Everyone thinks that their child is unique. Its not a bad thing, is it? In fact, if you ask any parent about their child, they will all tell you that their child is unique and special and that is what they want. I am different. I don’t want my child to be ‘unique’. I want him to be the same as others.
A few months ago, I went to pick my son up from nursery. I was talking to the staff there who were giving me their usual, detailed break down of J’s day. As we were talking, I noticed the display on the notice board… Details of times that children had slept and areas that each child were developing in or doing well in. I remember thinking how lovely that was. But then my eyes fell on the small piece of paper which was titled ‘unique children’. This piece of paper didn’t have children’s names on it but it did have initials and details of why each child might be unique. My eyes quickly found my sons initials. ‘J likes to play with bricks, light switches, door handles/locks and coat hangers. He has very repetitive behaviour and can suffer from meltdowns. Distractions often are not effective.’
On one hand, this is great. It shows me that nursery understands and appreciates what my little boy needs. On the other hand, I was heart broken. My child is different to the others. He is ‘unique’. I’ve known for a while that my son is different to many of the other children his age but I think to see it written down made it feel so much more real. I don’t know why because my husband and I have spoken openly with doctors, nursery and many other people about J and his needs but for some reason, this really hit home.
Nursery are amazing and a great support to me and my husband as well as my son. We regularly exchange updates about latest ‘new’ behaviour (such as the occasional hand flapping that is now occurring each time something really exciting happens.) or the fact that has found a new fixation (such as the kettle which we sometimes have to watch boil together and then (thankfully, even more occasionally) have to tip the water out and refill with cold water, just so that we can watch it boil again). It’s great to have a support network around you and is vital as it really helps to deal with those people who just don’t understand.
I guess that’s the thing with this journey. You have great days and days that are tough and you accept that as any parent with any child would. After all, everyone has a bad day. But when you are the parent of a ‘unique’ child, I guess there are always going to be those moments when reality really hits home. On days such as the one where I saw that nursery consider my child to be unique, the emotions hit and you’ve got to let the tears roll, at least for a short time. Then the smile can come back and you can remember that EVERY child is unique, just not in the same way. 🙂