Spare the child, spoil the rod.

I had something pithy to write here, thought of it this weekend, but alas the Monday doldrums have wiped those ideas clean. I'm just going to type until I start boring myself.

As Rowan starts understanding words more and more, less and less of her actions are dictated by instinct. She now reasons, she is starting to understand actions and reactions and consequences. She's testing our limits more and more. She knows what a diaper is, when it needs attention and where to go in the house to get that attention. She knows what up and down is by her physical location and other objects location. She even gets confused by the hallway light switches. You know the kind that you can have in the "on" position but have to push down to get the light to come on because there's two. She'll grab hold of the switch and look at the light, the switch is already on, but the light isn't. She'll sit there and grunt and push with all her might, but she won't be able to get the light to come on. So while she's able to think now, she's not able to think outside the box yet. Everything is still pretty linear.

She's also starting to carry on conversations with you. The words don't mean anything, but you can tell the pattern is there. It starts with dada or mama, you say what, she'll speak in chinese/pig latin for a short burst, you say, oh really, she says "yeah," then bye bye as she closes the door on your face. It's unbearably cute and pretty fantastic from an anthropomorphic stand point. She's evovling to fit inside the only norm she knows, her parents. We're shaping how she talks, walks, and thinks. It really hit home lately that I'm the catalyst for how she ends up in life. I'm sure most people realize this to a certain extent. But I'm talking about something more esoteric, less corporial. I'm talking about paths of thought to conclusion and the lilt of a voice and mannerism of understanding. It's more than just what you say and how you discipline and what music you listen to and what shows you watch and what games you play. It's your posture and your response time and the pressure of your touch and how you hold a fork and what sounds you make when you hug (some people squeek, some grunt, some sigh, you never know.)

Yes your DNA and your partner's DNA make the child look a certain way, and in some cases act a certain way (for instance, my grandma, my dad and his brother, me and my brother and now Rowan, all scratch our arms in our sleep. Only weird because I don't know anyone else who does that.) But if you take that child and put them with a different family, what you have is someone who doesn't look like those people, but acts like those people. It's fairly obvious, but like I said, I had a great idea to write about, but it was lost somewhere.


One Year

Cheryl said something the other day that struck me as odd. Rowan had just looked up at her from under a table, put her head on her knee and said "Hi." Cheryl almost started crying and said, "I don't have enough room in my heart for all the love I have for her." Fair enough. I'm sure a lot of parents say that. Most of us feel that as well. You just look at that little cherub face with those innocent, impressionable eyes and think, "You are a creature of magic and wonder and I'm so happy you chose me." I'm not as vocal about it as my lovely wife, she tends to speak her mind and emotions, and I tend to get ulcers. But it made me think a bit on the word and idea of Love. We were talking about having a 2nd monster this last weekend while traipsing around the Houston Zoo, and later when she said that I started wondering if I'd have enough room in my heart for another? Would it be fair to try to love them as much as Rowan? Is it fair even to think such thoughts? Now I know you're all saying that's heartless and cold and how could I even think that I'd love a second child less that the first. But think about it, if you're the 6th or 7th child, looking back, did it seem you were pretty much left to do whatever you wanted? Did it seem like no one was around? Did it seem like no one cared? I think logically you do throw a lot of your love and emotion and energy into a first child and it degrades after that. Humans just don't have the staying power.

Now I'm not saying I'm going to let our second child run around with a loaded weapon, scissors and an open milk container, swearing as they careen naked around the red light district, but I'm wondering how much actual love I'll be able to give them. I'm sure it will be considerable. I'm afraid of doing the Rowan Comparison Dance, especially if the second is a boy. There will be no end to "Man, Rowan never cried like this." "Rowan was always so happy, why isn't this one?"

It may not seem like it, but we are all capable of doing that now. We have a beagle that no body is really happy with right now. We're trying but it's very hard. Chimaera is very loving and friendly and protective, but she's also crazy and hyper and rambunctious and she sheds all over the place. We're afraid of admitting that she's just not our type and maybe needs a new family. I compare her to Rowan all the time and that's not fair. There's no way Chimaera will ever be able to respond to "What does a cow say" with "Moo." If I asked her that, her little ears would prick up and her head would cock to the side and that'd be it. Then she'd try to jump on me and probably knock something over. Does that mean I don't love her? I don't know. It's hard to admit you don't love something anymore. It's hard to admit you may not love something as much. It's hard to admit that you may in fact not have enough love in your heart for all the things in your life that need it. I'm truly afraid something will get pushed out...