a mom and a dad can realize many of their boy's . . . quirks . . . are actually signposts. clues that something is not Normal.
hubs and i knew timmy was Unique right from the beginning. seriously. we called tiny baby timmy "the observer" because he, well, observed. he was . . . separate. above it all. not really a part of the world around him, but taking it all in. the non-human parts, anyway.
today, he loves to hear the story of his First Communication. it goes like this: we were outside sitting on the lawn swing. he was wearing a denim jacket and a stocking cap because the air was fall-crisp. i left him sitting alone on the swing while i stood in front of him to take his picture. his face held no expression. his eyes looked ahead, a little to my left, and he lifted his right arm straight into the air and pointed to the sky with his index finger and held that position.
i said, "are you showing mommy the beautiful blue sky?" he remained still. "do you see that white cloud floating in the sky?" statue. "do you see the red and gold and brown leaves of the tree?" (he loved leaves. and sticks. during our daily walks, he would often hold a stick or a leaf while watching the world from the comfort of his stroller.) no reaction. "is there an airplane flying high in the sky?" nada. just the unfocused gaze and the unmoving point.
then, as i ran out of guesses, a cardinal's song seeped into my consciousness from somewhere above us in the elm tree. "bird? do you hear a pretty bird singing a wonderful song to us?" and i was rewarded with what we later called (and still do) a Secret Smile. (think mona lisa.) "the bird is singing a beautiful song to mommy and timmy! the bird sings pretty-pretty-pretty! chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp." a subtle pleased look about the eyes - we later named the expression Smiley Eyes.
my boy observed a cardinal singing his song. he enjoyed it and he shared it with me. birds! timmy liked birds!
we bought two bird feeders and hung them outside each of his bedroom windows. we watched Mr. and Mrs. Yellow (finches), Mr. and Mrs. Red (also finches) and Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee (several sets of each, actually) for years. we loved to see patient Mrs. Cardinal and Mr. Cardinal with his sassy hairdo. we enjoyed the scolding squirrels' antics as they tried to share in the birdseed feast. we tried a hummingbird feeder for years, but we only attracted ants.
and we communicated. we rocked in the rocking chair beside the window as i described each bird. "that bird is yellow! that yellow bird is a finch! can you say 'finch?'" Smiley Eyes.
"see how Mr. Finch is quite yellow, while Mrs. Finch has just a tiny bit of yellowish brown on her chest?" point.
"see Mr. Red? he is pecking at Mr. Yellow because he wants the bird feeder all to himself. Mr. Red and Mr. Yellow are arguing because they don't want to share the birdseed. silly birds!" Secret Smile.
and, you know, there were other signs. but i am exhausted. emotionally drained and physically tired, too. this morning i was much less than the picture of perfect, patient parenting. and i have a lot of work to do, so i'll reminisce more tomorrow. or in three more years.