Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yes, my kid with special needs is still like me

Lately, everyone has been saying that Sabrina is a mini me. It's true: We look alike (round faces, curly hair) and in many ways we act alike—we're both strong-willed ("stubborn," some might call it), energetic, feisty, observant, chatty. "High maintenance," someone named Dave might call it.

I can't think of a time when a person's compared Max to me. Not once has anyone said, "Wow, Max has your determination!" (he does) or "Max has your giggle" (ditto). Nobody's really compared Max to Dave, either, except to note they both have good hair (and, hey, I don't underestimate the importance of good hair).

I wish people could look past his disabilities and see the kid there.

Max can't talk so well, but he has my wicked sense of humor; the other day, Dave got annoyed at dinner and shook his head and Max imitated him, a huge grin on his face. Max also has my stubborn streak; when he wants something, it is not easy to deter him (especially when it is purple). He has my can-do spirit; he may have trouble using his hands but he'll try and try and try to pick up something until he does, even if he's literally just hanging onto it by a pinky. And he inherited Dave's sweetness, something I see in his smile.

Listen, I'll take those "Wow, Max is doing really well!" comments any day. They give me a lift. But I'd be extra thrilled to hear someone say, "Wow, Max is so much like you."

I'd love to hear how your kids are like you. Please, share.

Heads up, Tammy over at Praying for Parker, one amazingly grounded mom, just did a post in response to the one I wrote about observing the woman with Down Syndrome at Whole Foods. Tammy has a different take on mourning the past, and looking to the future. Check it out.


  1. Elijah definitely has my sense of humor. We LOVE to laugh. :)

  2. Great post, you are right others never say my disabled child is like me. I would be so pleased if they did.
    Junior definitely has my competitive streak, love of sports, and my stubborn determination.

  3. Everyone mostly says that Emma looks like her father, Johnnie. Like Max and you, Ellen, Emma and I share that "can do" spirit. Emma is determined, and she has overcome a great deal because of that. Emma is easily hurt, like me. She doesn't like to get things wrong. She loves praies, like her father and I do. She loves, the color the color YELLOW! I use all capitals because she usually yells it. It is one of her loudest words. She is often queit and contemplative, much like her daddy. She likes to sing like me, even though I stink at it. She is also very sweet and loving. I think she gets that from me. She is stubborn too, like her father. She is also whiny, uh--like me! She loves clothes, junk jewelry, and good hair---like me! She is shy like her daddy.

    Oh thank you for this. I enjoyed thinking about all those things. I appreciate the opporunity to share them.

  4. My kids are more like their late father (who was a biological uncle to my oldest). They laugh like him, they look like him, they have his wicked sense of humor, they even FART like him! That's all good with me--it's nice to see him every day (though I can do without the "massive gas" in a car with the windows rolled up tight)!

    They can power nap like me, though--when they crash-n-burn, they crash-n-burn. They go from a hundred miles an hour to snoring in no time....I should be grateful!

  5. Giselle may look like her daddy but inside she's all me. For example, when she gets hungry she screams at the top of her lungs!

  6. My T-man loves to be hugged and kissed, just like me. He looks like my husband, they both have gorgeous hazel eyes and beautiful dark hair. He likes to tease his little brother, just like my husband likes to tease. He loves to dance around too, just like me. He is very good natured like my husband.
    I too, love when people comment on how he is like me or my husband. He isn't just a non-verbal autistic, Sotos kid, he is our son.
    Thanks again for a great post Ellen!

  7. My son is the image of my father in law, so much so that sometimes when I go to give my son a kiss and cuddle the look he gives me freaks me out. My father in law thinks this is hilarious. He also has his daddys very gentle nature and my determination, a funny mix, but it works somehow:) My husband says he has my brains too lol. Its nice to step back and be reminded of these things, thank you:) Jen.

  8. I guess I'll be the hold out. I get told all the time how much Austin is like me, looks like me, acts like me, etc. I think when he is being really wild he is more like his dad, but whatever. I think its great what you can see in Max what others find hard to see. Did he get his love of purple from you or Dave?

  9. How are any of my sons like me? I can't physically get beyond the fact that all 3 look EXACTLY like daddy. Call me a cloning machine...I just crank them out like the original.

    P.S. Did check out the other post you referred to. Didn't much agree with it. Yeah, it would be nice if everyone saw our kids for who they really are, but, in truth...that's not the way it works.

    Though, you, as parent, may have stars in your eyes and be in love, the rest of the world may not be. Yes, I am my son's #1 fan, but I can tell you, we had a weekend with this poor teenager trying to connect and belong and he was rejected by his peer group at every turn. So, it'd be nice for all to "feel the love", but that's not how it goes out there. Maybe she lives in a town with nicer people in it than we do.

    I'm happy for her. Me, I'm drawn to the people that tell it like it is for me. Not that it's all unhappiness, but I don't like feeling like I'm the only one who wishes others would just love what's there in front of them. I do, but they don't.

    Her post just made me feel worse for feeling hurt and down that others reject us. I don't regret my son, I love him. And if someone said they knew of a way to set things "right"..who are we to make that decision of "leave them the way they are." Kinda selfish, IMHO. Because how do we know they're happy with their limitations? Maybe they secretly dream of just not being like they are.

    I'm accepting of it, but is he? And would he have it differently, if he could? And who am I to say, "no, pour your cure down the drain and leave him like this." Maybe he doesn't want to "be like this."

    Like I said, not an uplifting post for me.I feel lifted up when I read an entry and say, "Yeah..me,too."


  10. Hi - Great post! I find the same thing, that people don't reference how Ben is like my husband and I, or our other kids. I remember when my daughter was born, our immediate reaction was -- she looks just like Ben! But we knew no one would understand that because Ben had some unusual facial features. I do think the differences get in the way of people seeing the similarities.

    So, in terms of how Ben is like me: I think he has deep compassion for others, a fabulous sense of humor, and he LOVES to read.

    It's funny because I can only hope that I am in some ways like my beautiful boy -- and yet others probably don't get that because they're so hung up on the "tragedy" of his situation. Cheers

  11. I see both my wife and I in Marissa every day, more physically, but some behaviors too.

    She's got my thick hair, her mom's eyes and face. We don't have a lot of personality development yet as she's basically stuck developmentally at the day her seizures started, but that will come with time.

  12. That hasn't been an issue for us. Everybody says how much Jailen looks like his dad (who isn't in the picture). He's very kindhearted like me. He has an awesome sense of humor like our entire family. It's always noted too. I think our family & friends have always tried to find the resemblances. If that makes sense.

  13. Charlie's sweetness must come from his father because I know he didn't get it from me! Stuborness? Sadly, I think he gets it from both of us, which probably explains that hard head of his.

  14. :D
    Gabe is a physical clone of his father, baby pictures of the two are nearly identical.

    Gabe is stubborn like me, has determination that rivals my own, and has a hysterical sense of humor which he inherited from both of us.

    Why do you think people are so afraid to say those things about Max? Are they afraid to comment on him-in general- because of his disability? Of course, these are rhetorical, no need to answer questions, just thinking out loud.

    Loving your blog more and more each day Ellen!

  15. I love hearing all this! Marissa's Dad, welcome, and could you email me at lovethatmax@gmail.com? I'd like to hear more about Marissa. I am glad to hear that some of you have not experienced the same! Chrissi, I think that people don't notice similarities sometimes between me and Max because they see him as being totally different because he has disabilities.

  16. Once in the grocery store the checker told me "your granddaughter looks just like you!" Still cracks me up for I was "only" 42 at the time, I look like my German ancestors and my daughter looks like her Chinese ancestors.

    My oldest is very much like my dad, my middle child is very much like my mom. And my youngest looks like my mom and her father (if you look just right). Interestingly, all of my children were adopted from China.

  17. I wish people could see the wonderful qualities special needs kids have as strengths and not as part of their disabilities.

    I wish I were more like my special needs kid! He has a sense of adventure, a strong sense of self, and is naturally athletic and funny.

  18. I really enjoyed your interview with Macha and have started reading your previous posts. I hope I was not a mom who looked at you with pity at Blissdom (I don't think I was, but I'm operating at a serious sleep deprivation right now and not very sure about much of what I've said...). I do appreciate the way you seem to revel in Max's sunny personality -- it made me look for the good in people today.

  19. I can't share how my kids are like me because they don't exist yet... (22-year-old college student here)!

    So instead I am going to share how I'm like my mom (and why that's not a bad thing). My mom is the most energetic, active and supportive 54-year-old woman I know. She's absolutely amazing! I feel proud when people meet her and say to me, "WOW you are just like you're mom!"

    We both are clumsy (her because of her lack of balance and me because of my big feet); we both like to laugh and can't sit still for more than 20 minutes (that's why when we get together, we take hiking trips); we can both be sensitive but strong at the same time.

    I like to think that I get my caring nature from her also. The list could go on and on...

  20. I understand! Jude actually has Mike's very stubborn streak and likes to throw tantrums like him, so that is associated with the two. It is different tho not hearing how your baby walks like you, talks like you, etc.

  21. When Emily was born, she looked exactly like her dad. EXACTLY! As she gets older, she is looking more like me. That is what people say most. We have the same hair (fine, curly, wild and out of control!). She has my eyes and my nose too, but unfortunately she has her dad's body hair (he is Portuguese and Italian - need I say more?).

    Her personality is still a bit hard to tell. My husband would say she is high maintenance like me. : ) She is very social and likes everyone - we are total introverts! As she gets older, it will be interesting to see how our personalities/traits/quirks will rub off on her.

  22. My daughter doesn't talk, although she has plenty to say and makes a lot of noise. I was thrilled one day when a friend that is a singer told me, "You two have the same tone in your voice." It meant a lot to me that someone would notice that, so I understand how you feel.

  23. Everyone says I look like my mom, but she always says I am better looking.


Thanks for sharing!

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