Friday, March 16, 2012

Stream of Consciousness - Magical Babyland

Linked up with Just Write at The Extraordinary Ordinary -

I have wanted to do this forever and I am a little late - this is a Tuesday thing, but I didn't have time Tuesday to Just Write, so here it is on Friday.  I am the 64th to link up, so evidently nobody knows about this and it's totally new and I am first to discover it.

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Isn't it funny, not "haha" funny but interesting funny, how babies are.   For the first year, often it's magical babyland.   Well, at least the first 6 months.  Newborns are so blob like.  They sleep and eat and might stare at things, or just as likely, might stare at nothing.   We dress them up cute so that people will be able to tell from a mile away whether we have boys or girls.   We sing and read to them but feel a little ridiculous doing it, since they are little more than blobs of flesh.

Then they are beyond 6 months and start moving around, sitting upright, and generally looking more like a human.   Unless they don't.   Maybe they don't sit up by 6 months. Maybe they still won't look at you.  And then it begins.

You search out other 6-month-olds to compare.   Then everyone says you can't compare.   Every baby develops at his or her own rate, blahdy blahdy blah.   All you know for sure is, worry has begun to tickle the back of your mind.   The way back, where you never let it see the light of day

Then your baby is 9 months old, but maybe in a lot of ways, still resembling a 4-month-old.   This doesn't mean a lot to you really, I mean, what difference does 5 months make anyway, in the grand scheme of life?   Might mean something to your doctor.   Might not.

Usually, it's in the second year of life that you start hearing things like developmental delays (which you don't yet know that that's a gentle and kind way of saying retardation) speech therapy, autism.   15 months, 19 months, 22 months are the ages when you expect that baby to really have blossomed into an irritating, testy, precocious toddler.   Well recognizable as a kid.   All signs of blob should be gone.

Now and then there are moments of normal.   Which you grab ahold of and attach meaning to.   "See, he did this.   That was something any other kid would have done."  You work to convince yourself.

By now though, doctors are staring at your kid with more critical eyes.   They see the things you say are normal, and smile and nod.   They still send you to specialists for extra testing.   And you hear all the things they don't necessarily say.   Loud and clear.

At some point you get a diagnosis from somebody.   Maybe it comes as a shock . Maybe it's anti-climactic, because you knew.   But it's the point of no return.   It means you'll spend a lot of time in Holland looking at windmills.  It means, those therapy waiting rooms and doctors' offices you've been seeing so much of?  Get used to them.


And maybe, years later, you'll look back on that first year - that first few months of magical babyland, when maybe he was no more than a blob, but as far as everyone was concerned he was just perfect.   He still had a chance to be president.   He could still have attended Harvard law, and the only barrier would be cost, but you're sure he'd be so smart, he'd win a full scholarship.  When he still had the potential to be a great leader who would change the world.

Not that he can't still change the world.   But with an autism and/or a Fragile X diagnosis, the idea of your kid changing the world requires a whole lot more imagination.  A whole lot more creative thinking.

Luckily, I'm good at creative thinking.

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