It's hard for me to talk too much about Ray without thinking about my Dad, without really missing him. I really feel like he and Ray were cut from the same cloth. I like to think that many of the problems my Dad had in his life were the result of his oversensitivity. He was easily affected by things and he never really learned an appropriate coping mechanism to deal with the things that hurt him. He would shut down mostly. As I say about Ray - when he's happy he's the happiest happy, and when he's sad he's the saddest sad. My Dad could be so much fun, he was effervescent when he was joyful. I'm still missing him very much every day.
But back to Ray - he is effervescent. People always smile and marvel at him. He can be this wound up ball of reckless energy however if he is wanting attention or he's not gotten enough stimulation. He is much more a physical being than Noah. He loves running, jumping, dancing and spinning. With Noah I've always switched up the classes I put him in - music, dance, and art - but Ray wants to take him tumbling class over and over again. He loves learning the tricks, balancing on the balancing beam, doing yoga stretches, and bouncing on the trampoline.
Ray turns four years old in 9 days but people always think he's older. For one thing he's quite tall and brawnier than Noah. Ray has also had a pretty impressive vocabularly and ability to be very verbal from before the age of 3. He talks. ALOT. In ways people are not expecting from a boy of his age.
Ray adores video games. If left to his own devices he would play endlessly online, on his leapster and on my iPhone. I limit his play mostly to things I deem educational. And honestly he's gotten so good at letter recognition, phonics and math because of these games. But what impresses me is how savy he is online. Though he can't read he can navigate a game that would seem to require reading. Just from being intuitive about where the START buttons and other functions would be. And he doesn't get easily frustrated with the games like Noah does. He'll take his time and try all the different options until he gets the right one. He had a friend over the other day who told me she used her computer at home but when Ray tried to show her something online she was baffled. She had problems using the mouse - and it wasnt until then that I realized how much he has truly mastered at game play.
Ray loves music. If it's rocking. He favorz male voices and songs that start with prominent guitar parts. He's a natural rock anthem fan. And he's a great dancer. He does his own thing with sort of amped up abandon. It is hysterical.
Ray adores Noah. He admires him. He follows him. If given the choice to be with or without Noah he'd almost always choose with (whereas Noah would probably choose a break from Ray). He mostly lets Noah take the lead with choosing their imaginative story lines but there are some games he favors himself. He wants to be Ron Weasely to Noah's Harry. He likes to play a puppy at the pet store that I pick out and take home. He loves to be Super Ray.
Ray is SO jealous of Lee. He tries to keep a level head about it, if there is such a thing for Ray, but his jealousy shows through. When I'm nursing Lee Ray will put his face right up to Lee's face to "love on him." In fact often when Lee gets hurt it's because Ray was loving on him. But most of the affection is still positive. He even talks of wanting us to have another baby.
When Ray misbehaves I can tell him to go sit on his bed and he'll go. Noah never did that. He would freak out when I suggested a time out - as if I just suggested life imprisonment. Ray seems to know he needs a quiet moment to collect himself and he just goes. I go up after a couple of minutes and we talk about whatever precipitated it. When Ray gets really upset however, like tantrum-ish upset, he seems like his tongue swells up. His tongue is sticking out of his mouth and he's trying to talk but he seems to be choking on his tongue. I tell him to calm down and stop crying and he says he can't and it usually takes me holding him and reassuring him to get him to settle down. He also goes through periods where he has night terrors, and this strikes me as him just being so emotional and needing to work through some stuff in the night. It wasn't uncommon for Ray to need to come to our bed in the middle of the night but he's been a bit better about it lately. At least for the moment. I never bank on kid's sleeping habits.
So there is some info on my Ray. He really is a piece of work. I readily admit he's a bit of a wild card and a slight bit wonky, but I don't just love him in spite of it, I love him because of it. I admire his spiritedness and am touched by how deeply he feels things. As an adult I can foresee Ray continuing to need me the most, but I can also see him making me feel the most treasured. Of course that could be the codependent in me.