The other day I took the twins for one of those dreaded well visits. You know, the ones where you take a perfectly healthy child into a small enclosed space full of children with every conceivable illness? And then have strangers jab them with needles? Well, we went there and behind us in the line was a young man with a severe disability. I’m not a doctor (duh), but he had many of the characteristics of cerebral palsy: scissored legs, one arm pulled into the chest, head tilted to one side.
He was being escorted by a another young man who I assumed was his brother. I kept flashing friendly smiles, but they went unnoticed.
So I sit down and filled out those terrible developmental checklists about what your baby can do–often, I’m not entirely sure and just sort-of guess. Great barometer, no? As I walked back to the counter with their pen, I saw the caregiver lean over the man in the chair and say, “well, you’re quiet.”
And without thinking–because LORD KNOWS my mouth is often functioning without the permission of my brain–I say brightly, “he’s listening.” Because that’s Charlie all the time–his little antennae are constantly picking up on every little thing said around him. The boy is nosy with a capital N. And the man in the chair? He turned up to his brother and said, “I’m sneaky.” Turns out Charlie isn’t the only sneaky one in town.
I would have missed that little moment a few years ago. Would have felt too uncomfortable around someone who looked different than I do. So glad I’m not missing those things any more.