Friday, 7 October 2011


I feel a need to continue my 'tribute' to Noah today, on the occasion of his sixteenth birthday.

Most parents would probably agree that it's a bit of a shock to see how the years go by so fast and I concur.

My memories of my children are so fresh to me that it literally does seem like yesterday.

Noah, despite his guitar playing, has always been a very quiet person. In utero, I had to have regular ultrasounds because he hardly moved. On his 19 week ultrasound he looked like he was sitting in a lazy-boy. None of that fetal position business, he was leaned back with his legs stretched up and out. (and these HUGE feet!) Then he turned his head toward us & lifted his hand in a wave...the doctor waved back! LOL. " Hi there little baby" . He was courteous enough to be born on his due date, although he was in no hurry to actually enter the world! He was in no hurry to breathe either...4 minutes of sternum rubs & pinching and 8 specialists surrounding him.

Then they put him in my arms and he turned his head and looked directly into my eyes and straight through to my 'soul'. The pediatrician said the next day that in her entire career she'd never seen a baby less than a day old trying to lift his head. But there he was, on my shoulder and every time someone would speak, he'd lift his head to look for the source. Of course he didn't have the neck muscle strength so he just kept slamming his nose into my shoulder!

He wasn't a big baby at birth and he had waaay too much skin on his forehead, so I thought he looked like a Shar-Pei puppy. He certainly made up for his lower birth weight by almost tripling his weight by 3 months!

He was sleeping through the night as soon as we got home. And as I've said before, has pretty much kept up the same 'eat, sleep,eat' pattern since.

He was just NO trouble at all..and it's not because he was my first or whatever, he just was the easiest baby ever. Once he was crawling, I'd put him on the living room floor while I made his breakfast and he'd crawl over to the stereo and turn on the radio..once he started to 'cruise' he also started to by then, he'd pull himself up, turn on the radio and say CHOM. He woke every morning at exactly 7:10. By 14 months, he was speaking in short 4-5 word sentences and would answer in English to a question in French or English.

Everywhere I took him, he made people smile. We could be waiting in a line and he'd just look at someone and grin, he had these gorgeous, big, red cheeks. No one seemed able to see him smile without returning the smile and strangers constantly touched his cheeks. (much to my horror!)

By 2, he'd come in my room every morning and say "up mom, coffee". By 3 he had developed a friendship with the neighbour boy and he would speak French with him, he still talks about him, although he hasn't seen him since about 6 months later. It made me bonkers cause this poor little boy had an absolute sleeze-bag for a mother who stayed in bed all morning while her kids wandered around with 30 pound diapers on and often little else. But that was the beginning of Noah 'adopting' underdogs. He collected people like some people pick up strays. That is how we ended up with Madoll. One day he just started talking to her and brought her into the yard to meet me. It was a super neighbourhood, a cul de sac, so I could safely let him ride his bicycle or play even in the front yard. Everyone on our street watched out for everyone else and we all knew what car would come at what time. It was idyllic for children.

Another time, Noah was out playing in the driveway while his Dad was doing yard work, he was about 4 and a half. I was in the house and didn't realize that his father had gone into the basement through the outside door, when Noah came in and said "I found a man Mom and I put him in the back yard to sit, now I'm going to bring him some water cause he doesn't look right" !
Well, imagine? I said " what DO you mean you 'found' a man? and what do you mean by not looking 'right' ??" Needless to say, I was a little freaked out. He answered me that it was a hot day and the man was wearing too many clothes and when he said Hello to him the man asked him if he knew his son. So, long story short. I went out and sure enough there was an elderly man sitting on a chair in my backyard and he certainly was dressed too heavily. He also was rather confused and continued to ask if we'd seen his son who was supposed to be there to meet him. Called the police while making sure he stayed put and yes, he was an 'escaped' resident from the long-term facility about a mile away and yes, he did suffer from Alzheimer's. Still it strikes me that Noah had the intuition to realize the man wasn't a threat and needed help.

A couple of months later, he 'found' a lady : Mom, I found this lady and she looks like she had an accident and she's not talking well. Again to the back yard. Middle-aged woman, clearly drunk, face badly beaten. He husband had "dropped her off" at the ER and she decided she wasn't going to stay but on walking away, she'd begun to feel ill. Ambulance that time, well, after convincing a drunk that she needed to be checked out for that broken nose and for possible concussion. THAT was a tough one to explain to a 4 year old who said "It was nice of her husband to give her a ride to the hospital, but he should have waited with her" *oy*

When Isaac was born, Noah was 3 years, 2 months old. He came into the hospital room and pulled out a stool, stood up beside the bassinet and said "Hello Isaac, I'm your big brother Noah, and I will always be there for you." And he has.

When Hannah was so sick for those years, I think it wore greatly on Noah, having me gone so much and worry about Hannah. He once told me that he had a solution, "We don't use the basement that much, so why don't we build a clinic there and hire some doctors then you guys can stay here?" One night I told him to go brush his teeth and he burst into tears. ?? I was shocked. "Noah, what is the matter, are you hurt?"  He said, " Nobody is telling me what is going on and I want to know if my sister is going to die"...That was when I realized that Noah had a NEED to know and that I couldn't hide anything from him.  Frank said that he felt Noah got that trait from me. Frank was likely right. When she had her surgery, she turned 2 a week later. Noah said he knew exactly what he wanted to give her..A bracelet Mom, a bracelet with a ballerina on it cause now she won't have to wear all those ugly hospital bracelets ever again, I want her to have a pretty bracelet. I had to take him to the store and he picked out a silver charm bracelet and charms. A ballet slipper and a heart.

He has been just generally a nice, nice kid. Always polite, I never fail to have other adults comment on his politeness. He is fiercely protective of me, Isaac and Hannah. He is still cuddly and affectionate. He has high moral values, although he is an atheist. He knows that Madoll speaks English well, but he will never speak in English to her, he considers it disrespectful. He is a moral compass for me and will not hesitate to point out if I commit a social foible. He has a quick wit and sense of humour so he is never dull to talk with.

He has a memory like a bear trap, as my father used to say. He is a reader but don't let him get started on quoting things, cause he will make you crazy by reciting verbatim a television program or a book! He is very verbal and sees details. That is part of having Non-verbal learning disability. He sees all the details, but is slow to take in the 'big picture' The doctors said he'd make a great eye witness! Another part of NVLD is poor fine motor skills. Well leave it to Noah to turn that around. He took up guitar and it has greatly improved his motor skills and he is, if not an amazing guitarist (although I think he is) certainly a very dedicated one...His teacher tells me that yes, he is an amazing guitarist, they enjoy duelling during lessons. Noah himself says he doesn't understand why the rest of us don't hear his errors.

He is quite probably the most loyal friend a person could ask for...after being bullied by the same fellow for 4 years, he only reacted to him when the bully tried to pull something on his best friend. I have a nickname for him, I call him Gandhi or Mohandas when we are being less formal. He was APPALLED when I suggested he sock his bully a good one. He will NOT kill an insect but will scoop it up and talk to it and carry it outside.

He is fun and funny and it has been my GREAT pleasure to raise him thus far. Now, 16. Asked me if I would be starting tomorrow to teach him to drive? (my poor clutch) Milestones mark our lives, they are like beacons that shine in our memories, they are the stories we will tell our grandchildren, if we are so lucky.

Happy, happy Birthday Goose. I love you more than you love me, but you won't understand that until you are a parent yourself.