Telling Tales: The Baby
My youngest is mad at me…again.
When we pulled out old family movies and started the stroll down memory lane, something (or someone) was missing. We watched my oldest coo, eat solids, laugh, roll over, crawl, walk, “go potty” and fall all for the first time. Halfway through watching his big brother delight at an ape at Animal Kingdom came the first, “Hey! Where am I?”
While the sounds of his big brother jumping in a swimming pool shouting out, “Look daddy, I fimmin (swimming),” Jackson pulled the covers over his head saying with certainty, “You don’t have any tapes of me, do you?” As if I don’t feel guilty enough for not breastfeeding him for very long, now I must live with the fact that we forgot to document this precious little boy’s monumental steps. How could I?
I swore I would not be one of those parents. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The kind who document every milestone of the 1st child and forget about the second, third and fourth. The kind of parent who completes the My 1st Year baby book for the oldest, but forgets about subsequent children. The kind of parent who can tell you exactly how much the oldest weighed at birth but doesn’t remember the day the other children were born. You know, like my parents.
Being the 4th of 6 children, the only evidence that I even existed was my birth certificate. There was one snapshot of me when I was a baby with my dad’s mother holding me. When I was a senior in high school, my sisters warned me against submitting that photo to be published in the yearbook since the baby in that picture was my oldest sister. It wasn’t until this moment I realized what a genius my mom was.
We almost had Jackson convinced it was him I was holding in a swimming pool. But then my husband-who was operating the camera-started saying, “Good job, Jacob! Show the camera how you can swim to mommy.” Jackson was crushed. But before I could say, “You will be the first to get a car, Jackson” he pointed at the screen and said, “Who’s the fat lady holding Jacob?” I let him have that one.
What were we going to do? I didn’t want this to be one of those stories kids tell their friends (or therapist) when they reach adulthood. As the youngest, he already feels slighted because he doesn’t have the freedom his big brother has. Would we be forced to hire baby actors and shoot pseudo family movies so our oversight wouldn’t confirm Jacksons belief that he was somehow switched at birth?
Luckily, we found one. It wasn’t of his first steps or laugh, but it was still perfect. When it started a little speckled boy of 2 years old sat on a plane with his Lightening McQueen slippers on. I remembered that he insisted on wearing those house shoes everywhere. As the video rolled, we watched that little boy who had the chubby face of a toddler, but eyes that were wise beyond his years. And for the first time since we started this stroll down memory lane Jackson was content as he stepped out from his big brother’s shadow. He was satisfied. When the tape was over he looked at me and I prepared to hear him say how much he loves me and daddy.
“Why didn’t you take me to Disney World?”