Friday, July 1, 2011

Kids Like This

What does that mean? My son’s occupational therapist said that the other day in passing, and I know she meant it as a general catch-all about disabled children. But it got me to thinking. Ok, first my defensiveness rose up and I thought, “What do you mean KIDS LIKE THIS??” Then I took a deep breath, which is what I often have my kids do to help them navigate out of a meltdown (which sometimes works). Isn’t it easier to have an opinion about someone or something when it doesn’t affect you directly? So I wondered, what IS my kid like?

I guess I don’t think of my child as a ‘kid like this’. If I am to value his uniqueness, I won’t define him by his Cerebral Palsy, or any of his other diagnoses. Sure, it’s a fact of his life, but so are his blue eyes. I also don’t think of my children as triplets. They are my three children. Who happened to be born at the same time. However, this IS the way it is. Therapy, doctors, insurance, babysitters and planning are part of what we do, just like another kid’s parents plan soccer classes, ballet, skating or homework time. So what does ‘this’ mean? Is he the same as other kids with CP? Is he the same as other three year olds? Triplets? Boys? First born?

He’s funny, charming, sweet, annoying at times, tiring when he wants to walk and my back hurts but I have to help him anyway, smart when I hear him sing the ABCs in French, and three years old when he is screaming in therapy that he wants to stop working and go home and refuses to unfurl his affected hand or walk. Seems normal to me.

‘This’ is what my kid is ‘like’.

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