Happy Thursday! We had a big day at the Bohlman house yesterday, Ollie is 5! He decided on waffles for dinner with all the toppings and a Dude Perfect birthday party! For those of you who haven’t heard about Dude Perfect, they are a group of guys who do trick shots on YouTube. The boys are definitely super fans and I can’t say that I blame them! Ollie definitely had a wonderful day full of lots of friends and family that loved on him all day.
Today has been a slower home day full with Christmas prep for the store, Magic Tracks, bike riding and park time. While we walked the trail at the park, Ethan and I got to talking about our boys, the last five years and how much our life has changed for the better. Adding Declan into our lives, I wasn’t prepared about how different our boys would be but on the other hand, how much Ollie would influence Declan.
Last week, Ollie declared that he was ready to take the training wheels off of his bike. So he did, and less than a day later, he was blazing around the neighborhood like he had been riding for years! His determination is focused and unlike anything that I have seen before. Ollie sets his mind to it, and it’s done. Seeing his determination, Declan got on his little balance bike and started riding as well. We have been trying all summer to get Declan interested and all it took was a little encouragement from his brother. Now we can’t get them off of their bikes for anything, well maybe just for ice cream!
But Declan has the upper hand in a lot of ways too. With friend making and social interactions, he is king. Not because Ollie isn’t social, he is actually very much a talker, but because Declan looks “normal”. He is just a little man who loves to play with others and needs to chat with everyone! Declan is Ollie’s ice breaker and tends to be a buffer by answering questions about Ollie, even though he is only three. Once the initial shock has worn off, Ollie fits in just fine. It still makes trips to the park or even soccer practice hard on my heart. Ollie often plays alone for a long time and eventually asks for me to play with him. Trying not to set him apart, I often send him back in to play but with a little guidance. Usually we try to point him to a certain child that is comfortable interacting with him or send him to join in with Declan. Without Declan, I feel like Ollie would have a much harder time breaking into certain groups.
Ollie often is judged by his outward appearance and never gets the chance to show his true self to others. I have never met a five year old who can put together Lego sets by himself, just by following the directions. Or pick up a bow and be proficient enough to hit the target every time by the end of the night. Ollie has been gifted the ability to concur many obstacles as well as have the ability to learn new things in half the time that it takes others. He is such a gift and wiggles his way into every heart that he comes into contact with.
As a mother with a child with a facial malformation, here are a few tips to help with interacting with others who are different.
- Let your children ask questions. We would much rather explain what makes us different and create an open conversation than see a parent make things weird by rushing their children away. Or having a parent pretend that nothing is different about Ollie.
- Encourage your children to play with everyone. Every single one of us has quirks that make us different, some more visible than others. But every one of us has value and brings a unique gift to the table.
Ok so I definitely thought I would have a few more tips… but those two seem to sum up the majority of my thoughts. Every one of us has a gift that can help others. Declan helps Ollie interact, Ollie helps Declan’s confidence level and encourages him to try new things. Ethan pushes me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to open up to others, I help him slow down and smell the roses.
It is so easy to judge by a first look, interaction, or off of story told from someone else. But never does that give a good assessment of someone. So instead, maybe we should open our hearts up a little, judge a little less and encourage those around us to let their gifts shine. You never know, that person who you just dismissed might just be holding the gift that you need to enrich your life.