Normalizing the Different

So, you might recall that I had a kid a few years back! I know, right?! It still trips me out.

Four and a half years ago, to be more specific – a perfect little son named Tuck, with 10 fingers and 10 toes and everything how it should be. Adam (my husband) and I sighed the same sigh of relief that all new parents sigh when you’re informed your child is healthy.

“Well, it’s all downhill from here” – said no parent ever.

Of course, we didn’t think it would all be a bowl of cherries, but just knowing that we’d come through the mystery of pregnancy to find we have a a cute tiny clone of Walter Matthau minus additional fingers – well that was half the battle right? Now all we needed to add was love, snuggles, exclusively organic locally sourced non-GMO food, and Sesame Street to teach the letters and the numbers. Check, check, check.

Here’s a basic fundamental of human beings – we always want to know what’s up. Inherently, there is no filter to stop us from asking other folks the Who, What, Why, When and How’s of everything in your life. Ninty-nine times out of a hundred it’s sincere interest (or at worst, an attempt at polite conversation), on how things are progressing – interest, but also at how their own experience rates in comparison. I always (well, almost always) assume good intentions because it is human nature. Besides – I do it too!

So as we were going along, and Tuck was growing along, I’d use these inquiries to measure developmental milestones. “Has he started rolling over, yet?” “Has he started crawling, yet?” “Does he sleep through the night, yet?” “Has he started on solid foods, yet?” I started to call them the “yet?” questions. And for the most part, we were pretty well on track.

And then, the “yet?” questions began to sound more unfamiliar.

“Has he said his first words yet?” “Is walking yet?”

Hmmm… no, no he hasn’t… yet. “Well, babies go at their own pace! Don’t worry!”

And when the questions became “is he talking in sentences yet?” and “is he starting to potty train yet?” and we were still waiting to answer the “is he talking?” questions – we figured it was time to ask the doctor some questions of our own.

By the time Tuck was one, he wasn’t delayed – he crawled too fast to be bothered to learn to walk, he had too much to communicate in just a single word so he babbled in paragraphs. The doc didn’t worry. And we didn’t worry.

By 14 months we finally had him walking – but still no talking. At two years, we were at one-word (or maybe two), but primarily prolific communications in a language we could not understand. Adam and I would debate if it sounded more like Chinese or Swedish. We would joke that we’d record it for posterity, and in generations it would be found to be an alien language, or some other latin-like dead language, and we would mistake his divinity or intelligence for a speech delay.

At two and a half, I got the “I potty trained you in one day when you were just barely two!” pep talk from my mom… oh like maybe only two or three times a week? The doctor says he’ll speak, and use the potty, in his own time. And yeah, he’s delayed but it’s still nothing to really be concerned about.

But, we started to worry anyway.


Luke on the left, Tuck on the right

(To Be Continued)