Today was hair cut day and bath day for Trenton. Hair cuts are few and far between for him, and we give baths because he needs them, but probably not as many as the average two year old would get. We do not let his hair grow long and give him fewer than average baths because we don't care about him, because we do care.
It has more to do with some of these activities being like torture to him and like doing an Olympic triathlon for us. That's of course an overstatement, but the idea is true. I know many of the parents who have children with special needs understand this.
Many people who suffer from emotional or developmental disorders have sensory issues. Because of this, certain things could drive them crazy. The buzzing of the clippers or the feeling of a comb through their hair could send them through the roof. Bathing for many means laying or sitting in a bath seat. These seats are not made for comfort, and it's basically a sponge bath. I totally get why Trenton usually cries the entire time. Trenton also has fairly excessive spit/drool. This is another commonality with many kids suffering from disabilities. Unfortunately, it is hard to keep his face clean with this. We try, but it's another one of those torture things for him if we were to constantly wipe his face.
You may wonder why I'm writing about all of this. Well, I've had writer's block for a few weeks, but this came to mind today, because I competed in the triathlon today - I gave the hair cut and bath first thing this morning before I ate my breakfast. I could not have done it without my husband. I'm writing about it, because I want to encourage all of us that next time we see a child with obvious or maybe not-so-obvious problems, and they have hair that sticks out everywhere or perhaps their face isn't as clean as we think their face should be, remember this. Remember that some kids just can't handle the comb through their hair or wash cloth on the face, and remember that some of their parents were up half the night with them and just didn't have the energy to fight it. I don't go through all of these things. Many people have a much harder time than we do with Trenton. I'm just speaking for all of them.
The next time you are at a public event and you see a family pushing one child in a wheel chair and perhaps another in a stroller, don't let it ruin your time by thinking sad thoughts, but think about what they may have had to go through to get this grown child ready for the day every day for so many years. I think about it, because we don't know Trenton's future. I see the 10 or 12 year old kids being pushed in a wheel chair, and I feel for those parents, because I know a hint of what it may have been like when he/she was little, and I can't imagine going through it with an older child although we may go through that with Trenton.
The next time you see some of these things. Try not to judge. Don't be afraid of the excess spit or the odd way a child holds his/her arms, just thank the Lord and pray that that family has a good time at whatever they are doing. It's a challenge. It's especially a challenge if you have young children of your own. We can all learn to think with a little more empathy.