I overhead a conversation between Katheryn and Nickolas this morning.
Nick was saying "I'm not a baby, I'm a big boy"
And Katheryn is saying "I am a big girl, you are a little boy"
And there was crying and pushing and parental intervention.
I was talking to Katheryn about it afterwards. "Katheryn, why are you saying that Nick is a little boy. Both of you are the same size?"
"Well, I walk and Nick crawls, that is why he is a little boy and I'm bigger."
So this is it. A conversation.
Not the conversation because we have talked about spina bifida and what it means a lot of different times. It should not be a new concept for either of the kids.
But we have heard it about diapers and we have heard it about crawling.
I don't want Katheryn to feel that she is getting in trouble for saying it, I don't want Nick to feel that we aren't standing up for him. I want both of my kids to feel that we are just explaining something to them. Like why you don't go to school on Saturday. Why broccoli really is yummy with cheese. Or where to put the extra pirate if you run out of hands...
We've ready books, we've sat down together and talked, we've had spontaneous talks and I've answered questions, if they have them, until either kid get distracted.
I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. I'm not sure if Katheryn feels that she gets in trouble and then has to hear a lecture about Nickolas. I hope that isn't what I'm doing.
So today we sat in the bathroom - where we have a number of our conversations - while Nick is on the potty, and talked about why Nick is not a little boy, he is big just like Katheryn.
This is how our conversation went:
A: "Katheryn, you are Nick are both the same size, why are you calling him a little boy?"
K: "Because he doesn't walk, and crawls on the floor", I pull Katheryn into my lap so she can listen to me
A: "But Nick walks with his walker. That is walking. Do you remember we talked about when Nick was born he had a boo-boo on his back"
N: "I did?!" (he says this every time we talk about it)
A: "And because he was born with the boo boo he needs extra help walking, and has his walker"
N: "Yeah!" (from the peanut gallery)
K: "OK, but I don't need help walking"
A: "No, you didn't have a boo boo on your back when you were born. But Nick did and so he has to work harder for things."
N: "I had a boo boo on my back"
A: "Yes Nick, and your boo boo was fixed"
N: "At the hopp-ital. Did you fix it?"
A: "No, a very special doctor fixed it when you were born"
A: "Do you remember what it is called, spina bifida"
K: "OK, can I brush my teeth now?"
And that was it.
Until the next time.
I'm not sure how the conversation went, or how much will stick. Katheryn has watched the video that I made for spina bifida awareness month and saw the diagram of the baby with the lesion and asked if that is what Nickolas had when he was born. I'm not sure if it grossed her out, or helped her to understand.