Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Oldest

Ethan. I didn't know what to expect when I had my oldest child. I could never have anticipated how much I would learn from this child. From the moment he was born, he demanded my attention. He bestowed upon me a love greater than I had ever known. He proved he would never settle for less than he felt he deserved. This oldest child of mine.

It wasn't long before his burgeoning personality proved once more than I was in over my head. That to navigate the world of being Ethan's mother, I would have to stretch myself, my ideas, my intuition to the limit. He proved that every thing I thought I knew was just that: a thought. He has given and taught me so much that I'm often left exhausted and inspired all at the same time.

You see, this child is independent, strong-willed, intelligent, and emotional. Some people would say he is "challenging." And I would have to agree. He is. He challenges me daily. He pushes me to my limits and then pushes even more. He is decisive and often feels he is "right." He is a challenge.

But through all the day-to-day grinds that we experience with this oldest child, he truly is something to behold. There are times when I am so amazed just by watching him or listening to him. I have never known a child quite like mine. He's so loving and so caring, saying often, "You're my mom. And I love you." Or, "You like what I made for you? I make you those things because I love you so much." Or, "Wait, Mommy. Hugs and kisses. We don't want to forget those!" No, we don't.

Describing this child is so hard because I often feel like people get the impression that he's a trouble-maker. He's not. He's just wired. His brain is on overdrive and his ability to control some of his emotions is something he's learning. But he's only four. He's a sweet, lovable, mostly well-behaved child. He just never stops. And that is what becomes so exhausting.

But in those moments when I don't have to be hands-on, when I can sit back and watch or listen, I can't help but smile and feel so thankful that this oldest child is mine.
He writes in his room for hours, creating elaborate stories about robots, families, and super heroes. His mind is so imaginative and I am so anxious to see how he continues to develop these areas of focus. I am so excited for what his future holds and what things he will accomplish.

We have some of the most stimulating conversations that rival any conversation I've had with an adult. For instance, he asked me one morning, "When did life begin? What was the first thing to ever be alive?" And I don't know what the first "living" thing was. He stumps me often and I find that Google is more than ever my best friend.

Or he'll say, "I need to learn more about the heart, Mom. Because I want to be a heart doctor. I won't be able to do that if I don't learn more about the heart. Then I'd have to be a dad, and I don't want that to happen." Yes, well, my hope is that he'll be both, but one thing at a time.

Or we'll talk robots. "I made a box robot, mom. I tried to hook him up to my other robot's cords to make him come alive, but it didn't work. I'm sad." Later, he comes out and says, "I made a battery holder and taped it to my box robot. So now we just need to get a battery and then say abbra cadabra, come alive. The magic will help him come alive. And after we make him come alive, we can build my brick robot. We'll have to get some eyes, so he can see." Indeed, oldest child of mine.

I wish I could make these robots become a reality for him, but all I can do is buy robot kits that slightly pacify him at the moment. I sometimes wonder if he'll not create amazing robots when he's older.

This oldest child of mine. His mind just reasons in ways that baffle me. He comes up with things I never would've considered. His deductive reasoning skills are through the roof and would give most adults a run for their money. He's poised to be something so incredible, and I feel such a huge responsibility to ensure he has the love and resources he needs to get there. I want to encourage him in any way I can. And I want him to feel he has the world at his fingertips. I can't even remember all the conversations we've had where my jaw has dropped and I've wondered how he figured "that" out.
His latest endeavor is writing in his "journal" every night. It's so odd to see all of these pages filled with jumbled words and rudimentary pictures. It's almost as though he has gone backward in his drawings of people to move forward with trying to sound out and spell the words he hears. Take the above picture, for instance. His people have no hearts, which he is quite fond of drawing. They have no hands, no feet, no hair, which he had begun drawing. The only differentiating feature is that his robot has a square body and his person has a circular body. But the words. Now that's where all his efforts are going. Because while it looks like a bunch of letters slammed together, it does actually say something.

"Then Ethan's Brick Robot played Tag Your It outside." Because he's sounding it out exactly as he says it. There are pages and pages of this. And sometimes he's dead on. One page says, notsofast. Split it up: Not so fast.

He's on the brink of so many things. And watching him teeter there is quite an amazing thing to be able to do. I have a front row seat to an amazing display of ability and perseverance. I am such a lucky mother to have a child as unique and as full of life as my oldest. Despite all the challenges that come with him and his stubbornness and his ability to find every loop hole imaginable, I get to see so much greatness and so much potential and so much life out of this little four year old that has blessed me in so many ways and taught me more than I ever thought I'd learn from my own child. And what's even greater is that I know that through this ride with this child, I will continue to learn and grow and be amazed.

I am so fortunate to be so blessed and my heart is brimming over with love for this child, my oldest.


  1. Ethan seems to be an amazingly bright and fascinating boy. I bet he is going to be an amazing man one day!

  2. I beam just reading about him and I'm always sharing him with my family. He is truly amazing!
    I sometimes wonder what Robin Williams parents thought of him and his brilliant mind. Thank you for sharing because I really love reading about Ethan.

  3. Wow, he really is a deep thinker and I'm in awe of your little guy!