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.”

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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  See that adorable little boy? That’s my baby cousin Luke. He’s a precocious and hyper two-and-a-half-year-old who never fails to make everyone around him smile. He is super huggable and always manages to bring out my inner child. What does this have to do with my disability, you ask? Well, a whole lot. As a one-handed girl, I find people staring at me ALL THE TIME. While I’m certainly used to random strangers gawking at me (I’ve had twenty years to get accustomed to it, after all), I’m still not completely comfortable with it. I know that the staring’s inevitable, but it’s no fun being the center of attention for a negative reason. Anyway, I remember being super nervous when Luke was born. I wondered what he would think of my little arm when he grew older. I knew he would one day realize that his older cousin was different from everyone else. Fortunately, though, I’ve learned that I wasn’t giving little kids enough credit. 

  Now that he’s a toddler, Luke can speak in full sentences and get his ideas across. He’s becoming more and more aware of the world and the people around him. Just the other day, I was babysitting him when something really funny happened. I was sitting at the kitchen table with Luke perched on my lap and with my computer in front of us. (Luke is a little obsessed with Mac Photo Booth, so we spend quite a bit of time taking silly pictures together). Anyway, I was typing on the keyboard with my right hand and my little arm when Luke noticed that something was off. He grabbed my right hand and then touched my little arm, as if wondering why they were so different. Pointing to my short arm, he asked, “What’s that?” I told him it was my “special arm” and hoped I wouldn’t have to explain further. (After all, how could I expect a kid to understand congenital amputation?) Instead of freaking out, though, Luke accepted my answer. He started asking the same “what’s this” question of my right hand, my nose, my eyes, my hair, etc. Basically, he turned his curiosity and my willingness to respond into a game. Pretty smart for a toddler, huh? And you know what I’ve come to realize? He’s not the only kid who accepts my disability as completely normal.

  I was recently at a family party where my cousin had invited her husband’s family too. They’re all in their 30s and 40s, so you can bet there were plenty of cutiepie babies and children running around. Since I was wearing a festive sleeveless dress, my prosthetic arm was obvious to anyone with eyes. One small boy (I’d say he was around 4 or 5 years old) came up to me and asked about my hand. Now that I’m a pro at making my handicap sound cool to little kids, I said that it was my bionic arm and that I’m part robot. The boy’s eyes immediately grew huge and a shocked expression took over his adorable little face. Oh great, I thought to myself. He’s super scared now; I’m going to give this poor kid nightmares for the next week or so… But then he surprised me. He yelled out, “Wow, that’s awesome! I wish I had that! I don’t even have that at home.” He looked sad for all of five seconds and then pulled me by the hand (yes, the fake one) into the video game room. Just like that, I was suddenly his best friend and video game opponent of choice.

  So there you have it, folks. Kids are not the little monsters I thought I had to be afraid of. They’re not the judgmental and pitying people I once thought they were (nope, that’s adults). And they’re not even pint-sized bullies who treat you like you’re inferior (again, that’s adults). They’re just these wise little beings willing to accept and love you despite your having one and a half arms. 


Caitlin 🙂

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