I often feel insanely jealous or vaguely depressed whenever someone shares with me the Cute Thing My Child Said. Every time this happens, I can’t help but feel as though once again my child’s inability to speak is being highlighted. In fact, I sometimes feel that the other person is rubbing his developmentally normal child’s speech in my face. This, of course, is not the intention of the person I’m talking to at all. In fact, I’m fairly sure that folks would be horrified if they knew how I felt. Still, I can’t help feeling that way. I suspect that any parent of a special needs kid feels like that whenever people talk unthinkingly about normal things their kids can do that special needs kid can’t, and may never be able to, do.
However, it’s completely unrealistic that I will never hear another Cute Thing My Child Said Story, and I wouldn’t want that happen. I don’t want everyone around me to have to censor their speech to preserve my ego. I think that kind of thing just makes everything even more uncomfortable. So, I’ve developed the following coping mechanism. I can’t tell my own Cute Thing My Child Said story, but I can tell one of my favorite Cute Thing My Child Didn’t Say story instead. This is one of my favorites:
A few weeks ago, I was passing through the living room on my way to the kitchen. My son was pointing at the chocolate bar his father held. Since Castle is no longer allowed to have anything without attempting some sort of communication, Daddy was saying, “Ch-ah-coe-let. Cm’on, buddy. Say chocolate.”
At that point, I went into the kitchen to wash my hands. When I came back into the living room, Castle was happily munching away on his piece of candy. Daddy turned to me and said, “What’s the sign for chocolate again? I didn’t quite catch it.”
I stared blankly back at my husband. “I have no idea. Do you want me to google it?”
My husband looked confused. “But, Castle just signed chocolate at me.” Daddy made a bunch of random movements with the fingers on his right hand. “It’s why I gave him a piece.”
“That’s just random finger spelling,” I said, trying very, very hard not to bust out laughing. I couldn’t help smiling. “That was maybe a P, F, and T.”
My husband looked outraged. “That little turd,” he said. “He signed that at me like it was the right word. And he was just signing something at me to shut me up and get a piece.”
“Yup,” I said. “Pretty much.”
I love this story for two reasons:
- It highlights how much my husband needs to actually learn sign language instead of Castle’s top ten signs, and
- How awesome is it that my two-year-old outsmarted his dad?