Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spina bifida and the first grade

In just a few short, bittersweet weeks, the girls will complete the first grade.  I hesitate in calling them second graders until the new school year actually begins.  All three have had a great year and I know they'll miss their teachers and friends.  Emily's teacher sends home a monthly newsletter to keep the parents up to date with the upcoming month's events.  Emily was reading the June newsletter out loud to me one morning and she became a little emotional when she reached the end and her teacher's thanks to everyone for a successful year.  

The girls' school employs two full time nurses and Anna visits them twice each day for cathing.  At some point, she will cath herself but that isn't in the near future for her.  She has a good relationship with the nurses and doesn't mind going there.  Sometimes Anna can be pretty easy going.  We adults also like the nurses as well.  Jeez, I feel like my job is a breeze compared to their responsibilities.

So what happens when there's a field a trip?  That was the question that we'd been asking ourselves since the girls started kindergarten.  We assumed that one of us (me, Rich or Grammy) would have to tag along as a chaperone in order for Anna to participate.  We found out last month that Anna's class will be visiting a zoo next week.  One of the nurses called to let me know that a school nurse would also be on the field trip and she would be more than happy to take care of Anna during that day but was curious as to how we handle cathing when out and about.  I explained how we go back to our van and take care of it there.  There'll also be a considerable amount of walking that day, which Anna most likely won't be able to handle, and is a concern for us.  The nurse called the zoo and they do allow wagons so Rich will be chaperoning.  She suggested throwing some backpacks into the wagon and then if/when Anna tires, she can hitch a ride.  (A few months ago, my back wasn't causing me so much pain but now it's back to where it was before.  I'm not sure I'd be able to pull the wagon out of the car much less pull it around for even an hour.  After an hour or so of walking around Allie's field trip with my lunch in my bag, I was in a fair amount pain.  It's quite frustrating.)  Anna's excited that Daddy's going so he can hold her up to see all the animals.

Yes, Anna has spina bifida and yes, she has faced challenges and will force more down the road but she's a typical 7 year old little girl, who enjoys dance and gymnastics.  Every year, she has a best friend in her class and always can find someone to play with.  Her learning has been on target and she has no learning disabilities.  In fact, she almost always scores 100% on her weekly spelling tests despite the fact that we have to force her to complete her assigned spelling homework each week.  She says she doesn't know why she has to do it when she already knows how to spell the words.

I feel it's important for others to see that spina bifida isn't a death sentence.  It's not easy but it's another way to live and we're making the best of it.    

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Always appreciate these posts. My daughter is only 8 months and is doing great. Your blog was recommended right after her/my diagnosis at 18 weeks. I love reading about her life, accomplishments, and struggles and really gives me hope and a snapshot about my daughters future.