Carter, just minutes old
I have to admit... when I was pregnant with Carter, I was nervous about having a boy. (Not a big surprise to know that I had to know what we were having.)
I don't have any brothers, so I had nothing to go on. I knew girl. Jordyn and Rylee were girls (actually, they still are, now that I think about it) and that's what I knew.
To be even more honest, I was also nervous about having a baby without an extra chromosome. (Jordyn was 6 when I met Jeremy, so I hadn't been there to help care for her as a baby.) Rylee was my first baby -- she had Down syndrome (still does, now that I think about it), and that's what I knew.
Emily Perl Kingsley's "Welcome to Holland" equates having a child with a disability with going on a trip... you're thinking you're going to be traveling to Italy (having a "typical" child) but wind up unexpectedly in Holland (having a child with a disability.)
What's ironic about it all is that Carter -- not only a boy, but one without extra chromosomes -- was more like my Holland in many ways.
When Carter was 2 days old, they said we could take him home. "Really? Don't you keep him a little longer? He seems so little... I'm just not sure I'm responsible enough to take him home yet." (Rylee spent nearly 50 days in Intensive Care.)
When Carter began drinking from a bottle immediately, it was a strange experience. "How did he know how to do that? And wait... don't we have meds to put in his bottle every 4 hours?" (Rylee never drank from a bottle -- she went from tube-feedings to drinking from a sippy cup... and she was on heart medications for many months.)
When I changed Carter's first diaper, I didn't know how to wipe... or where to wipe... or what to wipe. Which way does "it" go when you put the diaper on? Up seems somewhat like an accidental shower waiting to happen... but down looks painful. (It goes without saying that with Rylee, this was not an issue.)
It was all new to me. I had been to Holland. I knew Holland. I liked Holland. I felt very lucky to have been someone chosen to go to Holland.
And now I'm going on another trip? To Italy? Not sure I know how to pack for Italy....
But, I discovered quickly that, just like Holland, Italy is a wonderful place! They are both beautiful countries. They are different, but equally amazing.
Carter will turn 3 in April, and I can't help but think about the little person -- the little boy -- he's become in 3 years. He's delightfully goofy. Imaginative and patient. Talkative and distractible. Intent and spunky. Thoughtful and loud. Dramatic and loving.
It makes me go back to the days that I was so unsure of boy.
I didn't know boy.
But now I do.
And boy, do I feel lucky.