Something is happening that I knew was coming, but I guess I didn't realize how fast it would happen.
Carter is passing Addison up.
And I don't feel about this the way I thought I would.
I am so immensely proud of Carter. How fast he learns, how athletic he seems, how sharp his memory is, how he interacts with me on such a big boy level. In fact, so many instances I am shocked (in a good way) and oh so proud because of things he does or says and I wonder if this is part of what I missed out on with Addison's diagnosis.
The other day we were headed back from Costco. The kids were buckled up. We were leaving the parking lot. And Carter started saying "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." I answered every time, but he waited until I turned around and gave him eye contact. Then, with a subtle batting of his lashes and cute little boy grin, he said "Cookie" with grave importance that clearly I had forgotten something. The last time we had been to Costco (over a week before) I felt bad that there weren't any good samples and I had been depending on that to be their snack. So I broke a cookie in half and let them eat it on the way home. I did that ONCE and he remembered enough to ask for it over a week later. And he only asked for it coming away from that one specific store- the one he had gotten a cookie from before.
Yesterday he was watching a few minutes of a movie and he must have gotten thirsty. I saw him go into the kitchen, open the drawer of bottles (since he can't reach the cups), take out a bottle bottom, go to the bathtub, turn on the cold water, fill up his cup, turn the water back off, and settle back in the living room with his drink and a movie. He never even asked me for a drink. He just got it. Mind blown.
Today in the grocery store we were picking up thank you candy bars for Addison's teachers. It was just the two of us and we were getting just the one thing, so I didn't get a cart. I let him walk on his own like the big boy that he has become. When I let him choose which direction we were to go? He walked quite confidently around several turns directly to the bakery section, went to the glass display case, turned to me and said "muffin." When given a choice, he directed me to the muffins (that is a pretty usual snack for us in the grocery store since blueberry is Addison's favorite) all on his own in the big grocery store.
You may be rolling your eyes at me because these are all very normal toddler accomplishments. I know that. But the thing is that Addison- my first born- at almost three and a half has never done these things.
With Addison I have been stuck in this weird/awkward toddler phase for a long time. She isn't a baby anymore, but she hasn't progressed into independent big girl. This morning before preschool she emptied out a bookcase, dumped a box of cereal all over the kitchen, and scattered a box of toys all over the living room. These are things that we have worked and worked and worked and worked on her NOT doing and yet she refuses to learn. Therefore, at three and a half= stuck in awkward toddler phase.
Carter was in the awkward toddler phase for a while too, but now he is doing something amazing. He is growing out of it and making some serious progress with obeying. To this mother it's like watching the sun rise for the first time. It brings me hope that life can someday advance beyond a disaster of a house and frustration when it comes to obedience.
As the person who loves Addison and Carter the most, it is very obvious to me that they are working on different intellectual levels. As I watch the different ways they learn and work with them to grow- I can see it clear as day. I can see a bit of what Down syndrome has robbed from Addison.
I thought that this would make me feel bad. I thought that this would sting and hurt like crazy. I thought that I would be resentful of what Addison can't do. Or perhaps resentful of what Carter can do so easily.
But the truth is?
When I tiptoe into Carter's room at night to check on him, my heart swells with love and my eyes eagerly take him in. I see his tall frame sprawled out in his crib. I see chubby hands clutching his blanket. I see long eye lashes brushing his rosy cheeks. I see lips that are resting up to give me more kisses tomorrow. My love for him is so overwhelming I can barely stand it. He is my little boy. He is amazing. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for him.
When I tiptoe into Addison's room at night to check on her, my heart swells with love and my eyes eagerly take her in. I see her cuddled up so sweetly on her new toddler bed. I see her curls resting gently on her pillow. I see her legs tucked up underneath her. I see lips that give the best smiles in the entire world. I see the closed eyes that I know are resting up to be full of sparkle and mischief yet another day. My love for her is so overwhelming I can barely stand it. She is my little girl. She is amazing. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for her.
I thought it would hurt to see Carter pass Addison up. But it doesn't. It just is.
I am so immensely proud of Carter. I am so immensely proud of Addison.
Addison's accomplishments are quite different than Carter's. And on paper, perhaps she doesn't always come across so great. But in real life? Totally different story. I think I am the luckiest mother in the world to be able to mother and love two totally different, totally opposite, totally crazy children. Even though they are different- they are still equal. My son. My daughter. Two halves of my whole heart.