Monday, February 06, 2006

Walks Like a Man, Tal... oh, wait, never mind.

It's articles like this one that make my blood run cold.

My son is 2. He acts like a developmentally delayed 2-year-old. He cannot tell you his name. He cannot tell you how he is feeling. He can hug you, or he can get mad and throw things. Which is fine, except that my son is the size of a 4-year-old. He is almost 40 inches tall, and he weighs 40 pounds. He can carry in a 12-pack of soda cans. He can lift and throw heavy objects. He can push you and knock you over or hit you hard enough to leave a real bruise. At 2, you expect to see some bullying tendencies in kids. But because my kid looks older, people aren't understanding about it. That's only going to get worse for the next few years, regardless of his diagnosis. No matter what the genetic testing shows, we still have a kid who, for whatever reason, looks a lot older, but acts younger, than he really is.

Yesterday we went to Sears to scope out appliances for the new kitchen. We had the baby in his stroller and the 2-year-old in his. (We managed to pawn the girls off on unsuspecting victims arrange playdates for the girls.) The 2-year-old climbed out of his stroller, commandeered a shopping cart, climbed into and out of it and crashed it into things. If he were a little bitty 2-year-old, he wouldn't have been able to climb in and out so readily, and he would have been little and cute and not so forceful. But he is big and... clunky-looking sometimes, and people just stare and tsk-tsk me under their breath. I have this urge to just walk up to these people and say, Listen, my kid is two. He's acting his age. But you're obviously in your... forties?...and you haven't mastered that whole 'not polite to stare' thing that my 6-year-old has down pat, so let's not be passing judgment on me, OK?

I see my son now with his sisters and his baby brother. He simply doesn't know his own strength, so when he does ordinary 2-year-old things -- a little grabbing, some pushing -- it comes off downright mean and aggressive. So if he starts preschool in the fall and he looks like a 5-year-old, you just know that some parents are going to be making comments to their kids. All his actions will be scrutinized. They'll create a bully persona for him -- and I really believe that kids live up to our expectations for them. All I can do is keep focusing on his speech. If he can articulate his desires, there's a chance that whole "use your words" thing will come in handy.

Seems like forever ago that I used to joke, "I don't know why we're bothering with this speech therapy thing. I mean, it's not like we appreciate anything the girls say. Why exactly are we encouraging yet another child to talk back?" Ah, hindsight.


Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful mom who loves her kids. Try to ignore when people stare. They don't matter.

Anonymous said...

I have been reviewing your blogs for the past 2 hrs! we left our specialist pediatrician today with a possible SOTOS diagnosis and genetic testing done. I am scared confused and worried now. S is the baby and only boy of our 4. At 20mos(on sat) he is 36" tall & 37lbs. a happy hearty large boy and Yes, I am SO SICK OF THE COMMENTS ON HIS SIZE! thanks for your honesty!!!

Anonymous said...

the above post is mine-