Oh those big green eyes! They were like wading into pools of emerald green tropical water when they welled up with inevitable tears. I found my own soul writhing in agony as I watched his pain. When a mother is helpless to aide their child, it is with a profound feeling of failure. I found myself in this state so many times in a day it all blended together.
When the moments were peaceful, his giant eyes would alight with stars so bright I thought I may die in delight. He was the child I had prayed for, for so many years and I was entranced and entralled by his unique and wonderful personality. We did everything together. I could attend to his every need because I was focused on being the best mom to this child that I could possibly be.
Feeding my boy was a challenge from the very beginning. Oh, he would scarf down a bottle in no time flat. He drank well and regularily. The signs the nurses told me to look for, that would indicate hunger, did not exist. He did not give even a hint of hunger until the pangs hit with a fury. I could not move fast enough to prevent the tortured cries of my newborn. He was just hungry, NOW. I tried inducing lactation so that he would have the benefit of breastmilk and bonding with me. It went fairly well except that he would feed every 2.5 hours and to get the whole system (Supplemental Nutrition System) hooked up took time and with his loud and desperate cries increasing as I tried attaching tubes, filling the bottle and getting him latched…well, it was all out stressful. We lasted 2 months. then we were done.
When it was time to introduce solid foods, he did not like it even a little. His face scrunched up with distaste as I passed the spoon filled with rice cereal into his mouth. A little later, we tried food with texture. Gagging reflexes ensued. He was a smooth texture kind of guy. That lasted a very long time. Getting him to feed himself was nonexistent for years. Tentative were the very first attempts and his reward was not sweet enough to get him to do it again. His first birthday found him looking at the cake instead of experimenting with his fingers.
I waited anxiously to see him acheive his milestones like rolling. Only, he wouldn’t budge. I nudged him over. He looked at me like, “What just happened and why would you do that?” I patiently showed him which part needed to go first to get over. He got it, eventually. Sitting was traumatic. We would prop him up and he would fall right back down because life was better lying down. He would bang his head and screech. I would set him up again and that darn head would drag him back down. Eventually, he realized he really hated falling on his head, so he would sit there with his arms all rigid and concentrate madly on balancing on his bum. An “army crawl” was his mode of transportation if he wanted to dare get a toy with wheels. He loved those wheels, rolling them back and forth and back and forth. He would do that for hours.
Learning how to walk was not self motivated. He seemed to hate the feeling of having his feet on the ground, especially on grass. But, we walked and walked and walked and encouraged and he finally did it! We were so proud! He learned how to walk on the outer edges of what’s considered “normal”.
Social functions usually ended up the same way everytime. Our boy would appear ok one minute, then end up screaming the next. Usually it was when he tried joining in with other kids. He just didn’t seem to understand what was going on. Or maybe it was too loud or….Birthday parties were a bust. Oh my. I can’t even tell you how torturous it was to have him look forward to a day so much only for it to go terribly wrong as the minutes passed. We learned to keep social outings as short as we could. As a pastor’s family we had a lot of social functions. We just did what we had to and hoped it would get better for him.
Through it all, We were just tickled to be his parents and so we thought we should do it again. Parenting seemed a breeze, once you got the hang of it.