It’s about 6pm and Ace is doing home work. I came home from work with a bag of fruits that I picked up at a farmers market. I got strawberries, oranges and grapes. Ace, CC and I are all fruit lovers. Jay is not a lover of ANY food except cereal bars, eggs and chicken flavoured Ramen noodles. When I say he is not a lover, what I mean is that he is a DESPISER.
Even though, I know it won’t be accepted, I offer Jay a grape and he looks at it as if it is a decaying corpse but I can see that he’s trying to hide his smile. He says “no” then he pushes my hand away and says “go“. Mind you, he has never tasted a grape.
I decide to hold his head and push the grape into his mouth. I’m thinking/hoping that if he tries it he may realize that he does like it. Plus, it’s pretty funny seeing such a dramatic reaction to a simple little grape.
He screams as if I was trying to poison him and I learn quickly that he is much stronger and much more slippery than I knew. He spits the offensive object out and rubs his mouth with his hand over and over to remove the taste. I cannot even begin to describe the look of disgust that’s on his face.
Then he spots a broken off piece of candy cane that is lodged in the carpet. Who knows how long it has been there or how many times it has been stepped on. Jay picks it up and pops it into his mouth. THAT tastes good to him.
I just don’t get it. I want to get it. Why is eating and food such an issue for him. Is it the smell? Is it just the look? It can’t be the taste or texture because he’s never tried to eat most food items.
It’s about 7pm and all home work is done. Ace is quietly building a plane with Legos. I love that he can now quietly entertain himself. I’ve waited 6 years for that.
CC and I are lounging around watching TV and Jay is bouncing around like Tigger all over the place. I wonder when exactly the swap in their behaviour happened. Just 2 days ago while he was bouncing around, Jay spilled a full cup of hot coffee all over me, himself and the bed.
I watch him and smile at his pure joy. He finds a pile of folded clothes and throws them up in the air, then falls down onto the bed in time for the clothes to land on top of him. He’s in sensory heaven. He jumps around so haphazardly that he misses his footing and albeit gracefully, falls off the bed. He’s not harmed and resumes his jumping. I smile and CC grimaces. CC isn’t too keen on all of Jay’s wild antics. He worries that he will hurt himself one day. Maybe I don’t worry enough. Who’s to say.
Jay does a little spin and then says “watch this dad.”
Watch this Dad. Wow! Those 3 little words mean so much. Jay spins again and looks at CC to make sure he was indeed watching.
He keeps up the spinning for a while before Ace appears in the doorway holding his finished plane. It really is quite spectacular. I shower him with compliments and he beams.
It’s almost 8pm which means it’s bed time. I tell Ace that he’s my favourite 6 year old and he promises that he will always let me hug and kiss him, even when he’s big and has a girlfriend. I tell Jay that he’s my favourite 5 year old. He wraps his little arms around my neck and squeezes as tight as he can.
This is our life. We are unpredictable. Our personalities evolve. Some of us eat fruit and one of us doesn’t. Some of us bounce around and make mess. We all liberally dish out cuddles and words of affection. Some of us spill coffee and juice. One of us (Ace) gets chocolate all over his hands eating ice-cream sandwiches and then leaves the chocolate mess on the soap dispenser. Two of us are getting more independent but still need help.
None of us have it all figured out and CC and I are failing miserably at this parenting thing in many ways I’m sure. But we all love each other and it’s clear and that is everything.