Saturday, July 2, 2011

Not a baby!

So this is a rant that has been brewing for quite some time. Please bear with me...I HAVE to get this out. According to Charlie's ticker at the bottom of the page, she is 3 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days old. She is nearly FOUR years old.

She is not a baby.


End of story.

When you walk up to my 30 lb, 37" child and say "Oh look at the cute baby!", you are being disrespectful. She is not a baby! She is a preschooler. If she were able to attend the daycare where I work, she would soon be moving up to the Pre-K room. That's right, Pre-Kindergarten. Where the kids learn pre-reading skills and sit quietly during circle time and all use the toilet without any adult help. These kids are not babies.

I know it's difficult for people to re-train their minds about what non-verbal, non-ambulatory, rides in a stroller, and wears a diaper means. But really? How hard is it? She is HUGE. When I carry her on my shoulder, her feet hit my knees. So, ok I'm kind of short, but she's not small anymore. Her recent growth spurt made her jump the percentiles in a big way.

I probably wouldn't care so much about this except Charlie's physical abilities and cognitive abilities don't match up. Physically...she's less capable than a newborn. But cognitively, she's likely "all there". There's no real way to test her, but I see her every day and she's alert, aware, answers questions in her own way, laughs at things that are funny, and follows simple commands. She's shown that she knows her colors and is probably starting to pick up on shapes, letters, and numbers as well.

She understands what you say to her.

So when you demean her by calling her a "baby", it probably hurts her feelings.

And don't demean me by backtracking when I call you out on it. Just say you are sorry and stop. Don't say, "Oh well, she'll always be YOUR baby." Yes, yes she will. But this doesn't make it ok for YOU to call her a baby. I'll admit to calling her "my baby" in an endearing way, but that's my right as her mom. I still do it with my 6 year old. But if someone walked up to him and called him a baby because.....he still needed floaties in the pool, they'd get an earful. Because it's a term used to make the child feel smaller than they are. Adrian still uses floaties, Charlie still uses a stroller. Neither of these things make them "babies".

This is what a baby looks like:

This is what a baby looks like:

This is an almost 4 year old:

I'm assuming most people reading my blog won't make this mistake if they encounter SN kids while out and about, because if you have any interest in my blog you are probably already sensitive to how a mom of a SN kid feels about stuff. But....maybe spread the word. Kids in wheelchairs are not babies. It should be common sense, but it's not. Or maybe it's because, as they say, common sense is not so common.

Oh and I'd like to think it's just because she's still kind of young, but according to some other parents of older SN kids...this is an ongoing problem. When adults are calling 10 year old 70 lb children "babies" it's just flat out ignorance.


Cat said...

People are idiots......... And they just get dumber as you go on in life it appears.

Shauna said...

LOL No kidding. I have 2 more rant posts to make but I'm trying to pace myself and put positive posts in between. I've been getting a lot of dumb in my life lately.