Thursday, July 7, 2011

The comparison game

I know you know this game, we all play it . It really does not matter if your child has special needs or not, we all succumb to it at some point.
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As a parent of a child with special needs playing this game becomes more like a battle ground and the stakes are a lot higher. It is impossible to avoid it and everyone is a player whether they know it or not. I hate this game.
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Rozie is turning two soon and the older she gets the developmental gap also widens. You can see she doesn't look like a two year old, and there are times she doesn't act like a two year old, and this is when the game begins.
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We went to New York because my husband had Monday the 4th off.
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We went to the Jewish Children's museum and the kids had a blast. They played for hours, and i watched "the game" start and the players unfold.
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You see i was out of my own environment, and my padded comfort zone I'm used to was not there. I started to compare, "look at that one walking, look at how that baby is playing and she is 5 months younger than Rozie" the list could go on, and then i decided it had to stop. GAME OVER!
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The biggest mistake a special needs parent can do is to compare, really the biggest mistake any parent can do is compare.Its just not worth it and it is a waste of energy that could be used for better thing like enjoying your child.
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My Rozie is developing beautifully and she is doing it in her own way, on her very own designer watch made just for her. Comparing her to a typical child is not a realistic expectation, and not because she is developmentally different, but because really what is "typical".If i was to compare her to my own children should i compare her to Dovie who walked at 9 months or Mel at 16 months. Which one is typical? The answer is neither there is no such thing as a "typical" child. As a teacher and parent of many years i haven't yet found a "typical" child that follows all the patterns of a text book typically developing child. I know there are children that follow the charts much closer than say my Rozie, but what makes that better, because its the norm ( supposedly), and what makes the norm better.
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I love Rozie's little atypical ways. It makes her who she is and her development is right on target by me also. I dont care if she has the motor skills of a 10 month old and speech of a 12 month old. She is my milestone star and is so absolutely perfect because that is the way Hashem made her. I could just wrap her up put a bow on top!
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My little star did this for us when we got home, she knew momma needed it.

25 comments :

Rivki @ Life in the Married Lane said...

She is SO cute. I love the exuberance in the pictures and the video. Your outfits are also super-cute, btw.

Thanks for this great post. It's a hard game not to play, but you put it well - time is better spent enjoying our kids than comparing them.

Nechama said...

AMAZING standing! So great seeing you in NY too :)And about the comparing- yes, we do all compare but when it comes to comparing your child with another child that is LIKE your child i dont think its half as bad. Your not trying to "get somewhere", you have no "agenda." I would go as far as to say that its almost helpful to see other kids the same type as your child and see where they are holding. Im convinced its not comparing. Im not sure what it would be called, but not comparing. ;) im sure you get it.

Dara said...

you are right that we shouldn't compare! I was curious - do people recognize you from your blog when you're out places like that? :)

Rochel @ barefootandcooking said...

You have the most beautiful family. Every time I see pictures it puts a big smile on my face.

Anna Theurer said...

Beautifully written post! I love the video at the end--to see little Rozie in action and then to see her clap for herself. Yay Rozie!

Sheva said...

Dara: it is the strangest and funniest thing. People do recognize me, but even funnier is when my husband gets recognized with the kids

ch said...

such a sweet little star...and, to be sure, this little game plays itself out on my living room floor on a regular basis...my nearly two year old who loves to jabber and talk while my nearly 3 year old stares her speech therapists down every week. my daughter who eats with a fork and spoon and did even with a tube hanging out of her belly while my (monstrously large) son still refuses to feed himself or eat ANYTHING other than oatmeal. rozie's so far ahead in fashion and accessorizing, she's got give the others a chance in SOME department...i'd forfeit motor skills for shoe selection ANY day of the week.

Team Lando said...

Love your words and sweet Rozie.

Sheva said...

Nechama: i agree but what is hard is the ranges are pretty wide in the Down syndrome world for example kids can walk from 12 months all the way up to 36 months. You have some speech extraordinaires and some that refuse to say a word for years, so it can be hard gage it. I do try to follow a select group of kids that seem to be performing the same as Rozie and sort of compare what they are doing ( in a good way) to help keep track of her goals.

Mara @ KOAB said...

Go, Rozie, go! I love that video. And all your photos. You are beautiful - and so is your family.

This post came at exactly the right time for me. Comparing is bad in so many ways - and not just kids, but relationships, family dynamics, finances, etc. etc.

Just like with the milestones we see (or think we see), with all of these comparisons, it has been my experience that rarely is what we see on the surface a true indicator of what's going on underneath. Hope that makes sense.

All that said, from what I "see", Rozie is perfect - and very much filled with the spirit and spitfire of a two year old!

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing Mom and Rosie and your other kids are very very lucky to have you. I grew up with an adopted sister with Down's and the comparing game was not easy. ONe day like you we said stop and just took her for who she is and helped her be the best she can be. Keep up the great work.

ckbrylliant said...

As a mother of an almost 18 month old darling daughter with DS, I so relate to this post!!! I have a nephew 3 months older than my Bridgie and it is so hard not to compare. You hit the nail on the head about it being futile to compare. That little clip of your beautiful star made my morning!!! Keep on keeping on!

Carolina said...

Great Post! I play that game often. Some times right when I start playing I stop my self. Some times I play all the way to the end when you feel sad and discouraged. Rozie’s bathing suit is GEORGOUS! And the video is amazing, looks like she’s almost there! Soon momma soon!

devorah said...

Congratulations on her standing! You're right, none of us should compare. It's a dangerous game :)

devorah said...

Congratulations on her standing! You're right, none of us should compare. It's a dangerous game :)

Nechama said...

Sheva- in the SB world too- the range is enormous. I guess i dont really compare since Mussia is so unique there is no one to compare her to :) Sometimes ill look at kids and think 'wow they are the same age, or he/she is younger' but i just cant compare since they are so vastly different. Its like trying to compare apples to oranges :)

gretchen said...

What a great milestone of getting up to stand on her own! You must be so excited. My little guy Julian who has Down syndrome is 13 months old and my neighbor across the street has a boy who is just two weeks younger than Julian. I find that it is easy to share milestones of my OWN with her and also celebrate her son's milestones too. It is great to be able to be open with my feelings too and recognize that sure, wouldn't it be great if my son weren't delayed? I think the key is recognizing your feelings, acknowledging them and then being able to put them aside and enjoy every little thing your beautiful baby CAN do until something else comes up and your little feelings rear their ugly head again.

Regine said...

Hi Sheva, Don't compare but rather marvel at everything she accomplishes. When you compare the glass is always half empty, when you marvel the glass is always overflowing. That's what we do with our Ethan and he never ceases to amaze us :)

Mali said...

I was surprised to find that I was crying as I read this post. I am the third of four married sisters, and I am the only one without a baby or a pregnancy so far. So, of course, I play the comparison game with my life every day. but I a cannot tell me how much chizuk you give me (and my sisters! we love your blog!). You are so right to focus on the good, and the fact is, little Rozie is one of the cutest toddlers I've ever seen, and Im yirtza Hashem, when and until I am blessed with a baby, I hope i can imitate your sunny attitude and appreciate the yumminess that's all around me. I am, after all, the luckiest tanta in the world. Thank you for sharing your adorable family with us all.

Mali said...

I was surprised to find that I was crying as I read this post. I am the third of four married sisters, and I am the only one without a baby or a pregnancy so far. So, of course, I play the comparison game with my life every day. but I a cannot tell me how much chizuk you give me (and my sisters! we love your blog!). You are so right to focus on the good, and the fact is, little Rozie is one of the cutest toddlers I've ever seen, and Im yirtza Hashem, when and until I am blessed with a baby, I hope i can imitate your sunny attitude and appreciate the yumminess that's all around me. I am, after all, the luckiest tanta in the world. Thank you for sharing your adorable family with us all.

Anonymous said...

I saw you and your beautiful family as you were entering the museum. I've been following your blog now for a few months so when I saw you I felt like I knew you and your family. I really wanted to introduce myself and tell you that I'm a big fan of you and your blog but didn't want to do it at the entrance. I thought I would probably run into you somewhere in the museum. But, I didn't, so here I am (posting here for the first time)letting you know that you are a real inspiration for me and I wish you all the best...

Devorah said...

This is a GREAT post! You are so right.

Using your energy to compare when you could be using it to enjoy your kids is the way to go.

Also, when you start comparing, you'll never stop.

You are right. No two kids are the same-just like each person's external features are different so too our their actions, milestones and personalities different.

Congrats on that biggie-so exciting that Rozie is standing! May she continue to make you proud!
YAY!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sheva.
I love your blog, and your beautiful pics of your wonderful family kah.
I just wanted to say that my very regular son did not walk or stand till 23 months. Nor crawl for that matter. So I look on at pictures of your rozie with awe. Be proud of how far she is holding!
Keep up the great work- your blog inspires way more people than you can ever imagine.

Nechuma said...

I felt the thrill you must have felt when she stood. Unreal! I try so hard not to compare. I try to tell myself that if with my typical babies I did not care when every other baby did things. I just waited around for mine to do the same things when they felt like it. So, I try to be the same way with my Miri and like you said, not to compare. I was just astounded when I saw my neighbors baby, one week older than mine doing all the things I have been trying to teach Miri for months, I am honestly just astounded that he can just do them so easily and we don't appreciate it. We take for granted all the incredible things we can do, and when it comes harder it makes me realize how wonderous Hashem is. I absolutely love your blog! Keep up those stunning pictures of Rosie. I could eat her up!

Alef Bet Jewelry said...

Your images are wonderful! Now, I love that you say don't compare to other kids! I too have a special boy, and it is hard not to compare. It really is, but why torture yourself? Will it change anything? No, it will just lead you to the kitchen to cry and eat.

Now, your artwork is really great, did I mention that?!