We've done that since the beginning. We let the kids look in the mirror and talk about who they see looking back. They love grinning at themselves, and we always like to hold our baby-fresh toddlers before the next poop comes along.
But this time it was different.
From where I was sitting on the bed, I saw the expression on her face and realized that she was trying not to cry.
"Sean?" I asked. "What's wrong with, Ellie? Why is she sad?" I already knew the answer, but I was hoping he would say that there was a different cause.
He looked over at me and quietly said, "She just found her hemangioma."
My heart sank. I thought we would have more time before she realized that she looks different from her siblings.
Sean tried to comfort her as it became apparent that she was very distressed about the way she looks. She repeatedly touched her head, trying to figure out what was wrong, "Oh Ellie, you're okay. You look beautiful. Don't worry about your head. You are beautiful to me, and I love you so much."
Sean took Ellie downstairs to play with her brothers and sister as I picked up our bath items. Sean came back upstairs and simply said, "My heart hurts."
As soon as I finished up, I went downstairs and picked Ellie up off of the couch so that she could snuggle into my arms. I didn't reference her hemangioma again, but I whispered in her ear, "Jesus thinks you are beautiful and special just the way He made you. And I do too, Ellie. I love you."
********The dermatologist said that her hemangioma should fade by kindergarten, but I can't take her out of the house without someone (or several someones) offering me ice for her head or asking if she fell and hurt herself. I try to brush off the comments, but I worry that her self-consciousness will grow as she is now very aware that she has something on her face.
I talked to a nurse friend, and it sounds like it's time to
Meanwhile, I don't want to make a big issue out of it, but I don't want her to worry every time she sees herself or someone says something either. *sigh*
Parenting just got a little more difficult.