Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fake Plastic Arms: An Homage to Prosthetics




Yesterday I wrote about the decision to step away from Lamp's prosthetic arms for now.  It's the right decision and I haven't even thought twice about it.  I will however always treasure those little arms.  I loved both of the vintage floral fabrics used to decorate her cute little arms and I always used to joke that they were baby's first tattoo sleeve.  Most people get imprints of their kids hands in plaster to remember just how small those hands once were... I actually get to keep a whole arm.  HA!

As a way to commemorate and honor these wonderful prosthetic arms I thought I'd tell you some of my favorite stories about her arms.  As you may know I always ask my mama's in the Special Needs Spotlights if they have any funny stories that have come about due to their special needs circumstances.  Well that question stems from the fact that we've had many funny and sometimes strange moments directly related to her prosthetic arms.  I can still remember being in that ultra sound room and I remember the first time I had the image of my daughter missing her arm... I would have never imagined I could find humor in regards to this reality.  But of course time and perspective march on and you realize you can laugh about some things--even things you're not supposed to laugh about.  Like you're daughters "missing arm" and her prosthetic!

At first it was just the funny things that we heard coming out of our mouths like, "Did you get the baby's arm?  Where's Lamps arm?  We didn't bring her arm.  Oh well, it's fine...she doesn't need it."  It was one thing to utter those phrases at home, but in public I'm sure we turned a few heads.  It was also interesting to see how children reacted to her prosthetics.  They were always curious and of course I would try and turn it into a positive and cool thing.  I'd tell them it was her magic arm and that it could come off.  Then I'd ask them if they could take their arms off.  Often the response was a slack-jawed slow shake of their heads.  Or sometimes just giggles like that was the craziest thing they'd ever heard.  And it probably was.  There were different takes on her arm as well from the opposing genders....One little girl asked me, Why does she have a Barbie arm?  While a little boy once told Lamp, I like your robot arm.  

But here are the two stories stand out the most:

The first takes place in a grocery store.  Lamp is in the front of the shopping cart and big sister is sitting in the back.  Like most kids with prosthetics, Lamp has figured out quite early that her arm is a serious weapon.  So she starts hitting her sister on the head.  Not too hard, but not-too-hard with a prosthetic arm is still pretty hard.  I tell her to stop a few times and she pays no attention.  I finally stop the cart, bend over and look her in the eyes and say in a firm tone, If you don't stop hitting your sister right now I'm taking your arm off.

She stopped.
So did a few other customers.

I smiled and thought to myself...yeah not many moms have that option.
(Yes the above photo was instagrammed from that very day with the hashtag #benefitsofprosthetics.)


Lastly, you have to understand that if you're not paying attention a lot of people wouldn't even notice her prosthetic arm.  Especially if she had sleeves on and especially if they've got their own little ones they're chasing around.  So one day we were on a playground and I was pushing Lamp on the swings along with other mama's and their babies.  Lamp asked to get off the swings.  So as I'm picking her up and starting to walk away, suddenly and without warning her arm falls off and smacks right on the ground.  I don't remember any actual screaming, but I think there were a few gasps, wide eyes and What the???  It's OK, it's not real, I said as I bent over, picked up my daughter's arm and kept walking.  Maybe you had to be there, but that moment probably cemented the reality of a zombie apocalypse in the minds of many children that day.  So glad we could help.
     

I'm happy my daughter feels confident enough in her amazing, God-given body not to need those cute little arms, but I'm also glad they were a part of our journey.  The past few years wouldn't have been the same with out them.
   
Fare thee well, fake plastic arms.
Fare thee well.    

8 comments:

  1. I just read this and thought of your little Lamp.

    http://www.neatorama.com/2013/06/12/One-Armed-Woman-Wins-Miss-Iowa-Competition/

    Becky

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  2. {giggling at my desk at work}

    I love this -- I am a firm believer that the best way to approach difficulties in life is with humor.

    ps: high-five for sneaking in a reference to the zombie apocalypse ;)

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  3. So funny! Thank you for sharing. And I loved the last post. Lamp is lucky to have you as a tuned-in Mama. The last post reminded me of a TedTalk I had JUST watched but couldn't remember the name. I found it. I think you might appreciate it. It's called Andrew Solomon: Love no matter what.
    Thanks again for sharing your stories. You are an inspiration.

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  4. pallavi9:52 AM

    finding humor in everything is always so imp..wonderful post

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  5. Cracking up! "It's okay, she doesn't need it." "It's okay, it's not real." I wish I could have seen the faces of people who overheard you saying this about your daughter's arm. The best part is the laugh you got out of it.

    She does have an amazing God-given body and an amazing spirit to boot. What a truly beautiful soul.

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  6. I cannot stop laughing. And I love you both..... Never underestimate the power of your humor and grace, and the role it plays in shaping Lamp into the phenomenal person she is and will be.

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  7. LOL!! Amy, you are hiliarious! Glad to have an update on the prosthetic situation. I was thinking about that just the other day!

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  8. You are so funny. My favorite was, "If you don't stop hitting your sister right now I'm taking your arm off!" I love reading about your two beautiful daughters and am amazed by little Lamp!

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