Life Lessons from a 3-Year-Old

Sometimes, we can spend so much energy rushing from one responsibility to the next that we forget to enjoy life.

Parenting often raises questions. I have a remarkable one-year-old son, and even though my husband and I have now had a little time to adjust to parenthood, it seems my questions will always be endless. I get nervous when making decisions about his healthcare or when I am looking for a babysitter (we do not live near any family members). Several new mothers and I have joined forces to solve some of our more basic fears – we each babysit another family’s children about once every two months. This gives the mommies and daddies time to relax and enjoy a romantic evening!


A new family recently moved into our neighborhood. Ironically, the mother is friends with my sister-in-law, so she felt comfortable asking for my help. I told her about our convenient set-up with friends, but this new family is a little more complicated than the rest of my group. They have an adorable 3-year-old boy, named Calvin, and Calvin has Klumpke’s Palsy.


Klumpke’s Palsy is similar to Erb’s Palsy, in a way, but they are not the same. Erb’s Palsy affects more of the child’s upper arm than anything else, whereas Klumpke’s Palsy mainly affects the child’s lower arm, or forearm. People frequently refer to Klumpke’s Palsy with symptoms of “claw hand,” which can sound rude or degrading for obvious reasons. The “claw hand” that people speak of is a description of how the affected hand looks. The arm itself frequently turns inward, and the hand and wrist flex upward. Thus, the child has little or no ability to move his fingers, hand, and wrist, making the affected arm relatively immobile.


Being a young working mother, there are many days where I wish I had a third hand as I rush around multi-tasking. With only one hand, Calvin obviously needs a little more assistance with things like eating or squeezing toothpaste onto his toothbrush. Typing, playing sports, driving, and cooking will undoubtedly be more difficult for him. He will face opposition on a daily basis, and he will have to learn how to overcome this.


Calvin already has such a determined attitude when he wants to learn something new; I simply can not see how this would set him back. Perhaps his motivation comes from the Klumpke’s Palsy itself, since Calvin has already noticed he is different. The playground is certainly nothing easy for him. We tend to stay away from the monkey bars. The swings make me nervous, and he can sometimes get going at a bit of a diagonal. Still, as his mother has taken to saying, she can not protect him forever. Calvin will experience this world through the body he has been given, with the good and the bad, like the rest of us. He will have to learn how to accommodate himself as he attempts new physical activities. So we play on the swings with the rest of the kids, we just take it slow.

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