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Oh. Yeah. That. No.

The Easy vs. The Good

(Fair warning here: this post is one big emo crybaby jag away from being my own LEAVE BRITNEY ALONNNNNE! video, even though it is not about Britney at all)

(But for real, people. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONNNNNNE!)

So there's this song on one of Noah's Signing Time DVDs -- it's over the end credits and has made me emit a Free-Hugs-Campaign-Like-Snorfle on more than one occasion. Rachel (Signing Time host/creator/Noah's favorite thing this side of creepy animatronic choo-choos) wrote it for her husband, presumably sometime after their first daughter was born deaf and their second daughter was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy:

It was you and me and the whole world right before us
I couldn’t wait to start
I saw you and dreams just like everyone before us
We thought we knew what we got

And then one day I thought it slipped away
And I looked to my hands to hold on
And then one day all my fear slipped away
And my hands did so much more

So maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good
No, maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good.

And this is where I'd dissolve into a puddle of mush, because SO BRAVE! So inspirational! So RISING TO THE OCCASION!

(Bear with me, folks, it's been a hormonal day year decade.)

I've been singing that last chorus a lot this past week (in my head, of course, I have no desire to inflict that sort of suffering on my family), mostly every time I come to Typepad and stare at a blank entry page.

I'm so tired of this. Of writing the same, whiny entry about how hard therapy is and how badly Noah behaves at his little classes and trying to think of a new and "funny" way to describe a temper tantrum. And really, what's the point? This little blip in Noah's development has been documented enough. I've gotten valuable advice and support and my goodness, it's been a huge help. (Transitional objects from home! Photo album of the classroom!) But at this point, I don't really need any more reassurance that we're doing the right thing, because I know we're doing the right thing. I know it will get better, but in the meantime how many times can I write that hey, we aren't there yet?

There are plenty of blogs out there where you can read about how tough motherhood is and how much it can suck and how impossible kids are. I never wanted to be of those, particularly since this blog was always intended to be read by its very precious main subject someday.

Lately I've struggled with a lot of stuff I never wanted to be. Back in the pre-Noah days, when I bargained with God and the universe for a baby, back when I pledged a Holy Mother Christ-like level of care and love for whatever hypothetical baby I ended up with. Oh, I was going to do everything right and lovelovelove shinyrainbowunicornbutts. I was never going to yell or lose my temper or be that mom storming out of the grocery store dragging a limp-noodle screaming toddler behind her by the arm with that grim look of oh my god I will KILL the first person who even DARES look at me cross-eyed and judge my parenting.

I guess some days the best you can hope for is never again. Or maybe just that it'll happen when you're shopping at an off time, thus reducing the number of witnesses.

(Here's where the bad stand-up comedian in me wants to slide in a rimshot like, "Motherhood Would Be So Much Easier Without All These Damn Kids!" Ha! Lemme cross-stitch that onto a sweatshirt for ya.)

It's certainly not in my nature to sugarcoat anything -- more so these days than ever -- but by writing about and focusing on the Hard, I feel like I'm missing out on the Good.

On Wednesday Noah sat in my lap and ate some Cheerios and after a few minutes I slid him into a chair next to his classmates. He stayed there. He poked a piece of pineapple when asked, he shared his cup with the girl next to him, he obediently put his plate and fork in the clean-up bucket. He went to the bookshelf like the teacher told him to before resuming his temporarily paused freak-out.

On Thursday he played well with the other children during free time. He watched a boy send a car down a slide and started to go for the car before pausing to see if the other boy was really done playing with it. He used sign language to ask for a turn. The other little boy signed no, and Noah calmly went to find another car. Free time ended. Stuff happened. It was hard. But then he sat and ate a snack and drank from a juice box for the very first time.

Last night he took a pasta noodle and pressed it across his face like a mustache. He declared himself to be "a PopPop!"

Img_8867

It's all so very, very good.

Comments

Donna

It's been forever since I've had a chance to look at your blog, my apologies. The reason being, I, too, have a son around your Noah's age. And, as you, I've fretted about his speech delay. Mostly because people don't let you relax if your kid isn't speaking full, complete, and comprehending sentences by one and a half. He's also WILD. I mean, he hits the floor running before seve in the AM and I haul to bed screaming because he's not tired. And trying to see things from his point of view is difficult. At his two year check-up I remember being almost defensive when asked how many words were in his vocab. "Um, about 8, but he has sounds for certain words like motorcycle, and tractor that are distinct. And, he has some hand motions for other words. We understand him."
At any rate, there's more to all this and I'm not going to bore you and all your friends with it, but I read another post about some "questioning" some of your decisions and I just wanted to say you're right about how you feel. He's your child, what you're doing is what you believe is the best for him and that alone makes it the best for him. There are alot of choices for us as mothers for just about everything out there, making it seem as though as mothers we have to defend the choices we make just because some one else might make another one. You don't have to defend your choices to me. That's all I have to say. (was that too sappy?)

sheilah

It IS all so very very good. Watch him sleep, treasure his hugs and kisses, memorize all the good. It will help you through the bad.

And continue to be the proactive mom you are.

You rock.

eowyn_2

You know, I like the good.

And I know that sugar-coating isn't a good thing, but nobody dogs on sour-coating. Reality is both, and I enjoyed today's good.

Thank you.

Molly

Although you have a hundred others just like this...I'm so happy for you.

nora

Aw. I want to hear that song. You are doing great.

Chantelle

He is so darn cute!

lizinsumner

He's not only cute, he's brilliant! And, on a side note - it's soooooo hard to leave Brittney alone, because she makes it so easy!!!

Jill S.

I have 3 kids, and my middle child experienced very similar behavior to yours. Oh those first five years were the biggest challenge of my entire life! I look back now and fondly review to them as the deep dark years of hell. The good news is that the saying is true -- what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. I promise. PS He's adorable.

Lin

"Motherhood Would Be So Much Easier Without All These Damn Kids!" And every mother on this planet can feel that sentiment.

It reminded me of a cartoon in The New Yorker a few years ago...Two women have their hands clutched in front of their hearts as they look at a king-sized bed, beautiful and tiny little baby clothes spread out in a profusion of cuteness all over it. Then the pregnant one looks at her girlfriend and says something like, "God, but I love baby clothes. It's the actual baby that scares me."

Your beautiful boy is making terrific progress.

Kyla

Keep talking about it, really. It helps you. But it helps me too...it reminds me of how far we've come...of how lucky we are to get to witness our kids go through things that might not be easy...but man, is it ever good. And that means a lot.

nik

this is one of the best posts i've read (by anyone) in a long time. *hugs and adoration and luck*

Amalah

I'm ashamed to say that I've avoided my own comments section this weekend -- I don't generally acknowledge trolls or mean-spirited comments, and I was sure I'd made things worse and blaaaaaaah.

Molly, thank you for attempting to clarify your comment (and honestly I'm sure everyone's opinion of you was unduly colored by your i-agree counterpart), but...yeah. I didn't call you an idiot because you weren't agreeing with me or cheerleading or anything, but come ON. To insinuate that I have no business wanting or seeking a second child because I get frustrated with my first and vent about it on a blog? That is pretty mean. If you didn't intend it that way, fine. But obviously I wasn't the only one who read your comment that way.

I LOVE MY SON. I love him more than anything ever and oh GOD, I am tearing up just thinking about him up in his little bed, snoring peacefully and I cannot wait to see him tomorrow morning. He. Is. Perfect. I am blessed.

Our life is goddamned beautiful, and I can't wait to share it with another child, no matter what issues they come wired with, at two or three or seven or 13 or beyond.

Anyway, my pg tests this weekend were negative, so you can rest easy that I won't be fucking up another kid within the next nine months or so.

Alison

Mean people suck. Don't let their comments get to you. They obviously have their own issues. You're right, your life is beautiful and you have every right to want another child. You are excellent parents and Noah will be an awesome big brother. It will happen.

Colleen

Baby steps on the bus, Gill.
--Bill Murray


Amy, besides helping your own son, but your documentation of your progress also helps some of us who have questions about our own kid's development. Our pediatrician wanted Gavin to go to Child Find and we kept thinking it was going to be bad, bad, bad. But after hearing of your experience, we got brave enough to do it, too. And it wasn't that bad. It was nice to get the reassurance that he was doing alright and what we could do to help him along more. It also helped to hear the reasons why Gavin would respond the way he does to certain things. So thank YOU for helping US, too.

Oh, and I'm sorry, but Molly's comment was pretty harsh...that's just rude rude rude to ever tell anyone besides a coked-up whore to not have anymore children.

Colleen

er, that would be "your documentation"...no but intended

Lynn

I don't know if you'll even get this far down the comments, and I'm kind of commenting against my better judgment, but here goes. You sound really overwhelmed. Not that that's not perfectly understandable, but my own experience tells me that in a situation where you are highly emotional (again—perfectly normal, I’m not criticizing) you are simply unable to get the perspective you need to handle a tough situation or even hear good advice when it’s offered. You have 2 highly emotional things going on at the same time…frantic worry about your child and trying to do everything possible to make sure he grows up healthy and happy and OK and desperate craving for another baby. These things are primal. They dwarf other things in your life because that’s the way we’re wired.

But.

Your recent entries, in spite of your ability to laugh at yourself and use humor to dispel sadness, sound like you are really having a very difficult time coping. The best thing I ever did was to see a therapist when I had post partum depression. The depression was chemical, but the things I was worrying and obsessing about weren’t and she was able to help me work thru my own frantic thoughts and get my feet back on the ground.

My kids are almost teenagers. I know how important all those early childhood milestones seem at the time…especially with your first kid (you’ll get WAYYYY more laid back the second time around), but for what it’s worth, my own experience tells me that if your child has normal intelligence and nothing physically wrong with him, he’ll meet them eventually and it really won’t make a whole lot of difference to his life if he meets them sooner or later. He’ll talk. He’ll read. He’ll go to school and parts of it will be great and other parts of it will suck and he’ll come home and tell you in tears that he hates it and he has no friends and the next day he’ll tell you that school is the most wonderful place ever. Just like most other kids.

I guess what I’m saying is that you’re not doing anyone any good, including Noah, by living in such an emotional state and if you can figure out a way to kind of climb out of that a little bit it would be good for both of you. Really, my best wishes to you and your family.

Jeanne

Hi. I'm fairly new to your blog. I have worked with people with disabilities for over 20 years, have been a parent for almost 30, and I think you're doing a great job. Keep up the good work.

And continue trying to have another baby. It's the best thing you can do for your family - because it's what you want. And continue to write about it - it helps you, entertains us, and will be cherished by Noah when he's grown.

That's my opinion. I'm always correct - just ask my kids.

jsdcreative

Oh Amy,

As if anyone who reads your posts (even Noah, years from now) could ever ever doubt the intensity of your love for your little boy. And while I agree it's so important to maintain a positive mindset, many many readers understand how hard it is to maintain a chirpy optmistic happy smiley all-is-great exterior when going through some pretty challenging situations.

Motherhood -- and doing it well -- surpasses any other pastime that I know of in the range of emotions it calls up in the parent, and the depths of character required to get through the day with grace, love and humour. It's an enormous responsibilty, true, and extremely frustrating much of the time, but it surely has to rank up there as the most profound experience of my life, and one that I am privileged and blessed to be party to on a daily basis.

Motherhood isn't a role. It defines who we are, and it brings out both the best and worst in ourselves. The bad days can seem so all-overwhelming, but really, those are the small islands in a vast sea made up of small miracles and precious moments that can be so fleeting, so intense, and yet so everyday and commonplace. Somehow we have to figure out how to transcend the drudgery and routine of everyday tasks and challenges in order to be able to see how these moments, these small little fractions of time, accumulate into the magical tapestry that weaves our and our children’s lives together into something truly beautiful.

All this, to say one thing: we as readers have the privilege of perspective that allows us to see the bigger picture of your very own tapestry…. Which is precious, beautiful and extremely poignant.

And some day, G-d willing, Noah will have the privilege of seeing himself unfold and come alive through his mother’s eyes. I wish my own children were as fortunate. You are doing holy work, my dear. Never forget it. :-)

Brighton

Oh girl, I just totally lost it reading your comment. I'm so sorry the test was negative, I know how much you want to share what you have as a family with another baby. I cannot believe that anyone would have the audacity to tell another woman that they have no business having another child. (I agree with the "unless you are a coked up whore" comment, which clearly, YOU ARE NOT!)
As a mom to four- three of whom have disabilities, I get you. I really do know where you are at right now, and it does get better.
This is your blog, your space, your life & feelings. We are just lucky as readers to get to check in every so often and take a peek at the wonderful home and life you have : )

birdgal

I am late to this party, but I just wanted to say that the 'bad' happens to everyone and sometimes it's hard to move past it. An anonymous woman made my DAY at the park yesterday when she saw me carrying a screaming, crying wet noodle (or two year old, whatevs) to the car and said: "I was just telling my husband that I hoped I wasn't the only one that had to deal with a freakout every time we left the park." Her knowing smile made me feel SO much better. And really, that's all it takes.

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