On Sunday morning I placed Sonzee's little brother on his tummy for a little workout. Full disclosure, I don't do it as much as I did for his older siblings, but honestly with (what we perceive as) a fully intact set of genetics, I am not overly worried about his neck muscles or a flat head. I videoed close to a minute of him holding his head up while Sonzee was nearby rolling from side to side. I was so excited he held it for so long and then equally as excited that I didn't cry because my almost 3-year-old has never been able to hold her head while on her tummy for more than 10-15 seconds, and those 10-15 seconds require an immense amount of effort.
I (stupidly) decided to watch videos of Sonzee when she was around the same age as her brother. I know how much she works to attempt basic skills, but it literally broke my heart in half to see her struggle video after video to even try and lift her head for a second to turn it. As I watched a couple of videos I was immediately transported back to the exact day they were taped, mixed with emotions of relief we had a diagnosis of epilepsy and fear of the unknown. It must be some kind of protective mechanism of my brain, but I honestly forgot about these videos, and I swear in my mind she could at some point hold her head up and that she lost that skill. I liked my reality better.
It makes me so angry that everything is an uphill battle for her. It makes me angry her life will not ever get easier. The basic skill of holding up her head, which just happens as part of typical development within weeks of being born without any effort for a typical child, my almost 3-year-old cannot do, and it is not due to lack of trying. In fact, those videos were worse to re-watch now knowing her diagnosis was more than epilepsy. The days they were created it was impossible for me to know just how hard her struggles would become. I feel like I did such a disservice to her making her work so hard and inevitably it not being enough. A repetitive theme woven throughout every aspect of her life.
My heart is so full and simultaneously heavy these days. There is so much joy with Sonzee's baby brother, yet so much aching from the cards she was handed. We spend our time focusing on the positives and pushing out the negatives of life with CDKL5, but honestly, a life with CDKL5 is just not fair.
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