What is normal? The dictionary defines it as ‘the usual, average, or typical state or condition.’ But it is so hard to define normal, and what happens when things are not normal?
We have been trying to find a new therapist for Abigail since we moved, and we think we have found the perfect place for her. Before we can actually start therapy sessions though we have to go through all the fun processes of insurance, paperwork, and evaluations. We went for Abigail’s occupational therapy evaluation last week. Basically the therapist takes us into a room and asks me all about Abigail’s history and then she works with her for a brief time to see what Abigail is able to do. At one point while the therapist was working with Abigail, she started to fling her arms up and down. This is something Abigail does when she gets excited or scared – a very normal thing for me. However, the therapist instantly asked me if Abigail is often jerky in her movements. I did not know how to answer her. This was a normal movement for me. I did not think she was being jerky. She was simply moving like Abigail moves.
Abigail is my kind of normal. I have been around toddlers her age, and I probably stare at them like I am seeing aliens. We went to the park the other day, and a little girl was swinging beside us with her mother. She kept saying ‘two.’ I figured she was probably two-years-old, so I asked the mother and the mother replied that she was only 16 months. This girl was walking and talking and responding to her mother! I could not stop staring at her. These things were so impressive to me. This is what a ‘normal’ toddler looks like.
In our house we cheer about saying the ‘B’ sound. We get excited when Abigail ‘stands’ for about 2 minutes. And we quickly pull the camera out when she reaches forward for a new toy. This is my kind of normal. We feed Abigail all her food and snacks because unlike every other baby she will not put anything, I mean anything, in her mouth. This is great for things like crumbs on the floor and playing with Playdoh, but not when it comes to snack time. My kind of normal means exercising my baby girl a couple of times a day. My kind of normal means carrying my baby everywhere because she will not even stand on her own two feet. My kind of normal means outings always consist of taking a stroller anywhere and our own special chair because shopping carts and children’s high chairs in public places are not made for children with developmental delays.
My kind of normal is all I know, and I love it!!! I love spending days with my ray of sunshine. I do not realize if she takes a little extra time or help with something because I do not know any thing different. This is my life and I would not trade it for anything. Abigail teaches me lots of new things, and lots of patience. She is so joyful and happy, and I know God has big plans for my little oddler that I cannot wait to see unfold. My normal might be weird to you, but to me it is perfect.