Sunday, April 22, 2012

Everyone's a Comedian

I always knew I wanted two kids.  I dreamed of having the “million dollar” family arrangement of one of each.  When I found out I was having a boy.  I was happy.  My husband was ecstatic.  I know this is going to sound cheesy, but he actually said to me, “Honey, since you are giving me a son, I want to give you the moon!” 

Ok, so I should tell you, he told me this while we were selecting new kitchen floor tiles, and he may have only meant for the moon to extend as far as our kitchen, but I like to think he was referring to something much more existential. 

After Noah was born and as he grew, so did my anxiety.  I loved him, but worried there wouldn’t be enough of me to cover the needs of two children.  In addition, the stress of the therapies, the seizures and a 10% increased chance of having another child with autism, caused me to pause. 

However, after Barb came into my life, everything seemed more manageable.  She was like a valve that allowed me to release some of the pressure threatening to break my fragile vessel.  So, when Steve and I decided to expand our family, I had only one request, “Dear God, please give me something different, I just can’t handle more of the same.”

Natalie’s delivery, unlike Noah’s, was planned.  Her entry into the world came the day after we discovered the cause of Noah’s seizures and were able to control them with medicine.  She arrived without fever drama and epidural complications.  She was more than a pound larger than Noah.  Instead of making an enormous protest about leaving her comfy quarters; she let out a small meow-like cry, then quickly closed her eyes like she couldn’t be bothered.

It has been interesting to watch the differences unfold. 

When Natalie was about six months old, I remember a scene in which I was sitting on the couch, her in my arms with Noah by my side.  Her gaze was fixated on her four year old big brother, when Noah commented, “You know Mom, she kinda looks like a moon.”  It was true, unlike Noah who has a slim face like mine; Natalie inherited her Daddy’s perfectly round, German noggin.  I giggled to myself, recalling Steve’s moon promise.

At eight months old, we discovered Natalie had several food allergies, among them peanuts, tree nuts and eggs.  How curious…as Noah preferred a routine diet of cheesy eggs for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. 

Today their tastes in foods are from opposite ends of the spectrum.  While Noah would be happy with a steady diet (if we'd let him!) of processed meats and cheese, Natalie prefers raw veggies and fruit...the only exception being bananas.  Of course, bananas are the one fruit I can count on Noah to eat without complaint.

With Noah you know what to expect.  He likes to live by a playbook of his own creation.  Once a rule is set – it’s set in stone.  It’s easy to follow, as long as you have a copy of the book.  While Natalie prefers a life of what if’s.  If you ask her a question and give her two choices, her response is usually to come up with a new option.  
Noah prefers an ordered room and likes to play with one toy at a time.  (A mother’s dream).  He likes things to go back where they were and can spot a misplaced Lego guy instantly.  Natalie, on the other hand, likes to cook up Littlest Pet Shops in her kitchen while donning a coonskin cap and tutu.  Her room is usually a tidal wave of stuffed animals and Polly Pockets caught up in a twister of discarded tulle and plastic bugs.  If you ask her why, her response is usually why not?

Sometimes I wish I could have a “Freaky Friday” moment and see as she does.  She doesn’t ask questions like, “why is the sky blue?” She asks, “what do clouds taste like?” and “what does it feel like to be awesome?” She feels free to paint skies yellow and grass purple.  When coloring, she puts no pressure on herself to stay in the lines…she pretends there aren’t any.

Natalie has helped show our family what is possible when you stop worrying about the results and start enjoying the process.  She has also taught us that by not always doing what is expected, you open yourself up to receiving gifts you never dreamed were possible. Because of this, I’ve stopped listening wholeheartedly to what the experts say.  Instead I try to stay in the here and now, but it doesn’t always work.  When I think of Noah and his desire to become a Jedi; I can’t help but entertain the idea that Disney MGM Studios would be lucky to have a guardian of justice like him on their team. 

I’m also reminded of a time when Natalie was four and asked me, “Why do boys have a penis?” When I told her that’s just how God made them, she countered with, “Does God think he’s funny?” 

Today I can say with 110% conviction, “Yes, Natalie.  I think He does.”

3 comments:

  1. LOVE your kiddo quotes--more, please!
    Love,
    Marilyn

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  2. There are plenty more! Stay tuned.

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  3. Aw... I love this one TOO!!! It gives so much history and beautiful insight into your motherhood journey with those precious kiddos. :)

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