"Raising a kid is part joy and part guerrilla warfare."
~Ed Asner

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Strange Days

I know my children are strange, weird, not normal. It was never a big shock to me. Even before they were born I was praying that they would show some signs of normality. I was just asking for ten fingers and ten toes, which they have, yippee. Now if you happen to be reading this and you're not related to me or know who I am, please don't lecture me on positive reinforcement and the dangers of telling you're children they're not normal. I give me children positive reinforcement daily. I encourage them to continue in their creative and odd ways of expressing themselves on a daily basis.

I come from a clan of not normal people. Being that I've been surrounded by quirkiness practically my whole life, I always thought unnormal (I know it's not a word, how about strangeness...better?) was normal. Then I had children of my own, and I still never noticed anything different about them. They were just your normal, average children. Only they're not. I don't really need to explain myself. Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes will tell you that my children are 'strange'. But just for laughs I'll give you an example. Lets go with grocery shopping.

I always put Noah in the front of the cart, and Izzie sits in the back of the cart until it gets to full and then she walks or jumps, or crawls underneath the cart (you know the carts that have a bottom shelf under them.) Noah will start singing at the top of his lungs and insert high pitch laughs and beast sounds here and there. Sometimes he'll just beast, so basically it sounds like I have a baby lion in my cart. He loves hand and leg, basically body expressions and he has been known to accidentally knock someone in the face. Remember his secret identity is Jack-Jack so he can take out a whole spice aisle with one swoop of his arm in less than the blink of the eye. Izzie also loves to sing at the top of her lungs. She tells stories and has conversations with the groceries in the cart. She uses certain items, like broccoli as a microphone. She gets overly enthusiastic about foods she loves. When she sees the yogurt she starts screaming, "My yogurt! My yogurt! I love my yogurt!" She's partial to one brand and one flavor of yogurt. Sometimes they don't have it and she screams, "No! Where's my yogurt? They don't have it! I'm sad! I need my yogurt!" Lets just say, I try to remember to say a prayer that they have her yogurt before we get to the store. Actually I pray that we will get what we need and get home with all bodily appendages intact. Izzie likes to touch everything, something she probably inherited from me actually. That's where handy dandy hand sanitizer comes in. I realize that all of this may sound like the normal behavior of a child. Keep in mind that both of them are in the same space. And it's not really the behavior. It's the way the behavior is expressed. It's the volume and use of bodily functions. It's the things they say and the theatrics involved. And then there are the comments, some from adults and some from curious children.

"Wow, your children are so cute...and loud."
"Your daughter has a beautiful voice. Her songs are...interesting."
"Your little boy is so cute..."(spoken right before the nice woman was 'accidentally' beamed in the face with a toy) "...and strong" (spoken after said toy in face)
"That little boy sounds weird." (spoken by a little girl who witnessed Noah's beastly calls.)
"Your children are very...lively and loud."
"Momma, what is that?" (This question was asked by a little boy who heard Noah. The mother said it was a baby boy. The boy wasn't so sure.) "It sounds like a dinosaur."

It's the pauses that make me wonder what they really want to say. It's other children who are so unforgiving and blunt with their words. It's the looks my children get that need no words. Finally, there are my observations of other children when I'm in a public place. Of course I see temper tantrums, theatrics and children generally being loud. But my babies could blow they're theatrics out of the water.

On a side note, the other day I was in the kitchen when I heard laughter coming from the nursery. It was Noah. I thought maybe Izzie was in the room with him and they were playing or maybe Noah was playing with a toy and it was making him laugh. I walked into the nursery to find Noah walking around in circles with his blanket, cracking himself up. Apparently he thought something was funny because he just kept laughing. He looked at me and continued walking around in a circle, laughing. He walked out of the room, stopped in the hallway, and started laughing. He walked into the kitchen, paused as he looked up at me, and laughed. He walked into the dining room, stopped for a second, and started laughing again. This whole business lasted about 15 minutes, but it was just...weird.

Izzie was putting on a concert for me outside when she suddenly noticed her shadow. More importantly she noticed something different about her shadow. "Momma, I'm so tall! I'm so tall!" She started singing again and began expressing her body movements in a very exaggerated way amazed at how tall her shadow was. Then the unthinkable happened. Her shadow had the audacity to disappear. Izzie was so enthralled in how tall she was and was spinning around dancing that it took her a couple of seconds to realize her shadow was gone. When she did heads flew. "Where's my shadow? My shadow's gone! My shadow! My shadow!" Now, Izzie is a smart kid. I've explained to her before what shadows are. And she understands. She just got caught up in the moment. Poor kid. Considering my height and her current growth rate she better take what she can get. If that means reveling in the glory of a tall shadow I'm all for it.

(Right now Noah is standing on a dining room chair growling at me...just switched to high pitch screaming.)

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