Almost every morning, she will scale out of her crib like a ninja (Yes, the crib is on the lowest setting and there are no bumpers, she's just ridiculous. I promise we've tried everything.), she'll run over to Bertrand's bed, climb into bed with him, snatch his iPad from the charger on the bookshelf, and we'll wake up to the sounds of this video--on repeat.
(It's cute, but trust me, the music gets old.)
We'll walk in to find both kids watching together. You can ask Victoria where Buddy is in the video and she'll point to him on the horse. Sometimes she'll clarify, making the baby sign, that it is baby Buddy.
It occurred to me, based on the amount of hair Bertrand had in the video (not much, like his sister), that he was about 16 months-old at the time it was taken--the same age as Victoria right now.
Wow. What completely different 16 month experiences for each child--AND for us as parents.
I went back and read the blog posts for that month of April 2009 and cried. It was heartrending.
There were many "firsts" that month. Yes, it was a first for hippotherapy. It was also the first time we took Bertrand to Duke University, and the first time we directly heard from a doctor that Bertrand's case was basically hopeless.
And here we are 3.5 years later. In some sense not much has changed--Bertrand's condition was recently reconfirmed as untreatable and fatal. And yet things are totally different.
For one, I'm a lot more tired and older. :) But now clearly words like "brain damage", "surgery", and "fatal" don't phase me as much, if at all. Heck, more than words--broken bones, hospital stays, travel across the country to see specialists, attempting to do the impossible--it's just what we do.
We deal. Maybe it's still denial ;) but I prefer to think we've finally reached a kind of peace. We're comfortable with doing what we can rather than obsessing about what we can't.
Maybe it's finally having a diagnosis? Certainly Bertrand's fighting spirit can be credited. I also credit a certain spunky little sister.
Often I feel like Victoria (perhaps like many 2nd kids?) is given the short shrift. She certainly doesn't get to ride horses, go to musikgarten, get a dozen one-on-one therapy sessions a month, or even get the same one-on-one time with her parents that Bertrand did.
But somehow Victoria, the tiny force of nature, is doing just fine. And, Bertrand? He's doing fine too. Both kids are making their mark on the world in their own way. And, this mama is proud of them both, now and always. :)