Friday, May 9, 2014

On "Typical"

I guess this might the be the Part I.B edition, because I was thinking of a few more things I wanted to add to yesterday's post about our Sammie B right now.  So, here's the thing.  As Sammie gets older, sometimes, her differences seem more pronounced.  It isn't just that her peers are walking and she's not, which is where we were three years ago.  They are running.  And jumping.  And starting to ride bikes without training wheels.  And trading in bikes for scooters.  And writing letters and numbers and she's still struggling with straight lines and circles (though she's getting it, ya'll, she is!).   It stinks that her little body doesn't cooperate with her brain.  And so it frustrates me for her that she's this little girl who recognizes her letters, gets the idea of writing them, gets it when I write them, recognizes some words, but whose little hands just won't cooperate in writing those same letters herself.  If only I could give her the "easy" she deserves, right?   (Yes, yes, I say that often). 

Anyway, a few more snippets of thoughts I just had to add . . . .

One morning, not long after she started this school this year, she was sitting at the table coloring -- something she now really LOVES to do (which thrilled us because there was a long time when it didn't hold her interest for long and she wasn't even really confident enough to TRY).  Anyway, she was sitting and coloring and she said to me, "I just color.  I don't draw anything.  I'm not good at drawing."  And, my heart crumbled a little.  I don't like to hear her say "I'm not good at . . . " and that was the first time I'd heard that.  There were a few times after that that she told me her friends draw pictures of rainbows and "I don't draw anything, I just color."  I told her "just coloring is fine, and she's really good at that and always picks the prettiest colors."  My heart hurt as I had this conversation with her, and I asked her aide if any of the kids had ever told Sammie she wasn't good at drawing.  I wanted to know and understand where that thought was coming from.  Her aide said they hadn't, but that they often ask "what are you drawing?" to each other, and that Sam's answer is always "nothing, I'm just coloring."  

One of her genius therapists suggested buying her some abstract art books for kids and taking some art museum trips -- to show her that a drawing doesn't have to be of "something" to be good or celebrated.  I can't wait to do that with her. 

I've also been marveling at some other very "typical" milestones with Sammie.  Given her love of fashion, it is no surprise that Sammie LOVES the mall.  It is one of the few places I never, ever have to encourage her to propel herself in her wheelchair (rather than having me push her).  She takes off.  I always notice people looking our way and smiling as they see this sassy little thing zipping by in her wheelchair, giggling and saying to me, "I'm running away!" and I think to myself, "FOR FIVE YEARS I WAITED TO 'CHASE' THIS CHILD THROUGH A STORE! AND HERE WE GO!'"  I've said that to a few people - like a young'ish guy at the mall that was really laughing and talking with her.   She had wheeled over to him in a store and said "what's your name?  I'm here to buy a shirt for my dad.  His favorite color is blue."   I encouraged her to let the guy just shop in peace, but he was laughing and helping her find a blue shirt!  And she kept telling me - "I'm running away from you mama!"  I looked at the young guy, and said, "I waited five years for this little girl to be able to run away from me in stores!" and he got tears in his eyes.  I'm not kidding.  You know what?  This little girl is changing perceptions, everywhere she goes.  And I dig it.  There've been a few times in the mall or stores where I look away for one minute and then hear her, an aisle away saying "look what I found, mama!"  I will never.ever.ever take those moments for granted.  I even texted B from the mall one night and said, "I just had to talk to Sammie about strangers and not wheeling away from me in places."  As I typed that to him, happy tears filled my eyes.

Running away from me.  Typical.

There's more.   She makes poop jokes.  All things "poop" are funny.   She's learned that at school, and it's so typical and age-appropriate that I have a hard time reprimanding her.   Poop is funny.

And finally, mischief.   Sammie B was always so obedient and rarely got into trouble.  But lately, she tests her limits.  Typical.  Age-appropriate.  Frustrating (yes!), but I still dig it.  Case in point:  last night, the girls were in bed, and I heard Sammie tell Mia to open the sock drawer (close enough to Mia's bed for her to reach) and throw socks all around.  I went in there just as Mia was executing said directions, and told them to stop.  I told them I didn't like having to clean up that mess, and they needed to lay down.  Sam looked at me, then looked right back at Mia and said, "I want you to see if you can throw them all the way to me."  I told Sammie to please not tell her sister to disobey me, and I walked out.  As I was closing the door, I heard Sammie say "Mia, just do it!" with a total little giggle in her voice, and even though I knew I had to go back in and reprimand her, in my heart, I was smiling. 

Typical.  Age-appropriate.  She's just another 5 year-old little girl, and a really stinking cool one at that.  I dig her. 

Don't worry -- the Just Doing It:  Part II - MiaMia Edition is coming soon.  Can't leave that littlest one out - she deserves her own post! 


marie clare said...

Awww, love hearing the little stories of her and her day to day life. I imagine Ryan would be telling me the same things if he could. Shes destined for big things your girl. Changing the way folks look upon all our kids. MC xx

Anonymous said...

It is Sammie's defiance that will continue to help her physically and in every other way!

Who says she can't walk or run or jump? Don't tell her that. She's defiant enough to DO IT. You'll see.