How Does One Talk to a Three-Year-Old About Cerebral Palsy?
"Hey, JJ, what did you do today with daddy?"
"We go to Shriners with daddy."
"Oh, yeah, that was Friday. Today is Saturday. What did you do this morning while mama and Malachi were at ABM?"
"Today is Saturday?"
"So, what did you do with daddy at Shriners?"
"We go to Shriners with daddy and mama and Kai-kai. We have appointment."
"Yep. Hey, JJ.... Why do you think Malachi has so many appointments?"
"How come Malachi has appointments? Does JJ have appointments?"
"No, JJ not have appointments."
"How come Malachi has appointments?"
"How come Malachi have appointments?"
"It's because Malachi has cerebral palsy, remember?"
"See-bral pazie. What's that?"
"It means Malachi got hurt in his brain. Remember yesterday we were talking about where thoughts come from. They come from inside your head, in your brain. Malachi got hurt there when he was a little baby. Now he needs appointments to help him learn how to walk and stuff, like we are."
"We are walking."
"Yep, we are walking. Mama is walking and JJ is walking, all by ourselves. Kai-kai is learning how to walk like that too. No wheelchairs, no walkers. Just all by himself, like us. We are trying to teach him how at appointments."
"Malachi walk by himself."
"Yep, we are trying to help him learn."
"Oh. Yes, that's right. Mama holds Malachi to walk sometimes."
"Here's the blackberries. Can you reach them? Here, pick only the ones that are all black."
"These are blackberries. Not raspberries."
"Yep, not raspberries. Don't pick the red ones, just the all-black ones."
"I like to do something."
"You like to do something?"
"Yeah, I like do something. Pick blackberries. And mama like to do something. And Kai-kai likes to do something, too."
"Yeah, hon. Kai-kai probably would like to pick blackberries. Maybe we'll try to bring him next time."