Girly is neurotypical. In the world of special needs, this is abbreviated as “NT”. It means that there has been no significant concern or disruption in her development. That is not BigGuy’s history. As a result, we are often pretty taken with some of the things that “just happen” with Girly because it wasn’t our experience with BigGuy.
She takes thoughts further and builds on them; and she engages you in that thought process. Some kids do this and just don’t engage you in that process. When it comes to BigGuy, there’s no real evidence that this process goes on. Don’t get me wrong: clearly he HAS ideas and thoughts. But his process for thoughts and ideas is very different in a way that is very isolating most of the time. It’s definitely getting better. He is much better at working with other kids and contributing to the flow of brainstorming than he ever was. But there is a clear difference between his ability to do this at age 11 and hers at just-turned-6.
It will be way, way, way too hard for me to articulate the difference in their social-emotional skills. Many would read about the differences and conclude that they are merely the difference between boys and girls. But it’s just not in this case. I know plenty of neurotypical boys my son’s age and he is definitely not the same. At the same time, I’m thrilled with the progress he’s making on that front. I’m sure part of that is the maturing of his brain, but the other part might just be the fact that we can hound him daily–all day–about appropriate or socially expected behaviors. I’m really thankful for that.
I love both of my kids dearly. I do. But at the moment, I’m very taken with and thankful for Girly and her neurotypical-ness. It amazes me in completely new ways from the way BigGuy amazed me. And I am overwhelmed with love and awe for her in completely different ways than I am for my son. I am so eternally thankful for her entry into our lives–into MY life, because she has filled a void in me that I hid so deep I wouldn’t feel it. She brings me to tears sometimes with joy for her existence. And the way her normal course of development gives me not only the things I would never have with my BigGuy; but helps me see how much we have been able to do for him. She does these things at 6 and he is just emerging some of these skills at 11. Occasionally, she has a skill at 6 that he doesn’t have, and it’s helpful for us to have an in-house NT kid.
And I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with both of them.