Thursday, September 26, 2013
There he sits, on the couch as I am visiting with loved ones that I haven’t seen in quite some time. Beautiful, thick, red hair with big brown eyes like mine and a laugh that is insatiable. He is precious beyond any words I can muster. I am beaming on the inside because the last time they saw him, he hardly spoke! He just smiled a lot and repeated his ABC’s. Now, he talks! I mean, REALLY talks. They witnessed him laughing and hugging and chasing the other kids in circles while calling their names. He is glowing, I am glowing and I couldn’t be more proud.
Then it starts. I walk up the hallway and hear them say, “No Lincoln, don’t do that, don’t lick the couch!” It has started, oh boy, has it started! There he lies, 4 years old in his diaper and he is licking the couch. I think to myself, “Thank the Lord he is still wearing a diaper.” I mean, he is normally naked because that’s his preference and one of the only ways I am managing potty training. I start smiling, watching him lick the couch and then in response to their looks of horror, I start to say, “Lincoln……..” Then something occurs to me. He is being a dog! The puppies were just licking the cool leather couch and he is mimicking them. I call his name, “Lincoln, what are you doing?” He smiles at me with those big brown eyes, puppy eyes, of course. He says, “I puppy.” He continues licking, he is in full-on puppy mode. I am met with their looks of horror again.
I can see how they can’t possibly understand. Here lies my 4 year old, still in a diaper, licking the couches. This is the lens they see him through. They still have pretty, clear glasses on from two typical children who respond accordingly when spoken to, are potty trained and would NEVER lick couches. The puzzle pieces in their world are all the right colors and line up nicely unlike the puzzle pieces in my world that they are now a spectator to.
I am thrilled, thrilled that I didn’t make Lincoln stop for the sake of being “normal.” You see the lens I am looking through has a whole lot of colors and they change….frequently. I have learned to adapt. I know in that short moment, Lincoln initiated eye contact, responded to his name, expressed receptive language and imitated. For God’s sake, he imitated! I am so proud. That’s why I didn’t make him stop because I thought it was adorable and at one time he wouldn’t look at me, respond to his name, imitate or answer questions.
I get to look through a different lens that most parents don’t even realize exists. They don’t even realize all of the milestones their kids are hitting because they occur naturally for them. Me, I am aware. Aware and proud to be aware because now I see life so differently. I can appreciate all of the things that Lincoln does on a whole different level. Lincoln is different and because of that he has taught me to think differently. I no longer respond in the typical manner that is acceptable to society. I look through those lenses and see my Lincoln, my beautiful Lincoln in his diaper licking the couch being a puppy. Lincoln marches to the beat of his own drum and I am so happy that I finally chose to slow down long enough to listen and see the situation for what it really was.