For Valentine's Day we went out for dinner to Red Lobster. We had never been there together before because John has a strong hatred for seafood. But I had a pregnancy craving so I won! Gavin was with us too (What is a romantic dinner for two anyways? I really can't remember...) and he was quite interested in watching the lobsters in the tank and asking us lots of questions about what they were doing and why.

I couldn't make up my mind about what to get so I decided to just cover all my bases and get the Ultimate Feast!! YUM! Seafood craving fulfilled!

When we got home, the first thing Gavin did was run to his uncle and say, "Uncle Dave, I saw a MONSTER!!"

We were all confused for a few seconds, until I realized that he meant LOBSTER instead of monster!!! I can see how he would confuse the two. Lobsters are some creepy looking creatures with their ten legs, beady eyes, long antenna, and big, sharp claws!

February 12, 2011

So real!

I keep meaning to update but I have just been fighting this horrible cold all week. I'm hoping the worst is almost over because I have been SO miserable. I NEVER get sick like this but of course it has to happen when I'm pregnant and can't take anything for it. (Only 6 weeks to go by the way!!!) And none of my natural remedies seem to be helping! Anyways, this post is not for me to complain but instead to share something pretty cool!

Gavin got a new helper hand a few weeks ago! We ordered it so he could have the option of having a hand that looks more natural than his body-powered device (which reminds me of a lobster claw but is VERY useful and functional).

This is a passive hand (he can not make it open or close), although you can manually move the fingers into different positions. So it definitely still has some functionality because he can use it to hold many different objects and do different activities.

It is made of silicone and when I first saw it, I could not believe how real it looked!! John did a perfect job of picking out the right shade. I was a little nervous because I wasn't able to attend the appointment that day so he had to pick it out without me. And I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a perfectionist and a control freak. But Daddy gets full credit for this one. Good job hun!

Now we have two attachments for the same prosthesis. He can use his body-powered arm with the strap or we can snap off the cable, unscrew the hand and screw on this silicone hand. Its actually very simple!

Gavin is still pretty resistant to wanting to wear either one but we are trying to be more consistent about it. Getting him used to wearing it can only benefit him in the long run.

At first he was trying to move his arm back and forth to open the hand, the same way his body-powered hand works. So we had to explain the difference.

Now he is a bit more tolerant of it and will wear it for longer periods of time if he is distracted enough, but he doesn't really "use" it. It tends to just hang at his side most of the time.

We still have a lot of practising to do!