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Mother of the Year I Ain’t, But They Seem to Be Okay…Amazingly

KidsNot to brag or anything, but I have GREAT kids.  Absolutely wonderful, marvelous, intelligent, witty, entertaining kids, and I adore each and every one of them.

Okay, so I’m bragging.  Shoot me.

I never really cared much for children until I had my own.  In fact, I still don’t care much for children except my own.  All right, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but my kids are definitely better than your kids; don’t even bother trying to argue with me about it, because, gee – you’ll lose.  I know everyone thinks their own children are exceptional, but in my case it just happens to be true.

Seriously, though, before Oldest Son was born, I never thought I could love another human being as much as I did him.  It took me totally by surprise – it still does.  Sometimes I look at him and wonder how the poor guy ever survived being a first child and all the mistakes I made, but he did.  A quiet and serious child, and the epitome of the angst-ridden teenager (he was emo before they had a word for it), he grew up into a serious, responsible, level-headed adult who takes an avid interest in politics and culture and has a wicked sense of humor.  We are about as close at it is possible for a mother and son to be.

When I found out I was expecting Darling Daughter, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to love a second child as much as I love Oldest Son, so, again, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t so – I could, and do, love her every bit as much.  My Rebellious One, she often seems devoid of the common sense that characterizes her older brother (and her younger one, for that matter), and I often wondered if I was going to survive her adolescence.  Beloved calls her “Teflon Girl” because she has an uncanny knack for getting herself into situations that you just know are going to turn out badly, then coming out of them completely unscathed – and often smelling like a rose.  The fact that she is beautiful (I don’t have a picture that does her justice) as well as one of the most charming people alive probably helps a great deal.  I kid you not – the girl could sell air conditioners to Eskimos.

I talk a lot about The Young One here, mostly because he’s the only chick left in the nest, but also because not a day goes by that he doesn’t just amaze me.  Three months premature and weighing only 2 pounds 4 1/2 ounces, we were told it was quite possible he would’t make it.  Needless to say, he not only survived but thrived – at least physically.  In fact, he was quite precocious physically; he sat up, crawled and walked way before the norm for a preemie.  But by the time he was two, it became clear there was something wrong.  Perhaps very wrong.

He didn’t talk, for one.  At all.  In fact, he didn’t talk until he was nearly five years old (now you can’t get him to shut up).  He didn’t seem to take much interest in the world around him, although he could focus on one specific activity for periods of time that was frankly amazing for a toddler.  He threw terrible, horrible temper tantrums that no one could do anything to stop until he just wore himself out.  He had (and still does) issues with food – it practically took an act of congress to get him to try a new food, and he would often gag when eating.

I had his hearing tested, I took him to a speech therapist and begged the doctor to have him tested for Pervasive Developmental Disorder.  He refused, saying The Young One simply wasn’t on the autism spectrum, which I felt was bullshit – I still do.  And as The Young One got older, his problems slowly but surely got better – or we just learned to deal with them more effectively.  The temper tantrums gradually stopped, he began to take more of an interest in his surroundings, although it’s just been in the last few years that he’s really begun socializing with kids his own age, and he began to talk (quite a bit, actually…sometimes to excess).  Even today, though, he will begin a sentence then start over, sometimes several times, before he finishes it, but even this is becoming more and more infrequent.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that it occurred to anyone that he probably suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.  I haven’t had him formally diagnosed, and probably won’t since the older he gets the milder his symptoms become; he is, in fact, at 14, practically asymptomatic and I see no need to needlessly stigmatize him.

I simply enjoy that I can have instant message conversations on Yahoo like this with him and his brother:

Me: So, what are you up to this afternoon?

The Young One: Nothing, really.  Watching Glenn Beck.

Me: Why on earth are you watching Glenn Beck?!?!

TYO: There’s nothing else on.

Me, to Oldest Son: Your brother is watching Glenn Beck.

OS: Well, tell him to stop before his brain rots.

Me, to TYO: Oldest Son says to stop watching Glenn Beck before your brain rots.

TYO: He’d rather I watch Bill O’Reilly?

OS, after I relayed that message: Well, he has a point there.

For other exceptional posts about other exceptional children, visit Sprite’s Keeper and the Spin Cycle.


22 comments

You are so lucky to have not one but three great kids! Usually, people pop out more than one to up the odds that ONE of them will turn out okay and you hit the jackpot three times! (Okay, that was a joke, and not a good one, but you get it.) You’re linked!
.-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..The Morning Routine Rhumba =-.

You do have a wonderful family!!!!!!
.-= Nothing Fancy´s last blog ..Like I Don’t Have Enough To Do Already… =-.

Arwen says:

If that photo doesn’t do her justice, she must be beautiful indeed. And your sons sound like fun. Any parent that IM’s with her kids is pretty cool in my book.
.-= Arwen´s last blog ..I guess it’s true =-.

I don’t doubt at all that you are mother of the year. Your kids are lucky to have you. When PR was in 2nd or 3rd grader I took him in for testing because I was convinced he was dyslexic or something-I-couldn’t-put-my-finger-on. Two thousand dollars of testing later they told me they had never seen results like his … they couldn’t put him into any given category. I knew for sure he was MY KID then … I’ve never really “fit” anywhere either! : )
.-= Twenty Four At Heart´s last blog ..Famous Plastic Surgeons Can Be So Sensitive =-.

DarlingDaughter says:

We love you too, Mom. Thanks for giving me such awesome brothers :)

LindaP says:

You’re right. You have a great family!
.-= LindaP´s last blog ..Friends, Boating & The Tiki Hut =-.

stoneskin says:

Smart kid. Glad the symptoms are fading.

I talked pretty late, I made a lot of noise before, but never talked. Then one day I just opened my mouth and spoke in full and clear sentences, it was like something hadn’t clicked and then it just did!

Pseudo says:

Is it just me or do your daughter and youngest look like they could be cousins to my two?

I loved this post. I hope as my children get older I am able to maintain as close of relationships with them as you have with yours. You’re a great mom and you have great kids.
.-= Pseudo´s last blog ..Happy Birthdays Nephews… =-.

LPC says:

Oh my goodness. Your daughter chimed in. Excuse me. Must go wipe tears of sentiment from eyes.

Rebecca says:

Love the instant message conversation. Sounds like an awesome family there!!! I hope my three come that nice.

Love this post. You’re lucky and they’re certainly lucky.
We always know better about our own kids, don’t we?

Michele says:

Isn’t it great when the kids go from… well… kids to friends. Ours did that and I love it. Great family you’ve got there.

My kids can so beat yours as the best, LOL!!!

Monica says:

Wow…this is the first time I have seen your crew. I wouldn’t dare argue with you about your kids being the best…As the saying goes “There is only one most beautiful child…and every mother has it”

Isn’t it amazing how just when you think you could not possibly love another child more…another comes along and proves you wrong.

In addition to my sons brain injury during birth…he was also diagnosed PDD..which in case any of your readers don’t know what that is…it just means that he exhibits some characteristics of Autism. The autism spectrum wide and varies greatly from person to person.
Pervasive developmental disorder means he doesn’t fit 100% in any one area.

Jan I have a great friend who has twins about the Young ones age..One is autistic…the other Aspergers. My friend is very knowledgeable about the subject. In addition to her own child…she is an occupational therapist and has worked with children on the spectrum. She does a blog radio type show on that topic. I’ll send you her web address just in case you may want to ask her some questions.

I love this post Jan…and your children are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with us.
.-= Monica´s last blog ..She Passed, I Lost, We Found =-.

Duchess says:

I feel just like you do about kids — except now that I have had four stunning ones, I actually understand how other babies might also be lovely. Just not so lovely as mine.

I also think I understand a bit about your thoughts on TYO’s brain and how it functions. Fact is, the doctors don’t know a damned thing. I have two spectacularly bright daughters who couldn’t quite do what the teachers thought they should. It’s a long story.

The brain is such a mystery. Stick with your instinct.
.-= Duchess´s last blog ..Moving house =-.

Lori says:

Oh Jan, this is so beautiful! They are beautiful. It actually doesn’t surprise me that you have the children that you do. I love this post because it’s so real and it’s so awesome that you are able to share proudly these amazing children of yours. I love reading things like this…thanks for sharing!
.-= Lori´s last blog .. =-.

You do have great kids, Jan. Of course it’s no secret where they get that incredible charm and sense of humor.

@Pseudo-Now that you mention it, they sure do.
.-= Smart Mouth Broad´s last blog ..AND WHEN I DIE AND WHEN I’M GONE =-.

A Free Man says:

Tell them to turn off the bloody Fox!

Seriously, cute story and a wonderful testament to parenthood.
.-= A Free Man´s last blog ..And i just wanna stand outside and know that this is right =-.

Be says:

Well see there you go. Never trust to right – trust to reason. And when it comes to children, trust to the Montessori method (note: I have never sent my kids to a private school but DO understand the “method”). I have known this boy since he was four. I missed some of the worst of it, but I NEVER thought there was ANYTHING wrong with him. He just thinks and operates differently than most people – and THAT is a GOOD thing.

They are ALL good, smart, extremely witty and compassionate kids. And I can say this without a mother’s bias. Of course, I FULLY appreciate where they get it from. Love you all!

Mama Badger says:

Your kids sound great. The fact that they interact with you and eachother says a lot.
.-= Mama Badger´s last blog ..Spin Cycle- Kids =-.

Monica says:

This is my friends web address. http://sensorynanny.com/
.-= Monica´s last blog ..Creation Duel =-.

My brother is just as witty and I LOVE IT! I think it’s fabulous when kids can really understand and take in the value (or lack thereof) of the things around them.

Good spin.
I spun too!

Tricia says:

This is a heartwarming and beautiful post. Your children sound absolutely fabulous and I think you deserve lots of mothering awards and kudos. I know the path hasn’t always been easy or straight, but what a wonderful crew you have.
.-= Tricia´s last blog ..Creating Her Own Moment With a Renewal of Vows =-.

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