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 🙂

Social Share Toolbar

perspective

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently taking a really cool photography class. I never gave photography more than a passing thought for most of my life (excepting Instagram here), but I needed the credits and I liked the idea of walking around the City taking pictures during my lunch breaks. Anyway, this week’s assignment was about perspective and how the photographer is in control of making the viewer see his or her artistic vision. Photographers play with different angles and techniques in order to get the perfect shot. The very essence of the art is making people see a certain object or person in a new light (often literally.) It’s funny, though, because even though the students’ assignments were all exactly the same, none of our photos looked a bit alike. Everyone had drastically different views and ideas that they captured in their pictures. And the even funnier thing is that that’s a pretty good metaphor for life in general. Everyone has ideas and thoughts and stories, and they don’t always align with what others think and do and feel.

NYC Windows

When I was a teenager and my aunt drove me to my high school, I used to spend the half-hour trip reading in the front seat. My cousin always conveniently left her fashion magazines in the car, and I loved flipping through them. A lot of the magazines featured real women writing short memoir-like pieces about a particular aspect of their life. One day, I found one about a woman with a disability and her experiences with dating. I don’t recall the specifics, but the woman had something along the lines of a lopsided back and misshapen legs. She wrote about how she would hide in dark corners at swanky bars so that attractive young bachelors would not notice her “flaws.”

I distinctly remember feeling a shred of pity for the poor woman who, I believed, had it much worse than I did. After all, I’ve always had a decent figure and shapely legs that I consider to be my best feature. But as I continued scanning the story, I read something to the effect of “It could be worse: I could be an amputee….” Yup. While I was rejoicing that I wasn’t shaped like her, she was thanking her lucky stars she was not missing a limb like me.

NYC Street

It was a pretty insightful lesson I learned from that fashion magazine. People have different ideas about EVERYTHING. There’s no objective hierarchy in terms of whose disability is worse or better to have, just like there are people who prefer blondes to brunettes and people who are willing to hurt each other just to prove that their ideology is more correct. There are people who will consider a disability a deterrent to a relationship and those who will love someone with a limb difference, not in spite of, but WITH the disability. It really depends on the person’s perspective.

NYC Art

So there you have my thoughts on this. I’ll leave you now with this short anecdote: My boyfriend and I were at his parents’ house last week when his mom started talking about a new adoption show I’m working on (I’m Having Their Baby on Oxygen, if you want to check it out.) I casually mentioned that I’d like to adopt a special needs child someday. Her response was not what I’d hoped for; she said it would be very. difficult to raise a child with special needs.

“Well, I turned out okay,”I said sheepishly.
“Oh Caitlin,” she laughed. “But you’re not Special Needs!”
I have no idea what “Special Needs” means to her, but it’s nice knowing that the picture of me in her head is one that doesn’t fit the category I’ve been placed in all my life.
Social Share Toolbar

weekend adventures

Chris and Chewy being cute (as usual):

Hi there! Before I say anything else, I just want to wish everyone a happy summer! I know it hasn’t technically begun, but the weather is warm and my schoolbooks are away. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s summer! And with summer days, of course, come fabulous moments spent with family and friends. This past weekend was a pretty awesome way to ring in the high temperatures and the fun. On Saturday, my boyfriend Chris and I took his little brother and his family’s dog to their grandparents’ house for an indoor picnic (since it was kind of rainy.) I should probably admit here that I’ve always been nervous about how his family would react to my limb difference. I want to seem like a model girlfriend who is perfect for their Chris, and an obvious physical disability seems to be the antithesis of perfection. So suffice it to say that I was pretty nervous at the start of the day.

Chewy wanted to drive:
Like all great adventures, of course, our journey involved a few pitstops. We headed to Home Depot first to pick up some supplies for my house (since my parents are remodeling some rooms.) Already anxious and therefore more aware of my arm than usual, I did the only thing that would relieve the tension and help my mood a bit: I offered to carry the dog, Chewy. I placed him securely in my oversized handbag a la Paris Hilton and navigated the aisles of the store with the boys. I quickly discovered that carrying an adorable toy poodle around actually drew more attention to me. But it was different this time because people were smiling and interacting with Chewy rather than staring at my hand and feeling sorry for me. So that was my first realization of the day: a cute dog really does lift spirits – and not just my own! Although my dad is not a fan of puppies, I plan to get one the second I get my own place. After all, the two cutest things in the entire world are puppies and babies.

Speaking of babies, Chris’s toddler cousins also happened to be visiting their grandparents that day. The four-year-old boy, bright and energetic, ran around the yard hoping I would try to catch him. After a dozen or so rounds of Tag, he approached me and asked about my prosthetic hand. I told him that it was my “special hand.” Being a kid, he begged me to try it out for himself. He even tried to pry it off so that he could play with it. I found this incredibly endearing and pretty funny. It’s interesting how something most people see as a huge flaw that should be ignored becomes an intriguing potential toy to a toddler. Second realization of my Saturday: kids will be kids and won’t necessarily care about the things the world expects you to be self-conscious about. They’re blunt, curious, and innocent – and that’s the most refreshing and organic reaction anyone can hope for.

Brandon, the coolest 11-year-old on the planet: 
And this reaction isn’t just limited to toddlers. By the end of the day when Chris was driving us back to my house, the temperature had risen and the air felt unbearably hot. It was definitely way too hot to be wearing a heavy artificial arm. So I pulled it off and left it in my handbag (We left Chewy with Chris’s sister, so he wasn’t in the handbag anymore by this point.) To my surprise, Chris’s 11-year-old brother Brandon said absolutely nothing about my lack of a hand. He had never seen me without the fake arm before, so I was expecting him to say something or at least ask about the little arm. But he never did. He just acted the same way he normally does.

When I mentioned my unease to Chris afterwards, he just smiled. “You see?” he said. “Like I’ve always told you, there are lots of people out there who are not going to care about your arm at all. It’s not even going to register to them because it’s so minor and because they get to know you for who you are. Brandon asked me about it once over a year ago when you and I started dating. So now he knows and it doesn’t matter to him.” So yeah, there’s realization number 3: To most people, something as minor as a limb difference isn’t going to matter. Note to self: stop being so paranoid!

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Social Share Toolbar

media/meme monday – $#*! people say to amputees

  Yes, it’s another Josh Sundquist video! It’s just too funny not to share. He made this during the “$#*! People Say” video craze, and it’s brilliant. The best part is that it features things people have actually said to him. I guess most folks just don’t know what to say when they meet someone with a limb difference. I mean, we deal with stares and awkward comments on a daily basis. So why not have a little fun with it? Here are some of the funniest (and weirdest) comments and questions I’ve gotten:
“Do you sink to one side when you swim?”- random lady at swimming pool
“You’re a cyborg! Do you know how many dates you can get at a sci-fi convention?” – my lovely and hilarious friend Liz
“Hey, weren’t you wearing that ring on your other hand yesterday?” – my boyfriend Chris (to be fair, he had been running on very little sleep when he said it)
“Do you wear it while you’re sleeping?” -random person (in reference to my prosthetic)
“Can I touch it?” – creepy strangers
Here’s hoping that you enjoy Josh’s video and that no weirdos you meet today invade your personal space!
Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

 

Social Share Toolbar

happy birthday to this guy right here

  On this lovely day, my wonderful boyfriend Chris turns 23. Yep, 23. He’s getting to be an old man! (Okay, I’m being hyperbolic.) Anyway, the handsome man you see here happens to be the most amazing human being I’ve ever met. He’s sweet, funny, smart, loving, and a zillion other great qualities that cannot be confined to a short and simple blog post. To sum it up, he’s my Prince Charming. I’ve never been one to believe in fairytale romance, but this is the real thing. Chris just gets me. He loves me on my good days and my bad days (and trust me – you don’t want to see me on a bad day.) He’s seen me go from deliriously happy to angry to sad to practically insane, often all within the span of an hour. He appreciates my strangeness, my nerdiness, and even my moodiness.
Being silly
  And in case you were wondering, he has been absolutely 100 percent supportive about my arm. He’s the one who’s given me the courage to stop wearing my prosthetic all the time, telling me that he finds me prettier when I’m comfortable. And you know what? He’s made me believe it too. I do feel a lot happier and more confident without it. I look like myself. And according to Chris, that’s a pretty good thing.
  So yes, I really hit the jackpot in terms of finding my other half. And now, I get to celebrate another year of his life, another beautiful year we’re together. I’m off to go eat some yummy cake now, but I’ll leave you here with a quote by an author I really admire (because if anyone knows anything about love, it’s him):
Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

 

Social Share Toolbar