It has taken me a while to figure out Madeleine's 'leggie dreams'. She often wakes up in the middle of the night and many times she is talking in her sleep. She will say something very benign like, 'mamop' (translated- lollipop) or 'Daddy funny, no no Daddy'. But often times she is crying about her leg. She will say it is broken, and ask to fix it, or she will cry, "leggie back on", which is basically asking me to put her prosthesis back on.
Most people who I have relayed these stories to sleuth out what is going on inside her toddler head quite easily but I'll admit, it has taken me longer. At first I thought she was insecure about having her leggie off or having it far away but now I know that she identifies her prosthesis as her leg. duh.
*The other night she had a terrible time getting to sleep. She didn't want to take her leg off and kept crying for me to put it back on. I tried to explain to her that kids cannot sleep with their leggies on, that Logan (the only other child she knows with a leggie) takes his off before bed too. I told her she could sleep with it in her crib but she kept trying to put it on herself and then would get frustrated and angry because she couldn't do it. It is quite complicated to put on. Finally I gave up and put her leg on the dresser and said no. It really broke my heart though because I think in Madeleine's mind no one else takes off their leg or foot so why does she?
A few days ago she lifted up her prosthetic foot and pointed to the toes and said, "Madeleine's toes".
My friend whose son also underwent an amputation got some great advice from a counselor who said to talk to the baby about what would happen to his foot. She has always explained to her son that the doctor would remove his foot so that it could function better. She told him this when he was a few weeks old and then when he was old enough to understand it. He has always had the privilege of knowing what happened.
When I have asked adopted children when they found out they were adopted most of them cannot remember. They say they always knew they were adopted.
Maybe because I didn't know which course of treatment we would do that I didn't talk to Madeleine about it. I'm not sure if I ever really explained what would happen to her little foot. Now Madeleine doesn't know that she use to have a foot. She knows that Dr. Mosca fixed her leggie so that she can wear her leggie. She knows that Greg does adjustments on it so that it works well.
Do I need to tell her what happened? Will she understand that when she is looking at pictures of herself as a baby and she has two feet that this is what she use to be? When do we talk about it? How do we bring it up?