Mya Rule 7: That people find comfort in the most interesting things, including a 3 year old and her brace. On Mya’s 3rd day of life, two tired, bewildered, and somewhat naive parents drove their newborn baby to Denver to have her right leg casted. It was the first of what would eventually be about 20 casts. I am trying really hard to remember the exact amount so I believe that number is an under estimate. After castings came surgery, then more casts, then special shoes, then more casts, then taping, more surgery, more casts, and finally an AFO, ankle-foot orthotic, which she now wears only at night. My sweet and amazing Mya has slept with something on her tough little leg since she was 3 days old, except for one week. Right before Mya’s final surgery the doctors told us she didn’t need to sleep in a brace for the week prior to her surgery as there was no need, surgery will fix her foot. My excellent sleeper cried almost every night. I ended up putting the brace back on her a few days prior to surgery and it immediately soothed her to sleep. How strange it was, I expected her to be so happy, sleeping freely for the first time ever, but she wasn’t. The brace had become similar to a security blanket. Her foot felt strange, something was wrong with the routine, a silly brace with pink Velcro straps was a source of comfort. I imagine it’s the same way people become attached to special pillows, lucky shirts, sound machines of the ocean. Ellie can’t sleep unless she’s between two rolled up blankets I stuff under her crib sheets that they did for her in the NICU. The other night we were watching Mya on her video monitor, peeking to see if she’d fallen asleep, and we observed the most amazing thing. Mya took her brace off. I was ready to run to her room, to discuss with her why she needs it, when I saw her scratch the back of her calf and then put the brace back on. I don’t know which surprised me more, the fact she didn’t just leave it off or that she put it back on so perfectly, in the dark, at 3 years old. It would appear that even brave and amazing adventures need blankies and lovies, it just so happens my little super hero’s blankie is a plastic AFO covered in tinker bell stickers.
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