“The word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1: 4-5
He was a typical one-year-old boy. He was full of energy, strong and loved to laugh at lot. People would comment that he is a happy baby because he smiles a lot.
Then God added years to his life and he began to “mature.” At three years old, I thought something was wrong with him. As a wife of special education teacher, I was always on my toes trying to assess him because if indeed there is something wrong with him, I want to address it right away and seek early intervention ASAP. I searched the net for the “signs” he was exhibiting. It seems to me he was defying everything I tell him. He would be opposing me all the time and I found that very frustrating. So I saw the condition related to autism which is Oppositional Defiance Disorder or ODD. So I prematurely concluded that Coby has ODD. I searched the hospital for a developmental psychologist right away to confirm my “findings”. Finally, we went to see the doctor and we waited while he assessed Coby. After such time, the doctor spoke to me with a tinge of sarcasm, “Mommy, stop over-analyzing your child. Nothing is wrong with him. He is as normal as any three-year-old could be.” I really felt embarrassed and then I jokingly replied, “Doc, do you think I need the assessment?” The doctor laughed in agreement.
Throughout the years he has developed close friendships with the kids of former cell group members. Since they are mostly of the same age, he easily bonded with them and looked forward to every meeting with them. He also made friends in Sunday school. Coby looks forward to visiting his cousins and playing with them too.
This summer however, I realized something about our eldest son when he attended our church’s Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). Coby has been attending DVBS for three years now but this year the DVBS program was changed which incorporated more time for games and bible study. Whenever we get invited to kiddie parties, Coby would not join any of the games. Despite our prodding, scolding and encouraging, he would glue himself to the chair and not move at all. Unfortunately, for him, DVBS has more games now and they encourage all the kids to join. As I looked at the the other kids excitedly joining the games, I watched Coby sit on the sidelines and do something else. I would observe him everyday for one week and really felt frustrated that despite the teachers’ encouragement, he would still not get up and join any of the games. One afternoon after DVBS I talked to him and explained to him how fun it is to join those games. He insisted that he did not like joining because of the noise. I just ignored his reasoning and continued to talk him out of it. The following day, I thought my so-called talk with him worked. He stood up to join but did not finish the game. I was fuming mad and acted like a stage mom at that moment. I was not so proud of how I acted that time, I let the enemy take hold of me. After that moment of drama with Coby, I told him to go back to his group.
I was asking God, why is my son like this? Why is he not like other kids. I admit that I was jealous of the other kids’ moms because their kids are “like the other kids”. But then I realized after much prayer, that each child is unique. Like what God said in Jeremiah, He was the one who formed Coby in my womb. He was the one who gave Coby his unique traits, his character. He already knew Coby was going to be different from the other kids because he created every one special in His eyes.
He does not lack social skills as some would put it. He relates well with his friends, his cousins, older people and new acquaintances. He talks, talks and talks a lot. I realized he is just not like me. I am the outgoing, extrovert type while he is more introspective and has a quite nature. That is why he enjoys drawing because there is not much fanfare when he does this. Drawing and music relaxes him. In fact, up to this time he would hum a tune whenever he draws or creates something out of his Lego. Sometimes too he would hum while munching on his favorite cheezewhiz sandwich. Although he enjoys playing with other kids, he would prefer being in a small group only. He does not thrive in big group settings because it overwhelms him. This is who Coby is. This is how God created him but I know in God’s time Coby would come out of his shell. In fact, he has been showing confidence in talking to other people and “reporting”. Because he loves to talk, I told him he could be a reporter someday. He said no, because he wants to be an inventor (see, even his career is introspective). Then I said, well maybe after inventing something, you could explain your invention to other people then he said that it was a good idea.
Coby sharing what he knows about dinosaurs to his Papa
I realized that I need to accept how my child is different from other kids, even how different he is from his sister. He has God given qualities that make him who he is.
I suggested he take soccer for summer, he does not like he says. Then what kind of sports do you like? I want golf Mama! Uh oh! Me and my big mouth!