Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Forgotten Child

Yesterday I took Bevin in for her quarterly lab work and Hayden tagged along for the…”event”.  It did not go well.  It took two lab techs and me to hold her down.  She was kicking, screaming and crying hysterically.  I had to wrap my legs around hers and wrap my arms around her stomach and right arm and try and hold her as still as possible while one lab tech had to hold her arm straight while the other stuck the needle in.  This was the worst she has ever been.  For a three year old she is surprisingly strong.

Bevin ended up fighting the three of us so hard that she shook the needle out of her arm…luckily the lab tech was able to make do with the amount of blood he had so he didn’t have to poke her again. 

During all of this a forth lab tech had asked me if Hayden could sit in the waiting  room with her and she had given him a coloring book and crayons so he didn’t have to watch the chaos go down with his sister. 

When Bevin was done we collected our stuff, got our jackets on and made our way back out to the car.  As we were getting in Hayden climbed in on his side and I buckled Bevin into her car seat and told her I was proud of her.  As I climbed into the driver’s seat Hayden asked “why did you say you were proud of her?  She cried, you shouldn’t be proud of her…”  I didn’t know what to say.  Not that we would ever tell Hayden we weren’t proud of him for crying because of a shot, but he also doesn’t get the same praise she gets for having a panic attack during his yearly shots.   

Hayden knows Bevin has arthritis and he sees her get her shot every Thursday as well as take her Naproxen every day, we’ve told him that the arthritis makes her legs hurt and he’s seen the recycle bins up at daycare and a few other places…but I don’t think he really knows what her arthritis means.  And I forget that all the time.  I unintentionally given Bevin extra attention all the time and little comments like “why are you proud of her?” are a huge reminder…

I’ve got Bevin’s magazine and newspaper articles in frames in my office at work.  I’ve got this year’s walk posters with her picture as honoree up…of course Hayden’s school pictures are up too, but his school pictures don’t compare in number to the items about Bevin and her arthritis.  Did I do that intentionally?  No, but do I realize it every once in awhile? Yes. 

Hayden, my first born, my overly sensitive boy…I love that kid…He’s my cuddler, my pleaser.  I try to equally divide my attention as much as I can, but I know, more often than not, more of it goes to Bevin…Between her injections, her labs, her doctor’s visits, then you add work, by the time I get to him I’m exhausted. 

I can’t imagine how families with children sicker than Bevin who have another child (or more) do it when I can barely manage it with our situation. 

Days like yesterday and comments like that from my 5 year old just remind me how I have to remember to try and take just a little extra time with Hayden.


  1. That's such a terrible thing to go through. My son is four, has juvenile arthritis and does the same thing at blood draws. Recently my husband came up with idea of a shot chart. He is allowed to scream as loud as he wants, but he can't kick or try to wiggle away. We give him stickers until he reaches the star day and then he gets the prize. I am shocked to see how well it is working. I wasn't sure he had the capacity to hold his body still, but if he really wants the shot prize he finds a way! I'm not usually one for rewarding behavior with toys/food, but we made an exception because of the pain involved and frequency of the shots.

  2. Oh Nicole :( This is making me tear up. Luckily Everett isn't old enough to be affected yet by E's JA...but U have thought about it a lot. You are doing an AMAZING job.

  3. You might like to read Siblings Without Rivalry. There's one chapter specifically dealing with what can happen when one child has special circumstances such as this. Good luck!

  4. Well, I got a little teary eyed reading this. My oldest has autism (aspergers) and not only have we been through holding him down for a blood draw and for stitches (more than once on both), I also hear from my daughter, "Why do you give so much attention to my brothers?" Well, the older one has aspergers and the younger one is 4. They have different needs. And yeah, I have more pictures of the youngest than I do of her.

    We do our best. That's all we can do. I try to make sure my girl gets more one-on-one, too, so she knows she's appreciated. I wrote her a letter recently explaining why things are this way and it really went far in helping our relationship and letting her know that she IS appreciated and she IS just as awesome as her brothers.

    As for Bevin and her arthritis... poor baby. :( I have migraines and fibro (diagnosed both) and suspect arthritis in a couple of damaged/previously broken joints and I know what pain I'M in, as an adult. It makes me so sad knowing a little girl hurts, too. :( Gentle hugs for her.