So I’ve wanted to do this for some time, but just never did. A place to write my thoughts, challenges, and successes with raising not just Carson, but his brother too. I have had exactly what I was going to say rolling around in my head for weeks. My whole life, I have been a writer. Ask my mom. I started writing before I even knew how to write. As a young child, I wrote story after story and read book after book. I get lost in stories– still do. There is nothing more I want to do. I teach, which also fulfills my loves because I get to teach others how to read and write, too. I want to be a writer. I always have, and someday, I swear I will. My kids want to know why I don’t do that as a job instead of teach. If only it were that easy, right?
But we all know the cliche– everything happens for a reason? I completely believe it. I was meant to be a teacher, even if I never thought I would be. I was meant to have a child that has been given so many words to describe him, I could take up a whole page. Spirited, stubborn, strong willed, challenging, and on and on and on. God only gives you as much as you can handle, right? Ya, another cliche. It has taken me almost ten years to understand him completely, and even then he changes daily. I know that I was given him not only to reach and teach him, but to learn many things about myself too.
I was young when he was born, only 22 (close to 23). He was the cutest, chubbiest, most adorable baby–ever (don’t all moms say that?). He looked like me and Cam all together. Big blue eyes like his daddy, my lips and ears, only peach fuzz for hair, and man was he a chunk! 9lbs 7oz yikes!!!! He was a challenge right from delivery–he just did NOT want to come out!!!!
Like most first time moms, I was clueless on what to do after we left the hospital. Thank God for Grandma’s! He was a pretty good baby, loving to eat and was pretty independent about playing. He was my little chunky monkey, weighing in at 19lbs at just six months. He crawled and walked early. He babbled and talked early.
I remember his first birthday party. It was SO windy outside he could barely walk (we had it at a park). But he is determined, so he made it work. We get all set up for the custom 1st birthday cake. He sticks one hand in it, then another, then smears it around, and into his mouth– and then? He starts crying. Too much attention, too much cake frosting, something. He was done. This seems like a lifetime ago.
When he was fourteen months, we were heading back from a day at the beach with friends. He was coughing badly and couldn’t sleep in the car. When we got home, it was worse. To make a long story longer, we ended up in the ER and admitted into the PICU. This was the beginning of labels in Carson’s childhood. They didn’t want to call it “asthma”, so they called it “Reactive Airway’s Disease”.
We battled this and specialists for years after that until he was so sick he had to be taken from daycare until his immune system could get stronger.He was our little tornado. If there was something he could get into, he would. He was VERY curious about everything. He would turn lights on and off, open and close doors, frisk people for their keys (even in their pockets!). We had more security than the White House. The child couldn’t even have drawers in his dresser in his room or a light in his closet! I’ll never forget the time when I was pregnant with his brother, that he came walking out of his room like it was a normal occurance. He had climbed out of his crib at 19 months! This was him in a nutshell- determined, strong willed, and defy all odds!
Even though he talked up a storm, he couldn’t pronounce words correctly. He would call himself “Darten”, and his brother “Daden”. Since we had the time and resources at that time, I took him to a speech therapist. He was not as much into sitting and doing work with her, but she was creative and bribed him with M&M’s and play time with trains at the young age of three. He changed quickly, and after six months was talking completely normally. We will never forget the time we pulled into Target and he was working on C/T sound (he would often confuse them). He said “Mommy, we are at…..Carget?” We laughed so hard and said no, he was right that it was indeed Target. I will also never forget the time he was in the bathtub and finally, after over two years of talking, said his name correctly. I recorded it when he said it, and it was an amazing moment. Just the simple sound of hearing him say “Carson” was enough to bring me to tears.
After a brief hospitalization when he was three for pneumonia (RAD related), he restarted preschool at 3 1/2, and had a teacher who claimed to have worked with special education kids for most of her teaching career. He had always been “active”, “strong willed” and…sometimes, that word…..defiant. He was also medicated for his RAD, which made him a little wound up and jittery (his heart would race so much on that medicine, it just killed me). Let’s just say, she didn’t have a lot of tolerance for him. He was “too goofy, too silly”, didn’t want to listen, etc. I am a teacher- I know kids can be challenging! We bent over backwards that year, removing sugar from his diet, food dyes, whatever we could think of. She called him “Curious George” which he didn’t like because he would say “That’s not my name”. Jokes and sarcasm were lost on him. Looking back, I often wonder why signs weren’t seen of the things we would later figure out. But, I guess, things happen in their own time. I was a first time Mom and just didn’t know certain things, no matter how many books about parenting I had read.
4 year old preschool and kindergarten were pretty good. He had great teachers who worked with him and loved his “quirkiness”. He was a very active boy, 100%. He did well, however. He was a very smart child, especially in Math. In Kindergarten he was one of the top readers. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was basically compensating and memorizing, not really “reading”. We often battled with him. He didn’t like certain kinds of clothes and shoes. He was NOT a good sleeper (he stopped napping at the ripe old age of 2 years old and would fight and fight to sleep at night, plus had night terrors that he couldn’t wake up from or be consoled.) He had an aversion to many kinds of textures (no sand or grass). I remember telling my friend and my sister when he was in kindergarten “I’m afraid he has signs of ADHD”. If only I had realized that was only part of the picture…….