The Exceptional Babies of 2000

Leo spent a very happy weekend at camp. Good for him, good for his parents: Seymour and I were able to rest and partially recuperate from epic, miserable colds (our delighted girls did not complain about bonus video time).

While Leelo was off winning a certificate for "best bounce house performance," Seymour and I went to church as a couple for the first time in several years. There we witnessed the 3rd and 4th grade Catechism (a intentionally reclaimed term) class's Right of Passage ceremony, which celebrated those children's journey from childhood to youth. The children read self-composed personal credos, lit candles, and were warmly embraced by the entire congregation.

As the children filed onto the sanctuary's dais, I realized that many of them were baby and toddler peers of Leelo's, from the church nursery. That was an unexpected blow. But I am getting used to these woulda-coulda-shoulda land mines -- I cannot be waylaid by them if I wish to be a functional person -- so I shook off the emotional shrapnel and let myself be happy for the catechumens.

It was especially good to see kids of that age thriving, good to see them making spiritual and developmental strides, because in my experience that's not the case for most of their peers. In my personal circle, children born in the year 2000 have more developmental and situational challenges than any other children I've met. It's eerie.

I'm not only writing about the families we've met through Leelo; many people to whom I allude have been in our lives since before we became parents. And of course it's not all of the 2000 babies; many of them are just fine and in fact exceptional -- in a good way. But even so, I often find myself thinking about these children, and why it is that they have it so hard. I know it's silly. I know there's no correlation, no causation. But I will always hold a special place in my heart for the babies of 2000, and their families.

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  1. I've been thinking about this post. I'm sorry that was a pang-filled experience for you, that Catechism. As the parent of a relatively non-exceptional (in the sense you're talking about, not in the sense of us thinking she is the brilliantest, etc. kid in the world) child who's around Leelo's age, and knowing mostly other neurotypical kids born in that year, I've always had the impression that the Babies of 2000 are disproportionately strong-willed, socially-attuned powerhouses. And, for some reason, disproportionately girls (really--most of the people we knew who were pregnant at the same time as RW had girls).

    Maybe it's geographical? Or maybe we're both especially attuned to peers of our respective kids who have more in common with them?

    I hesitated to post this comment, not wanting to toss more emotional shrapnel your way, but I've been wondering and wanted to share that.

  2. Els, I always like to hear about children who are doing well, especially children I know and love. No schadenfreude here. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I noticed many among my friends, who didn't necessarily have kids at the same time I had Tristan, have kids with issues, especially autism. I kind of wonder if it isn't that we happen to have that certain mixture of personality traits that makes us more likely to have an autistic kid... We were largely a group of people that didn't really fit in with anyone else...

    I've got a friend who's boy is 2 yrs older than my oldest, Lola, who I knew at 5, who was dx'd with Aspergers in middle school. I'd not seen it in the kid when he was 5, but then it occurred to me he was surrounded by people who shared common interests, and we were all a little different ourselves, so it seems not so surprising we don't recall any symptoms when looking back, as he was in his ideal environment at the time.

    Another friend that I haven't seen in ages has 2 girls in between Tristan and Lola's ages (so one of them may be a 2000 baby, I don't remember T was born in 2k2, Lola in 1998). A mutual friend told me one of her girls has autism as well...

    of course every person I've met with an autistic kid outside of T's school, has a kid that can talk (and about half of the few in his school can as well), that's a bit more disheartening for me...


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