Family Life

What is Normal Anyway?

When I picked up J from preschool on Thursday, his teacher uttered the words that strike terror in the hearts of every parent, “May I speak to you a moment?” Uh-oh. I immediately started going through the mental list of everything terrible and awful it could be. I couldn’t ask J because, well, let’s be honest, he wouldn’t have been able to answer me. Which is why he is in Special Day Preschool and ABA in the first place. But, I also know any normal kid would just answer “I don’t know”.

After all of the other students were picked up, she dropped the bomb on me. He is doing so well with the one on one training that they want to have him spend part of the ABA time in the regular preschool class with his tutor shadowing him so he can spend more time working on socializing with normal kids. WHEW! It was a good thing. Socialization is what he really needs the most work on at this point – the odd speech will probably work itself out with more peer interaction (in my opinion). Plus, this class is larger than his special ed preschool class so he will have more exposure to following directions in a large group environment. Which hopefully will help him be prepared for normal kindergarten in August.

What is normal anyway? Should we want our children to be normal or should we help them strive for something better. autism. special needs parenting.

My husband had the same reaction as I did on hearing the news. “One more person to buy a present for.” Ha ha! You know we are proud of our big guy, and relieved that he is making progress.

And this whole situation led me to spend a lot of time this weekend thinking about normal.

At his last doctor’s appointment his pediatrician said he will probably “transition to normal, but still be quirky.” Well, duh! who among us isn’t “normal but quirky” in some way? A point she added in the next breath, by the way.

Dictionary.com defines normal as
1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

2. serving to establish a standard.
Plus a few other specific definitions for science and math, that have no relevance to this discussion.
But I like this definition better:
Mom-what-is-normal

Mostly, because normal is such a subjective term that it can be a different thing for every one. In our household, apparently nine hours of sleep is now our new normal. Ugh, I really, really hope this is only temporary situation. In most other households, if a 4 year old is only sleeping nine hours it would be cause for serious concern. In my house, if he wants to lie down on the couch and do nothing, that is cause for alarm. My normal may not be yours.

normal2

The big question then becomes who defines what is normal? In most cultures outside of the United States public breastfeeding and nursing longer than one year is “usual; not abnormal; regular; natural”. Some here in the US, do not agree. Conversely, some people (mostly women that had no trouble breastfeeding) think it is abnormal and unnatural to give a child formula. And then the judgement of another person’s parenting decisions ensue.

To the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, homosexuality is not only abnormal it is the root of all of our problems in this country. Ok, I disagree on every level. But, this is America and you are welcome to believe what you will. You are not welcome to try to shove your hate down my throat or disrupt funerals of our service members that never did anything except give their lives to protect your rights to spew your venom.

Oh no, this is rapidly turning into a rant.

Back to my point which was…I don’t know. I guess I don’t really have one which is why this blog has been so hard to write. So, I think I will just conclude this by throwing it back on you.

What do you think normal is? Does it matter? Should we strive for some external concept of normal or just self acceptance?

 

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