Oliver was our easiest baby. He slept through the night at 10 weeks, he nursed and fed easily, he didn’t fuss or whine. He mostly sat back and watched his big brother and big sister swirl around him. He was slow to crawl, to walk, to talk. He was the essence of the laid back third child.

Oliver as a baby and toddler was no indication of the boy he’d become. Nine year old Oliver is observant, inquisitive, detailed, analytical, energetic and independent. He is reason over sentiment, comprehension over illusion, deliberate over accidental. He can articulate his feelings while at the same time stomp over others, unintentionally. When I would say “Why would you do that, don’t you think it would hurt his/hers feelings?” he would merely shrug. This reaction would drive me insane, leaving me to think my son was being defiant and disrespectful. But recently I’ve come to learn that his shrug is not attitude but honesty; he doesn’t know the answer. So I’ve learned to explain it to him and he files it away. It’s almost like watching more machine than human; he takes new explanations, processes it, remembers it and learns from it.