Compensation

Of course, I, as your mom, think you are an amazing baby.  But it stuns me sometimes how social you are; you are totally tuned in to people, everything they say, everything they do.  Your dad and I are social, but I wouldn’t say we have outgoing personalities.  My parents are also not particularly outgoing, or social.  Your Nana, however, is particularly social.  As was my paternal Granddad.  So, somewhere along the way, this personality trait skipped a generation or two, and I think might now be fully expressed in you.  

We were just at a big family reunion, lots of extended family meeting you for the first time, and I cannot tell you how many people just adored you and commented on your being the happiest, most smiling baby ever.  At first, new people, the loud voices, the crowd, made you nervous.  I think part of this was because only 5 weeks had passed since you were finally released from the hospital for the last time.  Strange people did not equal good things, during the very recent past.  So, you held back for a couple of days.  All of the great aunts and cousins were anxiously awaiting the moment when you felt comfortable enough for them to hold you, and once you realized this was just a big party, you shone.  And it was amazing to see how you just BLOOMED in the mix of the crowd.  Laughing, smiling, cruising around the room from person to person, just flirting and socializing with everyone.  Despite staying up way past your bedtime, multiple nights in a row, you never got cranky or fussy as your brother would have at this age.  And, when your Dad and I finally decided it was time to put you to bed, you were quiet and contemplative for the walk home.  Disappointed to leave, but content to be with us.

And all of this leads me to wonder…do people somehow develop innate compensations for their weaknesses?  Physically, you will always look different, and I wonder if somehow, since birth, you have developed an awareness of your physical differences, and have enhanced your social interaction, and just general overall adorableness, in order to compensate.  Biologically, it makes sense – had you been born 4000 years ago, your social personality might have helped ensure that people around you would help care for you (I’ve read something like this about babies, kittens, and puppies – they all have big eyes, chubby cheeks, stub noses, because adults think it is cute and will feel more attached and thus take care of them).  I wonder if somehow this works a little differently for you, because you know you are not a traditionally “cute” baby, you have amped up your outgoing personality to get the attention and love that you deserve. 

Regardless, the love and concern and care for you was obvious, when we were with family last week.  At moments like this, I truly feel lucky to be your mom, despite all of the heartache we’ve endured in your short life, and the heartache that is yet to come.

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Rocky waters

We are a little over 24 hours away from your appointment in the OR, Miss M.  And, the family stress level went from “medium” to “out of control” this morning.  Your brother acts up, because of changes in the household – Nana flew in last night to stay for the next week and a half, and he probably senses that there is going to be a change in his routine. When your dad is stressed, his limited patience becomes even shorter.  Those two things feed off each other and your brother was in “time out” three times within an hour, the last time with a lot of yelling on your dad’s part.  Which makes me freak out.  I hate yelling, I think it has no role in discipline.  So then I argue with your dad about it in the car on our way to work.  Because he is making Nana, your brother, and my own stress even worse.  I’m sure I have some role in this whole dysfunctional mess as well, but I, of course, think I react appropriately and perfectly – no yelling, just calm criticism.  But your dad gets even angrier with the criticism, and gets even more resentful and angry at your brother and me.

I wish I could figure out how to stop this cycle.  I try so hard to do so.  But I can only change my own behavior, and I’m too close to the situation to figure out what I can possibly change about my own behavior to help the situation.  If I knew, I would do it.  I wish there was some magical thing I could do or say to make your brother stop whining and your dad stop yelling.

But maybe I just need to let it go.  Let it go, my guilt over Nana and Grandma having to deal with our family stress too, not just helping with your recovery and playing with your brother.  Let it go, that they see our family at our worst.  Let it go, that it shouldn’t be this way, that we should all support each other and focus on you, Miss M.  Let it go, that your brother may have some emotional challenges to deal with because of the extra stresses during these times.  He’s a smart, strong, kid, and overall he still has so many advantages in this world, he’ll figure it all out and be ok.