Today Donnie and I went to veterans' park to watch Nathaniel play baseball again. He is gaining some skill: this time he only needed to use the T once in order to hit the ball. We bought some pictures of him in his catcher's outfit, playing outfield, and attempting to hit the ball. What he is pretty good at is running, which he does joyfully.
Movement became the topic of our after-ball lunch with Lemony, Nathaniel, and Nikolina. (Shane had to go to work right after the fame finished.) When we last talked a mere two weeks ago, Shane revealed that it seemed clear that Nikolina had no feeling in her legs and was therefore paraplegic, a condition that he found acceptable, given that she is alive, cute, and even better, happy.
Since the last time we have had a chance to talk, however, 13-month Nikolina has begun an attempt to crawl -- awkward, weak, and mostly propelled by her arms, but a crawl nonetheless. Lemony has never given up on Nikolina's being able to walk even when it seemed clear that Nikolina has limited feeling and very weak legs. That is in addition to hip dysplasia which will make walking difficult. Lemony, who is at home full-time, has worked unceasingly with Nikolina, never failing in her optimism.
Since the last time we have had a chance to talk, Shane and Lemony have met with an orthopedic specialist at Stanford University Hospital. Once more, blessings are being showered on the clan of Mahlou, in support of Lemony's optimism. The doctor confirmed that it is possible that Nikolina will walk. She may need crutches but may escape the need for braces. It will take much longer for her to begin walking than for other kids because her legs were bound post-surgery for four months and the muscles did not begin to develop until after the binding was removed. That, and the spina bifida, has significantly retarded her crawling and walking, and the latter (spina bifida) is the reason for her limited sensation. But she does have some feeling, and it appears to be enough. Whatever she ends up being able to do motor-wise will be a wondrous and unexpected gift.
Right now, watching Nikolina at the table in the restaurant, we can state with certainly -- no doctor input needed -- that she is already an intelligent little girl with enormously large, deep, and knowing eyes that transfix everyone who looks at them. Weak legs, no legs, perfect legs, it does not matter. Nikolina is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with! (Like Mom Lemony!)
Ah, the power of a mother's love -- with help from Above!
Happy Mother's Day!