PBS offers a line-up of genius children’s shows. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is one of them. There’s one particular episode we recorded and have saved on our Tivo. Babysitters: please don’t delete. 🙂 It’s called, “Daniel’s New Friend: Same and Different.” Chrissy uses walkers and braces, as her “legs don’t walk on their own.” The interaction between she and the other children is brilliant. They touch on any issue that may come up with a disabled child. The show helps any kid deal with feeling different from their peers. Daniel even becomes insecure when he realizes he’s the only one of his friends with a tail. Joey and I were so impressed. The chorus of the show is, “In some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same.”
Last Thursday, Finn wasn’t quite so different.
We attended the GODSA (Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association)’s fundraiser basketball game at OCU. Every handicapped parking spot was taken and there were about ten kids in wheelchairs.
Several of OU Children’s physicians volunteer time and pride to play their patients in wheelchair basketball. No standing allowed.
Finn came alive! He wanted so badly to go out on the court, but he obeyed and spun around on the sidelines instead. We felt like “real” toddler parents having to literally chase our child around the gym and lobby.
It was obvious that Finn felt confident in this environment. He performed donuts for the crowd and danced in his chair while the music boomed. I wonder if he felt more “same” than “different” here? Is it possible for a two year old to sense when they don’t quite fit in?
Sesame Street was playing in the background today while Finn chased a ball around the house in his chair. He stopped to watch the kids on screen jump and dance to some silly song, then wheeled over to me and pointed to his stander and said, “Stand!” He wanted to be upright. To stand like the kids on TV. I strapped on his AFO’s and fastened five velcro straps around his ankles, knees and chest to provide support. Once up, he said decisively, “Walk!”
This entire scenario has happened once before. The first time I cried when he asked me if he could walk. I wish, baby boy. I wish with all my heart that you could walk. It’s not fair. But this time I was less surprised and more proud of his bravery and initiative to try something difficult. I scooted with him across the wood floor while he swung his hips to propel himself forward.
I adore this child and am thankful for all those things that make him different and the same.