I Would Rather Talk About My Son Than Be Met With Silence


I love taking my son to social events where there are young children. They’re usually excited to look at the cute baby. The most common thing they say is, “Wow! That’s a big baby!”

It seems like an accurate assessment. He still doesn’t have much hair and he also moves like a baby. His arms and legs still flail a bit making him seem quite a bit younger than he actually is. But he is pretty typical in size for an 18-month-old; tall and thin for his age. I agree he does look like a  big baby.

At a gathering a mom asked, “How old is he?”

“He’s 18 months.” I said.

She glanced at her own 15-month-old daughter who was tottering unsteadily around, constantly trying to poke my son, and letting out the most precious giggle every time she did (my heart definitely melted a bit). The mom stayed silent. She didn’t say anything else about my son, but she seemed suddenly more persistent about trying to ensure her three children wouldn’t bother him too much, despite my assurances they were fine and more than welcome to play with him.

Baby laying on a quilt, smiling, and wearing a blue-green-brown stripped onsie

Though I couldn’t exactly figure out why in that moment, the silence saddened me. It wasn’t the first time someone did not know how to respond and instead chose silence. I can only guess she was trying to be polite. What I really wanted was an opportunity to swap parenting stories, the opportunity to commiserate and a chance to talk about my son.

My son is precious and happy and unique. He loves to dance with help and is learning to roll to every corner of a room. I imagine him someday loving roller coasters if he has the chance or ability to ride them.

Sometimes, he wakes up three times a night or gets so sick he can’t keep anything down.

Sometimes playing with mommy and daddy is the best thing in the world, and other times he wants nothing to do with either one of us.

I want to tell you all — It’s OK.

You don’t have to tip-toe around me. This is our reality. You’re probably not going to say or ask anything I will find offensive or startling. I know a bit about how children develop and I know my child is on a different path. To me, your child’s accomplishments and milestones  are that much more amazing because I don’t know what my son’s development will be like.

So ask anything you want. Then, after I share about our joys and struggles, please don’t hesitate to share with me your pride, your frustrations and your worries about your own child. I know you want to gush about your kid.

I very much want to gush about mine, too.

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