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We bought a garage door the other day. Once adorned with retro eagles that Mo insisted I remove when we moved in, it broke every three months. My parents taught me how to deal with these problems: Ignore them until you can't possibly anymore, then apply the cheapest fix and forget it until it breaks again.
After years of adhering to the tradition of turning small problems into expensive ones, we followed the door's lead and broke down. Returning home from work, I was eager to see it.
I made it about three steps into the garage when Mo yelled at me through the side door.
"What are you doing?" she barked. "Get in here! I need a break."
That's life now. Five minutes looking at a door is wasted time. I'm typing with two fingers and trying to coax Hope back asleep. Mo is napping. She's making up for last night Afflicted with what my father-in-law delicately calls "the creeping cruds," I decided I couldn't help with Hope's feeds and needed a bubble-bath and nine hours' sleep to slay whatever ailed me.
Call it what you like. I consider it a valiant sacrifice to shield my daughter from germs that had nothing to do with eating six slices of pizza in 10 minutes.
Like all new parents, we knew this would be exhausting but weren't prepared for how much. From afar, it shouldn't seem so hard: You burp, feed, fuss, coo; change a few diapers, apply some creams now and again and -- voila! -- wile away the next three hours completing jigsaw puzzles or online enrichment courses.
Of course, it's all-consuming and unrelenting. I'm bushed. Mo's bushed. We're learning that raising a child with unique challenges is probably like raising a healthy one but magnified. It starts with the doctors: In addition to a pediatrician, Hope sees a cardiologist, audiologist, geneticist and physical therapist. And the spit-ups and rashes that would normally be scary are petrifying. Mo is now navigating the maze of health care and HMOs. We'd like to add a gastrointestinal specialist to the list to evaluate Hope and address her spit-ups. It's supposed to be standard for CdLS kids. Our network has pediatric GI docs. The next opening is May.
But big deal. It's work. What great in life isn't? And Hope's doing good, home now for three weeks and notching small landmarks. We don't panic anymore when we don't hear her for 3 minutes. She's becoming more emotive every day, sticking out her tongue, fixing her stares and flashing dimples like she was at the county fair. We're not counting her breaths anymore. But we are counting our blessings.