Turning 3, a little different this time

Have you ever had one of those days that you discover new levels of intense joy and sadness that you did you didn’t know you had deep within your soul, well today, I did. Let me start with the happy ending. This afternoon, before our long (45 min.) drive home, Chloe and I stopped for a little In’N’Out celebration dinner. As we pulled up to the speaker to place our order, Chloe proclaimed that she wanted a strawberry milkshake and french fries, done and done. As we waited to pay we sat in our little Smart car, she called out to Ariel who had apparently taken the opportunity to leave while the window was down. She giggled and enjoyed the music, it was a moment of pure bliss. It was in that moment that it occurred to me, oh, this was the dream. The dream that I never really knew what it was, but I knew that it was lost. When people talk about how great it is having kids, this is what they mean. It was a moment that I really hope to always remember. I was solidly planted in the ‘typical’ world. Minutes before this we had been at our pediatrician’s office. We had been there many times before but it has been about 6 years since we were there for a well check for a healthy child. I had an inkling that it might get a little emotional when I filled out the questionnaire online. I had recalled the same questions when Claire turned 3 and the pediatrician apologizing and telling me to guess at what I thought Claire could do, if her body worked, sigh. We got there a little early so we had enough time to all play on the pirate ship outside, hip-hip-hooray for a wheel chair accessible pirate ship that can also fit two adults in the hull, good times! Chloe was so brave as they took her vitals and measured her, she was ready for this, she had been preparing for it ALL day. Then she was taken to another room for a vision screening. This is a test that was never even attempted with Claire, Chloe jumped right up in the chair, put on the glasses with one eye covered and correctly identified all of the shapes. It was a good thing it was dark, I cried as I thought about how Claire spent the year between ages 3 and 4 being drilled on shapes knowing now that she really doesn’t have a learning disability at all, no wonder she wasn’t into school. The lights went off and a proud Chloe went bounding back to our little room where the doctor was chatting with Claire and Jared. Chloe hopped up on the table and the craziest thing happened, the doctor started to ask her questions. Jared and I looked at each other, neither of us realizing the depth of the shock that we were experiencing. He asked her how old she was, if she was a girl or a boy and what her favorite vegetables were. As it turns out, she is absolutely fine. We discussed her propensity for flying and he reassured me that after she sprains her ankle she will be more careful. I double checked that it was alright that we had bought her a razor scooter with only two wheels, he laughed and said that she would be on a regular skateboard by the time she was 5. I try not to compare the girls but on milestones like this, it is hard. When Claire turned 3 we were in a legal battle with the school district that was under the impression that she had the mental ability of a 6 month old baby and would continue to get worse for the rest of her days. On her 3rd birthday, Chloe’s teachers told me how great she is to have in class and how good she is getting at writing her name and can spell it on her own. On the bright side, Claire has been having consistently better birthday’s each year and we are no longer fighting with the school to recognize who she really is. This 3rd birthday just snuck up on me. I had forgotten what a chaotic time it was for Claire but it sure is a great reminder to enjoy them both for what they are today.

One thought on “Turning 3, a little different this time

  1. oh how I know exactly what you mean. this brought me to tears. We had a “well child” for Avery yesterday at her new Dr's office. “not compliant” for the hearing test “not compliant” for the vision test. ugh. and Nolan is just like Chloe-all independent-answering his own questions. spelling stuff. ugh. but i like to think if we didnt have Claire and Avery-we would be those annoying parents taking it all for granted and bragging on how amazing our kids are and complaining about really silly things. hugs!!

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