Lately I have been telling my children that I am going to start feeding them donuts for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, and cake for dinner in an effort to make them stop growing up. Because nothing else seems to be working.
Yesterday, February 2nd, my baby turned five. If you have a baby, five probably doesn’t sound like a baby, but he will always be my baby. Five is a big birthday. Five is the year children start kindergarten. Five is officially the end of toddler-dom. Five is a kid. I could say a million other things but it all boils down to the fact that I can’t believe my baby is five. Five years ago, we took Graham, then aged 26 months, to a friend’s house so we could go the hospital and have a baby. I sobbed with guilt in the car on the way. Spencer was a planned for and wanted baby, but I felt almost that I was betraying my beloved first born by bringing another child into our little family. I had no idea, of course, that Spencer would complete our family and that he would become an amazing playmate for Graham.
So my (not so) little baby, who are you at five? You are an incredibly independently minded person who can carry on a full and engaging conversation. You still, however, need help buttoning your pants. You have just started to write your name with the “p” backwards and the letters very large. You are s-m-a-r-t. So bright and interested in everything. You ask me what a word means and I see it just sucked right up into your brain. You have a temper and hate to be embarrassed. You love school and ask me every day if it is your show and share day. You still want to do everything the same way Graham does – you idolize him. You also squabble with him. A lot.
(This is one of my favorite photos of my Seattle baby. You are about 14 months here.)
Your hair can really no longer be called blond but I hold out hope that it will lighten again in the summer. You are still a big guy – people rarely guess your age correctly. Your cheeks, arms, and legs are still squishy. Your belly is just big enough that it kind of pushes down your pants so you have a perpetual plumber’s crack going. It may be time for a belt. You still allow me to pick out your clothes each morning but if left to your own devices, you would wear “cozy” pants every day. Your voice is still raspy and high, surprising for such a big boy. And adorable.
You still like vehicles but no longer carry one in each hand everywhere. You really like tape and making little projects out of paper and various things you find. You call it “artzuka” from one of the shows you watch. You are obsessed with Batman and love this shirt that comes with a “cake” (that would be a cape). You do not, however, want to put the Batman sheets that Santa brought on your bed because they are too scary. You continue to be a much pickier eater than your brother – carrots and celery are the only vegetables you will touch. You are a big snacker and love yogurt. Treats are a big part of your life and your current favorite is “mommy’s homemade ice cream”.
At night you like me to lie next to you and rub your back. My own father used to do this for me – I know how lovely it feels. All animals are banished from your bed but they do sit on a chair nearby. We talk about what the next day brings. Some nights, when you are very very tired, your eyes will flutter closed while I lie next to you. I remember lying in my bed with you during your colicky months, trying to nap along side you, completely exhausted from caring for a baby who cried from 5pm to midnight non-stop every day. You were tiny, of course, and I would pat your back, silently begging you to sleep. Your eyes would flutter in that same way and I would hold my breath, willing them to stay closed. Now you almost never cry (and when you do, it’s a big production), and sleep comes easily to you. I almost want your eyes to flutter back open so you will say goodnight to me one more time.
I’ve been keeping track of some of the cuter things you say. You were telling me about the Zamboni at the ice rink and you called it a “tromboni”. We broke through a spider web and you said, “Looks like we need a web repair”. Melted frozen yogurt looked like “a yogurt swimming pool”. People don’t litter, they “glitter” as in “that man is glittering”. Stupendous is “dependous”. You think driving school has little mini cars and pretend stop lights. I was roasting beets one day and when they came out of the oven you asked, “Are those sharks?” “Sometimes, when I have a headache, I pretend to pull my head off.” And my favorite – one day we were about to pull into an intersection after our light turned green. A guy came through, completely running his red light. I cried out and you asked me why. “Because that guys was going really fast and he went through a red light – that is not safe!” To which you said, “Well, maybe he had some ice cream in the back of his car and it was melting.”
I have written so many posts about Graham, one might wonder why there is so little of you here on my blog. The truth is that my love for you is so uncomplicated. There is that age old saying that you love your children the same, just differently. I love you the same amount as Graham but with less frustration, less guilt, more ease, and more humor. Every year brings new wonders in being your mother.