Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Ortho

Lucas got the separators in his teeth today, in preparation for the expander. Fingers crossed he actually follows through. The staff at the orthodontist’s office calls them ‘seps’ but Lucas told me he doesn’t want to use that word because it sounds too much like sex. I picked him up from school, and he asked why and I said ‘for seps’ and he was extremely upset.

There were two babies at the orthodontist office with clefts. One had a unilateral and one had a bilateral. I was transported right back to those early days, sitting in the office with the Mead Johnson bottle, squeezing milk into Lucas’ mouth.

I wanted to reach out and help, but one of the moms avoided eye contact, and the other one was gone minutes after I got there. I don’t really know how to bridge the gap, so to speak. To them I am foreign – I remember quite clearly what it was like watching the moms with the older kids at cleft clinic. The older kids just seem so removed from that fragile little baby that you are preparing to hand off for the first surgery.

I can’t assume some sort of ‘sisterhood’ with other moms of cleft affected babies. Just because we have that shared experience, doesn’t mean that they want to hear from me. They may be private people, so I find myself waiting for them to speak to me.