When we were in the throes of raising Will as a very young child, we thought he was a feeler. Just a kid with quirks who felt hard and deep. Now we know his brain is wired differently. Yes, he feels deeply, but there is more. He is also experiencing life more deeply. On a completely different level. He is a sensitive soul, but also one who considers the world around him through a different lens. The lens of autism. We learned much about how to properly interact with Will when we finally understood his lens better. We still misstep frequently. But we are no longer attempting to feed an atypical brain with typical nutrients.
Fast forward through years of difficulty with food allergies and Mack, several miscarriages, and longing for another child. We finally had our rainbow baby, Kae. She is six and a half years younger than Will. Four and a half years younger than Mack. That gave us enough time to be sleeping through the night and out of diapers! We entered the early years of who we think is our last child (unless God gets funny) with fresh eyes. We had weathered strong wills, food allergies, food aversions, near death experiences, hospital trips, several moves, new jobs, new cars, lost friendships, found friendships. We thought this new kid wouldn't have much new to throw at us.
Kae is the emotions of Will wrapped in the sass of Rory tied up with the chaotic bow of Mack. This girl child could not be more different, yet more similar to those before her. She has found new ways to resist our well intentioned parenting moves. She skillfully evades our attempts at directing her stubborn streak. She melts down at being told "no"...still, at four! Sometimes I wonder if she too has autism. She remembers ancient history with Will's accuracy, but cleans her room as well as Mack's entropy. She harnesses all the sass Rory threw at us as a preschooler, and throws it at us with such poignancy we are left reeling.
We are used to the comments that we have a lot of kids. Four is a lot now. When people learn they are all gifted with some other thing that makes them extra, we get sympathetic looks and "aws". Truth is, we wouldn't change this chaos for all the money in the world. Or for any other children. They are a lot. I am exhausted thinking about what I will need to write to them in their morning note so they actually do as they ought tomorrow...unlike today...even though today's note had what they needed. I write this while I sit outside Kae's bedroom door while she drifts peacefully (HAHA) off to sleep because she can no longer do so alone since I went back to work. We have also returned to the toddler meltdowns when I try to leave the house to grocery shop.
Does she have anxiety? Does she have autism? She twirls her hair as a comfort motion, and has since infancy. Is that stimming? Is it something else? What new challenge is this one going to serve us? These questions swim in my mind constantly. And since we are in covid time, I have little recourse or resource to learn more about this latest impetuousness.
Lesson learned. You will never know anything about parenting.