Friday, August 8, 2008

Sticks and Stones...and Other Tidbits

Words hurt
A couple of weeks ago, while I watched an episode of Seinfeld, I was taken aback a bit by something that was said. I know I had seen that particular episode years earlier because I vaguely remembered the plotline. George, because of his own stupid shenanigans, had to find the hat size of everyone who would be coming to the baseball stadium where he worked. “What if a pinhead walks in? Then what’ll I do, Jerry?!”

I blinked and stared at the TV. Did he just say pinhead? Yep, he did. He was making fun of people with small heads. For those of you unaware, pinhead is a derogatory term for microcephaly. Elijah has microcephaly, meaning that his head size is much smaller than average for his age. Obviously, I took offense to this comment.

I don’t consider myself an overly sensitive person, I really don’t. But, it’s never easy to hear someone mock a loved one based on things outside of their control. I guess I notice things I didn’t notice before. Like I said, I had seen that particular episode before and I thought nothing about the comment. It’s different now.

To give you some background about me (Elijah’s mommy), I grew up in a household in which both of my parents worked with people who had cognitive disabilities. At a young age, I was informed that it wasn’t nice to make fun of others based on their limitations. “Retard” was a swear word to me and was not to be used under any circumstance (in fact, it was difficult for me to even type it right now). And while I knew these things, it’s become a whole lot more personal. It’s not nice to make fun of others and now it’s become so much clearer to me.

Not to say that I’m perfect by any means. I’m sure I’ve said hurtful things to others without realizing it. I’m sure I’ve described myself as a “spaz” in the past, not knowing what it meant. Spaz is short for spastic, which means that a person has tight muscle tone (which is what Elijah has).

Yes, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words hurt. Why is it that we use such hurtful words towards those unable to defend themselves? It’s not funny. Words can cause such pain and aren’t worth a few laughs.

The little dude
So, how is the little guy doing? Well, pretty fantastic. He seems to continue to improve. He’s a very happy baby and seems to be more aware of his surroundings. In the past, he wouldn’t turn to someone to take note of their presence. The other day Andy was leaving for work and Elijah was sitting in our family room. Andy and I were standing about ten feet away and said, “Elijah, daddy’s leaving for work!” It took him awhile, but he did turn to look at his daddy. We were pretty excited to see him take note.

Elijah is also getting more vocal. He seems to talk to his daddy the most. He sort-of babbles, but he only does it when he’s mad. He’s made some ma-ma-ma sounds when he’s complaining and he still says the ba-wa-ba-wa noises...also only when he’s angry. The coolest thing he does is “talk” to his daddy. Andy will say “I love you” over and over. One morning, Elijah said “laboo” and another morning he said, “lah”, which were obviously new noises. I try not to get too excited, because he’s not very consistent with the noises, but I continue to believe he’ll get there.

Words hurt, part two
Can you believe that Elijah is nearing that one year mark?! I really can’t. At this age, people start to expect that a child is starting to do some “cool” things. I’m getting the innocent question “Is he walking yet?” a lot more now. I usually reply with, “No, not yet” and my heart breaks a little. He’s obviously still in the range for what is considered “normal” to start walking. What happens when he is past that? Sometimes I don’t want to deal with it. Everyone assumes, of course, that he is crawling all over the place. How I would love to write an update saying Elijah was crawling, but alas I cannot. He’ll get there. :)

It’s hilarious when we take Elijah out in public wearing his glasses. I’ve had people literally turn and point at us. “Look at that baby! He’s wearing glasses!” Of course, everyone finds him adorable. Sometimes, though, the questions and naive comments of strangers hurt a little. “He sure looks down a lot.” “Is he being shy?” I know that these people are simply making conversation or trying to be friendly, but the comments remind me how Elijah is different. I know this is only going to become more difficult as he gets older, so I’m trying to prepare myself. I am trying to script the right answers that are kind and that don’t make people uncomfortable. I figure how I talk about things gives others an example of how they are supposed to react. If I’m negative others will be negative. So, I continue to remind myself to be positive. We do have the cutest, sweetest little boy after all. What is there to be sad about?

Busy times
I know, I know, I should update more often. We’ve been extra busy lately. I don’t know if it’s going to slow down since we’ll be having lots of doctor appointments soon to “celebrate” Elijah’s first birthday. Ha! Ahh, the joys of life. We hope you are all doing well. Don’t let my comments about words fool you. We really are doing great and love to hear words from all of you. :)


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