Take this morning, for example.
Wait, let me back up a bit. During Owen's 2-year doctor visit a couple weeks ago, I expressed some concern that he seemed to show zero interest in participating in any activities that required him to sit still and concentrate for any length of time — like coloring and doing puzzles. I'm pretty sure the doc responded with something to the effect of "some kids are more physical, some are more intellectual." As disappointed as I was in the thought that my little guy is not as "intellectual" as I think he should be, I accepted the fact that all kids develop at different stages and he will eventually get to the puzzle stage.
(Side note: I have a very bad habit of comparing Owen to other children within his same general age range, which always results in me feeling frustrated and concerned. I need to remind myself [a lot!] that he is unique — which is not the same thing as deficient — and to just cool it and be patient!)
Anyway, back to this morning... We had a little time to kill before we needed to leave for our morning activity (more on that below), so I took the opportunity to just sit down on the floor with him and read a couple Dr. Suess books (my favorites!) After a couple of stories, he pulled out a wooden puzzle that happens to be mixed in among his books, so I dug around in the book drawer and took out all six corresponding puzzle pieces. I set them all face up and then, one by one, I asked him where each one fit (it was pretty simple to figure out because an identical picture of the puzzle piece was visible in each of the open spots).
He correctly pointed out each one and then — low and behold! — he fit each one in its proper place! I made a VERY big deal each time he got one right (think loud cheering, high fives, and lots of "great jobs!") I tried to get him to complete it a second time, but he was more interested in clapping the wooden puzzle pieces together, so I took that as my cue to just quit while I was ahead. Anyway, I was so thrilled with the progress he made!
Then it was time to leave for our morning outing — Toddler Games at the YMCA. The description for this class, designed for kids aged 18 months – 3 years, said: " " That sounds like something he would really enjoy!
I was a little hesitant to sign him up (and pay for) the full 5-week session, though, because, well, let's just say that Owen does not exactly enjoy going to the Y. We actually hadn't been there since this past winter when we stopped going because he would have a major fit every time we left him in the nursery. Now that he's older and some time has passed, I thought it might be OK to try it out again a couple days ago, but again, he had a major meltdown (I'm talking, red in the face, snot out the nose, screaming as if he were terrified!), so we ended up leaving only 9 short minutes after checking him in. Bleh.
Anyway, back to the Toddler Games. In this class, the parents stay in the room — although we are not supposed to play with the kids, we're just there to watch — so I thought he might do OK. Yeah, not so much. He clung to me with all his might and refused to even look at, let alone go with, the instructors. The 30-minute class consisted of the kids walking/running around the track (I had to hold O's hand and practically drag him), followed by a simple golf lesson where each child took turns hitting a golf ball off a tee with little plastic clubs (O enjoyed swinging and banging his club onto the floor and walls much more than allowing the instructors to help him actually hit the ball), and finally another lap around the track (this time Owen actually started to run with one of the leaders, but as soon as he looked behind him and saw that I wasn't with him, he turned around and ran back toward me.)
So much for my proud moment of only an hour or so before that. Hmmmph.
I should mention that Owen did appear to be the youngest child in the class, although the next in age was only a couple months older, and the class is supposed to be designed for kids even younger than him! Regardless, it is frustrating when yours is the only kid in the group who just doesn't seem to "get" it. And this is not the first time I've felt this way.
So, here it is: I worry that he's developing at a slower pace than other children his age. And yes, I do worry about what the other parents are thinking (I'm not proud of that, but I'm being honest here). I try not to do either of those things. I try to just let him be. I try to believe that he is perfectly normal and will grow up just fine. I try to trust in God, who loves him even more than I do.
But today, I'm struggling. I want him to be healthy. I want him to be good. I want him to be "normal." I'm hopeful that he is/will be. But I still worry that he won't.
Whew. This post turned into a bit more of a mother's confession of worry/guilt/doubt/fear than what I originally set out for it to be. But I think I'll publish it anyway — for the sake of documenting this crazy journey I'm on, if nothing else.
In the meantime, here's a couple cute shots of Owen at the local firehouse yesterday.
|Holding hands and giggling up a storm with his buddy Evie.|
Sitting in the firetruck. He would not allow the fireman on the other side
to help him out. Instead he cried, and ran to me.
One thing I am thankful for is that I am Owen's safe place. He has a safe place. And it is me. That, despite everything else, is such a blessing for which I am eternally grateful!