My Little Wild Card

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Since M has been born, H and B have been all about me recounting their birth stories to them.

At this point, I’m telling them their stories so often that I’ve got them down to be pretty short.

For H: “I pushed for two hours, and then finally, I gave one big push and you came flying out. None of that cute, ‘oh the head’s out! Now the body!’ stuff. Just one push and bam! You were all out! And you were screaming (at this point I make a fake baby cry, which they find hilarious), the cord looped around your neck once, and you promptly pooped all over me. And I didn’t even care. You were perfect.”

So much of that short story sums up H’s personality too. She does everything on her own time. Sometimes she drags her feet and it feels like she’ll never be where I’d like her to be, and then when she’s ready she’s all in, and I’m flailing to catch up with her. She’s loud and in charge. Always. And even when there are obstacles that might hinder others (cord), she’s unaffected and still greatly intact; a mighty little girl. And, let’s be honest, she doesn’t care who gets pooped on along the way, ha. But she does it all gracefully, and you don’t even care, because she is so damn lovely.

And B: “Your labor was 8 hours of sporadicness, off and on. But when I was ready to push, all 9 pounds of you came out with ease. They placed you on my tummy and you were so calm and peaceful. I kept squealing that you were a boy, because I was convinced until then you were a girl, but you were so perfect. And right when I started to worry that you should be crying, you let out the most beautiful little noises.”

And again, it’s all so much of who B is now. I’ve always called him my wild card, which is funny because it is his sister whose middle name is Wilde. But I’ve never quite known what to expect with B. He’s ever changing, a rhythm enitirely of his own. Much like his labor. But once he’s ready, transitions are always so seemless for him. My tiny, peaceful observer who is always changing things up, and making sure he doesn’t get lost in the mix of it all.

Oh B. Sweet, lovely, adventurous, mischevious B.

There is something special about that boy. He’s changed me as a momma so much.

When he was one year old he was diagnosed with elevated lead levels. If it’s not something you are very knowledgeable about or have experienced yourself, it’s one of those things that is easy to brush off as “no big deal” and “thank goodness it isn’t my kid” and not think anymore of it than that.

What followed was two and half really intense years of researching and educating myself on something I’d never really ever heard about before. I spent a lot of sleepness nights just watching that lovely child sleep, wondering why him? Why us? What had I done wrong? What could I have done better?

I’ve long surpassed that. I know it wasn’t anything we did or didn’t do. Not even our historical house that I was sure would be the culprit. After extensive testing inside and out; it was ruled out. It didn’t stop us from doing renovations we couldn’t quite afford though. Or converting us to a more hippy lifestyle and The Great Purge of all plastic toys (we have since, obviously, added “unsafe” plastic toys back into the mix). We even had him and H’s car seats replaced.

It’s challenging to battle something when you don’t even know what it is exactly you’re fighting. But we knew exactly what we were fighting for, and that is all that mattered.

We will likely never know the true cause. Was it environmental? Something ingested (spinach and other produce can often have high lead levels if grown in soil with high levels)? Was it from his toys or carseat (lead in plastic is mostly unregulated)? Was it, as suggested a highly likelihood, that his body simply could not filter and remove the lead from his body, so “normal” exposure quickly rose to toxic levels in his tiny body?

We don’t know. We know it wasn’t until he was 4 years old that he finally had “normal” levels (there is no “normal” level – any lead is bad. But under 5 is considered acceptable. By someone).

But being B, he never let’s anything slow him down.

He’s got such a versatile personality and is up for nearly anything. I had no idea what was in store for us with B, but I couldn’t have asked for a child more perfect for this family.

He’s forced me to change ideas, to learn new things. His personality has taught me to parent him a different way than his sister, and likely his baby brother will be just as outstandingly original.

He’s allowed me to see first hand how sometimes pushing a kid is not in their best interest; that slow and steady wins the race. That he will come into his own on his own time. That first is not always best, that fast is not always best. That he is best, just as he is. And that some days I will have to dig deep into my parenting resources to figure out just how to parent such a laid back, sensitive little dude without causing too much damage in the process.

I think it’s easy some times to get caught up in what works with one child. We decide it’s law and we’ve got everything figured out. Even when your second child is as “easy” as B, you still have to be ever-changing and ever-bending. It’s okay to change your mind; it’s okay to do things differently.

Some days I worry that my little wild card will slip through the cracks of it all. That his laid back, easy personality will get overlooked because he just isn’t as needy or verbally demanding.

And then I remember that tiny, peaceful baby on my chest. And how he squawked just so in reassurance that he’s perfect; and can certainly never go unnoticed.

 

 

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