Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Little Boy

I know I update a lot about A, but I don't feel like I really write about him, you know? I write about P, about our emotions preceeding and during his adoption, about our struggles, about his strengths and weaknesses and triumphs. And I write about my own triumph with creating a milk supply for A. But I just don't feel like I write about him enough (I don't feel like I write enough anyway, but that's another story). Or perhaps it's just that my mind is more frequently filled with thoughts of P versus thoughts of A, worries over emotional development and signs of trouble when I could be focusing on the positive, on a thriving life we all lead together. And really, our life is majority in the "positive" zone. P is a smart, articulate, loving boy who's been blowing me away this summer with the Kindergarten workbooks and study cards he's plowing through, a kid who makes me laugh constantly, a kid who hugs and snuggles and sings me songs and draws me happy pictures to cheer me up.

But see what I'm doing there? My brain is very preoccupied with P. Very worried about him, yet very proud of him at the same time. In a way my feelings for P are far more complex than those for A and thus require more thought. He's been a harder child, but much of that may simply be that he was the first, and as such has reached heights and situations from which his baby brother is still far removed. Who knows, perhaps in the end we'll have the same exact struggles with all of our children regardless of how and when they enter this family.

But for now... for now I focus on the tiny little bean. Well, not so tiny anymore. You see, my teensy, tiny, delicate little newborn has somehow blossomed into a thick, huge headed, smiley, laughing, chattering, shrieking, fast crawling, furniture cruising, food eating pre-toddler. He's big. He's social. He's really coming into himself.

He's also starting to separate from me, and while part of me is wiping my brow in exertion and saying my prayers over this turn of events, the other part has a somewhat achy heart.

This is the baby who refused to go without human touch, even while sleeping. He was slow in learning to sit up and needed to sit with his back on my stomach or my side, with me touching him and him repeatedly looking over his shoulder, almost warily, to make sure I was still there. This is the baby who could not handle a stroller or shopping cart and has been in both, combined, a total of about 5 times. This is the baby who needed to suckle for 1 minute after each bite of solids and needed me to hand feed him everything. This is the baby I could not put down and walk away from, even when he could see me, or he'd shriek bloody murder.

This smiling, independent soul is now willingly moving away from me, now happily pushing away so I'll put him on the floor, now crawling all over the room for hours on end, discovering every nook and cranny of every environment we allow him to explore. He's even started to reject the sling: Ergo or not, it still doesn't provide instant access to the floor.

He's reaching for strangers, smiling for my mother, spending the whole date night without us, laughing and playing. He's sleeping on his own bit by bit, returning a love life to our marriage and giving me space to roll around a bit in bed. He happily plays on the floor while I take care of household jobs or make food or even use the restroom, without him in my arms.

And every now and then? He lets go. He'll be holding my hand to stand up or pull himself up on furniture, and suddenly, out of nowhere, for just half a second, he'll let go of everything and just STAND there, on his own, strong and mighty and grinning ear to ear in triumph.

Oh, he is a proud one, telling himself jokes all day and laughing, making the same messes day in and day out, eating everything that fits in his tooth filled mouth (#6 just popped in this week).

And I am so, so proud, both of him and of this whole family and how we got this high needs, clingy baby so far along. And I am happy at his development, as any mother would be, and pleased to see him growing and filling in and moving on to 12m sizes when he held steady at 3-6m for almost 6 months.

But that part of my heart... oh, it aches!

Some day he'll wean. Hopefully not until he's age 2, which is my goal, but I can already see it. Those 5 minute or less nursing sessions, a quick pop on and off and away he goes back to the world. Some day, too soon, he won't need it anymore.

Some day he won't sleep in our bed. He's already half sleeping in the crib side carred to the bed. I don't often wake to find him snuggled in as tight as can be. As cold as our room gets at night I'll still wake to find him spread out in his bed with only a single foot touching my stomach or a hand resting on my shoulder. He still needs me... but for how long?

And some day, some day so, so soon, I'll put him down on the floor and he'll stand. Then he'll walk. Then he'll run. Some day he'll completely reject the sling. Some day he'll reject my arms. Some day he won't even look at me for reassurance.

And this is what I want, I know. In A we have a healthy, natural bond. We're attached, fully and completely. He trusts us and thus has learned to trust the world. He knows his needs will be met, he knows we'll be there if he needs us, and he knows he's free to discover the world around him. Whenever I see this sort of trust and resilience in Paxton I just about weep, realizing how far P must have come to even begin to have the same sort of trust that A has. And to know that we did this, that we gave him this safety, this security, this happy start, this ability to love and be loved, this ability to trust and this ability to grow uninhibited by internal struggle and fear.... some days it's almost too much to handle, good or bad, in its significance.

I can clearly see the difference between the brothers, not just in age but in internal trust. P is anxious, frightened. By A's age he was quite possibly already orphaned and being moved around, dealing with lack of food and space and love, dealing with strife and anger and abandonment, and it shows, my God, it shows so much now that I know what to look for. And the fact that he can act, 95% of the time, like your average, happy, playful child astounds me.

And to know that A will never have to go through that, that he can just grow and be just as any child should grow and be.... I am happy beyond words.

Alright, so this post deviated from my original intent, which was to whine about how I woke up to A sleeping soundly beside me at 6:30am and how happy I was to wake up next to him, again, as I have for 9.5 months now. I never wanted to co-sleep and, oh, how I'll miss it when it's gone! but the current plan is to move him into P's room when he's somewhere between 18-24 months. We'll see. We'll play it by ear, as we do most things in this house.

And now I return to watching him wake up from his afternoon nap... :)

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