A Slice of My Life – Spencer is Six

February 6, 2013

Spencer’s birthday was on Saturday.  I am late writing his annual birthday post because of a meeting between my thumb and a cheese grater.  True to his special nature, Spencer has said to me, no less than ten times, “I’m sorry you hurt your thumb, mommy.”

When your children are young, every birthday is a big one. Parents of older children, does this continue to be true? Six feels big. I know when he turned three I said the same thing. And four and five. He is my baby, so every year that he gets farther away from chubby wrists and overalls and obsessions with construction vehicles feels like a loss to me. We can no longer shop in the toddler section of stores (which typically goes to size 5T) and sometimes when I see baby boy clothes, or even baby boys, I catch a sob in my throat.

So my little baby, who will still let me call you “my little baby”, who are you at six? This has been a big year for you. We moved from the only house and the only city you had ever known to a new house and a new city. And you started kindergarten, the beginning of your school journey. Both of those big transitions you took in stride. School has been a dream. You were very ready for kindergarten. You are lucky enough to have a wonderful teacher and I jokingly call you the mayor of your classroom. All the kids like you. Your teacher told us that he can put you at any table in his classroom and you work well with the other children. Your only fault in school, according to him, is that you tend to rush through your work. You are so busy and want to know what is next. Just like Daddy. You are very very bright. Just like Daddy. You hate to be wrong and hate to be hurt and hate to be embarrassed. Just like Daddy. You are very good at finding things. Just like Daddy.

I find so much joy in holding your hand, always warm and slightly sticky, and just talking with you. Your voice continues to be high and scratchy and I love the sound of it. You have so many funny ideas, so many good questions, so much curiosity about the world, and so much kindness in your heart. You play imaginative games with Legos and figures and most of the time you and Graham get along really well. You are interested in magic and science and you aren’t afraid of much.  You will go on a roller coaster with Daddy while Graham will sit on the sidelines with me.  You sometimes act as an interpreter for Graham when I don’t understand what he is saying and I hope you will continue to do for him, both with us and at school. You also tend to tattle a lot and have been to known to fall to the ground in frustration. Currently you play basketball and go to karate and watching you attempt jumping jacks, with your arms not quite in synch with your legs, makes me smile and tear up at the same time.

I walk you to school each day and you are heartbroken on the days when I need to drop you off. I know the day is coming when you won’t want me to walk you in at all. I cherish that you hold my hold all the way to your classroom, allow me to help you get your Darth Vader lunch box out of your Batman backpack, and that you allow me to sit in a kindergarten sized chair and give me hugs before your day in the classroom starts. (I have to sit in the chair rather than pick you up because you are *almost* too big for me to lift anymore.)

Your days are long and busy and ever since kindergarten started, you have asked me not to get in bed with you at night time. You are totally wiped at the end of the day and just want to go to sleep. You do ask me, every night, “If I have a bad dream, can I come and get you?” It is interesting that you have always, since you started to talk, had a bed time question. You hardly ever have nightmares but you do get the occasional bloody nose and have learned to grab a tissue before you come find me, rather than leaving a trail throughout the house.

This is the year you looks really different to me. You started losing teeth last winter (swallowing your first one), and this fall the top two came out. Your smile is still oh so sweet but the little Chicklets are gone and the new guys are a little crooked, spaced wide apart, and too big for your little mouth. You are so tall and while not quite lanky, the baby softness of your limbs and tummy leaves a bit more each year.  Your eyes are a cool shade of hazel and your lashes continue to be extra long and straight.  Just like Daddy.

Currently, you want to marry Brooke, a beautiful little girl in your class. She chose you over a boy named Charlie using the eenie meenie miney mo method, according to you.  When we talked about next year and entering into first grade, I mentioned that Brooke might not be in your class. You were dismayed and said, “But then she will forget about me!” I don’t think anyone could forget about you, my sweet.



  1. What a beautiful gift to your son, especially when he will read this back when he’s a grown man. My son will turn 37 next week, and dare I say, I miss in him the things you describe. He’s a grown man, a wonderful husband to his wife and father of my two beautiful granddaughters, nine and two; so I get to feel those things again. Loved your post. B

    Comment by Barb — February 6, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  2. Love that little guy! I will never forget him trying to sing the words to “Poker Face” while playing the X Box dancing game… “dee aye why, dee why why; POKER FACE!!” Happy Birthday, Spencer!

    Comment by Regan — February 6, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

  3. This is lovely Dana, so wonderful to read. Mine are totally grown up, and I still call them sweet boy and sweetie – because like yours, they are!

    Comment by Katy Gilmore — February 6, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

  4. what a sweet, heart felt post. it made me laugh and choke up. i have an almost 7.5 year old son and 5.5 year old son… and i can relate to a lot of what you say about your lovely children. every birthday feels big to me too. i always seem to say “how do i have a 7 year old?” happy birthday to your adorable spencer! he sounds like a great kid. :)

    Comment by angie — February 6, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

  5. Dana,
    I love your kids, and it is occurring to me that they’ve changed so much! We need to pick a weekend, and I’ll bring the kids for a visit. They miss you guys, and I miss you all, too! Xoxo to you and the boys!

    Comment by Deb — February 7, 2013 @ 4:44 am

  6. Those chubby baby cheeks! I can’t get enough…but you’re right, it is quite a contrast from the Spencer of today. He is such a sweet boy, Dana, and this is such a sweet post!

    Comment by Joanne — February 7, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

  7. Such a sweetie. Happy birthday Spencer. I chuckled and cried over this post – so much rings true with my 7 yr old boy. I cannot call him “baby” though – that always gets big protests.

    Comment by Charlotte — February 7, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

  8. Oh so sweet!!! <3

    Comment by Natasha O — February 7, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  9. I’m a long-time reader but first-time commenter (I’m shy). I am the single parent of a 16-year-old girl. You and I, Dana, could not be more different, but every time I read your posts reminiscing about your children, I always tear up a bit. Your words obviously strike a chord. For me, as my daughter gets older, the birthdays are not as big for her, but conversely, they get bigger for me as I come one year closer to facing the realization that she is nearly out of the nest.

    Comment by Marcy — February 8, 2013 @ 4:12 am

  10. Dana, this is precious! Sweet Spenser will love reading this some day – cherished memories!

    Comment by Denise — February 8, 2013 @ 5:26 am

  11. Oh Dana. I have felt for so long that we are kindred – somedayI need to write you an extensive email explaining all that and trying to arrange a meeting (I am from the Bay Area and visit often, but live in Minneapolis). Anyway, like most folks, I came here for the food but am always moved and amused by your personal posts (don’t even get me started on the curly hair post!), and I feel honored that you have let us watch your children grow. Those pictures of chubby Spencer made me tear up a little. Sorry about our thumb! Keep writing. And continued luck with the move – it sounds like you are thriving, despite having to leave so many wonderful opportunities and friendships in Seattle.

    Comment by Edith-Nicole — February 8, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

  12. Love this friend! Well, I love them all but having a little chubby baby who isn’t so much anymore, I relate in particular Good job both of you on making such great kids! :-)

    Comment by Lindsey — February 9, 2013 @ 4:31 am

  13. Oh, he is so beautiful and so is this post! Thanks for sharing the gift of your son with us. :)

    Comment by Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator — February 12, 2013 @ 12:41 am

  14. Beautiful post Dana! Happy birthday to Spencer!

    Comment by Elli — February 13, 2013 @ 4:04 am

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