My Little Lion

Every parent wants their child to be the best, have the best, aspire to the greatest heights. What expectant mom or dad hasn't looked at the rounded abdomen that houses their future child and wondered what this child woudl accomplish? We put it aside, saying we will love the child no matter what they are, but looking at that belly, we see potential.



The first time we see their faces, we know that child is the most beautiful one ever born, surely. He or she will be president or rule the world. The most beautiful, smartest, most charismatic child who has graced the earth with its presence.

We know that adolescence is tricky, and sometimes rebellion sets in, but all we can think of is the hope in those tiny eyes that are drinking in the world for the first time. We don't think that this child might not be the smartest, funniest, most adorable, most popular kid in school. We're his parents.

My first child...my Little Bird...is precocious. He is everything his parents were as children. He hit all the milestones early. Walked at 8 months, talked at 6 months, was doing multiplicaiton and division at barely four years old. He is almost six now, hyper and all boy. He reads and writes, uses big words in everyday conversation, and talks to me as intelligently as some of my adult friends. He's learning every day, and he amazes me. He is everything a parent hopes for in a child. His teacher raves over him. From the time he was born, people stopped me to exclaim on what a "beautiful" child he was. Not handsome, not cute, beautiful - was the resounding response. Born with deep blue eyes and a head full of the thickest dark brown hair. He's still called beautiful by passersby.

What else could come from the next pregnancy? Surely this child would be even better, right?

My Leo, my Little Lion...

He was supposed to be a ten pound baby, but weighed seven. He was skinny. Had a huge nose, and an old man combover look to his hair that couldn't be tamed with anything. I found myself saying defensively, "He will grow into that nose. I think he's beautiful" When we saw people on the street, they'd exclaim over Leo - "Oh, what a tiny baby" and then turn to the Little Bird and say "You are beautiful".

Leo weighed 10lbs until he was three months old. We were in and out of LeBonheur to find out why he just wasn't gaining weight. Why he didn't have the requisite dirty diapers, why he was sleeping so much. I was sick with worry over this second child. Finally, I had to stop nursing him and pump milk and feed it in a bottle. He just wasn't eating enough, and we needed to see what kind of volume he was getting. This added frustration made me love the baby even more. I was so determined to make up for something with him. Not sure what, but I felt like he neede more from me even then. I did all the tricks that I could find...taking my shirt off and his clothes off, putting his belly on mine and holding the bottle so I could look him in the eyes like I would if I'd been nursing him. The early morning feeding would end with him in the bed, cuddled in a protective arc of my body. I just needed to touch him as much as I could because I feared for his life. I needed to remember him in case he was taken from me.

At three months, after a lot of mostly unhelpful advice from various specialists and lots of internet research, he started to gain weight. He started to grow and his cheeks filled out, and he started to grow into that nose. But he wasn't meeting the milestones. At six months, he couldn't roll over, much less sit up or try to crawl. He was evaluated, and approved for speech/occupational therapy at 11 months. A year later, we decided to stop. I didn't see much change in what was happening with him. I felt like he was making progress with what I was doing with him. By this time, his reddish brown hair had fallen out and been replaced with platinum blond ringlets. His eyes were so deep and blue...like he knew something the world didn't know. But didn't care to share it.

We put things off. We said that his brother was doing all the talking, he would start talking soon. From all my work with Autistic kids, I tried to see that in him. No. He's too social. But very inept. He just needs to be around other kids. Mr Glow's uncle didn't talk until he was three, and he's the smartest man I know. Maybe he'll be like his Uncle Jeff. Born into two families of very high IQs where intelligence is taken for granted, we looked for every excuse for Leo's deficiencies.

He's turning four in a few weeks. He is my little lion. He's fiercely protective of his family. He's more the big brother than the Bird. He will hold and comfort his more emotional older brother. He actually roars at when he's upset. The little lion..:-) He loves to laugh, and pretend...but academically...he is way behind. I finally evaluated him the other day. He is about a year or more behind in his skills. Kindergarten is in one year, and I'm so scared for him. I don't want him to be "that kid". I don't want him to be the one who is made fun of because he's not smart. Because he just doesn't know or can't grasp the concept.

When someone asks him how he is, and he says, "I'm Leo." It just breaks my heart. He doesn't get the things he should be getting by now.

I've been working with him a lot this year, now that his brother is in school. And I see so much progress..

But now, I'm looking at my failing marriage, and know that if we split up, I'll have to go back to work. I won't have the time I have now. I won't be able to spend this last year, giving him as much as I can before I have to release him to the world.

I just want him to have every advantage he can.

onceandfutureglow onceandfutureglow
31-35, F
17 Responses Mar 6, 2010

tmajor - Thanks for the comment. : ) <br />
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I appreciate what you're saying. And I take a lot of stuff I read about development with a grain of salt. But child development - well, statistically...it's pretty much right. Everyone follows the same basic path for development, and when you're significantly behind the curve, there are some steps to help push you back to where you should be. My little guy is making leaps and bounds, but still has a long way to go. I will love him and enjoy him no matter where he falls on that curve, but I will still try to help him reach his potential - just as I will my gifted child.

I am so terribly sorry your marriage is struggling. Although divorce can be traumatizing to children you have to do what you have to do for the right reasons. It's obvious it should be better with mom and dad raising babies together at home. But when it 100% can't be avoided you must move on and provide the love and expert parenting necessary to enable your babies lead self sufficient, loving, and successful lives. So they to can give the greatest gift of all, life, someday if they choose so!You are a very good writer! You have a very clear descriptive vision! You also show an unwavering love for both of your little boys! <br />
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As far as the standard evaluating techniques and milestones that our American "system" places on our little ones. I wouldn't believe them if they told me personally they were lying! 98% of the time they diagnose a child with a learning disability there is absolutely nothing wrong with them! The problem lies within the system. We live in a country that forces mom's to place there babies into a warehousing system they call school way before they're mentally and physically ready for reasons that only benifit them! It is absolutely normal for children to learn at different levels and paces! <br />
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Our American government school system is modeled after old Prussian Germany's socialist system. Designed to mold and control human beings! Look up the book "The Underground History Of American Education" by John Taylor Gatto. He allows you read the entire book for free on his website!<br />
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Perhaps you can home school or enroll your boys into a premier private school.Please continue to research everything that has to do with the human brain and anatomy. You owe it to your babies! IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE!<br />
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GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

How did I miss this story. My super intelligent friends that have the best sense of humor were the same way as kids. Seems they grow into themselves later. Internally advanced (emotionally and mentally) but haven't been exposed to the right tools to express it yet. Mandatory levels and standardized grading in school sometimes don't do the individual child justice yet we work with what we got. But he sounds like a fighter so he looks like these challenges will teach him great lessons about rising above. <br />
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...Does it scare you that I answered things like Leo as a kid. Absolute seriousness. Puns and common phrases were so literal with me. I felt...like Spock. Seriously felt like Spock. lol...I think I'm alright now, ha ha! ; )<br />
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Parents aren't perfect and those that say they are really are in a fit of denial. I think those of us that notice and put so much effort into changing that are very reactionary when we see that it could pose a problem with the children. Part of our jobs, it seems! We learn and do our best to not repeat history. I have these worries all the time. The hardest part is...we are it. We unknowingly become the elders the youth look to for advice and comfort, security. Which is different from being "elderly"...just so I clear that up. Heh. If there is any solace, we are teaching them that people are not perfect. But there is love. And as long as there is love and understanding, then they will be fine. If the situation, no matter what is chosen or what happens...they have love and understanding available from you...they will be ok. A lot of people can't be with their children all the time. But it's the quality and attention they give when they are together. Not the quantity.

Oh heavens...yes. You remember how I was when they put me on the Vicodin a few months ago. ICK. I think it does have to do with being an HSP. And yes. They're both HSPs. Bless them. At least they have mothers who will understand them. :)

Wow, I was overmedicated too, but not like you! I was so drowsy and weak I had to stay in the hospital for two days. I couldn't even walk on my own, or hold my baby safely. I wonder if it's an HSP thing?? Our sensitivity to substances? Your youngest and mine both seem to be HSPs as well...

No one would listen to me...it was the drugs they gave me when I was in labor. They gave me way too much, and I nearly died - had to get the epi shot, don't remember this...but apparently everyone was rushing in to save me. They just gave me too much, so the baby had too much...couldn't wake up long enough to eat...we just got into this horrible cycle with it. It's the scariest thing on earth to watch your newborn waste...he had a "failure to thrive" diagnosis twice. :( <br />
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And yes, I know exactly how you feel. Those chubby cheeks are wonderful.

I think sunday school would be a great place to start, as it's only a very short time, only once week, and free! :)<br />
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My little one was also a bad eater, got under 6 lbs, just wouldn't latch, and sooo sleepy! I can't describe how happy I was when those cheeks finally filled out around 6 months! Those are the pictures I like to look at, not the sickly little baby :( <br />
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You are a good momma, glow. That is his biggest advantage!

No, he hasn't K. We haven't gone to church in a while. I feel like we need to if for no other reason than to get him in some situation like that. I am also contemplating starting him this summer in the "mother's day out" preschool program at one of the daycare centers here. It's three days a week, 'till noon twice a week, and 'till two the other day. I think it might be good for him since he is very aware of other kids.

I have a niece who, at four years old, was still very much behind in language. Only me and her parents could understand most of the things she said (I was very close to her when she was young as I babysat her everyday for a year). Extended family members were pushing for evaluation, but her parents refused. As she entered school, still speaking garble, everyone worried for her a bit. But she very quickly blossomed, to the amazement of our family, into a very bright articulate inquisitive young student. She is doing just fine now, and talking everyone's ears off :P I know, different kid, different circumstances, but maybe structured school settings really help some kids catch up. From what you have told me, he seems like a sweet child who is highly aware of things around him. Has he had experience with any classroom settings, like sunday school?

Thanks. :)

let's hope you will get things sorted without disturbing the kids

And somehow you always say the right thing. <3

I keep writing and deleting stuff here.... I can't get it out the way I want. Basically I just want to say that I am sure Leo is going to grow up to be a good man. "The race doesn't always go to the strongest or smartest or swiftest..." One of my nieces, she was the one who jumped in puddles and talked to bugs... you know the kind. She is the one I always wanted to be if I ever got a chance to be a kid again.

The marriage is breaking down for a multitude of reasons, Miles. The kids are part of it, but not the whole reason. The only reason I mention it in this story is that I'm torn as to what is the best thing to do for their well being.

why is your marriage breaking down? because of leo? if it is that, the sooner the hubby goes the better

Thank you, Myo. :-) It is easy to become paralyzed with fear. I guess it's a side effect of the love we feel. <br />
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fromnowon - It is no more than any mother would feel. :-)

This child is blessed because he was born to you. Your unconditional love is his advantage. As mothers, we can worry ourselves sick. Don't borrow worry, Glow. Worry and fear are founded on things that haven't happened yet. I'm so guilty of this and you have my empathy. ((hugs))