A Portrait of Nicholas

This isn’t something I do often, but just for my own sake, I want to share a glimpse of my kids, separate from how they interact with me (which is what I usually write). Since I’ve been struggling with the stage Nicholas is in a lot lately, it seems like a good idea to start with him, and what an amazing kid he really is.

  • He adores his baby brother, even though said brother has usurped his place in the world. He giggles every time Michael’s wildly-flailing fists contact any part of his body.
  • The cute speech-isms of new speaker are fast fading. This week I realized that “too-ie” has now become “cookie,” and “the nail has a tail” (the snail has a tail–sounds rather Dr. Suessish, doesn’t it?) has now become “the sail has a tail.” He drives Alex crazy by repeating everything he says. A few days ago we spent Michael’s morning nursing going back and forth on the word “harmonica.” He tried it five times, and three of them came out as “formica,” “Mo-hannah” and “har-monta.”
  • He’s getting to be a whiz at puzzles; this part of the age of three I do love, because I love doing puzzles. He’s working a 100-piece Thomas puzzle and a 30-piece fire station puzzle all by himself. Welll, mostly all by himself.
  • He loves to paint.
  • His conversations with Julianna are adorable. They trade off big sibling status; they bicker over toys three dozen times a day, but in between, they crack each other up. They like to hold hands, and he takes the lead in this matter all the time.
  • He instinctively understands that he has to ask Julianna yes or no questions, so they can converse quite fluently despite Julianna’s limited and still barely intelligible vocabulary. In fact, they converse much better with each other than Julianna does with any of the rest of us.
  • We have never had a conversation with him about Down syndrome, and thus he’s growing up with a much more organic picture of what it means to be Julianna’s brother than Alex has. It will be interesting to see how he and Alex process the subject when they get older.
  • He’s so ready to go to school. In two weeks, he’ll be screened as a peer mentor for next fall, and we plan to send him to preschool at Early Childhood Special Ed. Every day, he tells someone that “Juweeanna wides the ye-ow bus, and I wide the bwue one.” (That would be a city bus…but he’s never been on one, except in his dreams.)
  • He’s been dry at night several times, with help. We’ve undertaken a new project, you see, tired of quadruple diapering at night, and we’re getting the kids up at our bedtime and in the middle of the night when Michael nurses. Trying to train little bodies to wake up when bladders get full.
  • And yesterday, Hallelujah Lord, he reached for the open compartment on the printer….and then, remembering how many times he’s been scolded not to touch it , he stopped, looked at me and said meekly, “Do you need that closed, Mommy?” As a reward for asking, I let him close it. And then I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I was.

And–how appropriate–he just came over and said, “Mommy, I need you.” Translated: I want to sit on your lap. So here he sits, asking where O is and what the camera is, and did I push the “i”? and “N starts with me!” (Meaning, his name starts with N.) Another day in the life begins.