Second Verse, Not the Same As the First


Photo by Amy Storch
After the birth of our second son, I kept waiting for people to ask The Question. 

Is he, you know, the same as his brother. Or different. You know, typical. 

Nobody ever asked me. I asked it myself plenty, though. I imagine it's hard for ANY parent to resist constantly using their first child as a yardstick or compare-and-contrast case study for their second. Noah was my only point of reference for a newborn, baby, or toddler. For almost two full years, I had no idea that anything he did was truly out of the ordinary. (And if it was, it was entirely in a "good" way.)

But I still felt so GUILTY for doing it to them since I had an especially hard time letting any differences between the boys be simply "one of those things." Different personalities and temperaments. No, it was all about Noah's atypical development and my need to reassure myself that Ezra was, in fact, typical. It felt so unfair to both of them at the same time. I was rewriting some of my favorite memories of Noah's babyhood as THAT. RIGHT THERE. SOMETHING WE MISSED! WE SHOULD'VE KNOWN! And I was downplaying Ezra's milestones and accomplishments because it was all just expected and normal and what babies are supposed to be like.

The thing is, though, Ezra is typical. At 18 months, he has somewhere between 15 and 20 words that he uses on a regular basis. Noah had ... four? Five? Ish? He has no texture issues or balance problems and enjoys grass and movement and exploring. He has a strong sense of self and an interest in other children and can already use utensils and hold a crayon correctly.

AND I'M REALLY, REALLY GLAD ABOUT THIS. There. I said it.

A lot of the parents I know from Noah's special programs chose not to have more children following their child's diagnosis of SPD or an ASD. And I admit that we didn't really know the extent of Noah's needs when we decided to have another baby. But we knew enough to know that there was a chance we'd conceive another child with similar issues or, hell, something worse. I spend enough time on the Internet to know that. I'll take battling with my insurance over speech therapy over chemotherapy any day, my God.

Plus, he's NOAH. We should be so lucky as to have a second kid as awesome as he is.

The other day, I walked into the kitchen to find my husband watching Ezra, who was on the floor playing with a bunch of Noah's cars. He had a kind of ... stricken look on his face, like he'd seen a ghost. I looked down at the baby and saw it: Ezra was methodically and meticulously lining every car up end to end.

"That's what Noah used to do," he said quietly. And this is true. For years, this was Noah's primary way to "play." He lined up cars, trains, magnets, socks, crayons, everything. I remember walking into the living room, seeing lines of sorted objects EVERYWHERE, and just about bursting into tears.

He still does it, sometimes, when he's having a bad day. I'm pretty Ezra has watched him do it and was simply mimicking his big brother as usual.

I told my husband this and he nodded, but I could tell he was still a little shaken by the deja vu of the whole thing. Ezra placed the last car in line and clapped for himself.

And, of course, we clapped for him too. Because he's awesome too.

autism, boys, confessions, development & growth, developmental delays, milestones, siblings