Thanks to my friends for the support!
My daughter is adorable. She is sweet. She is smart. She has a very strong will of her own. She is capable of a great deal of things. She is growing. She always amazes us. She sometimes disappoints us, but that’s more about our expectations than anything.
She makes us feel overwhelmed. She presents a serious challenge, which we often do not think we are up to. She needs a lot, lot, lot of attention, time, patience.
Hmm. Which of these things could not also be said of our son? None, of course. But there is a world of difference. Bobby is bright, sensitive, highly aware of all sensory input, a spongelike entity who spurts out sound bites of our own voices when squeezed too hard. Stella, on the other hand, is “special.” She is “developmentally disabled.” Stella has Down syndrome.
The main difference is in our expectations. Bobby will excel, learn, grow, go to college, maybe even graduate school (both of his parents and most of his grandparents have advanced degrees), move out on his own, perhaps get married, perhaps have children. If all goes well, of course, which one never knows, but there is a great likelihood that at least some of the above will come to pass.
Stella’s future is a big question mark. She had early intervention, but she is still struggling with oral communication. She is nearly six years old and so limited in verbal expression that I am purchasing a sign language DVD for her today online. Her limitations produce a great deal of frustration for all of us—she ends up letting us know what she wants and needs in other ways, usually by tantrum or other protest, often physical. She is a lot like a child of two or three, “mine,” “me do it,” still not able to express herself in words and reason with us.