Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Week of Smiles

When going through training to become a teacher, one has to take classes in psychology and child development in addition to those in education. Everyone told me that having this additional knowledge would be great especially for when I had kids. I never thought that having this knowledge would actually be detrimental!

Whenever Ben reaches a milestone in his life, yes, we celebrate with hugs and kisses! We feel as if he's accomplished something huge each time. But, when he doesn't do something that I think he "should" be doing according to child development, I worry. What if this... what if that... And those of you who know me, I worry too much to begin with. Plus, having recently attended an autism workshop while on maternity leave hasn't helped either. They always say, " Every child is different in his/her development" and I'm so used to saying that to parents during conferences, but now that we're speaking about MY child, things are so different. (I'll have to dedicate an entire post about my shift of perspective on dealing with parents of my students. More to come later...)

I had been worried for some time (5 days) because Ben wasn't "socially smiling". There were those subtle ones like that little smirk on his face after a good poop. You know exactly what I'm talking about! Those worries, however, quickly went away when I realized that he had been smiling all along. Ben smiles with his eyes. For some reason, I had expected those smiles to look differently. Maybe a bit more exaggerated with giggles and such. Don't ask me why!

Ben smiles randomly throughout the day. The best is when he spots one of us early in the morning. He tries to make eye contact. Then, he looks straight into our eyes and greets us with the best smile. As every new parent can attest to this, this makes our hearts melt.

What's especially rewarding now is the fact that there is something being reciprocated. Up until now, he just stared into space, ate, and cried when he needed something or was uncomfortable. It was hard having one-sided conversations all day while being alone with him for 9 hours from about 8 am-5pm. Although he is still unable to have a spoken conversation with me, he's able to contribute to our conversations with his smiles and coos.

I admit that I do still feel lonely during the hours when it's just Ben and me, but I have to say that things have gotten much better. He shows me that he loves me his subtle ways. I just have to be on the look out.

Let this be a source of strength and inspiration to newer parents who are feeling lonely and anxious. Your child WILL reciprocate some form of affection and it'll feel SO good! Hang in there.

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