I believe that kids are kids, regardless of whether they have additional needs or not. But there’ve been times when I’ve been a bit curious as to how other people, especially other parents of average, non disabled children, perceive Hannah.
On a few occasions, I’ve seen them clutch their child closely whilst we pass by. Maybe it’s out of courtesy – making way for a mama pushing her child in a wheelchair or special buggy.
Maybe it’s not.
…it’s the accompanying ‘look’ that’s the giveaway – as if Hannah may, somehow, infect their beloved poppets if they enter our personal space *rolls eyes* Sadly, I know of other parents who can testify to having similar feelings and experiences.
But thankfully it’s not happened often. Nevertheless, when it has it’s smarted – a bit like lemon juice on a paper cut.
I wonder whether they presume just by looking at her singing away in her buggy, that Hannah is completely dissimilar to their own child? Or that she doesn’t display any of the typical traits and glorious idiosyncrasies that any other child without additional needs might? Maybe. Maybe not. I’d have to ask them.
Well, my lovely reader, allow me an attempt to dispel some possible assumptions…because, in many ways, Hannah does behave similarly to other kids. Whilst she’s poles apart from her mainstream peers, she’s actually not that much different to a little person you might know…or, in fact, maybe how you were as a child.
So, just for a moment let’s forget about Hannah’s chronological age (7, but she functions like a little person aged around 6 months to two years) and have a look at her current take on life:
Why have a dog and bark yourself?:
Why bother doing anything at all if you can get away with not doing something?
Hannah’s ‘servant’ pecking order is…
Number 1 servant – mummy
Number 2 servant – daddy
Number 3 servants – grandma/grandad
Number 4 servant – anyone else
If I don’t look in your direction, you won’t know I’m doing it:
Need I say more?
Selective hearing loss:
Hannah was once diagnosed with hearing loss. Now, it appears her difficulties lie in processing the information that she hears.
Ask Hannah to do something she doesn’t want to do and she’ll totally ignore you. Try and discreetly open a packet of crisps (that’s chips to our lovely friends across the pond “Hello!” *waves vigorously*) and she’ll hear you a mile off!
You WILL surrender the crisps!
Mess is best:
Yes, in Hannah’s world, there is no such thing as tidy and clean:
Baths are for playing in, not washing.
Hair is for pulling, rubbing on something until knotty, massaging food into.
Food, if deemed unacceptable, is thrown on the floor.
Yoghurt is for smearing on all glass surfaces…and the TV.
Drinks are for pouring on your head/down your top. Ribena is a rather splendid liquid for spitting on white walls *sigh*
Water based paint is for tasting prior to, during or after the application of it on paper. In fact, why bother with paper, when you can just lick the paint off the brush? (btw, what DO they make water based paints from?…it’s allegedly safe…but it doesn’t come out of clothes very easily…if at all! So who knows what it does to the insides of little people! *looks concerned*)
Toys are for scattering over all available floor space. Tidying up during waking hours is futile.
Silence is SO not golden
Aside from her verbal stimming, sing song noises, raspberry blowing and teeth grinding, toys (or anything else, really) must be bashed repeatedly and with as much force as possible…or thrown…or both.
Broccoli HQ is rarely a tranquil environment!
Strangers are often tasted (erm, okay, bitten). Attempts will be made to remove clothes whilst out and about. Fingers are placed up noses (anyone’s), farts will be followed by much hilarity. Runny noses are often wiped on clothes (again, anyone’s) before a tissue can be sourced.
Hats and gloves are rejected – no matter the temperature outside. Shoes are kicked off…repeatedly. The hood of coats are currently to be worn only indoors, covering the face; small giggly person shall then stumble around Broccoli HQ unable to see. This is, seemingly, an excellent game. Frocks are for pulling over your head and having a moment.
No shall be ignored. There is no such word as “No”, apparently.
What’s mine is mine…and what’s yours is mine:
This includes food. Your food will be pawed. You will be stared into submission.
Adult people should not be allowed to speak to each other. Ever. Tactics are implemented – usually involving plastic missiles (toys) or quietness/covert behaviour. Grown-ups shall not complete any important looking work whilst in the vicinity of a small person – especially on a computer. Laptops will be touched with sticky paws, keyboards will be pounced upon. Work may be lost. Tough.
Plans and time:
Plans will be scuppered periodically. Obscure illnesses requiring medical attention are particularly effective prior to any holiday, special occasion or when mummy wants to meet up with someone or has something really, really, REALLY important to do. Kids seem to know the most effective time to be poorly!
There is no such thing as time. No matter how much planning and preparation is made, grown-ups will be made to be late…for everything.
Fatigue must be accompanied by a mahoosive spurt of energy, general madness and potentially dangerous shenanigans…or tears…or all of the above.
Like “no”, the word or concept doesn’t exist.
Repeated attempts to bite the cord of the hairdryer whilst mummy tries to dry small persons hair shall continue until further notice.
Attempts must be made to touch everything. This is the law.
Sofas are not for sitting on. Lolling, upside down, however, is wholly acceptable. They may also be bounced upon in a precarious manner. Toys are to be stuffed underneath…the servants are required to retrieve them on demand.
Beds are also rather bouncy.
Fixations on inanimate objects:
Blankets, dolls, teddies, coats, specific pieces of duplo – you name it, it’s probably been cherished, walked about with, bitten, pushed up the nose, placed in the bath and/or taken to bed.
Currently, we have a fixation on the washing up gloves, a plastic chicken and a coat. This is subject to change anytime soon.
See? Perhaps not so different after all? She’s a unique little individual in her own right. One of a kind, with her own thoughts and feelings and little quirks. But in many ways she’s not completely dissimilar in some behaviours to kids with or without additional needs. Not so different from kids who can or can’t communicate. Not so different from kids who can or can’t move their limbs. Not so different from how you or I probably were in our childhood.
…and she’s certainly not contagious…although her smile might be!
But you know what my most favourite parts of Hannah’s attitude to life are?
That it must be embraced. Every day, hour, minute ought to be filled with as much fun and curiosity and exploration as possible.
It doesn’t matter to Hannah what she or you look like, what clothes you wear, what car you drive, how big your house is, what colour of skin you have, whether you can walk or talk or move. Hannah will still love and accept you, just the way you are.
And whilst us grown-ups run around all day, being busy and getting stressed and worrying about what’s happening in this changing world, wouldn’t it be just fab if, only for a little while, we could take a leaf out of our kids’ books? To just ‘be’ in the present moment. To loll on the sofa, with knotty hair and blue paint stained teeth, eating crisps whilst cuddling a plastic chicken and a washing up glove.
Yeah, I think so!
So my lovelies, I guess that’s all for now
Thanks, as always, for stopping by
Until next time