Probably not the nicest way to look at it, but there really are some advantages to having a son with a disability.
My crazies got to go attend a weekly PE class while we were in Texas. The kinesiology department at the local university had a class entitled "Movement for Special Populations." And any kid with any kind of disability and their siblings got to attend for free. It was AWESOME.
Similarly, another nearby university held weekly swimming lessons for the same population and all three crazies attended swimming lessons...again for FREE.
And we went to an awesome carnival earlier in the spring where the admission, bounce houses, horse rides, face painting, lunch, games, crafts, etc, were all...you guessed it...FREE. We even came out of that one with free t-shirts. It was seriously an awesome Saturday afternoon activity for the whole family and we didn't spend a dime.
I've even heard that amusement parks cut you some pretty sweet deals if someone in your group has a disability. Things like a free pass to cut to the front of the line and your "escort" (or parent) gets in free. We've never done the amusement park thing with our kids and I debate back and forth on whether or not I'd cash in on this one. On one hand, I'd LOVE to cut to the front of the line. I can't imagine a 40 minute line with three kids in tow. But on the other hand, does Reid really need that any more than the average kid? I doubt it. It's hard to teach him he's normal when we're setting a double standard.
So between swimming lessons, PE, carnivals, etc. we've spent much more time around kids with disabilities (and their parents) lately. I have to say, I could not be more grateful for the one I got. It just reiterates to me what a regular 3 year old boy I have. I don't know what kind of parent I would be to a child with a mental disability. To say it sounds difficult would be a serious understatement. And most other physical disabilities are much more severe than Reid's. Parents talk about kids being in and out of the hospital and always in for doctor appointments with so many different specialists. Reid's surgery was a one time thing and he gets a new leg every year or two. Man, I got off easy.
Another thing to miss about Texas...Scottish Rite Hospital. This hospital is run by the Masons. They treat any and all kids with limb deficiencies. For FREE (notice the theme). I can walk in and out without any proof of insurance or proof of income or signing any papers or anything. They are so kid friendly with pirate ships and train tracks and aquariums and cars all over the hospital. And parent friendly, too. All Reid's specialists are in one place. I can show up to an appointment and the orthopedist, the prosthetist, and any other doctor, nurse or technician involved (there's usually like 5) meet with us in one room all at the same time so they all work together. Talk about convenient. And it's awesome for Reid to be there with kids clear up to age 18 with prosthetics. I'm not sure he'd ever seen another kid in a similar situation until we started going to Scottish Rite. It's good for his psyche. Plus they have a SWEET playground...totally wheelchair accessible...not that we need that, but it's cool. I've never seen a more fun, more clean, more supervised, more beautiful playground. We will most definitely miss this place.
Reid got a new leg right before we left. As we were trying to match skin color the option came up for a custom design. Reid was all over that. And quickly picked a Batman leg. I'm not the kind of mom who lets my kids wear character clothing very often (though a few stores have vintage super-hero T's these days and I'm all over that). So a Batman leg was a little difficult to swallow because he wears it EVERY DAY. It has definitely generated much more attention. We get more questions for sure. But I have to admit it's kind of grown on me. It suits Reid. And if he's the one who has to deal with a prosthetic leg, he should get to choose what it looks like. It's much more exciting to him and the other kids think it's pretty sweet, too.
The picture's for you Emily, but I thought I'd share it with everybody. Unfortunately, I think it shows scratches a little more. And let me tell you, my crazy three year old knows how to put scratches in a prosthetic real quick.