Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And So It Begins

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was so excited. I felt as if I had officially ushered myself right into adulthood simply by choosing to procreate. Jason and I had only been married for six months, and we found ourselves in a dual alternate universe of newlyweds and expectant parents. I was a cow by the time our first anniversary rolled around, which helped me feel a lot less guilty about indulging in our frozen wedding cake.

When I checked into the hospital for an induction with Camden, I was stoked instead of scared. I have never been one to back down from a challenge, and at the end of this challenge, I got to hold my son. What could be better? HA! I really should have brushed up on my details of what degrading smaller events within the big event come with delivering a baby, particularly your first baby. After a very effective enema, twenty hours of laboring sans epidural, an impatient jackass anesthesiologist when I caved and got the epidural, four hours of resting, an hour of puking, three hours of pushing, and lots and lots of stitches, my work was done. The reward was still spectacularly grand, even after the loss of my dignity and my modesty. I was holding a nine pound little miracle.

Camden Henry Jones was sunshine incarnate right from the start. We had a mild setback around three weeks thanks to colic, but $9 cans of formula saved the day (and broke our budget). His spit-up smelled even more revolting than average spit-up, but he was all smiles once again. He never wanted to be little. He smiled on command at three weeks, rolled over at five weeks, and carried on full cooing conversations by six weeks. He was walking like a champ by the time he was ten months old, and before he was a year old, he could rattle off sounds for a dozen different animals and speak in full sentences.

I was in love with my son. When I sent him home with my parents the night before my induction with Hudson, I cried bittersweet tears because I realized it would never again be just me and my little buddy at home. Of course, the trade-off for that loss has been an incredibly adventurous gain, and through the years, Camden has proven to be an engaging, energetic, enigma of a kid (okay, so I went a little crazy with the alliteration. Just roll with it).

Once Hudson arrived, and especially after Lawson arrived, Camden naturally settled into his role as big brother and oldest child. Being the oldest implies a certain right to bossiness and a tendency to push the little guys around. It was when these things started happening that I recognized I was dealing with a strong-willed child. Don't get me wrong--he is still sunshine, but now there is a very challenging side to his personality that I've had to learn to navigate along with the sunny sides. In short, he is like a carbon copy of me, only much more confident than I was at his age.

He gives everything he does 100% and seethes when he doesn't come out on top. He's very articulate but knows few boundaries in terms of conversational topics. The first time he met my friend Margie, he introduced himself and declared, "I'm home from school today because I have red poop. But we think it might have just been the spaghetti." His teachers tell me he is an angel at school. Like me, he is always eager to please and receive praise (his love language).

He is also extremely empathetic and sensitive, and things that upset him stay with him for inordinate lengths of time. He worries about the day our animals will go to heaven because he'll miss them so much, and he frets when he feels his brothers are leaving him out. He is an active participant in the world around him. He navigates life with a deep connection to and awareness of his feelings about subjects as trivial as how much he loves climbing trees or as heavy as how sad he felt when a peer was bullied at school.

On Monday, he turned seven years old. I can't believe it's been so long since I checked into the hospital with such a bold naivete of how much he would change my life. It's amazing to me what capacity parents have to love their children and how interesting it is to learn and understand each of their different personalities. I know Camden will bring me incredible joy in the coming years, and I also suspect I will fight many battles with my headstrong, independent, quirky little soul. My tenure as a mom began with him, and it has been a beautiful journey so far.

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