I wrote about my daughter yesterday, so I suppose I should write something about my son today or I’ll be accused of playing favorites.
When I was PG with him, I could lay on my back and stare at the new mountain that was my midsection and see him rolling around in there like some horror movie creature that crawls up under your skin and moves around. He was never still – always kicking, always shifting. When he was born we had two weeks of relative quiet because the doctor had used a suction cup on his head to extract him, which left a big old blood filled hickey knot on his head that raised his billiruben levels and caused him to have jaundice. The doctor was late for a soccer game and was impatient with nature taking its course. What his haste meant to me was that my son had to lie under lights 24/7, why I don’t know, and go to the doctor every day to have his poor little heel pricked to see if the hemoglobin levels were improving. It made me very sad because I wanted to cuddle him all the time and instead here he was in a box thing at my house with a little Lone Ranger mask over his eyes sleeping in a diaper to expose as much of him as possible to the lights.
I should have counted my blessings, because at exactly two weeks of age he started crying and didn’t stop until he was seven months old. Everything made him miserable. I was on the phone to the pediatrician or in her office daily worried sick that he was suffering from some undiscovered disease that, if she would just examine him one more time, she’d find and cure and he’d stop crying. All I ever got out of her was the word, “Colic.”
That’s how I became an expert at quieting babies. I rocked him, put him on a clothes dryer, ran water, bounced him, sang to him (which made the crying worse even though, I’m telling you, my voice isn’t that bad). The things that worked best were perpetual motion of any kind – he got quiet when you moved and immediately bellowed when you stopped.
He’d quit crying if we rode in a car, but only to a point. Riding around worked great to get him to sleep, which he never wanted to do for any length of time, but you had to be careful because if you drove too far and turned around to come back, and he woke up before you were home, he’d scream his lungs out because he didn’t want to be in the car seat.
As a consolation, I had read that very smart children often were colicky because they were bored. BORED? This child had continual entertainment. How could he be bored? But I thought that if he were bored, at least it followed that he was smart, and that helped.
Around seven months he shut up. It’s the natural course of colic, but it just seemed like someone flipped a switch and he became a sweet, happy baby. Not that he wasn’t sweet on occasion before – there were delightful moments all along, it’s just that the colic overshadowed them all.
He learned to talk faster than any child anyone had ever heard of. His first word was “ite” for “light.” He loved that word and found an Ite everywhere he looked. Christmas was an ite delight. By nine months he was stringing words into simple sentences. I read in one of the baby books that it was okay to let your toddler curse because s/he didn’t know they were bad words and you shouldn’t restrict their creativity. So of course, through no fault of mine, he picked up the word “damn” and really liked the way it rolled off his tongue. “Damn, damn, damn,” he said. Isn’t that cute? I wasn’t nuts about the cussing, but I sure didn’t want to stifle him.
One day we were at the mall and he was about thirteen months old, toddling around in a quiet area saying, “Damn, damn, damn,” when I got a slap of a dirty look from an older woman who did not approve in the least. If she’d had soap in her purse, he would have been foaming at the mouth. That look was enough to get me to tell him not to say that word any more. He loved me at the time (or else he didn’t know how to argue), and just quit saying the word to make me happy.
In fact, he was a great one for listening. I could put his hand near something warm and say, “Hot,” and he’d repeat, “hot.” Then he’d feel the warmth and I’d say, “Don’t touch it. Hot,” and he’d say “hot” and wouldn’t touch it. Most other kids will touch something you tell them not to out of curiosity or bull-headedness, but he trusted what you said. At the time, anyway.
He was the most beautiful baby and toddler on earth. People stopped us everywhere we went to compliment me on his looks. I should have farmed him out as a baby model but I was afraid it would give him the big head.
One time I took him to the beach when he was about 9 months old. He loved the whole beach thing until he started eating the sand. He literally grabbed a fistful of wet sand and stuck it in his mouth and swallowed it. Over and over. I have a picture of him with sand running out the corner of his mouth. I guess he liked the salty flavor, which is also why kids eat PlayDoh. I tried to stop him, and scooped out as much sand as I could from his mouth, but the minute I looked away he had stuffed another handful in there. The next day was rough on both of us, if you catch my drift. That sand had to come out somewhere, and as it traveled along its way, it was like sandpaper. Poor little sweetheart – I should have told him the sand was “hot,” but I don’t think it would have done any good.
So thus ends the anecdotes about my son. I should do a word count and make sure both of my children got the same amount because they’d probably fight if one had more. They’re getting better now, but still, it makes no sense to take chances.