Every year in class I read a book called Leo the Late Bloomer. Even though I am well aware of how the story goes at this point, every time I read it I get a bit sentimental. Even thinking about it right now has my eyes watering. I know, I know…. It’s like I’m always crying! I promise I’m not always so emotional, but with Carter it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of emotions. Lately they’ve all been happy tears since he’s been making so much progress.
I enjoy writing about this because it really gives me the opportunity to reflect on everything. Mostly because the daily chaos doesn’t really allow me to. Writing allows me that time to really sit back and think. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not so good.
Every time I read Leo the Late Bloomer I also get a little annoyed because I totally could have written this book! It’s all about this little tiger who just can’t do things the other animals can do. He can’t write neatly. Neither can Carter. He can’t draw. Neither can Carter. He can’t talk. Neither can Carter. He can’t eat neatly. For the life of me I can’t get Carter to not make a mess when he’s eating. So, Carter can’t eat neatly either. While all the other animals are going along with the ability to do
everything like it’s no big deal, there’s Leo. Not doing much of anything. Sitting up in a tree by himself, or playing off to the side with some kind of plant. This is Carter. Off to the side of the action. Alone. Playing with some random object. Not at all in to what others are doing.
The dad in the story is watching Leo the whole time wondering why Leo isn’t like the other animals. Why isn’t Leo blooming he would ask. The mom tells him to wait patiently. That a watched bloomer doesn’t bloom. I definitely know what they mean. I have the same questions and I feel the same way. When Carter was younger and I would see all the other kids his age do so much I just couldn’t take it at some points. Why couldn’t Carter do what they did? There came a time when I couldn’t look at Facebook anymore because there were moments when I just didn’t want to see everyone else sharing all the great things their kids were doing. It was a constant reminder that Carter wasn’t blooming. That he was missing out on so much. I didn’t want to go to birthday parties because I just couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to hear stories about other people’s kids. No offense, but at times I’m just not interested. It definitely hurts a little too much sometimes.
Oh, your kid can throw a ball to his dad? That’s so awesome.
Oh, your kid is drawing pictures of you and him and writing I Love Mom? That’s just great.
Please tell me more. Please tell me more awesome stuff that your kid is doing so I can tell you about how Carter sits with his hands over his ears by himself. Or how he knows nothing of what it means to draw a picture that represents our family or his love for us. Tell me more so I can be reminded over and over about how Carter isn’t like the other kids.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for what other kids can do. There’s nothing wrong with parents having pride for the greatness that is their kids. I never want to see kids fall behind or have trouble doing something. So you can imagine how I feel about my own kid falling behind and having trouble doing things. I’m human so there are times when I just don’t want to hear about all the fantastic things other kids are doing. I don’t want to be involved in the conversations of proud parents. I don’t want to see it pictures or videos. I don’t want myself to go into the pity mode. Or the comparing mode. I don’t want to bring myself to that place. It’s no fun there. But of course, I end up making my way there from time to time. The good thing is that I can pull myself out. Or Quang will. He’ll remind of all the good things.
So speaking of good things, in Leo the Late Bloomer, after patiently waiting and still not seeing Leo bloom, the dad just continued to wait. And wait. And time passed and suddenly amazing things happened. Leo could write. Leo could read. Leo could draw. Leo ate neatly. Then, Leo spoke. And he said, “I made it!”
Talk about a tear jerker for me. Talk about a story I could have written.
So, here we wait patiently for Carter to bloom. Sometimes not so patiently. If you happen to keep up with the blog, you know that Carter has done some blooming. It’s been slow, but a slow bloom is better than no bloom. And just like other proud parents, I talk about it. I tell stories about. I take pictures and post them. And I want everyone to know about it.
Sometimes people may feel like you’re bragging about your kids. But even when other people aren’t feeling it, don’t stop talking about your kids. Don’t stop being proud. Even of the little things. I celebrate everything Carter does. I can’t wait for him to say “I made it” with his little voice we’ve been waiting to hear. He’s already writing and playing with other kids and doing fun things he had never tried before. He’s on his way to a full bloom.
Still waiting for him to eat neatly though.