Not Normal…

April 12, 2013

Other than a seamless recovery from surgery, I feel like I have nothing to say.  Nothing is new.  Nothing is wonderful.  Nothing is terrible.  What could I have to say that people would want to read about?  Then it occurs to me…maybe things are normal!  As we approach the one year mark of Gigi’s Gotcha Day, maybe things are starting to feel normal again!

When you have a baby, the first few weeks fly by…you are tired and delirious more than half the time.  Sleep deprived, your eyes are open but they aren’t seeing and that’s ok, because you’ve quickly learned to change a diaper in the pitch black darkness of the night and the baby has learned to forage for that breast or bottle with great intensity and purpose and he or she does all the work for you, and slowly you can finally start to rest. While you are napping, time flies by, because when things aren’t normal, time moves rather quickly!  You feel like you get the swing of things and then BAM! – New development, changing sleep schedules, and changing eating habits.  You delight in the smallest developments and the smallest setbacks seem huge.  You encourage the baby to roll over, then sit up, then push up, then crawl.  Everything happens in necessary steps and slowly the milestones are reached and the next goal is set. Suddenly, the baby gets close to one year old and you think, “hmm…I haven’t had to adjust those car seat straps for a while…” and you’ve stopped reading your “what your baby is supposed to be doing this week” book.  Things aren’t such a guessing game any more…things are just normal.  You know the baby and the baby knows you.  You know what your baby needs, and he or she can let you know what is needed.  This is your life now, and what people often call your “new normal.”

Bringing Gigi home has been like having a newborn in a lot of ways.  Those first few weeks flew by, we were jet lagged, our kids at home hadn’t seen us for ten days, and we had a new child – a virtual stranger- in our house, we were in and out of doctors’ offices, we were trying to get her set up for school in the fall before the summer break, we were dropping off blood work, we were sending in MORE paperwork, we were trying to figure her out and we were being bombarded with questions from ourselves.  It wasn’t normal to watch out for a child crawling behind you to smell your feet throughout the day, it wasn’t normal to stop a child from scratching her shins until they bled, it wasn’t normal to peel your child off of every new person that entered the room, it wasn’t normal to constantly take shoes from her because she is beating herself in the face with them, it wasn’t normal to watch her like a hawk because as soon as you weren’t looking she would tap her front teeth with the closest hard object to the point of loosening them, it was NOT NORMAL!  It took some time, but I stopped tearing up at the sight of the unending rocking that she did constantly, to the point of “knocking the breath out of herself.”  We finally learned to keep our eyes shut while she flipped and flopped and squealed and laughed like a maniac in the middle of the night and then eventually it occurred to us, “hey, she doesn’t really do that so much any more.”  We didn’t notice the fade of these behavior and countless others, but we did find rest and relief when they were gone.  Time flew by, because our picture of a routine had been torn apart and we were left with a pile of pieces and we couldn’t even find the box to put them back in while we waited for the time to put the thing back together.  Gigi eventually gave up on smelling our feet, she stopped scratching herself to the point of bleeding, she still needs to be peeled off the occasional person but it is improving, she still likes shoes but if she sees you and she is holding one, she takes it quickly back to the basket and puts it away and the tooth tapping is a battle for another time – it has slowed down, but is still a go-to method of exploration for her.  She is meeting goals and we are setting new ones.  Even seeing these changes, we were starting to think “normal” was a thing of the past.  We know everyone has their own normal…and I don’t want people to think that our desire is for Gigi to “be normal.”  She is normal…she is her normal Gigi self.  We had to take time to learn who she was and yes, our life has changed a little to accommodate her “not normalness” in more than one way, but now, it is starting to feel normal.  Not normal has become our normal.  And we are fine with that.  We just needed to know what our normal was, but you never know until you get there.  We have finally gotten some of the pieces pulled together and slowly the picture is taking form.  Some of the pieces might take longer to find…and I am sure we have a lot of changes still to come, not only with Gigi, but with the other kids and life in general as well.  Maybe we’ll never look normal, but who is!?  I was never one to throw out forty-nine pieces of a fifty piece jigsaw puzzle just because one was missing, you can still see the picture after all and you never know…you might just come across it one day.



2 Responses to “Not Normal…”

  1. Aunt T. said

    Isn’t it funny how, when you really look around, no one is “normal”. We slowly get used to circumstances, be they of our choosing or thrust upon us, and they truly become the norm. People say, I don’t know how you do it and you think, because it has to be done. LOL It’s not like you can NOT do them. As a mother of grown children I look back on our years together in the same house and chuckle. So many times I can remember thinking, I will not make it through this. And yet I can’t remember a specific set of circumstances that caused that thought. On the other hand I can catch a glimpse of something, seemingly mundane and it will bring to mind a memory of an every day, “normal” moment with them that never fails to take my breath. A gravel bed along a sidewalk and I can feel his little hand tugging on mine as he stops suddenly to pick up a fossil he’s found. Then we would have to decide if it was part of a trilobite, etc. Or I can see a little caterpillar crawling along a leaf and I hear a little voice, choked with tears because ……she brought a caterpillar home from school for me to see and I was still at work and it was getting dark, and her daddy wouldn’t drive her back to the school to put him back with his caterpillar mommy. And how I had to console her and tell her to put him in the bushes out front and if he was still there when I came home we would take him home. If he wasn’t that meant he was old enough to leave home and had found some new friends. (My coworkers found my elaborate story hilarious btw.) She was waiting when I got home with a flashlight. I can still see that concerned look on that little face. And we looked and looked for him and then decided he must have gone home with friends. These are the things you carry, and the things that bring your heart so much joy later on. Enjoy those “normal” moments!
    Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear progress is being made. So proud of you all and the strides your making. Oh, also please tell Dan’s family thanks for tagging you in pictures so we can see even more. ❤ to all! Tell your little monkeys Great Aunt T. sends her hugs and kisses.

  2. Janet Stevens said

    How well you put it and how very fortunate Gigi is to have you

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