F*ck French Immersion and Chasing Normal

Little Miss Adorable Dancing at Talent Show
Why walk when you can Dance?

When Mr. Sensitive was a little baby I decided he would go to French Immersion.  I researched homes for sale in areas with French Immersion schools, and planned his entire academic career by the time he was 6 weeks old.

In my area French Immersion is like a ‘poor man’s Gifted Program.’  Instruction is in French, so only parents of academically inclined kids send their children there.  Unlike a Gifted Program you do not need to be Intellectually Gifted (aka superior cognitive ability or have a high IQ) to attend, just a good student.  It is parent snobbery at its finest.

Then Mr. Sensitive became himself.  Multiple exceptionalities later, I think French Immersion is off the table.  My goal: get him to recognise letters in English.

And I’m ok with that.

Because somewhere along the line I’ve changed too – I’ve given up Chasing Normal.

Chasing Normal is the expression I used when parents constantly compare their child’s progress to pediatric milestone charts and get highly stressed when their child does not follow it exactly.  Susie did not cut her first tooth at exactly 6.0 months?  Oh my God, she won’t get into Harvard.

I used to be one of those parents, plotting every one of Mr. Sensitive’s developmental stages against someone else’s standard.  I knew his sitting was delayed, crawling was delayed, and walking was delayed.  I obsessed over it and pointed it out to doctors and clinicians.  They would shrug.

I was so focused on what Mr. Sensitive wasn’t doing that I forgot to celebrate what he was doing.  His first words were cat and moon at 9 ½ months.  I said they weren’t really first words because they we not used in an appropriate context and merely echoed what I said.  (Yes, I really said that.  Yes, I deserve a slap upside the head for that.)

When Little Miss Adorable rolled around I tried to follow her development in terms of percentiles – at 2 months of age her gross motor ability was at the 5th percentile.  That means that 95 percent of babies her age have better gross motor ability than she does.  At 4 months she was at the 3rd.  Then she fell off the charts.

And I didn’t really care.  Nearly all the babies who are her age can do things she can’t; but she was doing wonderful things on her own.

Little Miss Adorable has a blinding social smile.  People say ‘she draws you in’ and talk about how adorable she is.  People stop in stores or on the street to talk to Little Miss Adorable and say how cute she is.  Little Miss Adorable gets free stuff from retailers all the time.  She is also a public relations fiend.  By the age of 2 ½ she has ‘spoken’ to municipal politicians at a council meeting and countless university students, as well as appeared on TV and newspapers.  She is a star.

I am not sure which developmental milestone ‘media mogul’ is under, but she clearly surpassed it.  She is 2 ½ , still cannot stand or walk and has speech delays.  But she is a fantastic mimic and highly socially manipulative.  She does have the Princess Gene, after all.

Once I gave up chasing normal I can see what’s in front of me – the wonder of my children being themselves.


For more thought on ‘normal’, please see:

Life on Spec – Life as a super-powered, special needs family

Interested in Life with Mr. Sensitive?  Check out:

Kindergarten Chronicles


For more of Little Miss Adorable’s Adventures please see:

Little Miss Adorable – Speech, Language and Toddler Self-Defense

The Princess Gene


Like this post?  Please leave a comment or Tweet it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


About Angela

Super-powered, Special Ed teacher and special needs mama to FOUR (!) children with an assortment of special needs; including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Prader Willi Syndrome. Our family features a heavy dose of good ol' ADHD). I blog about our halfpastnormal life.
This entry was posted in disABILTY, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Halfpastnormal is who we are, Prader-Willi Syndrome and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to F*ck French Immersion and Chasing Normal

  1. nisha360 says:

    Normal is overrated I can’t walk but i think i’m awesome everybody is his/her version of normal 🙂

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