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What is normal these days?

Background: I was talking with a co-worker about her granddaughter today. Her granddaughter, E, was born a month after Connor. Connor will turn 4 in July. E doesn't talk. Well, she babbles a lot and she says her little sister's name, mom, dad, a couple of other random words, but she doesn't talk-talk. She doesn't have conversations, she doesn't explain to you what she wants. My coworker, D, has said for a long time that it worried her, but her daughter, C, tends not to listen when D makes comments about the way she lives her life. E's little sister was born a few weeks before the twins, so she will be 2 in June. She also has an E name, so I will call her E2. E2 was born with spina bifada. They knew about this before she was born, and she was rushed into surgery a few hours after birth to fix some things. E2 doesn't walk. It took D's daughter a loooong time to get E2 into physical therapy. D doesn't know why. D's daughter lives in my neighborhood. She is a couple of years younger than me.

Where I am going with this: D told me a few months ago that E2 finally was in PT. She is learning to walk with the help of braces and other devices. From what D tells me, she will always need these things. I had Keira at PT today. It was a later appointment, since the PT place took away our early morning time slot. I saw a little girl getting therapy. She was a cutie, smiling at Keira and saying "HI!". As we headed out to the waiting room, I ran into D's daughter. The cutie I had seen inside was E2. C and I chatted for a bit, and I said that I would stop by her house sometime so we could get the kids together. As we left, E said something to us, but I honestly have no idea what she said. It was some sort of babble. Now I know sometimes it's hard to understand Connor when he is talking, especially when he is talking fast, but I can usually figure it out.

When I got to work, I told D that I had seen her grandkids. She was really pushing for me to get together with C and the kids. She thinks that it would be good for C to see what an almost 4 year old should sound like. She thinks that C thinks that there is a stigma associated with kids who are in therapy. D remarked a few times about how she thinks C will respond well when talking with someone who is so calm about having kids in therapy (ME). Am I really that calm about it? I've got two kids in physical therapy and one beginning speech therapy. Is there anything wrong with that? I'm doing what is best for my kids. But when I tell people, mainly people I work with (because let's be honest, I barely do anything besides work and be at home with my kids), they all get a look when I mention therapy, EI, lack of speech, developmental delays. Like, OH, glad I am not her. Glad my kids were all normal. But my kids are normal.

Aren't they???

Even family seems put off when I mention how the twins need these extra services. It took months before my mom accepted that Keira really needed PT. She kept saying they just wanted our money, so of course they weren't going to release her. Then she noticed more and more that Keira's foot turns in when she walks fast, and that her right leg is weaker than her left (hypotonia). My MIL asked me if I really needed to get the twins' evaluated for speech. When I explained that, by 18 months, kids should technically be putting two words together, she thought about how all mine did was scream at 18 months and seem to then be ok with it. Even a co-worker whose son is the same age as the twins asked me just last week where they were with speaking. His son says two words. I started talking about EI and how Colin qualified and he looked at me funny. Well my kid doesn't need that, was expressed on his face.

How do I respond to those sorts of looks?  Comments people may make? I act like it doesn't bother me.  And that is why I appear so calm.  Because maybe it doesn't really bother me.  The kids need the extra help.  They will get the extra help.  Who cares what others think?


Annie said…
I had the same experienced with my girls because people think they were strange and no, they are normal but a little extra help was wondeful for their development.

Hang in there.
Quadmama said…
One of my daughters has been in PT since age one and wears a leg brace. My MIL would constantly comment about how the PT wasn't necessary and that there was nothing wrong. It irked me to no end. When I mention PT to others I usually get this reaction "Oh, what's wrong?" and then "Are the others normal?" All four of my daughters are NORMAL. They're healthy, too. Needing an extra push along the way is no indication of one's "normalcy." I think when you have your children one at a time it's easy to think they're perfect. With multiples you see the subtle differences and quickly realize that all children develop at various rates. (Clearly I could go on and on about this topic!)

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