Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Incomparable Jedidiah

The Incomparable Jedidiah

Recently, an adult we see regularly told my oldest son that he didn't like our 3-year-old son, Jedidiah.  Todd and I weren't there at the time, and Jed was being his usual, rather loud self.  So this person went on to tell David that he usually loves all children, but he just doesn't like Jed, and "that was saying a lot."  Well, when we got home later that evening, David shared with us what this person had told him about his younger brother.  Needless to say, as this little boy's momma, I was none too pleased for many reasons.  One of which is, I'm not really sure what my 13-year-old son was expected to do with this person's declaration of dislike for his little brother.  Of course, I was also just a bit peeved that someone would voice something like that regarding a young child who actually likes him.  Jed had greeted me earlier laughing about how funny the person was who apparently doesn't care much for him.

Interestingly enough, I was already in the process of writing a blog post all about our little boy Jedidiah.  He is a unique blessing.  He is a "handful"--loud, electric, and truly just as lovable as he can be.  I am not one to ever say I dislike any child.  But the remark made by this person recently made me remember something that I hope and pray I still remember when my kids have grown up and grown out of much of their childlike ways.  We should remember to have grace with other moms (parents) and we should have grace with children who are still learning how to navigate life and how they should behave.  I am seriously looking into designing and creating custom t-shirts for my little boys, particularly our little Jed, that say "In Training" on the front and have the verse "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6) on the back. I'm dead serious.  I need about 7-8 of them so he can wear them every day to remind both myself and others that this is a little child, that he needs both my diligent attention and my grace as he learns.  Grace.  Grace.  That is something that can be very lacking at times when we believing parents are looking at one another and one another's children.  The following is the post I was originally going to put up on my blog about Jed.  He is truly a delight, and I think everyone should be blessed with a sweet little boy like him, though he is a bit of work to handle and train.  I wouldn't trade his personality for the world!
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Every family should have a child like you!  That is something I tell each of my children all the time!!  :) It's true!  They are each such a wonderful blessing in their own special way.  It seems each child has such an individual personality.  I thought I had seen it all in the first seven, and then we had our precious Jedidiah.  
Looking back, I never realized how relatively calm the other children had been as babies and toddlers.  I never had to deal with a truly precocious child until we were blessed with Jed.  From the beginning, I never even know what he would turn out to be like.

Jedidiah was a very easy going baby.  This was a child who could sleep anywhere, be held by just about anyone, and be dragged from one event to be next without any sign of fussiness.  For example, I flew to Miami with baby Jed for a weekend with my mom and sisters when Jed was 6 months old.  He was exclusively breastfed. We had tickets to see a musical.  The day before the production we called to make sure I could bring the baby with us, and were told that the baby would need a $72 ticket!!  My brother-in-law bravely volunteered to keep Jed with his three kids for the few hours of the production.  I left baby food for him to try with Jed if necessary, but was sure he wouldn't take it as he had never tasted solids before.  Jed was perfect the whole time we were gone, and then after we picked him up, he slept soundly in hingsis stroller as my mom, sisters and I ate dinner in a rather loud restaurant.  "What a calm and easy going baby," we all thought.  Jedidiah was always smiley, happy, and he slept amazingly well.  He was definitely one of my easiest infants in the whole bunch!

Even Jedidiah's birth was my most peaceful.  After desiring a home birth ever since my 4th pregnancy, Todd agreed that we could have baby #8 at home.  After a relatively less painful labor, I was able to give birth to Jed peacefully in a warm birthing pool in our bedroom!  Beautiful and amazing!!!  The whole family was present for the birth of the new baby.  He  was born in the evening, so the lighting was perfect.  Everyone watched the birth (in the murky water, it wasn't too graphic), and then Todd took the children all downstairs for dinner that we had frozen ahead of time and he had taken out to thaw earlier during my relatively easy-going labor.  I'm serious, it almost doesn't sound true, but it was just that perfect!!  Fast forward a year, and all of a sudden, my easy going baby transformed into a super busy, super precocious bundle of energy!  I often laugh at how God waited until baby #8 to give us such an active little boy.

When Jed began to walk, his world exploded into a million possible things and places to explore, many of which, in his mind, are best explored by dumping things onto the ground.  When Jed turned 1 and began to walk, we had a gate to keep him from walking upstairs.  When it broke (due to heavy traffic in the house of course), however, we never replaced it because he learned how to safely go up and down the stairs.  Of course, the drawback to having no gate is that now Jed the toddler was able to sneak quietly upstairs and suddenly be into something before we detected he was even gone!  My babies #6 and #7 never really got into trouble like Jed did, so I had to remember if it ever got suddenly quiet, Jed was probably dumping something on the floor (let's see...the little rocks that go in his sister's fish tank, math counting chips, earrings belonging to older sisters, dental flossers, nail polish left on a desk by an older sister--that one got "painted" onto the floor, the entire train set, Legos, etc, etc, etc). One Sunday morning before church, I emerged from the bathroom to find that Jed had emptied the contents of an entire box of cereal, along with nearly 1/2 gallon of milk onto the floor.  Breakfast, anyone??  I could write a whole book full of the antics of Jed, but for now, I just want to give you a glimpse of this little boy's personality.  

Jed is super intelligent, and has an amazing memory.  Having teenagers in the house, this can lead to some interesting things coming out of his mouth!  Sometimes he comes up with the funniest things to say.  I love to hear his sweet little boy voice, often chiming into conversations with words used by people much older than he is.  It's fun when he voices some of the thoughts running through his busy brain.  One time as we were on the way to Dallas to see the grandparents, we were stuck in a huge traffic delay.  After driving 3 hours and not even making it halfway there, Jed piped up with, "Hey, everyone!  In opposite world, we are already at Mammy and Granddaddy's house!!!" He also has informed me that when he is big and tall and can drive, he is going to take me out to dinner with him.  My heart melted big time over that one.  So sweet. He asks people questions that are blunt-not necessarily rude-but just funny.  For example, he will ask people when they are going to die.  Recently, a woman we had just met told Jed that he looked like Abby.  He looked at her like she was crazy and said, "No...I'm a BOY! And my name is Jed--idiah!" These things are not what makes him such a handful, but sometimes the verbal stuff can be humbling as well.  I never know what he will say to someone or ask them. He is not the least bit shy, so it's all fair game.  Of course, he is only 3, so most of the time he is just talking about little things, but I always have to find out what he has just told someone when they start laughing after he has shared something with them.  Many times it's things like, "Hey, I just burped!" or he will have sung them some lines from a song he learned from an older sibling (nothing horrible, but not "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star").  

I often tell people that Jed has an electric charge that you can actually sense radiating from his little body when you are near to him.  He is wiggly all the time, smiling a mischievous smile.  Many times he hasn't even done anything wrong (yet), but his face tells you he is either thinking about it or he already has!  

One last and maybe surprising highlight about Jed is that he is my most affectionate child by far.   Most active and "wild"...most loving.  I get tons of kisses from little Jed.  I can say with certainty that I am kissed more by my little Jed each day than I am by all of my other children combined.  I may have gotten more kisses from him in one day that I usually get in a month from some of the other children.  Jed will grab my hands and kiss them.  He will bend down and kiss my ankle or my foot.  He always squeezes super tight when he hugs.  His hugs and kisses can brighten up any day, and he just seems to know when I need some of his sweet love.  Precious boy.

The funny thing is, as exasperating and exhausting as it can sometimes be to parent my little Jedidiah, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  He is so full of LIFE! He reminds me of the kind of joy and abandon with which I want to live my life.  Jed can go from being unhappy and crying to giggling and laughing in a split second.  Most of his existence, though, is spent with that mischievous smile on his precious little face.  He dances through life, and his arms and legs are in constant motion.  The only time this child is still (or mostly still) is when he is asleep.

This more "difficult" child, maybe the child who isn't so "likeable" to those who don't really know him, the child parents of other young children don't want their child to be around because of what he might do or say...this child is a precious, sweet child with a heart as big as the whole world.  His eyes light up with mischief, yes, but there is JOY and LIFE that is contagious.  Jedidiah is a blessing from God.  He keeps me humble.  He keeps me on my knees.  This child I would never trade for an easier child.  My little Jed is going to grow up and change the world.  Someday, his training will be over, and he will be polite, strong, bold, with a big heart and an attitude that is ready for anything.  But I do I enjoy him now, and I hope everyone around him can have the grace to see in all the bits of "electricity" how wonderful he truly is.