Tuesday, September 3, 2013

That sinking feeling

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you are faced with an uncomfortable truth?  Often described as "that sinking feeling".  Dread.  Realization.

This happened to Shannon and me this week in separate incidents.

Shannon was at a park and saw another dad with a 5-6 month old baby.  The dad was bouncing the baby and ducking as the baby tried to grab his nose, his hair, his ears.  The baby was everywhere!

For me, it happened a day later at a restaurant.  Cade got fussy so I put him on my lap at the table.  He was very content to just sit.  And it hit me...by 5 months, our other two kids had the "10 foot reach".  You know what I mean: you have to clear the table of every item because the baby has an impossibly long reach.  All glasses and silverware must be safely out of the way.  Waitresses always put things within baby's reach, leading mom and dad to dive for said item and pull it out of the way before baby can grab it.

Cade doesn't do that.

Ohhhhhhh, there's that feeling.  The lump in my throat.  The gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. 

Don't get me wrong, Cade is often very active and loves to wiggle.  But he doesn't grab for things on the table.  Or for our noses.  He's more like...a 3 month old.  Oh, there's that feeling again.  Now I'm half sick with it.

I suspect every parent of a child with special needs has this moment.  This realization that "My child isn't normal."  In the world of special needs, we'd say "typical" instead of normal, but that first moment of sick realization is not politically correct.

I've known since last November that Cade would have Down syndrome.  I've read scads of books, I've researched the latest therapies, of course I know that Cade isn't typical.  But my heart doesn't always get the memo, leading to this week's painful realization. 

Why am I posting this?  Because it's on my mind, but also because I want readers to know that my blog isn't "rainbows and unicorns".  So far, life with Cade has been very easy, very much like our other children.  I don't have big surgeries to write about, or vast disabilities.  We don't really even have any "issues."  But life isn't rainbows and unicorns.  It never is, not with any child.  We worry constantly about our kids, disability or no.  I worry more about Cade, though, and I watch him every day...Can he see?  Will he be able to eat solid foods?  When will he sit up?  I try not to compare milestone charts, but comparing him to our other kids is just inevitable.  I can't help it. 

So yeah, the sinking feeling.  But look on the bright side...my water glass is still safe at any restaurant.  We don't have to ask for a table for 8 just to accommodate my octopus baby.  And for a little while longer, I can enjoy "three month old" snuggles, even if my baby is five months old.  I've always said my babies grow too fast...

Cade - almost 5 months


  1. Thank you for sharing your sinking feeling. It's a feeling I've experienced and it's one that should be recognized and owned, as your post does. Similarly, as your post concludes, you realize also that you get to experience hitting the developmental milestones longer than with your other kids. I have fond memories of the work we put in to get Juliet walking, while on the other hand, I barely have a memory of James learning to walk--just one day he was walking. I also love the "rainbows and unicorns;" it may replace my line of the "sunshine and roses" crowd.

    1. Thanks Mark! As my last baby, I am grateful that I'll get to enjoy him just a bit longer than my others. But some days just get you.

  2. I am proud of you for being brave enough to admit your disappointments, we all want our kids to be normal, extra chromosome or not. My daughter is eleven and can only read nine words, according to her teacher. I am in the doldrums with you today, but I know my girl will do something irresistibly charming soon and make me smile and consider it all worthwhile.

    1. Thank you Leticia. Even if your daughter really only reads 9 words, that's still a pretty amazing start considering that just 20-30 years ago doctors would have said our kids would never learn to read. And it's just the beginning, right? But those smiles just light up a heart, don't they? Love them! Hugs to you.

  3. Here's an encouraging story from fellow Speical mom, Tina Marquez
    on FB.
    Parents of special needs kids, please don't give up!
    My son, Greg, who is now 6 with Down syndrome amazes me every day. He is still considered "non-verbal" in the medical world. I call him "semi-verbal." Anyway while I was driving I explained to Greg, "When the light is red you stop. When the light is green you go. Now, Greg, when you see the light turn green, I want you to tell Mommy, "Go." Guess what? The exact minute the light turned green Greg said, "Go!" I was so happy! I told Jesus, "Thank you!" — feeling happy.