I’ve been thinking a little lately about what would be different if Oliver had been born without his heart defect. Would I treat him differently? Would Shawna treat him differently? Do our attitudes/behaviors have an impact on him? If so, in a bad or good way?
It’s had to know for sure one way or another. For example, I think I have a little more patience with Oliver than I had with Clara, but that could just be a second kid thing. Or maybe it’s because he’s just an easier baby. Or maybe it’s because I feel bad for him. It’s probably all of the above. I also know there were times at the beginning when I probably was a little more closed off to him than I might have been under other circumstances, which I’m pretty sure he didn’t notice, but what if my negative spirit had lasted longer? It makes me sad to think about.
I know no child receives exactly the same treatment as another, which I find comforting. My siblings, for example, are all pretty amazing people, despite having different childhood experiences. As the oldest child, I know my parents made most of their parenting mistakes on me, so if anyone should be damaged, it’s me. But here I am, writing circles around my sister in blogsville (click here to see my sister’s blog, but don’t cry to me when you’re so bored you could die). Furthermore, my parents had mastered the art of parenting by the time Joe (#6) entered the world, but even that couldn’t prevent him from being the weirdest member of the family (not counting in-laws, Rachel Beth). I’m kidding, of course (except the part where my parents made their mistakes on me).
And how does Oliver’s condition end up affecting Clara? Clara bit Oliver today for the first time (hard), and Shawna was understandably upset with her. Was she more upset than she would have been if he wasn’t facing heart surgery in a month? It’s hard to say for sure, but something in me says yes, probably just a little.
I guess my ultimate hope is that Oliver knows he’s very special, but not more or less special because of his heart. I definitely don’t want his heart to be what defines his specialness. And hopefully Clara understands that if/when Oliver does get some extra attention because of his heart, it doesn’t make her any less special than him. Anyway, these are just my thoughts… my guess is that my desire to have both kids feel important and loved is a problem that all parents with multiple kids face.