Category Archives: Sean

Day Trippin’

If you don’t know what ‘Earthing‘ or ‘Grounding’ are and you don’t have a friend who reminds you that the best way to traipse through the New Jersey Botanical Gardens is barefoot, I suggest you remedy both deficits.

I love day trips with the fervor usually reserved for say … your firstborn. I dream of places to scoot off to at a moments notice and always have a list running in my head. I love packing my sage green, insulated picnic basket and trekking somewhere new and exciting or old and wonderful. I know from experience that the things I think are so important on the list for the day…can wait. Day trips pluck me from the thick mire of tasks and to-dos that hold my feet firmly in the muddy constraints of life. I can hear the metaphorical sucking sound as I break free.

If it’s one of my best days ever, you will find me floating in a river-fed, natural pool hewn out of rock in the middle of the woods. If you don’t believe in the healing power of nature, good vibes, the transformative power of stones, maybe you will get lucky and I will take you on a pilgrimage to a place that will change your mind.

I am the dot in the middle of the EMPTY pool! Photo by Sean Costello

Days like this lightening my load, feed my soul and clear my mind – and all for $13.

Nearly Normal

I toted Sean to an ‘unfamiliar to us’ playground. We gathered our things, exited the car and headed for the location.

As we walk through the gate and onto the splash pad, I instantly feel something is different. This is a completely foreign experience and I am not used to it.

Mom’s keep talking to each other, and no one turns around. Not one little kid stops in their tracks to watch us as we come through the gate. There is no undo attention. He simply joins the other kids.

No one pretends that they are not looking at us.

This is because it is the right season to be out of school. Not one person – never mind three – ask him ‘What, no school today?’ He is not a teenager, missing some class period, in the middle of the day. He has just the right skin color for no one to be concerned that he is at the park alone. He matches me perfectly and no one asks ‘is that your son’ or where I got him. He has all of his hair and no one gives him that pitiful looks reserved for children with cancer. He has just the right number of chromosomes and his behavior falls into pretty acceptable social norms.

So we blend.

It is incredibly strange. I don’t often realize the way that I steel myself for the situations I will find myself when I am in the company of several or all of my boys. I get it, and I don’t. Some days I have more tolerance for it and some days less. It’s always there, but during this experience, in it’s absence, I feel a hard time relaxing and settling into quiet oblivion.

It’s odd being nearly normal.

The Tooth

It’s just a tooth. A teeny, tiny pearly white tooth.

DSC04053 DSC04056 DSC04054But I know what it means. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this.

First of all, it signals that this little boy is more in the golden years of childhood than he is in the ethereal, baby-like years of 0 through 5. Even his feet look more firmly planted on the planet. I cannot do anything about it. For my other 3 boys, this is the time I watch them tie themselves more closely to identifying with Dennis than myself, expanding their friendship base and emotionally venturing out with more autonomy.

Damn that little tooth.

As I carefully place the tooth (once I retrieved it from the tooth fairy) safely in the top drawer of my dresser, I know that I will lose track of it and like the adorable, Chiclet teeth of his 3 brothers it will become a fond memory rather than a souvenir.

There are no meticulously cropped scrapbooks with 1st Day of Anything pictures. There is not growth chart where we marked their increments of height. I did not keep ‘baby books’ with notes about developmental milestones or beautifully framed birth weights and times with inked footprints. I meant to write down all the words that they mispronounced for so long and little phrases that brought daily giggles.

We were busy. Very busy. There were years and years we were short on sleep managing more than our fair share of crisis and chaos. Recording things was low on my priority list – actually ‘being there’ was really high, though.

I can recount to you the long history about why Ethan referred to balls as “blay-lows” for many years. I can pull a motion picture up in my head of the time he stripped inside the tunnels of a a Mcdonalds play place, leaving me to take him home in my coat – and one sock. I can see the still images of the hours he spent laying with his puppy INSIDE the dog crate.

I can practically hear Gavin saying his quirky little phrases like “Mommy…are you?” in his sing-song little chipmunk voice when we could not find me in our house and that when he was 2 and each time we turned a corned in the car he grabbed the nearest seat belt and exclaimed ‘Hold on Ropey!!’. I recall that he used to think that Ethan ‘saved’ his leftover lunch – just for him.

Mikey answered every question as a toddler with ‘guppy, gup gup’ or some form of it. I can vividly see Mikey walking foot over foot on stairs and running at full speed while most kids were mastering walking. He referred to Gavin as ‘ya-ya’ until…well, let’s not do that here.

But Sean is a different story. He has had so many witnesses to his every move, including his brothers who can sometimes tell me as many stories as I can tell them. They are often the tale-bearers of some huge word he just used or a cute antic. He is the baby – everyone’s baby. With each moment he grows, I revisit milestones in each of the boys’ lives.

He makes me rewind and revisit. He indicates that The Costello Boyz are moving up and forward. That thought brings equal amounts of sadness and fear as pride and satisfaction.

All that from a little boy, with a little tooth.

The Present

By 7:48 a.m., Ethan is on the bus and Dennis, Mikey and Gavin are on their way to Shawnee Mountain. That leaves Sean and I. All alone. And it’s pretty quiet.

He would like a breakfast wrap with sausage and egg and no cheese – absolutely no cheese. So we eat and talk about Power Rangers Megaforce. I took some pictures of my gym’s childcare room yesterday and I show them to him and ask if he’d like to play there while I exercise. Sure I would. Great, because I’d like it if you did too.

We run a few errands and from the backseat he talks to me about how tall he thinks other 4 year-olds are (taller than him), the best attributes of all of his Skylanders, and he asks me if daddy really ‘makes money’ at work – like, prints it. No. But he gets paid. We stop at the Library where he hopes the dogs being walked will bark at him (they don’t because ‘they don’t want too’) and where he hides under a desk that he has been hiding under since he could crawl.

I reward him with a lollipop for staying in the childcare room. He thanks me for the treat. During lunch, he asks to watch American Ninja Warrior, and we do. He asks for grilled cheese, and I make it. No one talks over him or disagrees with his selections – of either. We do some laundry. He sits on the machines and turns the dials and pushes the buttons – because he is the only person home with me, I remember to let him.

We look for some very specific legos in the giant lego boxes: a short spikey thing, two long rods and more jewels. We venture out to the shoe store for some sneakers for me. It’s simple to shop with my little preschool pal – no one is encouraging him to join in their game of manhunt or ‘Marco Polo’ in the middle of the store. On the way out he asks if I like the sneakers I got and can he have just one Skylander from GameStop. Sure, why not?

We both sit down at home and his head nods and he cat naps while I make phone calls and do some paperwork. Our bubble is popped by Ethan barreling off his bus with requests for cookies or chips or both  – with a share for Sean too.

I want to put these few hours into a box, wrap them up and put a ribbon on top.

pic

He’s 3

If there was a job description listed in the paper, and Sean was the perfect little applicant, here is how it would have read:

Infant wanted. Need to become accustomed to extreme amounts of noise. Ability to be flexible as far as napping and meal times. Pleasant disposition in all situations including long car rides, being toted from activity to activity, and a mother that frequently forgets your diaper bag and bottles. Need to be able to live in a house full of legos without ingesting them and play with Star Wars guys, matchbox cars, pots and pans, Nintendo DSes, and other total (age)inappropriate toys. Skills including escaping your oldest brother’s embrace, sweet-talking brothers into reaching high objects, and telling mom that dad said yes, and telling dad that mom said yes, a definate plus.

If you are intersted in being doted on, not only by two parents, but three older brothers, sleeping anywhere you wish, having ice pop appetizers for breakfast and being referred to as the most adorable thing that any of us have ever seen – this job is for you!

That job description never existed, because there was no job! When I found out I was pregnant with Sean, I could not fathom getting through nine months (the way I do pregnancy) and how in the world I was going to fit this baby into the already Crazy Costello Clan. Then, it all changed. He was born, and all was right with the world. When I first visted him in the NICU, he was at complete rest, arms splayed and hands gently open with his head @#!*% to the side seemingly enjoying the warming lights. I looked at the nurse and said, “he’s just not like my other baby’s – he’s different.” I ask him, often, ‘where did you come from?’ and he claims to have been at Grandma’s house. “She sent me here”, he says.

I ask him to not grow up. He says ok. But they’re empty promises, today he turns 3.



When you’re Sean….

“Hands on” also means, feet, knees and whole body…

monitor lizards defy your two-year old frame of reference… icing is wearable… you always have someone to ‘fall back on’.

you have brothers to copy…

and you are pretty certain that you have this all under control.

Fric & Frac

People sometimes comment on how much Sean looks like Gavin. There is certainly a strong resemblance, but what I see when I look at Sean – is Ethan. Not only see, but hear and experience a child who is so much like his oldest brother.

Here they are – Ethan on the left and Sean on the right. Ethan weighed in at a hefty 4 lbs. 9 oz. and Sean at 4 lbs. 3 oz. They both came into the world under similar circumstances around 35 weeks. Sean mimicked his brothers terrible reflux.

But as these last two years have progressed, we have noticed so many mannerisms and personality traits that seem to have been passed down through some crazy genes. Is that funny when one of the kids being referenced has Down syndome? Anyhow. There is 14 (yep, count ’em) years between them and so many of the similarities have long faded from Ethan’s repatoire, only to have been resurrected by Sean.

The inability to leave your socks and shoes on for more than 5 minutes, the request for lollipops at 8 in the morning, the love of cookies (but refusal of homemade in favor in Chips Ahoy, no kidding!) and goldfish crackers, insomnia, protesting the car seat to the point of exhaustion, and a total disdain for strollers. One of Ethan’s gifts (or curses?) was the inate ability to know how every lock, handle, clip, buckle, and button worked. Enter, Seany, whose never met a mechanism he couldn’t work on his first attempt. So adept at playground equipment, they gave other people heart palpitations. Any move of furniture, addition of decorations or a usually shut door being opened is cause for intense investigation.

They both have the ability to see humor in things that should be way over their heads. They both find themselves to be incredibly funny and entertaining. High energy, gregarious, engaging and communicative. Ethan could find a way to tell you any story about any obscure thought he might have had, even with all of his language impairments. Watching Sean use his hands and gestures as he tells a story brings me right back like I am looking at little E. They both sleep surrounded by too many books and both had special affinities for their pacifiers. At two, they both declared most foods “yucky”. Gavin, at least, waited until 8 and Mike hasn’t said it yet!

We called Gavin ‘stoic-baby’, he was a delightful kid, but did not share the strong inclinations of his brothers. Mikey was very compliant and very cute, but did not exhibit the strong preferences of the other two. They were so different from Ethan, that we thought much of who Ethan was must be related to him having Down syndrome. But, as it turns out, it was just who Ethan was at his very core. Sean has showed us that Ethan is who Ethan is, regardless of his extra chromosome. Ethan has showed us, that if this trend continues for Sean, we are in for a wild ride!