You're special. I'm sure, by the time (if) you read this, you will surely know that to be true in various and sundry ways. However, right this moment, I'm referring to your actual birth.
Now, the birthing part itself wasn't anything much out of the ordinary, but... well, backing up a little bit: Most birth stories (that aren't induced or planned C-sections or emergencies) start with moms going into labor and then proceeding from there. Not you, though!
I went to the birthing center because they needed you born or they were going to take me to the hospital because you were three weeks past the estimated delivery date. I'd spent the day before there, too, trying all sorts of things to get you to vacate the premises. There was little reason to believe this day would be any different.
So it's almost like we scheduled your birth. The team said, "We'll hang out and hope he's born, or we're going to have to figure out why he's not coming."
I guess you didn't want to go to the hospital any more than I did, because it was kind of like magic. I went to the birthing center, not expecting much. Then when you decided it was time, it was time, and you were here within about an hour.
Thanks for that, by the way.
It was almost 13 years between your sister's birth and yours, but stuff came back. I hope you won't look back on your first year and remember it as the year of "Daphne never..." Come to think of it, you probably won't remember much, if anything, of your first year. So allow me to confess some of the things I've said and thought this year:
Daphne never wanted me to hold her.
Daphne never had a problem going to or staying with strangers.
Daphne didn't mind my being gone.
Daphne never thought of playing in the toilet water.
Daphne didn't just pull everything out of a drawer for sheer joy and then move on to the next thing.
Daphne didn't destroy books.
Daphne *did* eat dog food, but we were able to break her of that, which was good because I don't think our greyhound would have appreciated having to eat her food and drink her water off of the top of the clothes dryer like our cats are having to do because you, my darling, loved to splash around in their water, eat their food, and then get the water in their (very expensive) food, thus ruining it with mold when we discovered what had happened several days after the fact.
You get the point.
It's not that you were bad, or worse than your sister. It's just that, in many ways, as a baby, she was easier. But you owe her a debt of gratitude, because it was parenting her, my first child, that shaped the way I parent you. And I'm much better at it this time around.
You love her so much. In time, she'll realize what she has in you. But I wouldn't blame her for being resentful. Even if she doesn't remember how much more of a hard-ass I was with her (yes, when she was a baby), the fact is that I was. And I have regrets. So I'm determined that if I have regrets with you, they'll be different ones. And I dream of the day that you and Daphne will be great friends, making fun of me behind my back. I'll probably be too old to notice or be particularly hurt, and that will be awesome.
It's been a long year. It was a long first few weeks, and honestly, at two months, I couldn't believe that you were still sleeping with us. I felt like I'd go crazy if you didn't get into a routine and get into your own bed posthaste. But here it is, a year in, and you're still sleeping with us. You have some weird sleeping (not sleeping?) habits, like that you can't really stay asleep more than about an hour or two without having "help" getting back to sleep. That's with naps or overnight. So I'm actually glad you're still in our bed, because my having to get up that much would be crazy-making.
But it doesn't feel so urgent to "fix" anything about that anymore. It's you. It's who you are. And I love who you are, even if it's not exactly what I would have constructed if I could have put together the ideal infancy.
More to the point, the more difficult things about you have made me a better person. I had to choose to learn how to love you and deal with you the way you were, or to spend all of my time worn out and resentful and hopeless. I'm embarrassed to say how long I fought it, but once I realized that the fight wasn't good for anyone in this house, I've been so blessed to have it pointed out to me (by you, by strangers, by Facebook friends, and by my own laugh) how amazing you are.
You are amazing, son. Absolutely freaking brilliant. Stubborn. Curious. Desiring to interact and amuse. Strong. Opinionated. Percussive. Dramatic.
Dude, you're already talking! You say "Da-da" or "Dah" for your dad. You say "Da-dee" or "Da-naee" or just yell for your sister (because her room is at the end of the hall and she always has a fan on, so I'm afraid I call out to her and you've picked it up). You also say, "Kee-cah" or "Cah" for the cats. You say "Mama" when you cry, and sometimes you just holler, "Mom!" but I don't think you really call for me yet. You say "Ball" and you say "Beh-hum" when you want to nurse, for some reason. If you want a "Daphne never" positive comparison, your sister waited until she was almost two to start chatting.
You bark when you see or hear a dog. Or birds. Or a cat. Or fish. Or any animal, for that matter. Sometimes, you bark at your dad, and I think that means that you want to go see the ceramic ape he has in his office.
You understand so much. "Do you want to take a bath?" sends you walking to our bedroom. The other day, I asked, "Do you want me to wear you?" and you brought me the harness off of the back of your door. You respond to things like, "Can you go get the ball?" and even if you choose not to, you know what we mean. You also go get our shoes now as a way of telling us that you want to go outside.
My son, you have a favorite saucepan. You are always "cooking" or cleaning or pulling hair product out from under the bathroom cabinet and requesting that we use it with your "sss ssss sss" mimicry. You want me to put makeup on you. You're around me so much, you just want to do everything I do. In fact, I guess you think my new round drying brush looks a lot like the litter scoopers (in your defense, it does have a lot of holes in it) because one recent morning, you were leaned into the litter box, scooping around with the brush. It kind of worked. It took me quite a while to get the litter granules out.
You're not afraid of the dark at all. You'll walk around the house with the lights out just like it were daylight. I hope you'll always be confident at night, especially after all this time we've spent "creating positive sleep connections."
Tonight, you cried yourself to sleep for the first time I can remember. I wish I'd known what was wrong. It was almost like you were reliving that uncomfortable hour immediately after you were born. Just like that day, your dad and I held you, and we told you how much we loved you, and it's even more true note than it was then. It will only get truer and truer as you grow.
For some reason, God thought I'd be a good mom for you. I'm going to prove him right. I'm so glad you're my baby. Happy birthday, son.
|You're not scared of heights, either!|