Signs of Growth

In the world of parenting Eddie, nothing ever seems normal. A family outing, a parent-teacher conference, a visit with relatives, and even watching T.V. have a twist to accommodate my son. When Eddie is involved or included, nothing would be considered “normal” by anyone peering into our lives. I’m not saying bad…just not…typical.

This is even more obvious when you track Eddie on a daily basis as we do. We know that he measures the things in his life on a different scale. We know that his joys are irregular and his upsets are unpredictable. We know that he isn’t comparable to his peers in most ways. Because we are so aware of all the things that make him different, it completely throws me off guard when something happens regarding Eddie that is typical.

When Eddie was 5, I found one morning that he was missing a tooth. This completely blew me away. Here was this child that was developmentally a toddler, and he had lost a tooth. My first question was, “Where is it?” Obviously, it had gone the way of his breakfast…down the hatch. Luckily, baby teeth are very small.

Suddenly, I was forced to realize that even though he wasn’t acting like a 5-year-old, his body was still 5 years old. A year or so later, when the two front teeth were gone, I was again reminded of Eddie’s physical age. Aside from being surprised by this normalcy, it also struck me with fear that time would not slow for Eddie to catch up. Not only would his body not wait for him to act 5 or 6…but school would not wait either.

Again this weekend, I was reminded that Eddie is moving through time, and we cannot slow him down. We finally had to move him from a twin bed to a queen. Not because he couldn’t fit in a twin, but because he wanted room to move (and we needed room to lay down with him when the nights got long). Seeing him upgraded to a larger bed, had me picturing him filling that bed, and realizing those days would be here too fast.

Even though Eddie hasn’t hit a “developmental” milestone to date, he is still hitting milestones. He is losing teeth on time. He is starting school on time. He is fitting into bigger clothes every year. I’m sure one day I’ll turn around and he’ll need acne wash and a regular shave. Wow…that is frightening.

Because his growth cannot be slowed, and because he is typical in so few ways, I’ll enjoy looking for missing teeth. However, even more so, I’ll celebrate his unique signs of growth.

Just like the pencil marks on the wall for other children, we have a pile of canes; from the tiniest, adorable, white cane to his current one with blue on the end. They are all covered in marks where he found curbs, or possibly his sisters, and bent in ways that show lots of use. Watching that pile grow as my son grows is just about the coolest sign of growth I think I’ve ever seen.