Special Parenting: Lessons on Perfection

I’m enjoying a break from blogging as my family settles in to life with our new baby. However, I”m leaving you in the hands of some very talented guest writers.  Today, Simple Kids is pleased to welcome Deanna Smith. I think you”ll be very touched by her words, as I was.  – Kara

When I was newly pregnant with my daughter, the thoughts filling my head were competitive, fierce and determined.

My spirits were high to not only be the most stellar mother possible, but also to have the most perfect, beautiful, smart daughter ever before seen on this earth.

I had a checklist: she would crawl at 6 months, walk at 9 months, begin the violin at 3, read ridiculously early and just overall be a genius/prodigy. I looked around at all of my friend”s babies and made mental notes so that I could push my child to beat all of their milestones.

You can imagine my surprise and dismay when I discovered that my baby girl had Down syndrome and a number of health problems.

It was quite a big adjustment to stop thinking about the competition aspect of parenting and just wonder if my baby would live.

I learned an important lesson while 20 weeks pregnant that I think would have otherwise taken me years and years of parenting frustration, full of heartache.

Each of our children are unique and perfect. It”s not about who does what first. It”s about finding the personal best and hitting it with the appropriate amount of hard work necessary to achieve the milestone.

My daughter, Addison is now 16 months- and just starting to cruise along furniture. My old self would have been devastated by this seeming deviation from my original plan. The new Deanna? Is thrilled that Addison is working so hard and achieving so much given what she has been through. I cheer on even the tiniest of accomplishments for the wonderful miracle of achievement that it is.

Personal best. Individual developmental rate.

Those aren”t just words.

And this isn”t a competition.

I plan on enjoying my perfect daughter exactly how she is. Struggles? yes. Hardships? yes. Loved almost to a fault? you bet.

Your child doesn”t have to be just like everyone else”s to be perfect. Sometimes the hard things are what makes your uniquely individual child the way they were meant to be.

I”m so thankful for my daughter and the fact that she chose me to be her mom. We make a good team.

Don”t let the haze of competition and need for the “perfect” child cloud your love and appreciation for the child that you were given. Every child will have struggles and hardships, but then again, that is just all part of who they perfectly are.

This mom learned that lesson- the hard way. Now onto the other 999,999 that parenthood has yet to teach me.

Mother to a little girl named Addison blessed with a little something extra, Deanna Smith blogs over at Everything and Nothing from Essex. She discusses issues as far ranging as raising a child with special needs to whatever random issue might cross her path- such as her take on how to get rid of all of those annoying summer flies. Addison is soon to be joined by a little brother which will no doubt add a new dimension to the Everything and Nothing. Recently transitioning from music teacher to stay at home mom, life is never dull as Deanna enjoys mothering one of the most beautiful little girls ever. Turns out an extra chromosome does add extra beauty…as well as an extra dash of personality and mischief.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. I totally agree that each of our children are unique and perfect. and we should try to understand how, and who they are…
    katie´s latest post: עיסוי ספורטאים

  2. This is a beautiful reminder, thank you. Important to remember for the daughter already here, and the little one, arriving in just a few weeks…and even, for myself as both a mother and a daughter. Life doesn’t always hand us what we expect, but we get a whole lot beauty just the same, if we can only recognize it.
    Diana´s latest post: Front Page Coverage!

  3. becoming a parent has a wonderful way of knocking you down a peg or two doesn’t it. I had ‘perfect plans’ too when I first got pregnant…. of course I learnt that I couldn’t plan having a child, or in my case it turned out to be two, and quite prem….
    But despite our best laid plans going up in smoke I am willing to bet learning these lessons and being a mum to gorgeous, special, wonderful people has made is better people!
    katepickle´s latest post: Things I Know in Words and Pictures.

  4. Personal best. Individual development rate. These words are true for ALL of us. Awesome lessons taught by a little precious girl!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: Taking care of unfinished business

  5. I thought I recognized that face when it popped up in my reader, and yes, there is my little buddy Addison! Deanna, I am constantly impressed with your humility and maturity — it’s such a lesson to this old lady. 😉 I love the idea of striving for our personal best. I’m keeping that one.
    Jessica´s latest post: Is Plastic Good for Teens? (Frugal Friday)

  6. these is deeply inspiring.. i bet parents should learn about this one.. so as to keep and have a better relationship with their kids.. often times when they show their kids a sign of dissatisfaction, their kids feel pressure, and this pressure can cause personal problems with them that may affect their relationship
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  7. Thank you so much for your story. I, too, have a daughter with down syndrome. I find the hardest part of being her mom is teaching people to see HER, not her downs. She’s almost 15 now, and she is such a “regular teen’! I wouldn’t trade or change anything about her at all. There are some traits about her that she will NEVER lose! That is a true blessing. I thank God for allowing me to be her mom.

  8. Thank you for sharing the ongoing story of your beautiful little girl. I have a little girl with similar challenges (microcephaly) who almost died when she was 2 weeks old. We’ve also had our definition of “success” reordered for the better. She has taught us so much about real joy!

  9. Phil Horner says:

    My son has Cerebral Pasly. This book has been very powerful in our lives as we navigate the new normal.

  10. We have neighbors like that, always in the yard instructing and critiquing their son’s ballplaying (from the age of about 3 on). Every ball he throws elicits a comment, either praise or criticism, helping him to be his best. Can’t they just play ball for the enjoyment of it? I don’t think life is all about doing your personal best. It’s about doing what we love, with the people we love.

    She’s a beautiful girl, btw.
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  11. Deanna, thank you so much for sharing your story. I had many of the same ambitions as you when I had my first child… and then my first child fell ill with a serious bacterial infection (meningitis of the brain and spine as well as sceptcemia), My entire center of gravity changed in an instant. I didn’t know whether she would live and that is all that I cared about regardless of the complications that meningitis babies suffer. Blessings to you and Addison.

  12. What an inspirational story! Personal best and Individual developmental rate should be every parents goal in life as I believe it’s the key to our children’s happiness. Something that’s easily forgotten in this world.
    Judy´s latest post: How to Keep Your Kids Safe in Your Home

  13. I agree, each one of our children is perfect and unique as he is, we should listen to them and to learn what are their special gifts they got from god, we can start from loving and caring parents, not all of the kids have that.
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  14. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! And what a wonderful lesson for all of us to learn! Your baby girl is beautiful!

  15. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how our children teach us to be better people, if we just listen to them? I’m nowhere near being a perfect parent, but I’m a better person than I used to be, because my kids are teaching me how.
    Pumpkinbear´s latest post: Montessori Mapwork, Now Poster-Sized!


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