It's after 1 am here, and I have no excuse...the cookies for Sean's class were made before dinner, the presents have been wrapped for hours, and even his last-minute ironed-on but not yet sewn shirt is ready to go for tomorrow. But I can't sleep.
Simultaneously can't believe Sean will be four years old, and can't believe he hasn't been with me my whole life.
Hmm...I just deleted a lengthy paragraph on Sean's birth story...but it is way more about me than him, and it was my most difficult delivery, so that's a story for another day.
What I do want to recall is what a considerate baby he was. Seriously. He slept so well in those early days. I had to go back in the hospital after spiking a high fever the day after we came home. The idea of one's baby even being in a separate room is painful at that stage, so he came with me. But I was shaking so badly I couldn't hold him, and worried what I'd do when he woke up hungry. But he slept. And slept. Right next to me in the ER, even while the "who can find a vein in this girl's arm" was played again, and never woke up until I was in a room and ready.
Brian and Aidan had both slept (or tried to sleep) in the hospital room with us after Sean was born, so that night after being readmitted, after sending Brian home with Aidan, was really our first night alone, and it was one of the blessings to come out of all that.
I'm the fourth of nine children...so I even share the middle child spot. I try to be extra sensitive to Sean's unique standing in the middle. He adores his big brother. They are very different, but to others it's hard to tell ---especially as Sean imitates everything Aidan does, even his catch-phrases. This morning Sean announced, "I have some good news, and some bad news...", one of Aidan's long-time favorite openers. He wanted a Bakugan for his birthday, despite not really knowing what it is. Despite all of mine and Brian's attempts to sway him this week, we know he's going to choose his brother's favorite place for dinner tomorrow, so they can both get "alien pancakes."
And while Aidan will sometimes demand a little space or time to himself, the adoration is shared. When the bell rang and all the kids came running out of Aidan's classroom today, half of them stopped to wish Sean a happy birthday because Aidan had told them all about his brother's upcoming day. They make each other laugh hilariously, and it is the most delicious sound I've ever heard.
Still, Sean loves being the center of attention. Aidan often begins a book asking, "Who is the main character of this story?" Sean has picked up on this and will often announce, "I am the main character of this family." I've tried to explain to him that each person is the main character of his or her own life, but he is still trying to get me to understand that we are all just supporting actors.
He loves to play the "I love you as much as..." game, going all the way to the sun and Pluto and back. Sometimes when I tell him I love him, he'll ask, "Do you love me the best?" which still shocks me. I know I never liked being left out of anything as a kid, but I don't remember measuring every gesture as a middle child. A few days ago Sean declared he wasn't going to eat breakfast because I served Aidan before him. I tried to hold back my laughter while I explained that his oatmeal takes longer to make than Aidan's bowl of O's & Kashi Go Lean, but he'd have none of it.
He is not a dare-devil. He's strong and more aggressive than his brothers, but like his dad, he has an amazing risk-assessment ability. He likes to test things out first. He's also more outgoing than anyone else in our family. On a recent walk uptown, a teenager dressed in his best "wanna-be-gangsta" look, walked past us and Sean struck up a conversation. And he wouldn't let it go, felt the need to tell this boy, whose pants were nearly falling down and whose bare arms were already covered in tattoos, all the details of his day. And underneath all that exterior armor, the boy was too polite to turn away from Sean, and ended up walking backwards until he finally just cracked up and I did too. Sean is disarming that way...and if you give him an inch, he'll take a mile.
He'll often ask me to pretend that he has just "found" Nolan, and he'll come running, telling me he's found a baby and can we please keep him and name him Nolan. He LOVES to give gifts, and he'll often ask me to pretend I've never seen certain things before and then he'll give them to me as presents. He continually asks me to marry him when he grows up, and Aidan always snorts at this and reminds him that I'm already married, but Sean's indifferent. I know that to Sean, it just means to always be there for him, and there's nothing I'd like more.