My wild child. My sparkler. My turner-of-heads and conjurer-of-tales. My little grifter, my paper moon, my caster-of spells.
 Tomorrow, she (along with daddy and me) head back to the clinic where she had her first two major surgeries for her annual cleft clinic.
"Annual" makes it sound like routine, and it is. The cleft clinic is several hours long, most of a day, but it involves only evaluations...evaluations by the entire team that is involved in treating a cleft condition. That means plastic surgeons, ENTs, pediatric dentists, orthopedic surgeons, and the list goes on.
 For the first year or two, this was really a piece of cake for us. We were well-prepared for the surgeries, the paperwork, the payments. But major surgeries are one thing with a baby, a child too small to really grasp what's going on. They are a whole different ballgame with a sentient child who can verbalize her feelings and her fears.
 There's that, and then there's the fact that she stopped breathing following her last major surgery. Three times. That, I'm not afraid to say, was a life-changer for me. It didn't seem to impress the surgical team overly much, but it scared the living daylights out of me. And I have never forgotten it.
 So it is that I'm basically a nervous wreck going into this cleft clinic. We're not facing the next surgery for five months or so, but nevertheless, on the inside, I'm a puddle of nerves.
Do I worry for her? No, not really. It will impact her a bit more because her thought processes are more complex at this age. She is more capable of understanding both pain and fear. But this next surgery directly affects her powers of speech, so that in a matter of a few short weeks she will find herself much more capable and more competent than ever before. I'm quite sure the payoffs will well outweigh the immediate consequences for her.
For me, on the other hand, it's quite a different matter. I am struggling with the demons raised by that last surgery and its complications. The immediacy of the concept of the fragility of one small child's life. Fragile as a dragonfly's wing.
That's what has been giving me nightmares for the past couple of nights. 

Yesterday, when we were at the playground, Q carelessly dropped her "beloved" kitty notebook and pen on the ground (in the midst of a battle of wills with us over leaving the climbing wall). A boy, easily four years her senior, and extremely handsome at that, saw her dropped  notebook as a potential "in", and scrambled to pick it up for her. He all but offered it on bended knee. 
And, I mean, like I keep saying, she's THREE. 

So no. I am (mostly) not worried for her. 
She's going to be just fine. 
She's going to have the world at her beck and call. 
We all know that. 

I am really a great deal more worried for ME.


Colleen said...

Wishing you, Mike and Q all the best tomorrow at the CC. stay strong ~~Colleen

Juniper said...

It does sound unnerving, but I guess these are the moments to breath deeply and trust in the fates, your little spark has her own strong destiny it seems. I hope the meeting goes well and that you are abe to sleep between now and when then next surgery takes place.

Natalie Thiele said...

I had no idea!
Because I don't hear her, I often forget that Q is going through a slow process of gaining speech, through many surgeries and speech therapy.
I can't help but be very excited for her, but I certainly understand how scary it is for you.
Stay strong! We are so lucky to live in a land where these surgeries have been performed many, many times, by skilled doctors in very clean and safe hospitals.
I will be thinking encouraging thoughts of you three tomorrow.

Yanyan said...

I am sending big hugs to you and Q, all will be fine, will thinking of you all!!

lightning in a bottle said...

sending you good vibes. stay strong. steady. breathe. everything is going to turn out great. - ling

blandine said...

We don't know eachothers...I'm a french designer and I discovered your blog 2 years ago. I love it, your daughter is so cute and I love the way you dress her!
I have a daughter too, she's 2.
I like very much the blue sweat Q wears on your last saturday post in a museum...Where did you buy it?

This is my professional blog:

Thank you!
A bientôt!

Blandine ;))

ChantaleP said...

Ah no.. It's true, it's always the parents who worry most, feel more pain for their child than even their child! But you will be ok and I'm sure your petite fée étincelante will come out of her next surgery brilliantly. Good luck with your meeting.. Hope you get some much needed zzz's too.. : )

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog just for a short time,,I have a daughter your age,, you're a wonderful mum,, try to sleep,, the upcoming days will fly by and will soon be only a memory,she'll be fine,such a beautiful strong child, and parents who would quite honestly capture the moon for her (I think),, scary medical issues but what must be done must be done,,be strong,,sending positive thoughts your way,,(it willbe over before you know it),,

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Thanks all - I appreciate the kind thoughts.

Blandine, the blue sweatshirt dress is from Anais & I
You can also click on the link in the righthand column of my blog under "find my work here". I do illustration for her, but we also just adore her clothing.

kenza said...

Stay well and strong. Things will be fine for Q and Monsieur and you I am sure. Many kisses. I am thinking of you.

M@rgriet said...

We want to protect our children from pain and anything bad happening to them, and it is simply not always possible. Ah... kids. The love, the joy and yes, the worry.

A Beautiful Mess said...

We are preparing for surgery at the end of the month....and I am dreading it. I know the fear you speak of all to well. Sophie also experienced breathing issues after coming out of surgery.

gaaaw....dreading. it.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Maryellen - I feel like I need some sort of emotional bootcamp before the next one. Is there such a thing? Wishing Sophie all the best this round.

Yoli said...

Maia, just sending you hugs. No words can assuage a mother's fear until the proceedure is behind her. So cute about the boy. No one stands a chance with the Q.

kellie at MiniMustHave said...

Hi Maia,
Just saw your gorgeous little Q over on Modern Kiddo and followed the link to your blog.
Hope everything went well with the doctors appointment.

FDChief said...

I will be thinking of you and your little hostage to fortune, and hoping for the best.

Jeanne-ming said...

Yes, I would be worried for you too! Not Q

sarahthefantastic said...

Five months! You have got to keep distracted or you will drive yourself mad. I know exactly that feeling of dread and have survived it four times now with YY's surgeries. Think about anything else, get some new projects going and only let yourself freak out when she is safely in her surgeries and can't see you. Get your posse all around you that day to hold your hand and it will all be over eventually. After her last surgery YY was up and pretending to lead a yoga class in an hour. Q will be the same. Take some of their magic to give you strength too. And after all our surgeries and efforts for five years, YY has all her consonants and vowel sounds and is making great progress with her speech. So it is worth it. xoxoxo Sarah