He was supposed to be asleep, but he wasn't.
His specialty whine/cry combo lifted from his white crib, down the hall, and into the Dining Room where I sat with my computer.
Something in his cry sounded more urgent than usual, so I went to investigate.
He was standing in his crib, smiling with his face framed by hair so long it was starting to flip out at the ends. His eight pearly whites glistened in his smile and I couldn't resist myself.
I knelt down so I was eye level with him and asked what was wrong. He laughed girlishly in my face and tried to grab my nose with nails that grow too fast.
Checking his diaper I saw the problem, unfortunately resembling all too closely the dark chocolate covered pomegranates I had been snacking on minutes before.
I changed him, laughing and tickling his large belly. He stared at me solemnly and when I caught his eye again, he very purposefully said
"What?" I asked him quickly.
He said it again.
"Ba-ba Ba-ba Ba-ba"
In the cutest little voice. I could hear that same timbre, deepened slightly, telling me of a fight out on the playground, his first girlfriend's name, and where he wanted to go to college.
So I did it. twice. Last week.
And now he was saying it on his own. I called Aaron in, thinking I had just imagined it.
"Carter, do you have something to tell your Daddy?"
"Ba-ba ba-ba ba-ba" His voice rose and fell as he deliciously spoke once again, making intense eye contact and gesturing with those pudgy hands.
That voice. Those hands.
I was proud, excited, thrilled, amazed, confused.
It took so long for Addison to 1. Repeat a syllable 2. Do it when we asked. Her in-the-face-raps included four therapists, a PCA, and a very persistent MAMA. And yet it took years for her to do what we worked on twice with Carter.
And yet, I wasn't sad. I thought I would be.
It was the same as when he started crawling one week, pulling up the next, cruising the next, independently standing the next, and he now is simply days away from walking if he would so choose. Pretty sure Addison was 27 months old with orthotics and two years of physical therapy under her belted feet before that happened for her.
Why wasn't I sad?
It is so different for the two of them. She has to work so hard. He learns things quickly. She gets so much help. He has one distracted mama.
Does Carter remind me of everything that I lost because of Addison's diagnosis? Does his quick learning style point out the obvious delay in hers?
I thought that the answer to those questions would be yes- one year ago when I was large, pregnant and scared as to what parenting a "typical" child might include.
But, surprisingly- no.
They are different. Oh so different. One is my favorite ice cream and one is my favorite cake that I love equally and can't possibly choose between, so I pile high the ice cream ON the cake and enjoy the different textures and flavors without stopping to think which is better. (and then I work out because let's face it- children make us fat...well, me at least)
Different, not good and bad. Different, not fast and slow. Different, not better and lesser. Just simply, different.
So as my son conversed easily with me in cheerful tones of "ba-ba" and my daughter was asleep in the next room, preparing for a Monday morning of celebrating the smallest of victories with her speech therapist, I accepted the moment for what it was.
Wonderful, exciting, a first for my little boy,
and I rejected what it was not- a comparison.
Because crumbly chocolate cake with thick fudge frosting and smooth, cold, silky ice cream with those same fudge chunks can't possibly be compared.
Just enjoyed, in all of their differences.