Children develop at their own rates. Each child is an individual with different talents, strengths, likes and dislikes. Everyone will tell you to let your children develop at their own rate and not to compare them to each other or others’ kids. Let me tell you that is always easier said than done….but when it comes to a child with special need (the older one) and a Neuro-typical (NT) sibling…comparisons are very hard to avoid.
Nolan and Stella are two very different kids. Nolan is a boy, Stella is a girl. Nolan was loving and smiley as a kid–wasnt afraid to walk, talked very early, signed even earlier. He slept through the night early, slept like a rock, needed to be weaned onto whole milk, and kept his “babas” until he was 18 months old. Stella would not touch anybody but mom the first 6 weeks of her life, was a little more apprehensive about letting go, didn’t sign much, and didn’t say many words before her first birthday. Stella is the lightest sleeper, woke to nurse until she was 14 months old, self weaned and went to whole milk in a cup instantly. If only the comparisons could stop there.
Stella is officially 2. This is the age Nolan was at when he started regressing. We thought it was Stella being born–that happens to little kids….but he kept regressing, and kept regressing, and kept regressing until we are at the point where Nolan doesn’t talk much at all any more, play with toys, or interact with anyone/thing. Other than his stimming sounds, he could go almost all day without talking–except to say cookies. He doesnt touch a toy unless told to. He doesnt play pretend, he doesnt ask, why he doesnt tell stories. Stella learns a new word every day, never stops talking, makes her toys talk, sings all day long, makes up play, will tell you when she is hurt, where it hurts, and how she got hurt.
It is SO hard to not compare your children when you are watching one move up and one move down. My brain knows they have totally different brain make up, they are two different people living two different lives but my heart aches for them to play together, be in the same place, me like their peers. I try so hard not to say, “She does this but He never has,” but it is HARD.
But then, days like Father’s day happen. Nolan copied me saying “Happy Father’s Day, Love you” to the best of his ability. Stella then said the same to the best of hers. They sounded nothing a like but when I sent them to daddy he smiled ear to ear and was so incredibly proud of both of them, as was I.
I’ve come to realize I am going to compare them, but but that does not mean I am not proud of them for being different, I am not proud of what is THEIR personal best. I am comparing but I am not wishing the other onto them.
I guess my point is, every person in the world will tell you not to compare your child to any other child. Though it is sound and probably even correct advice, you are going to do it anyway. So the best you can do is acknowledge their differences, accept them, and be proud of what is their personal best. Don’t let the comparisons (differences) be the thief of your joy.