Friday, December 5, 2008

The Instruction Manual

If children come with an instruction manual, I have lost mine. While Oldest Daughter, a classical violinist, has turned out amazingly well and mature and intelligent, I know I made HUGE mistakes with her. Alas, the life of the firstborn, when parents are pretty clueless.

Child #2, a boy, is an easygoing kid. He is starting to seem a bit like a teenager (he's 13, after all), but even at that, he empties the dishwasher, will watch Demon Baby, and still tells me he loves me.

Child #3, a girl, reads on the college level (she's 10) . . . and is very smart, but very visual. She wants to be a filmmaker, perhaps, or a poet (she's a great writer). Also relatively easy.

And then there's Demon Baby. Not only have I lost my instruction manual for him, I think when HIS instruction manual was printed, it instantly was engulfed in flames--spontaneous combustion.

He didn't speak a word for over two years--almost 2 and a half years. Then he started speaking in paragraphs. And he has is perculiarities.

So I study him to try to figure him out. He has all sorts of food issues--like don't EVER stir his spaghetti or touch his food once he has started eating it. Cut all the crusts off his peanut butter sandwiches. DON'T let the peanut butter jar even THINK about mating with the jam jar.

And the whole naked thing. Yesterday, I wrestled him into clothes for preschool, and he screamed, "They're hurting me!"

"Your clothes are not hurting you."

"Yes, they are."

So I stopped and really listened. His ANGUISH was evident. No joke. We added a soft cotton t-shirt under his sweatshirt, and he seemed happier with it.

But I feel like he just--on a purely sensory level--likes being naked. He's just different that way.

That's in his instruction manual.

6 comments:

Melanie Avila said...

Maybe his instruction manual is a work in progress. It'll be ready for publication when he turns 18. :)

Erica Orloff said...

Melanie:
As the mom of an adult (18+), they're never quite ready for publication. Always evolving.
E

Aimless Writer said...

The first born comes into the world and sees adults. Then thinks-I must be one of them.
Second child comes into the world and sees adults and children and realizes they are one of the children.
Same for third.
I guess Demon Baby came in and said; I'm going to rule this place!

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I guess there's a reason the 'experts' are able to categorize people according to their position in the family. The youngest are the rebels who think they can shake up the world. Sound like Demon Baby?

laughingwolf said...

poor db... hope he fits 'into his skin' without too much trouble, soon

and yes, good that you listen to his side, too :)

Robin said...

Oh, but you're such a nice mom for listening to him! Could you maybe knock him out and tattoo clothes on him? Just a thought.