J is special. He’s got the most beautiful smile. He lights up a room when he smiles. It’s ten times better when he looks you in the eye and smiles. Forget when he adds a laugh. A genuine from the toes laugh. He’s recently started showing his empathetic side. When A is having a tantrum, not a meltdown, a tantrum over one thing or another, he’s begun to hand her whatever toy is in his hand. Even if it’s a preferred toy for him. Sometimes I think he just wants her to be quiet and other times it’s genuine empathy. This is wonderful to see him identifying with another child on such a basic human level. He is extremely patient with A. J loves to be tickled. He’s become more affectionate and interactive with us on the last 2 years. His growth in this area has brought a smile to my face. J’s ability to communicate has also increased. What he understands has exponentially grown and his use of non spoken language has helped us bridge the gap a bit in communication. He’s so smart it’s scary sometimes. He loves to swing and jump in a trampoline. He loves water. Any kind and swimming lessons are something I very much want for him. His favorite cartoon is Jake and the neverland pirates. He’s incredible with technology. He loves school. His favorite food is drench fries and his favorite stuffed animal is Scout ( a green dog that sings to him). He’s special because he’s J. He’s special because he’s mine.
A is special. She has the most expressive face. She has so much attitude. My parents are laughing at how hard I got karma slapped. Apparently she is me as a toddler. She loves her brother and wants to play with him all the time. She also wants to hold E all the time. She’s very aware of where her brother and sister are. She’s currently into Elmo, and Minnie Mouse. She loves finding dory and the secret life of pets. She loves animals and is always loving on our cats. She loves to play in the dirt. She loves climbing the playground and swinging. She also likes to jump in the trampoline. She loves all toys. She’s not particular. Unless it comes to her stuffed animals, then she has about 5. Her favorite food is everything. The list is shorter of what she doesn’t like than what she does. She talks non stop in both her own language and English. She is special because she’s A. She is special because she is mine.
E is special. She is also very new. She is still developing into the person she will be. She’s hit the stage where she’s smiling more deliberately and she’s tracking things. She loves shadows. She’s trying everything she can to fit her fist in her mouth. She loves to eat. Sleeping is a work in progress. She also has an expressive face. I can’t wait to see how her personality developed. Laid back like her brother or bossy like her sister. Maybe she’ll split the difference. She’s special because she’s E. She’s special because she’s mine.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not like the term “special needs”. I know my children are different without a label being placed on them. I know that J is going to need more than his sister A. That is already established. Why can’t they be “more awesome than everyone else” instead? Things are already going to be more difficult for him. I know this without adding labels that will make him a target to hateful people. Life does not need to be more challenging for him than it is already going to be.
I know A will face her own challenges. She’ll have to be the older sibling to her brother. His protector. His friend. School will not be kind and she will find herself having to stand up for him. I know she will because she loves him. As he gets older his difference will give her fighting strength. The job of my husband and I is to give A things that are just hers. Activities that only she does. To make sure she knows that she is just as important, just as special, as J and E. She has the unfortunate place to be both the middle and at this moment, the one without extras. She’s been so good about waiting in waiting rooms of therapists offices, hospitals and whatever else is needed. She’s my rock and my warrior.
E’s challenges will be different. Her’s will be more medical. I’m not sure what school will look like for her. I’m nktbsure of her exact challenges. Right now she’s been healthy and good.
This is what “special” looks like in our family. My kids are awesome. They run around. Beat up on each other, well at least A beats up on J. They chase each other around giggling. They watch cartoons together and they eat together. J has his things and A has her. Balance. Everything in life takes balance. Each child has somethings special because they are special and very important. Without each of their “specials”‘they would not be who they are. I look forward to each progress, each milestone because in the end they are who they are and I want them to be the best version of themselves that they can be.