Sunday, January 20, 2013

Comparing Katie with..........Katie?

Have you ever heard anyone tell you that there is always going to be someone.........happier than you, sicker than you, prettier than you, smarter than you, skinnier than you, richer than you, etc., etc., etc.? You add the word. There is always going to be someone ___________ than you. It's true. I am sure that you can name someone right off the top of your head for everything I just listed. 10 someone's. 1000 someone's. So why do we compare, then compare some more? Why do I fall into the trap of wondering if and when my daughter will do something?

Almost 5 years into the world of Down syndrome, and some days find me falling into the trap of "how long before we get there?' My comparisons are not with the typical kids, but with other special needs kids, specifically those who have Down syndrome. Even though I know in my heart that it will happen when she is ready, I worry that I am not doing enough. Maybe I shouldn't work. Maybe I am not consistent enough. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Kiley gently reminds me that everything will happen in "Katie time". Whether that is 5 months from now or 5 years from now. We have to give her time. It just seems that sometimes we will never see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hear or see something that another kid 2 years younger than her has done, and I think, "what about her?" When is it her turn? Then I get upset with myself for trying to compare what can't be compared.

We started potty training when she turned 3. Mentally, she was nowhere close to being ready prior to the age of 3, but she was starting preK and we thought we should try it. It was a short foray into the PT world. She wasn't ready at 3 either, and we held off for 6 months until she started a full year of PreK at the age of 3 1/2. She had a few successes such as going in the potty on occasion, but for the most part, she was very content to go in her panties, her pull up, on the floor, in the bed, and anywhere else it flowed. She went to two different schools, so there was a lot of people working with her also. She turned 4 and she still wasn't anywhere near being potty trained. She would do really well for awhile, then she would get sick and it would be a setback for her. I don't know if it confused her because there were so many different people trying to assist her with the training. We are halfway through another school year, and she is doing much better this year being in one place for the school day. In fact, she is holding it so well that she won't go until she takes a nap at school. Her bladder relaxes and she will potty. Holding it for long periods is not good either, but we do know she understands the concept of the potty now. It is just getting her brain to cooperate and send the right signals at the right time to allow her to pull all the pieces together at once. She will not sit on her little potty chair at all, she uses the big people potty at school and at home. That is fine by me, makes it much easier for her not to have to adjust to the big girl potty. She turns 5 in a few months, so overall, we have been working on potty training for about a year and a half now. I would love to see her potty trained during the daytime hours by the time school lets out or when the next school year starts. There are a few nights when she will remain dry all night too. I am not really concerned at this point about the night training. I know that can take a little longer to master than the daytime potty trips. The light at the end of the tunnel is on. It was just hidden for awhile, but we are able to see around the shadows now.

Of course I celebrate every potty success story that my friends share about their children. I am happy when their child masters this. I love to cheer them on. I can't help but compare at times though. One of my friends posted a question to our DS community about the time it took to potty train their child. It was a relief to see the varied responses. I don't know why I felt relief. Maybe because she already has so many challenges she deals with, and it was nice to hear that there are other kids who are taking as long as we are. We aren't alone, and I know that, but sometimes you feel like you are. I KNEW the responses would vary in age. I guess the relief came because I needed that validation that 2 years to potty train is ok. Heck, 4 years is ok. It will happen in Katie's time. I just need a reminder of that once in awhile. She has amazed me from those first few weeks when she was struggling in the NICU. She hasn't stopped amazing me since. Katie is not like any other child in this world--with or without Down syndrome. Katie is Katie. One of one.

This shirt was her brother's. She wears it as a nightshirt. How appropriate that I would be writing this post and think of this shirt.


  1. Beautifully written and spot on! It is so hard not to compare our children to other children and I often find myself doing the same with Ellie--comparing her to other children with Ds. Then I take a step back and compare her to Ellie. Ellie was silent 11 months ago. Silent. Now she says 7 words. She hums when she is happy. She tries to make sounds. That is amazing progress. That is something to celebrate. All in Ellie's time. All in Katie's time. Excellent post, Donna!

  2. Thank you Anna. I know it is a natural response to compare. We are human. I just hate myself when I fall into the trap of comparing and worrying. It is such a time waster! Yes, Ellie will talk in her time. You know she understands. You are so right. Each small step is a cause for celebration. One of one.. What a blessing!