The old adage is that subsequent children, particularly number three and after, go with the flow. Of course they do, what would be the option, I often wondered to myself as I dragged my daughter on outings with her two older brothers. When our fourth was coming along, I thought the same and envisioned a sturdy son or daughter eager to keep up with the older siblings and someone that would be the visual billboard for "going with the flow."
I was sorely mistaken. For a while, Amos fooled me. He was beyond easy, even as a toddler; he couldn't yet walk so he never ran away and he was happy to be held by anyone under the sun. No, he never met a stranger those first two years of his life and then, what I deemed as going with the flow had ended. I'm wiser now and I should have realized that children with special needs are not known for their willingness to go with the flow. My era of innocence is over and boy, have I learned my lesson.
I have been inducted into the special needs family club and certainly most of its' members identify with my truthful words. All strings attached to our darling Amos can not be shrugged off, even when we desperately just want to be normal. To skirt off to dinner one evening with all the children is not an option that any of us relish. Soccer games, play dates on the beach, school plays, all are in the land of not a good option for Amos. Some may say that he is two and that's not unusual, but his way is unusual. He's not just a naughty kid running on the field or splashing people in the face. I can chase a happy toddler day long at a soccer game, but my tolerance for holding one while he hits me and cries is worn thin.
Goes with the flow is not a phrase that captures our Amos. He is more like the salmon that swim desperately upstream for their survival. He is often paralyzed with a new setting and struggles to flee the scene, imperative for his own sense of survival. He cries until he is deposited back in the car and even I'm not enough, as one of the most integral parts in his puzzle who needs me more voraciously than all of my other children combined. We are working on him but it is a slow journey, painstakingly slow, yet we see progress and it is meaningful for us. Minute progress detailed only by those that love him most, regardless of the flow he may never follow.