Abby is two. She’s every bit the two year old that my other two year olds were with an added dose of diva. She’s been SPOILED. She’s adored everywhere she goes and gets what she wants from her brothers. And we are paying. She’s been throwing fits like you would not believe (or would). Thus completely shattering the stereotype of all children with Down syndrome being loving and cute ALL OF THE TIME. She is most of the time. But not all. And she can throw a tantrum with the best of them.
And, as I found again today, so can I.
Other than the behavioral issues we are addressing, a huge cause of Abby’s fits is her inability to communicate her wants and needs. One of her many tantrums today lasted for over an hour. I held her and rocked her as I tried to calm her down. It brought back the YEARS I spent doing that with Casey. Trying to figure out what was going on with him. The difference between the two is huge, though. Though both could not communicate at this age outside of a few signs, Casey could not be soothed. He’d spend hours upon hours screaming, and there was nothing I could do to help him through the storm.
While I rocked her, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and saw normal people living normal lives. Pictures of family outings, potty training, eating normal foods with normal liquids, all with captions of the words their children, lots younger than Abby, are using.
I was jealous. I was sad.
I tried to suck it up. I tried telling myself with positive affirmations that things were going to be fine. I tried to keep my anxiety relegated to the dark corner of my heart where it should live. I tried to remember all of my blessings and how far Casey’s come. I tried to not remember the thousands of hours spent in speech therapy with him. I tried not to think about the thousands more hours I have to spend in speech therapy with Abby. I tried to have hope that she’d one day be able to communicate fully.
And then I stopped trying and cried. The frustrations fell with the tears, and I felt myself relax. All of the time I spent trying to convince myself with positive words only made things worse. Letting the frustration go in the form of a very ugly cry does not mean I do not acknowledge the good in my life, of which there is an abundance. It just means that there are different avenues to healing. Sometimes, words just don’t work. I needed to cry.
Both Abby and I stopped crying about the same time and sat sniffling and hiccuping for a while. She got through whatever it was that she needed to be pissed off about and I got through mine. We both threw a nice tantrum and moved on.