I spend a lot of time talking about my oldest two girls because of their special needs and behavior issues. But then I read a great post that reminded me that my third child is pretty fantastic. Like warm homemade frosted Christmas cookies are fantastic.
She’s an adorable, sweet, colorful kid, and, like the cookies, that comes with a price (twenty-thousand sprinkles on the dining room floor or an 18-inch high pile of flour on the counter from “helping” you bake).
That’s my “normal” child. My Becca. She’s 4 1/2, and defies the law of “there are actually rules in this world, and they apply to you too!” She is Houdini of the Wallin home. “Where is Becca?” we often ask. Panicked.
And then we find her.*
- She has cut her hair. Again. For the 3rd time this year. The last of which she had to climb up on the kitchen counter to retrieve the hidden scissors on the top shelf of the cupboard.
- Or disassembled some mechanical device in our house
- Or left me a mural made of the ENTIRE contents of my 1-gallon bag of first aid supplies on a bedroom door. Stark naked.
- Or run a line of glue down the dog’s back and then artistically dusted it with glitter. On my new rug.
- Or filled every toy tea cup in the kids’ room with toothpaste and shampoo.
- Or “cleaned” the cat litter by emptying the entire contents of a box of Tide in it.
- Or drawn me a picture of herself. Life-sized. On her wall.
- Or embellished the fridge and magnets we’ve collected from our travels with a Sharpie marker.
- Or, my personal favorite: made me a birthday cake consisting of a full bag of flour poured on the counter, decorated with rows of childrens vitamins, topped with drizzeled syrup. (Let’s just start with “how did she get through the child-lock on the vitamins?!” I’ve blocked out the rest.)
(*Actual events from the life of my child in the past 18 months)
These are my “normal” child’s exploits in 5 minutes and under. I recently took her to the psychiatrist who treats my other two, and basically shoved her at him, with a look of: “Help me.”
To which he confirmed, “She’s just a normal kid.”
I guess having my oldest two be special needs has made a bit fuzzy the idea of what is normal. But I guess it could be worse. I could have 3 nuts and a toddler. Now I just have two + my normal nut, and a toddler.
You know what? She makes me crazy, and as I say to the kids often, she “really tires me out!” but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s spunky, independent, self-confident, creative, hilarious, and just the right child to have been born 15 months after the arrival of her two traumatized special needs foster big-sisters in our family.
God knew we’d need equal-and-opposite crazy… in a good way. Her enthusiastic experimentation on our home is often comic relief on an intense day of mood storms in the older two. And she doesn’t do it to rescue us from the challenges, at least it doesn’t seem so yet. It’s just who she is and how she processes life in a home that’s pretty wild sometimes.
She’s fantastic in her normal-ness. And WAY more than I would have asked for, but I couldn’t love her more (especially as she gets older and can clean up the birthday cakes!)
She personifies the promise that God “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us”(Ephesians 3:20). “More abundantly” can sometimes be overwhelming! But it’s always miraculous.
Even when it’s just normal.
On a completely different note, for those special needs parents reading this, I’d love to have you come check out my new real-time online support group: Embrace the Crazy! Where Special Needs Moms Thrive Together. Come laugh, cry, vent and encourage with us!