Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A New Direction

A note about Braeden, for his birthday. He turns 4 this week, and is a once in a lifetime kind of kid. I don't know where to start except to say that he is exquisitely smart, shy and anxious. It is hard for me to describe what it is like to raise him... He's the kid that won't answer when spoken to, won't join the game, doesn't want to eat the cookie that was offered and doesn't smile at silliness. He is misunderstood, even by those close to him. Doctors, dentists and photographers freak him out. His preschool teacher asked me if he might be autistic (he's not) and said he was a slow processer (definitely not). He is afraid of stepping on slugs in the rain, trash on the sidewalk and poop on the grass. He is easily tuckered out. He watches Nova, and Bill Nye the science guy. Clowns are his nemesis. He is an extremely picky eater, and would survive on only milk, yogurt and cheese if I would allow it. He likes knock-knock jokes and is crazy about dinosaurs and fossils. He's been planning his birthday party for 3 months and wants a dead-meat cake and a T-Rex cake.
We have been working with a counselor for a few months because he is so anxious. She is lovely and assures us that he is a wonderfully wired, carefully created mystery who will become an amazing grown up. She says it's like Einstein... beautiful and strange and misunderstood. So we work on creating a safe world and on teaching those around him how to see him for who he is, and be patient with space, time and expectations so that he can be himself comfortably. We let him build nests (literally!) all over the house, cuddle in and soothe himself with his blankets and safe corners of the world.
He is especially good at finding and exploiting grey areas of the rules. He is an excellent negotiater, and can often craft an argument that will get him out of trouble. His memory always surprises me, but hasn't yet taught me to be careful of what I say to him!
Right now, he is full of separation anxiety. His world doesn't seem safe and he wants mommy to help him out. He wants to be cared for and carried. He creeps into my bed at 5 in the morning because all night in bed has given him too much space and aloneness. His tummy keeps him up all night before a school day, and sometimes makes it hard for him to eat.
Between the fears and the pain is my sweet and smart little boy, just being himself. David sees his shyness, and right away recognizes the pain of a shy childhood. I am still trying to remember that he is just small and shy and smart enough to know that so many things are out of his control.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's been awhile

Well, it certainly has been awhile since I posted. I doubt anyone bothers to even check in on the blog anymore! Sometimes it seems like everyone else has their muffins in the oven before I even get out the recipe.
Life here is busy like a blizzard. There is the press of constant change, and things to get done, but a feeling of being under a blanket and not being able to get anywhere quickly. And the work that just was finished is promptly being undone and, like the shoveling, must start again soon.
Isaac is 15 months now, running everywhere, and not in the least bit interested in holding my hand. He will hold on if he must, but for the minimum amount of time possible. Braeden was, and continues to be, an enthusiastic hand-holder, and sometimes won't move forward without his hand in mine. I have one wildly enthusiastic explorer headed for the road, and one thoughtfully cautious planner, standing still gripping my hand. It gets a bit tricky at times.
The kids are day and night in so many ways. Isaac is allergic to tons of things, most notably wheat and eggs (with a dairy intolerance). He LOVES food. He inherits my serious passion for eating. Only, there are so many things that he is not allowed to have that he howls in protest when he is not given a bite of something. He just knows he is missing out. Braeden has nary an allergy. His body easily tolerates anything that he deems worthy of crossing his lips. It just so happens that very few things make the cut. He is so particular that we were fine with him playing with Trival Pursuit pieces at 8 months old, because there was NO WAY that those puppies were going in his mouth.
Issac moves quickly and impulsively these days. He is passionate about dirt. For a long time it was part of his food passion, as he would eat any that he could get his hands on. Now he likes to sit, dig, roll in, lay on and, yes (still!) eat the stuff. He dives right in. Right now, Braeden looks at the dirt. He asks me where dirt came from, and why plants always grow in the dirt. He wonders why dirt sticks to the bottom of your shoes and if it has germs in it. He asks what it used to be before it was dirt. He is curious about it, but he is not interested in digging around in it... And so it has been with these two.
I love being a mother to these two. It is so interesting to have given birth to such amazingly different souls. I want to be more like each of them, and their contrast makes each of them shine. Today, right now, I feel so lucky!