The Blue Rose (Gerda Klein)
- May 26, 2022
- Ally Cohen
- Special Needs Parents
The Blue Rose by Gerda Klein
Jenny is a little girl--a lovely little girl. She has brown eyes and dark brown hair. If her hair falls into her eyes she brushes it away. But her hand does not go straight to her forehead. Instead, it curves like a flower first opening its petals. Then she brushes her hair out of her eyes.
You see, Jenny is different. Different? Yes, different from most other little girls.
But surely all people don't have to be alike, think alike, act alike, or look alike.
To me Jenny is like a blue rose.
A blue rose?
Have you ever seen a blue rose? There are white roses and pink roses and yellow roses, and of course lots of red roses. But blue?
Every gardener would love to raise a blue rose. People would come from far away to see it. It would be rare and different and beautiful.
Jenny is different, too. And so, in a way, she is like a blue rose.
When Jenny first came home from the hospital--a pink baby, all cuddly and round--she cried very often. She cried more than most babies.
Well, perhaps she saw different shadows that frightened her. Perhaps she heard sounds that were strange to her. When she was older, Jenny always stayed close to her mother and held on to her tightly.
You know, when a kitten loses its tail it is said to gain sharper ears. It's true that a tail helps a kitten run faster. But a kitten without a tail hears better and can detect approaching footsteps long before other kittens do.
Some people don't know about such a kitten's fine ears; they only see the lack of a tail.
Some children are cruel and stare and taunt: "The kitten has no tail! The kitten has no tail!"
Sometimes, Jenny would run up to her mother and clutch her tightly, for no apparent reason at all. At least, for none that we could see.
And so we came to understand that Jenny's world was a little different, unknown to us in some ways. We began to think that she was in a world in which we might not feel completely at home. To go there might, in a way, be like going to another planet.
In a way, it's as if Jenny is standing behind a screen, a screen we cannot see. Maybe it has beautiful colors. Maybe the colors distract Jenny at times from paying attention when we talk to her. Or perhaps she listens to music we cannot hear.
It is said that dolphins have a language and a music of their own, carried by the waves. Music we cannot hear because our ears are not fine enough.
So Jenny might hear sounds we never hear. Maybe that is why she jumps up at times and goes into her awkward dance.
I sometimes think Jenny is like a bird, a bird with very short wings. For such a bird, flying is hard: it takes more strength, more effort, more time. A bird with normal wings takes flying for granted, but a bird with short wings has to work much harder at learning. In a way, it has to be smarter.
And so, therefore, we have to understand how much Jenny has accomplished when she does learn something.
But there is another Jenny. A Jenny who, on a stormy winter afternoon, sits in her rocking chair alone and rocks, holding her doll in her arms. She is very troubled and puzzled, and she says, slowly, "Mommy, Sally says I'm retarded. What does that mean, Mommy? Retarded? The children say 'retarded', and laugh."
"Why do they laugh, Mommy?"
There are many things Jenny does not understand.
And there are many things other people don't understand about Jenny:
that Jenny is like a kitten without a tail;
that Jenny hears a different music;
that Jenny is like a bird with shorter wings, and has to be protected.
Jenny is like a blue rose, delicate and lovely.
And because there are so few blue roses, we don't know much about them.
We only know that they have to be tended more carefully.
And loved more.
While they may look similar in external behaviour, temper tantrums are an angry or frustrated outburst, while autistic meltdowns are a reaction to being overwhelmed. This infographic to help you distinguish between the two.