Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which Connor Is Almost Four

In just five short days, Connor will be four.

How is that even possible?  How can my little guy be four?  Four isn't a toddler age any more.  Four is a child age.  I have vivid memories of being four, and it's a little daunting to think that Connor may be making those sorts of memories right now

To tell you the truth, I'm having a hard time with four.  As he grows older the gap between Connor and typical children his age becomes larger and larger.  Kids his age are hopping on one foot, inventing imaginary friends, using scissors and glue to make messy creations, and playing cooperative games.  It doesn't bother me that Connor isn't doing those things-- I'd rather spend my time celebrating what the kid can do than bemoaning what the kid down the street is doing.  I can't wait to see what fantastic adventures we'll get to have this year!

But I have started getting a bit upset about how other people react when I tell them how old he is.  The little guy is adorable, and so strangers come up all the time and strike up conversations with me about him.  Before four was looming on the horizon, they'd ask how old he was, I'd tell them, and the conversation would move on without a hitch.  But now when I say "He'll be four on the first of April," there's this pause: a pause that wasn't there before.  I hold my breath during that pause, because now, more and more often, the next thing I hear is a long, drawn out "Ohhhhh."  And I hate that, because it's the sound of pity. 

And if there's one thing Connor doesn't need, it's pity. 

It's our first taste of how people may react to Connor as he gets older and more obviously different in terms of abilities compared to other kids his age.  I think it's going to give me some late nights-- nights when I sit in bed and wonder what will be after that pause when he's a teenager and not a cute little kid anymore? 

There's not really anything I can do about other people's reactions to him, though I'll do my best to change as many of the negative ones as I can.  But in the meantime I'll celebrate the amazing miracle of him turning four: a day we were told the odds were miniscule that he'd ever see.  And I'm looking forward to celebrating five, and six, and sixteen-- however far we go on this journey together.  What a triumph it will be if we get the chance to find out the answer to that question!

So bring it on, four.  Even if I'm not quite ready for you yet.

~Jess

6 comments:

Sharon said...

What a beautiful post. :)

MFA Mama said...

Awww. I know what you mean. My littlest, the one whose special needs are the most extensive, is tiny for his age (four and a half) and uncommonly adorable as well, and it does change, the way people react to hearing their age, and I think a lot of it just comes down to size and facial structure. My littlest is very, very tiny for his age and has "facial dysmorphology" that...well, his geneticist calls it the "baby face" and it's true, the wide bridge of the nose and epicanthal-fold-whatever makes him look very babyish. At three I think people still lean more toward "awwwww" than "ohhhh?" but at four it's more obvious that Something Is Different. In my little guy's case it's kind of hilarious to watch people react when I tell them his age because he's developmentally precocious and quite physically able when he's feeling good. So it kind of looks like he's a two-year-old with excellent coordination who speaks in complete, complex sentences. In Connor's case it probably looks like your baby is fluent in sign language :) Happy almost-birthday to the wee man!

Lisa said...

My little one who turned 4 in December has complex CHD and Autism. Thankfully, he is doing very well. However, I have to agree with you. Since he reached 4 the differences between him and his peers have broadened.

I was not expecting that at all, for some reason, and while I am so happy about the progress he has made, I can't help but wonder about 5...

Bring it on, I say! Just bring it on~

Lisa @ All That and a Box of Rocks

Colleen said...

Our little guy will be 3 in a couple of weeks and he's so tiny that people think he's a little baby. I hope he has a wonderful birthday!!

Julia said...

Happy Upcoming Birthday, Connor! Keep messing with people's expectations. Maybe that's his primary mission -- to challenge everyone's preconceptions and to defy their predictions. He's going to do it all on *his* terms, darnit. I look forward to many more birthday posts to come.

Ms. Pam said...

No problem. When Connor's not a cute little kid anymore, he'll be a handsome young man and you'll probably be more concerned with drooling young girls looking at him.

 
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