I have a lot of relatives with Asperger’s and Adult Residual Asperger’s. Same for my Chinese-American husband. I was prepared for our child to be, at the very least, a little introverted.
Baby D was not. Baby D craved human interaction. He never liked playing with toys by himself. He was fascinated by other children. Once he was mobile, he enjoyed swim classes with other kids, playdates, and even Childwatch at the local YMCA.
When I hovered while dropping him off at his first day of preschool, my three-year-old waved a dismissive hand and said, “You go now, Mommy.”
Baby D’s favorite kids were the older kids on the block. These kids were anywhere from 3-6 years older than Baby D, but he was immediately welcomed into their group. Block Leader A was thrilled to have another player to flesh out imaginary worlds, while Baby D embraced his roles as head of security/ sheriff/ stormtrooper (anything that gave him a weapon).
Baby D loved his neighborhood friends more than anything. The minute he heard them outside, he clamored to join them.
“But we’re about to have dessert,” I’d say. “Don’t you want chocolate cake?”
“My friends are the best dessert!” Baby D declared—to the utter befuddlement of his foodie parents. We would have no peace until he was charging down the block to play “Town” or film videos.
Some of the worst temper tantrums Baby D ever threw were when we had to drag him home for bed while other kids were still playing.
As much as he loved other kids, we shouldn’t have been surprised when four-year-old Baby D announced, “I want a brother.”
I said, “Hahaha, I just got some of my life back and you start kindergarten next year, NO.”
Baby D said, “Please, Mommy?”
“Sweetie, a baby brother is not like you think. He wouldn’t be able to play with you for years. And he would take up all Mommy and Daddy’s attention, just like you once did.”
“I want a Baby Brother. I don’t care.”
“Trust me, you would care. You would have to share everything, including your room.”
“I will share! I will share my I soft blankey with him. And I will share all my stuffed animals, and I will save him if there is a fire and, and, and I will share soft blankey with him.”
Andy asked, “What if it’s a girl?”
“It won’t be a girl.”
“It might be.”
“It won’t be!” Baby D insisted. “Right, Mommy?”
“Right,” I agreed. “It would be another boy, contrary and energetic and non-napping and exhausting, just like you, which is why we are not giving you a baby brother.”
Baby D harangued us about a brother for months. Until his Redheaded Baby Cousin came to visit.
Redheaded Baby Cousin was about six months old, daughter of my youngest, most infamous Boyfriend-Stealing Sister and her new California Husband. They were visiting her in-laws and came by for an afternoon with us.
Since I was absolutely, positively done with babies unless their parents needed me to hold them while they ate, I hired Baby D’s Favorite Teen Babysitter. We adults went out to dinner. We adults had a lovely time.
Baby D did not. Our four-year-old was fuming when we returned. His favorite sitter turned out to be a total baby hog. She carried the baby everywhere, cooing. Her games with Baby D were half-hearted. She outlawed the usual Nerf Wars, lest the infant get injured.
Once our relatives and the sitter left (with one last coo), I asked Baby D how he liked his cousin.
“I do not like her! She is noisy! She is noisy all the time! And obnoxious! She can’t do anything! And she got all the attention! I do not like Redheaded Baby!” he ranted. Before I could point out the obvious, Baby declared, “I do not want a baby brother!”
Andy, smothering laughter, could not resist asking, “You sure?”
“Yes! I do not want a baby brother!” he reiterated, with a glare at his father. “I want a cat!”