This morning, after tossing the boys out of the car dropping off the boys at school (tuck & roll!), Sofia and I stopped at Target for some supplies. Then I let her lead me around the store for a while. We were just about to head to the cashier, when I recognized the mother of another child with DS, a little boy the same age as Sofia.
Sofia and W had met in EI playground, and although the kids were fine, it did not fare well for adults. The mom, who does not speak much English, took one look at Sofia and burst into tears. She had a very heated discussion with the classroom assistant, in the native language, but we all knew it was about comparisons.
Her child is now 4 years old also, and today was no different. "She's walking?! Oh, he's still not walking." Then proceeded a lengthy and laborious interrogation about how early did she walk and what other skills does she have already.
This is a nice lady; I like her. Her son is adorable. But he is a DIFFERENT child than Sofia. Just like every child is different.
Comparisons are tough. I'm struggling with that myself now, with the boys' reading skills (in both English and Hebrew).
In the class I'm taking now, the terminology has shifted from "disabled children" to "exceptional children". I like that. "Most kids .... EXCEPT...."
Most kids have 46 chromosomes. EXCEPT that my daughter has 47.
Most kids learn to read in first grade. EXCEPT that one son did, one son didn't.
Most kids walk between 12 and 18 months. EXCEPT that Micah was earlier, Sofia was later.
Most kids can eat most foods. EXCEPT that Micah is allergic to a whole host of items, and Sofia may have Celiac.
You get the picture. Comparisons are ok for establishing baselines, but NOT for judging. Walking early or late, or talking, or reading... these are not the full measure of a person. So as things to get upset about, they become really incredibly unimportant. It'll be nice when they can all walk and talk and read, but that doesn't mean NOW is not nice, too.
I hope that family realizes how special, unique, and wonderful their own son is. SOON!
Timely chain-mail from my cousin just arrived, including this: May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.