Monday, January 10, 2011

Comparing Kids, or Just Noticing the Differences?

I think back to one of the saddest times in my life, when Jaylen was in ABA, right at the age Xavi is now; 2.  I would drop him for 3 hours, pick him up, and my only glimpse into what he did the whole morning was what the teachers wrote on his check sheet.  It was very detailed and I cherished those papers.  I often cried in the parking lot while reading what my baby was doing. 

Because Jaylen couldn't tell me. 

He couldn't answer when I asked, "How was your day?"  Just looked at me blankly. 

He couldn't answer when I asked, "What did you have for snack?"  He just stared at me.  

I had no idea if he was happy, if he was full, if he had juice, if he got hugged, if he noticed the other kids, if he felt sad. 

Having one child on the Autism spectrum and one who is developing neuro-typically really puts their differences in my face.  I know as parents we are not supposed to compare, but everyday I am reminded of just how different they truly are.

Xavi, 2, neuro-typical, has a verbal ability close to that of his 4 year old brother already.  He can communicate with us so well.  Whereas Jaylen only really began communicating in this past year.  I think Xavi can understand and say 85% of what he wants to, and Jaylen can understand 100% and say about 85%.

I was talking with Xavi the other day to try and keep him awake in the car until could dump him in his crib, he doesn't transfer from one spot sleeping to the other well.   I told him that when we got home we would gather up, "his paci, his puppy, and what else?"  To which he quickly replied, "My lovey!"  I was shocked that he got the question and could answer. 

Yesterday I wondered what Xavi was doing in the other room so I called out, "Xavi, what are you doing?"  He said, "Just playing mom."  Once again, I was shocked.

I can't help but think back to those ABA days and still cry over how tough that time was for us.  When I ask Jaylen now about his old school he remembers one of the teachers and, in true Jaylen fashion, that the ceiling paint was chipped and needed to be repainted.

BUT, in Jaylen's defense, I can compare the other way too! Jaylen could do a basic shape sorter puzzle by 9 months and Xavi...well...let's just say we're still working on that one.