Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I must confess something

I feel guilty. And then again I do not feel guilty. Let me explain why.

We certainly all know the situation. In our case, it often happens when we are at the paediatrician, waiting for our appointment. We are not together with typical kids very often so this is where we meet NT kids the most. (And, unfortunately, we have never ever met any SN kids there. Although our paediatrician says that there are others she also treats. So it is always an isolating experience.)

You sit there and wait. And while you wait, it just happens that you notice the other kids in the waiting room, playing, drawing, going on the slide, as kids of their age do. And while you do not actively compare, you look at a child about the age of your kid or even younger and then it hits you like the blast of a hammer: this child can do so many more things than your child. You realise that younger kids are developmentally light years past your kid. It cuts deep into your heart, all of a sudden, without a warning. And you feel sad and wish your child could do that, too. And even more, at the same time you feel bad for not appreciating all the things your child has already learned and achieved. Things that doctors questioned he would ever do.

So I sit there, watch the scene and muse about all that. And then, suddenly, I see more. I notice how the boys act. Most of them act typical, just like boys their age do. Meaning that they are wild, are not considerate of other kids, want to show off whatever they feel is worth showing off: who can jump highest, who can go down the slide the fastest and in the most crazy kind of way, who can climb up highest on the play house in the waiting room. All the while glancing at the other kids: are they watching me? Can they see how brave and fast and wild I am? I feel a lot of (pre-)testosterone in the air and then it hits me like the blast of another hammer again: I am so glad that Sunny does not act like that! These kids and their behaviour are really a pain in the neck. Oh how it would get on my nerves to witness this the whole day!

I find all of this showing-off extremely annoying, maybe due to the fact that I am just not used to it and, yes, I am glad that acting the big shot is a concept that is totally unknown to Sunny. He never wants to impress anybody. He is reserved when there are other kids around, he would never fight if someone took a toy from him but rather step back and search for something else to play. If other kids are too wild he goes out of their way.

Sometimes I feel guilty for having thoughts like these about the other kids. Having learned that it is not okay to judge other children I try not to think these thoughts but sometimes I just cannot help it. And then I think about how often we are judged for Sunny's untypical behaviours and how often I am condemned (silently or with looks) as his mom because people think I have not parented in the right way or taught him an appropriate behaviour and how much that hurts my feelings. Just to make that clear: I do not in any way judge or condemn these parents or their kids, they just act naturally and that is okay, of course. In this case I am just glad that Sunny does not act like his typical peers. ;-)

Is it okay to be annoyed of things that typical kids do and being glad that he does not do that? I think it is. It is okay just like it is okay to be sad about things that typical kids do that Sunny cannot do (yet). And this is why I feel guilty and do not feel guilty at the same time.

10 comments:

  1. I think it is perfectly okay that if we can wish our children did act 'normal' we can also appreciate how much easier we sometimes have it when they don't :)

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    1. Kerri, thank you SO MUCH for your comment! I am really glad you agree!

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  2. Like Kerri, I think it's perfectly okay to feel this way. It's a bit of a double-edged sword...one one hand, we would do anything for our children to just be neuro-typical and "normal" but on the other side...we really do sometimes have things easier. Given the chance, I think I'd trade easy for normal but that's more for my son than for me. I'd like to know that once I'm dead and gone, that he'll be okay in the big huge world we live in with whatever skills he has then.
    I think this post will probably speak to the heart of every single parent of a special needs kid ever. :)
    <3

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    1. I am so with oyu on the dead and gone aspect of all this SN parenting... I do not even want to think that far! :-(

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  3. I'm with you, Joy. Having Lily in public school kindergarten this year is a constant reminder of the difference between her and her peers. But like you, while the first things I tend to notice are things she can't do, if I remember to look a little more closely, I see things that make me appreciate how different she is. Little girls can be so mean to each other and honestly, I'm happy to hold off on that drama as long as I can. :)

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    1. Thanks for your reply! I always thought that girls were nicer and much better behaved!
      But, just as I am typing I had to think of an episode of Malcome in the Middle. Do you know that? Lois (the mother) just learnt that she is pregnant with her forth child and she dreams of having three girls instead of boys. Anyway, she daydreams about going shopping with them and doing all that well-behaved girls stuff. Turns out in the end that her daughters are very mean and not nice at all and she is glad that her kids are boys. This episode is so funny!

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  4. joy, you're so good at saying things that i've felt too! it is comforting to know that i'm not the only one!

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    1. Thank you, it feels so good to know that others have these thoughts, too! I was really unsure whether it was okay to talk about that or not.

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  5. Oh, how the showing off bothers me too. My fiance watches college football, and I can't stand it because of how proud of themselves they are after every single play. Bleh. So glad my boy will never be that way! :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Annie! I am so glad I am not the only one! :-)

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