The anonymous comment really got me thinking. In reference to our Disney trip, it read, "I just think it's sad that Benjamin wasn't included. He would have loved it too!"
Now I do not think this person's intent was to be malicious. I truly don't. I didn't take it that way. In fact, it may very well have been a person whom I call a friend. But let me explain. Not because I owe anyone an explanation, just because I want to. It is all interconnected to my thought process lately.
I tell you in all honesty that I am not sure that I would bring a typical 20-month-old to Disney. Vacations cost a lot of money to go on. So you want to get as much out of them as possible. For Disney, when you bring a toddler, you are definitely slowed down. Naps are a lot more important. Meals are a lot more complicated. The others of you can't all ride a ride together unless the toddler can ride, too. So selfishly, it was easier to leave him at home.
But Benjamin, as you know, is not typical. He has Down syndrome. Sure, physically, he does pretty well. He can walk around in the house well enough but struggles in shoes (therefore outside). He would have been in a stroller or in our arms the entire week except the few hours we were in the hotel room. Not exactly optimal for anyone, but especially for Benjamin.
In the lines for the few rides he could have ridden, we would have had to hold him the whole time b/c you can't have strollers in the lines. He is mobile and therefore would not have enjoyed it.
Would he have enjoyed some of the rides? Probably. The lights, the colors, etc.
But that takes me to my next point. Right now, he is 21 months old. Physically, I would say he is probably like a typical 13-month old. Can walk some but not for very far before he stumbles. He cannot go up stairs well. He has no depth perception, so when he gets on things (hearth, couch), he stumbles off, sometimes head first.
However, mentally and verbally, I would say that he is like an eight-month old. Eight. Months. Old.
This is based purely on memory of how Andrew was, and how other babies are.
He does not understand me when I ask him questions. He does not respond to anything but his name. If I ask him if he wants more milk, I may as well be asking him if he knows the quadratic equation.
He just doesn't get it.
He says no words. He makes sounds, and he has one sign ("more") which he uses very infrequently and often at the wrong times or when he doesn't even mean it.
At the library lapsit program (for ages 18 months to 3 years) yesterday, I was nervous before I went. I took Andrew to this program for four or five (six-week) sessions. He really enjoyed it. But I was so worried that Benjamin's delays would stick out like a sore thumb. I knew that since he wouldn't understand what the teacher was saying, he wouldn't be content sitting in my lap (or on the carpet square in front of my lap) for very long, so I had to bring his pacifier, which I usually only use for sleeping. I knew that when it was time to go up and get a book out of the box, he wouldn't have a clue what to do. I just knew. And I was right. Only it wasn't all that obvious b/c most people were busy trying to wrangle their own kids. But when all the kids were around the box of books, I put B right in front of it. Kids were grabbing books, and B just walked away, completely unaware that it was even a box. Not that I can let him have books anyway. He chews on books (even board books) and I have no way to explain to him that it's wrong. He just doesn't get it. When the teacher passed out colored, laminated car shapes to the kids, and had them stand up and dance when she called out what color car they had, I knew. Not only could Benjamin never tell what color car he had (which is pretty advanced for a typical 21-month-old, I'll admit), he didn't even know he was holding a car. Or what a car is. Or what a color is. Or what it meant to stand up when it was your turn.
Yes, he is cute.
Yes, I love him with all my heart.
But he is still a baby.
And I am not taking a baby to Disney World. I know many people do it. That is their choice. It was not ours.
The point of this post was not to bash anonymous at all, so please have respect and don't do it in the comments. The point was to show you that Benjamin is still very much a baby.
That is all for part one. Part two to come later. :)