Before our daughter Sydney came along, we had no experience of parenting a neuro-typical child. Brody was our normal. Still is part of our normal. Beautiful and (mostly) happy-go-lucky, but admittedly not always so easy to please when out of the house.
We used to watch others with typical children the same age and wonder if they realised how easy they had it parenting them. Simple things like watching them patiently stand next to the car before getting in. Walking around a supermarket. Sitting in a cafe. Playing in a park.
I know that might sound awful and judgemental. I know parenting in general is not straight-forward or a breeze – for anyone – but I’m not talking about unknown battles, and it was how we felt.
Neuro-typical children don’t have tricky communication problems. They don’t have huge sensory issues. They have awareness of danger. Their limbs function without difficulties.
Things that none of us take for granted. Yet at times, it is so easy too.
Sometimes when Sydney is having a tantrum because she is tired or wants a “giant squishy toy” (you should have seen her, honestly), I mutter swear words under my breath and forget how I should be grateful that she can tell me exactly what she’s upset about. Even if she is driving me bat-shit-crazy.
Yesterday, we were out with her whilst Brody was at school. We sat at a table eating lunch whilst she played in a children’s area nearby. We then went to a park where she climbed on the equipment, effortlessly. Whilst we were waiting for her to come down a slide, super dad said the following to me:
“This is so easy”.
And I was taken back to when we just had Brody and used to watch others appear to effortlessly parent.
I don’t think I ever don’t notice how easy parenting Sydney is compared to parenting Brody. But I for sure take it for granted at times.
Yes she has tantrums – huge ones – that Brody never had. She answers back. And she can ask the same questions over and over (and over) again. But we are lucky to experience these normal parental moans. To experience normal worries with her. Not huge ones.
We bargained our way out of the park with the promise of an ice lolly (oh to be able to bargain!) and we let her have the window down for a short while without worrying about her throwing things out of the window and/or at us. Then we put the window back up without one of us reaching over and grabbing her hand because there was no fear of her trying to put it in between the closing gap.
Parenting is never simple. But parenting Sydney is a different experience to parenting Brody. As much as we love them both and wouldn’t be without either one of them, parenting Sydney is an easier path.
And I never want to take that for granted.