Birthdays

April 19, 2011

We had a special day at our house this past week.  Our little girl turned 3!  Her birthdays, of course, feel like enormous milestones– it’s now been 3 years since life took a big turn.  Three years of reading, googling, attending appointments, making new friends.

I’ve never been inclined to lie about my own age, but I confess that despite celebrating this third anniversary of my daughter’s birth, it does create a bit of angst now that I have to answer “3″ when someone asks me how old she is.  I would not have thought such a question could be stress inducing, but I guess it’s the flash of surprise that comes across people’s eyes when I tell them that makes me sometimes wish they wouldn’t ask. 

When she was 18 months, 20 months, 22 months, I found myself answering “1″ if someone asked her age.  Up until last week, I simply said, “2″.  On the one occasion I replied, “Almost 3″, the woman in the store looked at us with such dismay and asked if I had another child– and if he was “fine”.  After that, I went back to saying “2″. 

I understand why it’s a surprise; she definitely seems younger.  She gets around by crawling and even 18-month-old toddlers point at her and say “Baby”.  I suppose what I realize is that the older she gets, the more apparent the difference between her and other children her age becomes. 

But this morning I thought that perhaps these innocent questions are really just more teachable moments.  Perhaps if people are surprised by our daughter, they won’t be surprised when they meet someone else in the same situation.  As parents, we don’t want our children to grow up too fast, and I can see that we will have this magical innocence for longer than others.  One blogger compared it to having Peter Pan stay in Neverland a little longer (www.kellehampton.com); and I love that analogy. 

Aging is all about perpsective, I guess.

 

And, ironically, when we ask Rachel if she’s three, she replies very enthusiastically “FOUR!”.  She obviously has no qualms about getting older, so I suppose we should take our cue from her. 

Happy birthday to my big girl!

**More reviews to follow later this week**

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah April 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Happy Birthday Rachel!! She looks so unbelievably happy in her big girl birthday pic!! Beautiful!

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Heather April 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Thanks, Sarah! As you can see, she was very excited! :)

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carole spyridaki April 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

moments that teach others, and ourselves.
i confess to trying to stop using the word ‘but’ when referring to Rachel’s DS.
she’s a wonderful almost 4 year old:))
and i always loved peter pan!
thanks again for insights and sharing, Heather.
hugs

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Heather April 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for your comment! Yes, I know what you mean about the “but”….

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Maureen Braun April 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

Just some thoughts…
I believe that Rachel is here for a purpose… not to be one of the so called “normals” but to go beyond that and to challenge us in our conditioned perceptions. We need these “Rachels” in our lives, weather we realize it or not. I suspect Rachel’s life will not be measured in numbers, but by the ways she helps us to see differently.

Thanks, Heather, for your personal and candid thoughts. Love, Momo

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Heather April 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks, Momo – I think that’s so true. She definitely challenges our perceptions – what is important in life; what success is, etc.

Sometimes I think we’re too bombarded with growth charts and developmental checklists that it makes you feel something is “wrong” if your child isn’t on the typical curve.

But when you see your child thriving and growing and developing – even at a different pace, it’s extremely rewarding.
:) h.

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carole spyridaki April 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

..making that stupid “but’ mentality all wrong.
i do believe it’s something i have to ‘serve’ to others.
here in greece, one hardly ever meets DS….saddening.
i’m rather enthused that this summer, the special olympics are on here, and there are ads showing the athletes accomplishments and dreams, as in any athletic competition.
………..and who wants typical curves;))
carole

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Heather April 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

That’s very cool about the Special Olympics. It’ll be interesting to see how it all goes!

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