Yesterday afternoon, since it was a nice day, we took the kids to the playground around the corner.
Going to the playground means watching the Monster and R while they’re around ‘typical’ kids. And that brings up all kinds of other issues, most principal among them being the fact that there’s the obvious grounds for comparison of the Monster with other children.
My wife’s asked me before why I don’t seem to get jealous about how other children develop compared to the Monster. We have a lot of friends with children his age, and still more who have children between his age and R’s who are doing “better” than him in a lot of the social and communication aspects.
The real answer is – I don’t see a positive purpose to being jealous about how other children are developing.
Sure, I’m plenty jealous of other people who can have meaningful conversations with their five-to-six year old children. (Well, as meaningful as those conversations get, obviously.) After all, they can ask all kinds of questions and get responses – they can ask how their child’s day was, what they did at school, what they want to eat or what movie they want to see. They can tell their child to do things, and expect behavior directly from said request. Whereas, if I tell the Monster to do something, it’s hit or miss as to whether he’ll do it if it’s beyond a single-step direction, and questions about his day are best left to descriptive rather than narrative queries.
But… being jealous doesn’t fix anything. All it really serves to do is depress me – which doesn’t help me to be a good parent or husband – and worse, to unfairly compare my child to other children.
The Monster is never going to be “like” other children. And that’s fine… because most children aren’t “like” other children. (Now, don’t take that to mean, “The Monster is a special little snowflake”, because I think those who know me in real life know what I think of that mode of thinking, but rather that all children are individuals to themselves, and every single parent out there can talk about how their child is weird/different/difficult.) Part of dealing with his issues is accepting them for what they are and adjusting my expectations to match.
It’s all in how you look at it.