Keeping Your Preemie Safe

May 29, 2013

Bryce Falls“Be Careful, Baby”

The three little words that come out of my mouth at least a million times a day.

But when your almost four year old doesn’t yet walk – and still struggles mightily with motor planning – falls, bumps and bruises are an all too often occurrence.

In the last two months Bryce has fallen walking with his walker and split his chin open – luckily we were walking into the doctor’s office where they put in 7 stitches.

Then he tumbled head first off the couch onto our wood floors – despite being repeatedly told not to stand on the furniture.  Which though he doesn’t talk, I know for a fact he does understand.

That same day he rubbed a hundred tiny splinters into his right arm while playing in the garden but never complained that anything was wrong because his sensation on his right side is greatly diminished.

Last week he fell off of our bed while trying to get to my phone, cutting his ear on my nightstand, because his CVI skews his depth perception, he lacks good core strength and balance and did I mention he struggles with motor planning.

Yesterday during breakfast he pushed his chair over backwards, which he does anytime he has bored of that particular meal, despite my pleading with him not to.  His chair and head hit the buffet behind the table, leaving a nasty bump and small scrape.

I shake as I type this, recalling each event vividly.  It’s not as if all parents, whether of typical kids or special needs kids, don’t deal with the bumps and bruises of toddler-dom.  But when your time as a mother began with a trauma that lasted 150 days with little relief, you’re gut reaction is often to relive that trauma.  I’ve worked hard to confront and deal with the PTSD that lingered after Bryce’s birth but sometimes it just sneaks right back in.

The feeling of having absolutely no power over a situation, of panic at the possible outcomes, of anger and frustration, overwhelming fear and anxiety – no matter how long it’s been or how well things are going, it’s always right there.

I’m lucky though.  I have real friends who truly understand, a supportive family and a doctor who knows our story well enough to know when I need to buck up and when I need some help.

But the real question is, do I forgo his independence in the name of keeping him safe?  After all, ultimately my job as his mother is to just keep him safe.

Or do I continue letting him learn to sit in a regular chair at the dinner table, climb up onto the couch and explore the garden, where he may hurt himself again but also may learn and grow from his experiences?

What do you think?