Having a child with special needs changed our ‘normal’.
Even though our monkey is four years old, he can’t dress himself. Our mornings start by us dressing him. The constant “You are going to school” phrase is being said over and over again. We do this so he understands what the plan is for the day. We want to prepare him.
Brushing his teeth was a different hurdle all together. Children on the spectrum are known to have a lot of trouble with this activity due to their sensory disorder. Not so long ago, our tooth brushing routine was for me to hold his legs down, my daughter holding his arms, and my husband trying to brush his teeth while the monkey screamed in agony.
We have a special ring tone alarm in my phone that is reminder about the school bus. It goes off at 7:20 and we have about 3 snoozes before the bus actually gets here. During that time, we keep reminding him either thru pictures or verbalizing it, the bus is coming. The bus is coming.
He normally will go inside the bus willingly. And some days like today, he won’t. Today, the bus came, and he threw himself on the floor. I tried to pick him up but he wrapped his legs on my leg and I couldn’t get him off me. He is so strong. Although my husband had just left for work, he saw the bus, and drove back. It was daddy’s instinct. He pulled my son away from my legs and took him to the front of the bus. Then, in a stern voice, told him to go inside the bus. Which the monkey reluctantly did.
The lack of communication is difficult. We depend on his teachers to tell us how he did at school. We depend on the school nurse to let us know if we need to pick him up and take him to the doctor, or if he can stay in class. We go with our instincts in deciphering if he is throwing a tantrum because he’s a toddler or if he’s actually sick/cold/hungry/thirsty/tired. Of course if he spoke this would be so much easier.
We know there’s a difference in our household when compared to others. We see this difference when we see other kids his age or younger. It is very difficult not to compare the differences in development phases.
The realities of these comparisons sometimes do hit us hard. Sometimes the pain is great. Sometimes the fear of the future can take a hold. There are times when a crying moment is needed.
But when those ‘poor me’ stages come, we eventually learn to dust ourselves off, we get up, and we keep going. Our kiddos need us.
We have learned to celebrate the small victories. For example now, in the mornings, we just show him his toothbrush and he lies down on the floor by himself. I still have to try to hold his hands down, but for the most part he lets us. He moans and complains but he figured it is part of life and he endures it. My daughter and my husband don’t need to come and help me pin him down.
I know that our ‘normal’ is different than most. But in the end, I truly question.
Do we really want him to be categorized as normal?
Do we really want our son to change so he can fit to someone else’s’ standards?
Why don’t we learn to embrace difference?
Why not let our kids be unique?
What if we let our kids be themselves?
What if we let our children color outside the lines?
Maybe they will surpass our expectations.
Maybe they will become successful thru their own path.
Maybe they will become amazing.