left-handed

For starters, I’ll just say now that I’m no doctor and I don’t pretend to have extensive knowledge on any topic in the medical field. I haven’t stepped inside a science class in at least three years, and I haven’t even taken biology since I was a sophomore in high school. So sorry to disappoint, but this post isn’t going to be filled with statistics and definitive evidence. Now that we’ve established that, though, I will say that I’ve always thought a lot about the scientific aspects of my limb difference. And recently, I heard a couple stories that made me wonder about something.

In the film Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story, which I wrote about here, Kevin’s mom and several of his coaches comment on how Kevin (who was born without his left arm, like me) is “left-handed.” They say that the way he moves and even his less-than-perfect penmanship indicate that he should have been left-hand dominant. I found this to be pretty funny, since the guy is super athletic and coordinated enough to be a Division I basketball player, but I didn’t give the whole left-handed thing a second thought until last night. As I was reading Katie Kolberg Memmel’s book about raising a son with a limb difference, I came across a chapter where she writes about baby Tony’s preference for starting and doing things with his left side. Tony, like Kevin and like myself, was born sans left hand. Weird, right? These two accounts now have me thinking: am I naturally left-handed too?

Looking back on my childhood, I distinctly remember that I would chant “Left is always first!” when pulling on my socks and shoes. And when I’d play soccer with the neighbor’s kids, I would always use my left leg to kick the ball. When I took ballet lessons (which lasted all of three weeks, since I had a hard time following directions and staying still for more than 5 minutes) as a little girl, my left leg was more flexible and could kick higher. Even now, I lean more on my right leg when standing so that my left is free to kick or move or take the first step when it needs to. So I’m definitely sure that I’m left-leg dominant, which means that I’m most likely left-sided in general. (This might explain my sloppy handwriting, which was the only subject I ever failed in school.) In any case, I did some research and found a few more interesting facts about the left-sided situation.

Twenty-one years ago when my mom first found out she was pregnant (with me!), she discovered that she’d be having triplets (two of which she’d eventually miscarry). In addition to left-handedness being more likely to occur in children of multiple births, I read in this article that left-handedness has “almost everything to do with prenatal traumas — with some sort of stress that damages the fetus.” And having two other people crowding an already crowded womb certainly counts as “prenatal trauma.” I’ve also read that since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, left-handed people tend to be more creative. I don’t know if this means anything, but I HATE math. I’m decent at it when I want to be, but even seeing a calculator can trigger the gag reflex for me. I’d much rather write or play guitar or listen to music than solve algebraic equations or do a logic puzzle. And I’m not alone in that.

My left-handed guitar

It turns out that the two other “left-handed” people I mentioned earlier are a basketball player (the right side of the brain is more responsible for athletic coordination) and a musician (certainly a creative profession), respectively. Coincidence? I’m not so sure. Whatever the case may be (and whatever the reason), it seems that some of us with limb differences have strong preferences for the side of the hand we don’t have.

So can someone be left-handed if they lack a left hand? I guess maybe it’s possible.

 

Peace,

Caitlin Michelle

(Guitar photo my own. Other images found on Tumblr.)

 

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little ones

My family’s been doing a lot of growing lately. And I don’t just mean we’re getting older; there are a couple new additions in the form of little Emma (who is almost 3 months old) and Natalia (who just celebrated her first month.) My two cousins gave birth to beautiful baby girls this summer. Now I don’t know if it’s just because I’m female, but I looooove babies. They’re so cute and tiny and innocent. And the way they trust you so completely is so sweet.

Other people’s kids are adorable. But when your relatives have babies, it’s like those little cutiepies are yours too. So I’m over their houses as often as I can be, changing diapers and pushing strollers and dressing them in the latest baby fashions. I just can’t get enough of these newborns though, of course, Emma’s older brother Luke will always be my first baby. 

Speaking of Luke (whom I blogged about a while ago), he’s just discovered the fact that the reason my left arm looks different than most people’s is because I don’t have a hand. Here’s a brief transcript of our conversation a few weeks ago:

Emma in her ballerina tutu

Luke (matter-of-factly): “KT, you have only one arm. ”

Me: “Yes, Luke, I do.”

Luke (grabbing my right hand, which I do have): “Everybody, I want to hold KT’s hand because she has one arm.”

Me (not quite understanding his 3-year-old’s logic): “Okay.”

Luke: “KT, can I have your phone so I can play a game?”

Me (making sure my iPhone is sealed within an indestructible Luke-proof case): “Sure. I just bought some new games for you.”

Luke: “Aw, shucks! Thanks, KT! Can you help me beat them?”


What I love about this exchange is that he realized the whole one-hand situation but still took for granted that I could help him win the games like anyone else. That’s the kind of attitude I wish more adults would adopt. Note to everyone: take a hint from this adorable 3-year-old and just assume that I can take care of myself. In fact, you should assume that of all people with physical differences and at least pretend not to be shocked when they tell you about how they play guitar with one hand or run their own company or were formerly married to a Beatle (ever heard of Heather Mills?). Luke acknowledged the difference, but he didn’t make it a huge deal or change the way he acts towards me.

Princess Natalia the daydreamer

Anyway, that’s my little Luke for you. He’s a happy-go-lucky boy who’s a bit precocious and way too smart for his age. I love him with all my heart, even when he openly admits that he loves my boyfriend Chris more than he loves me. Chris is really good with Luke, playing along in his many imaginative epic sword-fighting and gun-shooting adventures. He also loves kids and has no problem looking silly if it means getting a smile out of a toddler.

One night after playing with Luke, Chris and I stopped for coffee when I felt the need to tell him something that had just struck me as extremely important. I blurted out to him that my disability is not genetic and that my children would be completely unaffected. He seemed surprised. “Oh, okay,” was all he said. Wait….I thought. He hadn’t known this? Curious and somewhat confused, I asked him why he had stayed in a serious relationship with me if he thought that his future babies could be born with a missing limb. I have to say, his answer was a pretty damn good one:

“Because I love you and I don’t care. And I know they would be fine, like you.”

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

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back on track

Hellooooo! This is my first blog post in quite a while, and I do apologize for the hiatus. My life’s been pretty crazy lately. Here’s an update about what I’ve been up to: In May, I started working full-time as the Social Media Coordinator for the Oxygen Network.

Meet Baby Emma!

I’ve decided to finish the remainder of the credits I need to get my college degree via online classes, so I’ve been taking both a photography class and a music class. Oh, and my cousin just had a baby! So now I have a new little cousin and another one on the way (my other cousin is due next month.) So for all these reasons, I just haven’t found the time to sit down and write a blog post.

But now I’m getting back on track, so here I am! I vow to write more often and to not be a stranger for practically the whole summer. I have sooo many ideas for new posts, so thanks for reading and I  hope you enjoy the next few weeks’ adventures.

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

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media/meme monday – how to hold twins one-handed

  I have an announcement to make! Drumroll please…
  Two of my cousins are expecting babies! Yay! Babies are my favorite thing in the world! And they’re both due this summer! Okay, now before I get carried away in all the excitement, I should probably admit that I’m a bit nervous about babysitting not one but TWO newborns. I mean, I’ve had plenty of experience with infants (remember my little cousin Luke, who will now be a big brother?), but I’ve only ever had to care for one at a time. How will I even hold both babies with one-and-a-half arms?
  Thankfully, Ryan Haack from Living One-Handed made a video specifically on this topic. Watch and learn how he single-handedly (yes, I make really lame puns) holds two beautiful twin babies!
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