It has been over a year since my last update. Things are going really well for our family. Ruby has started first grade. She has lots of friends in her class and she really likes her teacher. Oliver has one more year until he starts Kindergarten and he is a little comedian just like his sister.
She did three sessions of swimming lessons this summer and by the end she was swimming on her own. She absolutely loves the water. If we had a pool I am fairly certain she would be in it all day and night. I am not sure there is anything on Earth she loves more then playing in water. Oliver also did swim lessons and went from not hardly wanting to get in the pool to going under water and really trusting his instructors. It was nice to see him acting like such a big boy.
Ruby is on a soccer team and has been really enjoying it. She is so darn cute when she's playing. She has a smile on her face the entire time. I bet her face hurts when she is done just from smiling so much. She is learning a lot and is always so happy to go to practice and her games. It has been nice to see her so excited about it.
Lately she has been feeling a little down on herself with her school work. I am not sure where her insecurities are coming from or if she is just trying to manipulate us into not making her do some of her work. She really is pretty smart like that. She has a lot of positive support at school and teachers who are very supportive of her.
This morning she was working on her homework with Jason and made a few comments about being bad at math and how her brain doesn't work. It made me wonder about whether she is feeling this way because of her own struggles or if she is hearing things from kids at school.
One of my biggest fears about sharing Ruby's story is that eventually parents would talk about her to their kids and the kids would make comments to Ruby about it. We have not spent a lot of time talking about her medical stuff to her. We have told her that when she was younger she was in the hospital for a while so that doctors could fix and "owie" she had in her brain and that they were able to fix it. We have not explained the extent of what was done because there is no way she would really understand it yet.
She has started asking a lot of questions about her body and why it is the way it is, like if my right hand was like her right hand when I was a kid and if her right hand will get to be big and strong like her left hand. My answer has always been that everyone's bodies are different. Her right hand will get stronger but it might not be as big and strong as her left hand and that is totally okay. I have explained how some people need glasses to help their eyes see better, some kids and adults use wheelchairs or walkers to help them walk, and some kids wear braces on their legs like her to help keep their legs nice and strong. I have told her that we are all different and that it is okay to be just like you are. But again, I fear that maybe in our small town, people will talk and kids hear everything! When you don't think they are listening they are and they remember everything whether they understand it or not. Don't get me wrong, I am happy we have shared our Ruby with the world and gained support from perfect strangers. We needed the support and really appreciate it. So sharing her story has been a very positive thing for us. But now that she is older, the reality of sharing a very personal medical condition is setting in. She isn't a baby anymore and people can say strange things about people who are different, even when they have very good intentions, especially children. They do not know how their words can hurt and stick to a person for a lifetime.
The main purpose to this post I guess, is just to think about what you say to your children or around your children and how you talk about children and adults with disabilities. As for Ruby, they don't need to know the details about her story. She is just like everyone else. She is super funny, has an amazing memory, is a great reader, loves to make others smile, loves hugs, and wants to be just like her friends. That's really all there is to it. All the other stuff is not important.