Jaden, the Superbaby

This week, Jaden has learned to roll over at will, grab objects above his head and say "ma ma ma ma." While those without children might think this is no big deal, considering it wasn't so long ago that his most significant "movements" happened in his pants, his progress seems remarkable to me.

It boggles my mind to think about the next six months, during which he will rapidly acquire the skills necessary to crawl and then — dear God — walk to any object in the world, reach out, grab it and (given his behavior to date) shove it in his mouth.

As I watch him rapidly build on the skills he learned just yesterday, it makes me feel like Jaden is a Superbaby who is developing at the alarming rate usually reserved for time-release photography. In comparison, Malachi's developmental pace seems much more measured, predictable and, well, normal.

Malachi has been manipulating objects with ham-handed fists for a few months and is only now using his fingers to explore and grab things. Malachi has rolled onto his side a few times, but quickly pops back to his back in surprise. At mealtimes, Malachi just yesterday succeeded in pinching a spoon with a tense crane hand and inelegantly maneuvering it to his mouth.

Jaden, meanwhile, grabs the spoon forcefully and shoves it in and out of his mouth several dozen times each mealtime as if to say: "Really. I got this. Just gimme the strained peas and go about your business."

In accounts I've read of other parents of children with CP, they tell of the shock of meeting other children of the same age at a playdate or daycare. Sometimes it is only then that they realize how delayed their child is and that something might be seriously wrong.

As a parent of twins, I get this shock every day. Every day Jaden learns how to do something that Malachi can't do. Every day I mourn for the little boy getting left behind.

As Jaden races ahead, blurring past milestone after milestone, cheers for his accomplishments will always be accompanied by the deafening silence of Malachi's un-accomplishments. And when Malachi does finally reach those milestones, the accompanying fanfare will be out of proportion to what Jaden received for the same accomplishment. Because, after all, we know that Jaden will have his first steps; not even the experts can tell us if Malachi ever will.

None of that is fair. It's not fair that Jaden will have a higher set of standards, that his brother will get praise for seemingly easy feats, that everyone will be giving Malachi so much more attention and help. It isn't fair that my children's basic accomplishments will be so staggered. It isn't fair for a twin to have a twin with CP.

No, it isn't easy to be a Superbaby.


  1. I love both of those boys so much for exactly who they are. Thank you, Shasta, for being so open and candid about your experience. It helps me to empathize and stay connected even while away and busy. I bet it also serves as a positive release for you. Let's definitely take it viral!

  2. But, oh my god, Malachi's eyes and smile are already out of this world! They get me every time . . .

  3. Shasta...these two belong to no-one other than their parents. This last post brought a tear to my eye...I can't wait to meet them and visit you again. Until that time comes know that I am here for you to support you, and praise you for your strength. Take Care Lady and keep it real ;o)

  4. It's true! I can't wait to post a picture of him in his full beaming grin. He has the world on a string with that smile.
    This blog has been a great outlet for me and it would be amazing if it ended up helping people far and wide.

  5. Katie: Your comment got trapped in the spam filter for some reason.

    Thank you! I can't wait to see your two little ones, too!

  6. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
    Have a nice day!

  7. Hi again! Swinging by once more to follow your lovely blog.

    Happy Wednesday!

  8. Its nice to hear your thoughts. The world is so challenging and we are on a constant search to find the little bits of magic. I see you rising to the challenge and those two magical boys of yours are definitely in the right place. Life IS so far from fair you have stated that well.

  9. Thanks, Megan. So true, so true.

  10. I completely get this. Julia is starting to commando crawl at 2. Gabrielle's been walking since June. Gabrielle has now randomly started crawling again because she sees how we excited we get for Julia. It's the same, I imagine, as what an older child goes through when the new baby comes home.

    But from what I've seen of my girls, it is a HUGE blessing to Julia to have Gabrielle. For one, we can tell right away where she's lacking and where she isn't. If Gabrielle can't do something, then we don't worry about Julia not being able to do it too. Second, Julia watches Gabrielle like a hawk. Wanting to do what Gabrielle does is a huge motivator. And nothing gets her more excited than when she is doing something and Gabrielle spontaneously starts clapping and screaming, "Good job sister, good job!" and then yells to us "Sister crawl!" or "Sister walking!" or "Sister hold the bottle!" and runs over and gives her a hug.

    And as for the feeding, it gets better. Julia can get the fork in her mouth (we're working on her being able to actually get food onto the utensil) if we hand it to her. She used to be terrible at it, getting the food all over her face. But she's so much better now. Not as elegant as Gabrielle, but not as much face wiping on my part!


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