“I like this,” he said as we were both parked on the couch in our flannel jammies with our matching Fred Flintstone feet propped up side by side.
“I don’t.” I replied.
“What?” he was shocked.
“I thought her tango last week was much stronger. This quickstep is kind of blah.” (Yes, I watch Dancing With The Stars and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Is it because I’m a chubby old lady? Perhaps. Is it because I’m a former theatre designer with an appreciation for the flare of fabulousness? Perhaps. Or do I watch in anticipation of that moment when a former-star turned train-wreck face plants gracelessly mid-dance. I think you know the answer dear reader.)
“No Mom, I like this- us hanging out and watching our show.” (Yes, I’ve taught my child how to enjoy a good wash-up spectacle as well. Go on and judge me.) “It’s never just us anymore.” (Punch to the gut.)
“Me too bud. Me too. But I still didn’t like that quickstep.”
It’s tough to be the parent of a kid with a lot of medical crap going on, but I think it’s also pretty sucky to be the brother of that kid too. You spend a lot of time getting dragged along to appointments, sitting in hospitals, being pushed off to grandparents or watching your parents freak out. You have one choice and that is to basically go with the flow and not make waves in the midst of the crap storm swirling around you. Of course you worry too and you care about your brother but in the end, you’re just a little kid and you can’t help but see how much the whole situation sucks.
Long before there was the Nugget, there was the Midget. My sidekick, my shadow, my alter-ego in little boy form. For years it was just the two of us for large chunks at a time when The Turk was traveling or working long hours. Back before the Midget started school, he often went to work with me too, where he would lay low with crayons and books so I could work without having to send him to daycare. We’ve always been two peas in a snarky little pod. Before the Nugget came along, there wasn’t much I did without the Midget by my side so when he pointed out that we don’t get to spend much time alone together anymore, it tore me up. I’ve been so busy juggling Nugget issues and he’s been so good at going with the flow that I put him on the back burner and that’s a really crappy-mom thing to do.
Since the day I brought that sensitive little half-breed into the world back in Turkey I’ve been molding him in my image. He’s a chill little dude with a wicked sense of humor that wears his heart on his sleeve. He loves all things nerdy and he can put a spiral on a football that would put most 10 year olds to shame. He is a true Renaissance man. Unfortunately, he’s also a little too skilled at going with the flow. In his life we’ve lived in 2 countries, 4 states, 5 cities and 6 houses. If you count preschools, he’s also attended 4 different schools and he’s only 7 years old. The Midget has always been on the move so understandably his need for stability is low and that is exactly the problem.
As we sat there munching on our apples dredged in unholy amounts of peanut butter (Did I mention that he’s also my fellow foodie? We bond over our identical palates so much so that if we also didn’t share a love of biking we’d be two massive fat asses. Ok, let me clarify that – he’d be a fat ass and I’d be a fatter ass, like Jabba the Hutt fat…no for real.) anyway, as we sat watching a one-hit-wonder decimate an iconic dance waiting for the start of Monday Night Football, (Seriously, we are a well-rounded people.) I realized my Midget has been upstaged by his brother for long enough. Thus, it’s time to put the baby in the corner. (That didn’t come out right. Don’t call DCS or anything. I’d never actually leave the Nugget in the corner. It’s not even possible because he doesn’t sit still. Additionally, I think if I left him unattended he’d likely burn down the house in 2.5. When he feels good, that kid is hell on wheels.)
It’s fall break here in Flyover Country and my Midget has a whole week off from the stressors of 2nd grade. Football is over and Catechism is on break (Yes, this lapsed Catholic forces her child to go to Jesus school once a week. I feel it’s important for him to know where that internal sense of unending guilt comes from. Go ahead and laugh.) so for the first time in months, time is on our side. During this week I solemnly swear that there will be no reading patiently in doctor’s offices while the Nugget has an appointment. There will be no scheduling our days around Nugget therapies. This is a week of Midget love. (I bet that tag line will get me some kinky visitors. Thank you Google.)
For this week,
I pledge to make no excuses when asked to toss the football in the backyard. (I’m no Terry Bradshaw, but I can hold my own. I just have a constant fear of a Marcia Brady moment. “Oh, my nose!”)
I pledge to do Midget-centric activities. (Legos. Star Wars and Football, in no particular order.)
I pledge to suck-it-up and play Wii (This is a serious sacrifice because I really, really suck at Wii).
I pledge to listen (not just nod and say ‘um-hmm’) when he gives me every mundane detail of a video game or corny television show.
I pledge to take time to snuggle up and watch TV with him after the Nugget goes to bed. (Another big sacrifice because-full disclosure- I’m often asleep with the Nugget.)
And above all else I pledge to make sure he knows how thankful I am that he’s just so damn understanding. (I need to keep him on my side because that Nugget is wild and some days I need back-up.)
Balancing two kids is a challenge. Balancing a special needs kid is a challenge. Balancing the combo definitely has a learning curve but I’m determined to get there, come hell or high water.