If I had a dime for every time I said, “K is not like other kids”…..well, I might not be rich but I would have a pretty big dime collection. We were among the first in our circle of family and friends to have children. That led to having tons of parenting advice and criticism coming from people who were not actually parents or a few years behind us in the game. All these years later, the same people, upon hearing about K, sit back as a look of realization settles on their face. The message is loud and clear. “Oh, you mean when you said that K is not like other kids all those years ago, you really meant it.” Obviously we did not know what we were dealing with. We just knew that something was different.
Upon finding out that my daughter was actually a son, I was knocked off balance. I wasn’t sure who K really was and for a short time I lost sight of my child. I didn’t see the kid I raised. I felt like someone had kidnapped my daughter and had replaced her with this stranger, who I was supposed to accept without missing a beat. I was confused.
When K was an infant, toddler, preschooler- well, she was a spitfire. She never stopped moving and she got into everything. Before she could even sit up, she wanted to hold her own bottle and preferred to lay on the floor with it than be held. And once she was mobile, there was no stopping her. Even though she didn’t walk until she was 15 months old, that didn’t stop her. She stuck toys and food in the VCR to “cook” them. She pulled things over to the microwave so she could be tall enough to push the buttons and open the door. She emptied entire boxes of cereal in her bowl and all over the table and floor. She was loud, boisterous- a real character. She sang, danced, performed.
She was determined and stubborn and ambitious. At just over 2 years of age, I told her she couldn’t stand on her little rocking chair because she could fall and hurt herself. She proceeded to climb up, stand with her arms spread out for balance and rock back and forth as if on a surfboard. The expression on her face was one I would see for years to come and continue to see to this day. “Don’t tell me I can’t do something.”
To say that my little changeling made life interesting is an understatement. Looking back I see so many of those qualities and it helps me recognize that infant, toddler, preschooler who scooted her way over to the Nintendo controller or turned on the boom box or put the bucket on her head. That drive, commitment, curiosity that make up K.