Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Switched at Birth

If he weren't such a freaking carbon copy of his father, I swear sometimes I'd wonder if this child of mine hadn't somehow, in those first hours  of life, been switched at birth.  You know, when I was doped up on morphine, totally unaware of the fact that I'd even given birth yet, and he was three floors down in a NICU incubator (who's bitter? not me! no sirree!).  But, as I said, he does look exactly like his father, and the hospital did have those identifying wrist bands that have to be matched up before you can even set eyes on the baby and have to be removed with a blow-torch upon leaving the hospital (those newborn protective eye shields are wicked cute), so it's probably truly unlikely. 

Let's consider.  There's the apparent lack of passion for all things food related (perhaps with the exception of fruit leather--Ethan would live on nothing else if we let him).  At three and almost a half years old, he still tips the scales at a feather-weight 25-ish pounds.  I've given up fretting about it completely and have come to realize it is because of all of that moving around with the speed and perseverance of an hummingbird on crack and the not eating, well, really anything.  But that's him.  It's how he's always been.  It is so NOT Husband or me.  We're pretty much up for eating whenever, wherever.  Husband would live on steak and potatoes and I'd happily never eat anything but a carbohydrate ever again.  And, erm, it shows.  Between us, we could stand to lose the weight of a second grader.  So, watching this human being that we created between us challenge Nicole Ritchie in a "Who can show more ribcage-match" is baffling.  

Even more baffling, is Ethan's blossoming love of numbers.  If you know anything about me (either personally or from reading the blog), you know that numbers and I are not exactly close.  We just don't "get" each other and long ago parted ways (sometime around the introduction of long division).  For years, up until my junior year of college to be exact, people kept trying to get us into the room together to talk it out and try to understand each other's languages, but to no avail.   I can admit that I have about as much chance of understanding anything mathematical that goes beyond simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division as a fruit fly does of being able to comprehend a text on macro-economics, written in any language, really, but for the sake of emphasis, let's say, Swahili.  Just not going to happen, friends. 

But Ethan, who has been counting for quite some time now, has in the past few days decided to get his whole body into the act--or at least his fingers.  He has started figuring out how to show 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 using his fingers.  And much like when he was learning to stand up, or walk, it has taken over his entire world.  Games are interrupted so he can show me he has 2 cars in his hand, by holding up two fingers.   If he sees a car like Husband drives as we walk down the street, he says, "Look Mommy! One daddy car!!" and holds up his pointer finger proudly. I keep expecting him to bust out in a "Ha Ha Ha Ha" like The Count on Sesame Street.   

My favorite is the number 3; watching a 3 year old try to figure out how to get his thumb to hold down his pinky is priceless.  

Watching him is, at once, clearly the most enthralling thing ever--watching a little kid learn new things and acquire a new skill puts a lot of things in life into perspective for me, especially in terms of my level of gratitude for all I can do; it is also terrifying in a way, because I realize that some day--he's going to know more than me.  Be able to do more than me.  There's going to come a time, sadly sooner rather than later, when he's going to walk up to me with his math homework, ask me to help him and I won't have the knowledge to be able to.  

What if he thinks less of me when he realizes that his level of knowledge in a certain area has exceeded mine?  Will he start to think, "wow, my mom really didn't do anything but stay home with me and bake cupcakes.  She can't even help me with my fractions."  I mean, later on, I'll be able to help him analyze the crap out of Shakespeare.  But fractions?  Decimal points?  And....ratios?  It's embarrassing how it all jumbles together in my head when I see it.  No can do. 

But for now, I'll take some deep breaths, be grateful that Husband gets all things numerical, so at least Ethan will have the help he needs when the time comes.  And I'll tuck away this memory from tonight and save it with all of the other precious ones:  Ethan falling asleep, eyes closing, breath evening out into sleep, his fingers ever so slightly bending themselves into 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 formations and his lips moving every so often to count out loud until he drifted off.  


nuckingfutsmama said...

While he may not remember things like counting together, he will, no doubt, remember that you hung out w/him baking cupcakes. Kids remember the little things, and those are what really "add up" in the long run. Pat yourself on the back for that, among many other things! :-)

jimmysmom said...

Happens about 5th grade when you have to look UP at him when giving the "No, you can't got there with 'whomever' because..' and you just can't think of a really good reason except he is still that very bright LITTLE guy. And then the time will come when you see what a good Dad he is, going through the same stuff you are going through ..payback time, yep, but priceless.

Leap Year Dad said...

Hey, our little man had 26 imaginary friends. You know..A, B, C, ...At least that is a closed set. The numbers? Oi! that could be all day just to get them lined up. We had to put those alphabet puzzles away in alphabetical order. There is a test for patience when 'H' decided to go on holiday and held the rest of the letters up.

Becca said...

I love how smart little kids are!! Call me when you have math homework questions and I'll call you when mine are struggling through their English homework. Because they are in TROUBLE if they need help from me in English class.

cicadalady said...

love this entry