When Obie had his first diagnosis around 19 months old, I was very pregnant. Two weeks later, our precious bundle of Beasty arrived and we all fell deeply and wildly in love. Beasty had a sweetness to her that couldn’t be denied, yet she had a very clear idea of what she wanted in life, and growing up with brothers taught her that some things were taken by force.
She crawled early, walked at 9 months, started talking and a nagging memory started to surface. In that initial evaluation, Dr. R. told me two things. She told me that she felt that Obie would be a plateau learner. His whole energy would focus on speech, while fine or gross motor skills might lag. Then his whole body would focus on gross causing his other skills to lag- we have seen whispers of it, but not nearly as much as she expressed it might be. She also told me not to be surprised if the baby I was carrying would lap him in certain milestones. Beasty would be 19 months behind Obie, so I couldn’t conceive of a milestone in which she would catch up and pass him by.
But then she started to pretend, talk, relate, and dress herself. It was happening. In many areas, little sister was lapping big brother and I had to fight the urge to be disappointed while simultaneously ecstatic.
That is quite literally the tension that we exist in even today. We are thrilled when she achieves something new and exciting, and in the split second afterwards we are reminded that Obie is not there yet. YET. Because as much as I tell myself not to compare apples to oranges, to only focus on the success of the individual, it is never so obvious than when I see it through the lens of our social experiment called real life 😂
Here’s the spin, though. Beasty tugs him along. Not quite into initiating pretend play? No problem! Beasty comes up with the play and makes Obie join!
Not quite interested in getting dressed? No problem! Beasty will bring him his shoes! Don’t feel like reading? It’s ok! Beasty will bring him a book anyway! She knows what inclusion is without needing the fancy word!
Milestones are tricky. I’m having to remind myself daily that the only thing that matters is celebrating them when they are achieved!