Sunday, May 1, 2011

Assumptions - May 1, 2011

On Wednesday, after a week-long battle with some sort of sinus/allergy/yuck nonsense, my sense of smell went poof. I didn't realize it was gone until I went to eat a REALLY HEALTHY SNACK [ahem, buffalo-wing flavored pretzel crisps] and thought, wow, this tastes super salty but it doesn't taste like it's supposed to. Suddenly it dawned on me that I couldn't smell even though I could breathe through my nose. I spent the next few hours freaking out, putting my face in a bag of coffee (nothing) and smelling my various candles and soaps (nada) and Googling (shockingly reassuring). When it didn't return by Friday morning (with brief moments where stuff did get through), I zipped over to the doctor, where I was reassured that it was nothing, was related to inflammation, and that it would improve soon. Thankfully it has.

It got me thinking about assumptions and taking things for granted. I have a nose, therefore I can smell. Suddenly it was gone. There are people who are born without the ability to smell and others who can't for whatever reason. And it's freaky - I couldn't smell my kid, I couldn't smell my food, I didn't know if something was burning or if the milk had gone bad. It's a huge deal.

People assume that all kids can do things. Because most kids can. Human beings have legs, feet, we walk upright. We are born, at around six months or so we sit up, at around a year or so we walk. I remember when I was still coming to terms with my daughter's diagnosis, a friend with a new baby (her second) noted, well, in three more months the baby will be sitting up and things will be easier... I used to think those milestones just magically happened too. And sometimes...they don't.

I try not to assume anything anymore. I try. I try really, really hard. When my sense of smell left, I didn't assume it would come back, and I didn't assume I would always have it. Now that I can sort of smell again, I breathe the spring air in deeply and enjoy what I smell in it. Now that my daughter is on the cusp of walking and talking - she gets her SMOs tomorrow! - I revel in these little things that she now can do. I don't know, though, if I *assume* she will be able to walk and talk. I trust that she will be able to after a long struggle, I just don't take it for granted that it will happen and I will be SO EXCITED when it does, rather than blase about her doing what human beings Perhaps this is why I get frustrated by those who sigh "Oh no, my 10-month old is pulling to standing. I am SOOOO in TROUBLE." Because they assume - likely rightfully - that their kid will then cruise and then stand and then walk. It's not a luxury I've ever had. And those who tell me to be careful what I wish for when I wish my child could talk clearly? Yeah. No. I wasn't able to assume she'd start talking and that by almost-four she'd be speaking full understandable sentences. I WANT her to talk now. And sometimes one assumes that life is a straight line and's not. You think your kid is X and your kid turns out to be Y. It's not always about special needs or having an issue at birth. It's about life being unpredictable.

This is sort of a mixed up entry, and I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. But isn't that the beauty of blogging? Plus, I'm hushing that voice by pushing "Publish Post." If this post doesn't fully make sense, my next one will. I think. I hope.


  1. Glad the sense returns. I had a similar experience when I had laryngitis, and spent a lot of time thinking about how easily I blurt out thing, how it was a gift, how I should appreciate it and perhaps use it a bit more wisely. We really do forget how much we have sometimes.

    I have been blessed to know a few kids, including your own, who have really made me think about expectations, in children and in life. And like you said, not just special needs, but in general. I see pregnant women with What to Expect and I think, really? You think a book is going to clear up your expectations? Good luck. But if there we such a book, with a map of my life for me, would I open it?

  2. I just found your blog. It looks like we have a lot in common. Does your daughter see a physiatrist? We went through several rounds of bracing before seeing a physiatrist and getting a set that we are finally beginning to see some progress with. I share a lot of your frustrations. We have been expecting our son to walk any day now for the past 2 years.


  3. Hi Jenna! Thanks for commenting! I don't actually know what a physiatrist is - can you elaborate? My daughter can now take occasional unassisted steps and has a walker that she uses - her therapist believes that the new SMOs will give her the stability and confidence to stand and possibly even take a few more steps. :) I will check out your blog to learn more about your son!

  4. Oh, yeah. "No assumptions" should def be our mantra. I remember one time a doc told us "you're trying so hard to have kids and when you finally do, you'll want to give them back." He thought he was being funny. Nope.