My Noah is not like the biblical ‘Noah’. He is not submissive, obedient, or one to care for animals. He has his own thoughts and would rather not do what is safest or best for him, and he kicks the dog. The Noah God created on November 30, 2008 was made from a different cloth. And I am excited and terrified about the ride.
If I can keep him alive I will have accomplished my job as his mother. I would be dreamy under the clouds if he was intelligent, kind hearted, spiritual. I may not know that during our journey. Today I am just trying to figure out how to get the peanut butter out of the carpet. Today I am stressing that he will never be in day-care or preschool because he has the art of the tantrum turned into a physical and mental meltdown, he physically makes himself sick and I mentally give in. I want to be a tough mother but my heart is a wishy-washy-groovy-movin hippie. How will I ever benefit this child?
We have our moments of passion like I have never experienced in my lifetime. We can disagree over what he eats to public humiliation (for me, it doesn’t seem to bother him), to hugs and kisses and love between a mother and child that is indescribable, but I will try.
I know that condiments do not change the name for a meal, however, if you are Noah, it does. Breakfast is mini corn dogs with syrup. Lunch is a corn dog with ketchup and dinner is a hot dog with some possible fruit and if I am lucky, corn. These meals are all described and called “LUNCH!” for Noah. He has a strict regimen of vitamins, and milk, this makes me feel like a competent parent. There is no “good parenting” with Noah only unconditional, patient love. If you know him, you lose your heart to him. If you are in the market you pray his mother would “take that screaming kid home”. My life with Noah will be as exciting and complex as my journey to him. Never mistake my frustration with regret or lack of love. He challenges me and I love him for that. He does not bore me.
He may not be the child in preschool who is bragged about because of their reading level or “great preschool” accomplishments, like speaking since the womb or painting Picasso masterpieces. My Noah devours crayons and is restricted from play-dough because of dietary complications. My Noah may not be an accountant or a lawyer. But he will be a human being. He will be loved and he will love deeply because that imprint is already on his life. From the day we brought him home he took an emotion and intertwined our heart with his. He gave more love in the first months of his life than some humans do in their lifetime.
You see My Noah bonds with you. He remembers you. He will never forget you. He will wrap his baby fingers so tightly in your hair you can not leave (hair is a huge object of his affection). You cannot escape. You cannot be unaffected by him. Noah will be a man of commitment, a man his children will be proud to call father, a man who will jump off of great heights for you. Noah Jefferson will be a man worth knowing. And isn’t this really what we want for and from our children?
This isn’t just motherly infatuation. I won’t tell you Noah will be a doctor and find a great cure. He may not go to the moon or find a new planet or galaxy. But Noah will challenge your life. If you want to live without fear, take some lessons from Noah. He may never build an arc or even a house but Noah has some life lessons you may want to heed.
We all wish we had a little more Noah in us. I think the name means “BIG BALLS”. I have followed him for 2.5 years and I am always entertained, amazed and learning. That is why I have decided to share this with you. Noah isn’t “mine”. Noah belongs to a bigger entity; call it Facebook, Blogger, God, whatever.
I realized this when I took him to the park one day. We played and climbed and chased. Then in a moment he saw something I didn’t. He went running. I followed close behind to encourage his curiosity; he had focused on a neighbor’s basketball hoop. He took his little 4 inch ball and ran to their backyard and pushed it through their fence. He wanted with every being of his soul to play basketball. He thought by putting the ball into their yard that would give him permission and accessibility. As I pulled him away he screamed the death cry. His ball was in their yard and he had right to it. He owned the “hoop” and the “ball”. Playtime for me ended quickly and as I pulled him off of the fence, fingers clinched tighter than I thought a toddler could grip, carried him back to the stroller and the “death cry” proceeded. For me it never ended but in reality it ended about 2 blocks away.
I am convinced that the “terrible twos” are not just a phase for Noah. I believe that it is a way of life. My proof is in the fact that he has been walking since 9 months and this “phase” has been ongoing. Noah isn’t an advanced communicator. He will talk to you and get an extreme point made with 2 words or less! Everything in Noah’s world is extreme.
Did I mention that fear is not an emotion known by Noah? If it is extreme I am confident it will be in his future. His pediatrician referred me to a pediatric neurologist because after 2 minutes in our pediatric office Noah was stacking stools and chairs to climb onto the counter. The doctor even thought this was “extreme” and overly advanced. Noah never stops. The doctor thought this was who made “Jackass” movies. And blew us off; “Noah doesn’t have autism or any “behavioral” issues, he is just extreme.” See this is a new language to me.
Noah has been ”uninvited” to people’s homes because of his ability to deconstruct. My brother and I never had this option nor did my first born son. My husband doesn’t even recall such allowed behavior in his childhood. I’m still struggling to make sense of it all. So I will accept “extreme” for now, and breath deep as I am isolated in world with him. We don’t fit in with the typical ‘mommy’ groups so in our conflicts we are also each others best friend and companion.
I am writing this to encourage myself and to encourage other parents of “extreme” children. We recognize them as adults after prison time or major movie success (i.e. Jackass) but do we recognize them as children? I hope to be an ally to parents and future parents of extreme children. We need not be the minority. We need not be ostracized because of our children’s behavior. We need to come together and stop apologizing for our child’s needs. We are capable parents entrusted to extreme children. Let’s unite! Lets stop apologizing for our children, let them be extreme. Let’s teach them social skills to our best ability and let them teach us to not be afraid of our peers raising the perfect preschooler. Our recessed economy needs a generation of renaissance. Let our children be the generation. We have enough politician and white collar professionals. We need more………………………EXTREME. Our children will be great!
Update: I wrote this before Noah’s diagnosis. We moved from a small town to a large metro area and that was an answer to prayer. Noah has been diagnosed and we are working with occupational therapy, oral therapy, and speech therapy. We are not alone, some days we still feel isolated from the world but now its a gift. I took him to a park the other day….I didn’t choose the one with all the mom’s and kids, I chose the one that nobody was at so that I could relax and play with my son without fear of criticism or feeling the need to teach someone about Noah’s hidden disability. We laughed and had no meltdowns. It was a beautiful day.
I am still a hippy and he is still extremely SPD, hyposensitive, and we are all still in love and getting much needed support from family, friends, the professional world and the internet.