Today is Jake’s birthday. Like all mothers, it’s hard to believe when your kids suddenly look huge yet it feels like they’re still little babies. The sight of Jake is especially jarring to me because of the way he came into the world.
Nine weeks early. He had people to see and places to go. What a shock his birth was. I’m not an overly emotional person (my sister in law comments that if anyone in my family was informed of a catastrophe she is fully confident we’d wear the exact same expression as if the person had said “Mail’s here.”) but every time a picture of a NICU or an infant in an incubator comes onto TV or is in a magazine, I’m immediately transported back to the early days of Jake’s life.
It’s amazing everytime I realize that his birth is not just a memory in my brain, but it’s embedded in my skin, ready to spring to life whenever something reminds me of it.
Beth was premature, too, but I was prepared for her and the feeling associated with her NICU stay is completely different. Weird stuff.
But, Jake’s happy and so proud to be six. He’s amazing and crazy (he is like me in so many ways that I actually feel bad for him sometimes) and, unlike me, wears every expression imaginable. He’s one of those people who lights up a room, rarely hesitating to engage others, ask questions, offer his opinion.
But perhaps the strangest thing, or biggest difference between Jake and his sister is he seems to have an core lack of trust in his parents. In his eyes, since the time he was an infant it seemed, he never let us show himÃ‚Â or tell him anything.
Today, he doesn’t believe it when we tell him something will be okay, when he try to get him to settle down, to not be afraid. And what’s weird about that is that for the first year of his life, he was inconsolable most of the time. Nothing we tried soothed him or helped him transition from wake to sleep, from dressed to undressed, from starving to eating. No soft tones or ways of holding him convinced him to settle down and just enjoy the fullfillment of his basic needs.
He just has to figure everything out on his own.
In contrast Beth believes everything we say. She calms from hysteria to a smile with mere words, touches, holding, and she’s been that way since she was incubator-bound, too. Both are great in different ways (I’ll tell you more about Beth when her birthday arrives in two months), but so very different.
Sorry for the long rambling post, but this is what’s on my mind today…