I had a natural birth with Tommy.
I asked for the drugs early on. I know my limits.
This is how a real person looks after giving birth without makeup. I'll never understand the people who insist on putting makeup on before pushing out a person.
I was freaked out because I was 19 and I had never been around children before. As an only child, I did not have to share my belongings. As an only child, I was given a generous allowance so I never had to babysit to earn extra money. There was really nothing expensive I wanted anyway. Some people lust over name brand clothes. I always lusted over books.
Tommy was a total surprise. I discovered I was pregnant in college. I realized it was not normal to suddenly start dry heaving for no reason. The students around me probably assumed I had spent the previous night partying as I gagged into my palm.
Nope. My body was busy creating a person.
When Tommy was handed to me, I didn't know if I was holding him right. He stared at me. I stared at him. I asked him to please be a good baby because I didn't know what I was doing.
Unlike his sister, he listened.
He only cried when he was hungry or when his diaper was wet.
He was a happy baby.
His photo was even in the background on the Regis and Kelly show for the Beautiful Baby Contest. This photo:
He loved to pretend:
He loved The Wiggles:
Still, I discovered he was different when he was around two. He was barely speaking. When I'd take him to the park, he'd pace back and forth, back and forth. He would not play with the other children. He'd make piles around the house.
He was still a happy kid, but I could not take him out the house. He'd run down store aisles, refusing to stay in the cart. I'd beg him to stay put, please stay put, and he'd scream, tilting his body out of my arms.
I'd sometimes stare at him, and he'd look pensive, as if his mind were working on a completely different wave than my own.
I'd later learn that it was.
In Kindergarten, he'd have meltdowns. The teacher would call me daily. I didn't know what to do. She'd say, "Tommy won't sit still. Tommy cries all the time." I wanted to help my boy.
We'd later find out he had Autism.
But Autism didn't stop my boy from being a cool kid:
I'd watch in awe as he became obsessed with various subjects: the human body. The weather. Video games. (He loves learning about the original Nintendo and Atari.)
And even though he won't admit it, I know he loves his sister. He used to use her as a road for his cars:
He prefers that she not touch his things or bug him, but he is a great big brother even if Natalie is like, "WTF is this kid doing?"
Today he is 13.
But he will always be my little boy.