Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dear Rooster / It's Hard to Be Five

Dear Rooster,
I don't know exactly why I wanted to write you this letter today, but I've been moved so many times lately by this sense of you growing up in front of my eyes, and that probably has something to do with it... I guess I feel like putting these thoughts down right here as I am is a little like a bread crumb trail I leave in time. (How many times have you heard the story of Hansel and Gretel?! Toooo many! I finally hid the book; I don't like, among other things, you getting the notion that "stepmother" means "evil!")

You are my five year old boy, Rooster, but I still can look at you and see my little baby clearly, and I can't believe how big you are. I can't say, like some parents do, that the time went by so quickly. Ever since the first day I held you, time has done some funny tricks.... days will drag by slowly, and then suddenly, whammozammo, weeks will fly by, but mostly it has felt like at least five years! In a similar way, you will struggle with something in a protracted battle, to the point I want to cry for mercy, and then, whoosh, you conquer it and zip off to the next thing, leaving me with a slack jaw wondering what just happened.

Oh, my sweet boy, we haven't had an easy road, but, as I liked to proclaim long before you came along, I like things challenging, and easy can be boring. You are so not boring. You are beautiful and complicated, and I cherish you.

This week daddy took you to yet another new doctor, and this one is called a DAN doctor. This is new and confusing stuff to us, but we are expanding our horizons. Yes, this is going to mean some more medicines, and even more dietary rules, and no, I have no idea if this will be helpful or not, but your daddy and I have read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and we think it's worth a shot. Then, today, I took you to Dr. D, our osteopath/naturopath, or, as I like to call him, our voodoo doctor. He is the one who thumps you with a, er, massager thingy, and rubs your head, and today he was, uh, well, working on your strabismus, I think. I can't even WRITE this stuff without feeling a little shy about it, because I know that it sounds wacky. But I have seen on more than one occasion how a visit to Dr. D has helped you feel better, communicate more, and behave better, so I am happy to take you there.

As of this week, our ABA increases to EVERY day after school for two hours, and today our ABA friend JT asked you to describe your daddy. You said, "His name is J and he doesn't exist." Clearly, we still have language to work on, and it has not been your best week for pragmatics. On the other hand, I loved eavesdropping on you and your sister in the playroom tonight, calling each other "Sweetie Pie" as you TOOK TURNS with your IMAGINARY PLAY and the Tinker Toys. The first time you ever verbally initiated recipricol play with Peaches, about a year ago (right after we started the GFCF diet), your dad and I teared up and grabbed a video camera. You have come so far, and I'm very proud of your progress.

When we started ABA, potty training was our number one goal. It seemed to take forever. We'd already been at it for YEARS. And you put up a heck of a fight when ABA began. And then, it suddenly seemed come together, and time did one of those funny tricks again. When was the last time I needed to restock your emergency clothes in your camp/school/babysitting backpack? Suddenly I can't remember. On our trip to the East Coast, you managed to successfully navigate new, public, dirty, and even airplane bathrooms with very little issue. As I like to tell you, and as you love to quote, "I'm so proud of you I could bust."

At the doctors, they weighed you in at 50 pounds. Crazy! I pick you up sometimes now and carry you (like today when you didn't have your shoes and we needed to get across a hot blacktop driveway) and think, "I gained more than this when I was pregnant with you... HOW is that POSSIBLE?!" Only this week have I gotten back down the weight I was before you were born... again, I wonder how that is possible, too, that it could take me so long. We do things in our own time, don't we?

Next week's medical appointments include a trip to the dentist, so he can pull your two front baby teeth, since your two front adult teeth have already come in behind them. How weird is that? It's commonly known as "shark teeth," and while it isn't so rare, I had never heard of it before. So we aren't going to see that little gap tooth smile that usually marks the losing of the first teeth, but, again, we often do milestones a little differently at Casa del Rooster.

Tomorrow you are going on a field trip with your camp, and I know you are going to have fun. I also know, though, that as you pass your former school, where your sister still goes and I still work, you are going to tell me, "I want to go to my REAL school, mommy. PLEASE, mommy, take me back to my school." I know that we'll get through it, and that you'll have fun on your field trip, but I know that I will feel the sting of your request. It is bitter sweet not having you with me at school anymore. Like many things, it is hard, but it is right.

You're sleeping now, my gorgeous boy, with the head full of curls that only recently emerged where stick straight blonde used to be. You are sleeping and growing and dreaming, and I'm hoping soon I will be sleeping, too, just a couple of rooms away. It's the end of another very long day, and we'll each wake up tomorrow a day older. Today was a day that dragged, but tomorrow could be one that flies. With time passing in such crazy fits and starts, I feel better having taken these minutes right now to capture a little piece of our now, so that we can both reread it sometime later, and know that we did have this time. That we did have good, and bad, and love.

Oh, as I wrote that last part, I suddenly got it, I see why I needed to write this letter tonight. Rooster, a lot of women around me are having babies lately. As they do, and as I see them serenely carrying their contentedly cooing wee ones around, I find myself wondering, "Did I MISS it? Did I do it? Did I experience it ENOUGH? Did I have a baby like that? Can I still feel those memories? Did I embrace it? Or did I MISS IT? I hope I didn't MISS IT. I hope it was GOOD?! I hope we were happy?! I had my babies, too... it wasn't all lost or terrible, was it?" And on some level I know: we did it our way, and we did cherish it. There was plenty of good amid our challenges. The questions I have come from pure fatigue, pure exhaustion... but as tired as we were and are, the love is and was always there, always special.

So that is why I write this letter. In case later we wonder, Did we do Five? Was it embraced? Or does everyone else get five and we just missed it all?

Rooster, we were here, and, more than that, we were kind of happy sometimes, and we were full of love. And I knew it. I made sure to stop and know it. My eyes were open, my heart open.

And I love you, as always, so big, forever.


pixiemama said...

I want to fly across the country to sit in your car and have that talk again. You know which one I mean. I will tell you again and again and again. Someday you'll hear me. Until then I will just tell you again how much I love you and how wonderful I think your little family is.


Niksmom said...

Simply beautiful. And love. Yes, never any doubt that there is love in Casa del Rooster. xo

Anonymous said...

'we did it our way, and we did cherish it'

yes! yes! yes!

Kate said...

G - this is a lovely post. How good for you, and for him down the road you can capture your shared journey. Your grace and love shines through.

and I've been a boob for not reading your blog lately. It's always so worth the time to get a view on your life and perspective.