Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dear Hayden,

My charming, eldest, shy-but-not-really, blue-eyed boy…how on earth are you already five? I can’t believe it has been 5 whole years since you came into this world.On one hand, I can’t remember a time without you. I can’t remember what we used to do in the evenings when we weren’t begging you and your brother to eat your dinner and reminding you that criss-crossing your legs and hopping on one foot is usually an indication that your body needs to go tee-tee.

But on the other hand, it seems to have flown by. One minute you were crawling to me and the next you're climbing the pole at school and starting sentences with, “Young Man…” when reprimanding your brother. It’s all going way too fast, but I know I can be guilty of rushing things on occasion. In fact, just this year, you have attempted to wakeboard, climbed to the top of our rock wall, played your first season of team sports, ridden your first loop-de-loop roller coaster, attempted to ride your bike without training wheels, perfected your handwriting skills, and jumped into the pool without fear. And your teacher told me just the other day that you got a standing ovation in class for remembering what a comma is. Literally, everyone in your class was told to stand up and clap for you.

Son, what an accomplishment! In my twenty eight years of life, I have never had a standing ovation and only sometimes do I remember what a comma is used for. In fact, you only have to read a few of my blogs, to see that I overuse commas, and love to use the, in place of commas. I am sure it drives your English-teacher-Mimi insane. All that to say, your standing ovation was much deserved. Since you spend a good amount of time at school, I am sure you have learned many other things like that, and I won’t be aware of until you happen to do it in front of me.

Like the other day, when you casually mentioned that you wanted to search the Internet to research Hurricane Ike. Now, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal in most families, but until that point, we didn’t know you knew the word Internet (or Mommy’s addiction to it), or Hurricane or Ike. But that night, you and your Dad spent a good 2 hours looking at videos of Hurricane Ike. At that point, the storm was way off in the Caribbean, and the newsmen were just blabbering about the four hundred and nineteen different paths it could take. And you were both so intrigued. And I was all, that’s great, but can we check my email now….or myspace…or my blog favorites. You know, all of those very educational sites I frequent. You are in an official kindergarten class right now…still at the pre-school here at my work, but official none the less. You and your friends are the big men on campus and it shows. But I think I am learning more in this kindergarten class than you are. The other day, you held up three fingers, and while pointing to each one individually and deliberately, you announced that it was the sign for…DO…WHAT’S…RIGHT. Apparently that is what your teacher does if someone in the class is doing something wrong. She just holds up her three fingers… Her Three Fingers! And Boom! Problem solved!

It probably looked like I wasn’t listening to you as you were telling me that one night before bed (since that is the ONLY time you talk about your day). I remember sitting there stunned, staring at your in complete disbelief. I was all, “Wait a minute…you mean to tell me that all this time I have been raising my voice, and spanking you, and putting you in time out, and negotiating with you…when all I had to do was simply raise my 3 fingers like this.”

And there you sat nodding back at me with that expressive grin you do where you don’t show your teeth. So far, I have tried not to overuse the DO-WHAT’S-RIGHT sign, but it has worked…even with your hard-headed brother. See, it’s things like this that make me mad at Plano Presby hospital for releasing your Dad and I into the wild with you kids without giving us some sort of Parenting tricks 101 class.
But that’s okay, because we do have a few tricks up our sleeves. Like the other day, when your Dad convinced you to eat a cookie with walnuts in it. Again, probably not a huge accomplishment to the average family, except that you usually announce that you are allergic to everything you don’t want to eat. So far, you’ve said that you are allergic to nuts, bbq beans, green beans, and ground beef. Except you are only allergic to ground beef when it is in spaghetti, not if it is in Sloppy Joes. On the days that we make you take one bite to prove you are “allergic”, you can actually make yourself throw up as you are spitting out the food. Even though you get very little sympathy from us, you should seriously consider acting later in life. We know it’s just that crazy gag reflex you inherited.
Anyway, on this particular day, we had made a pan of brownies. And being the selfish mom I am, I bought the kind with walnuts even though you are “allergic” to walnuts. You were in the kitchen with Dad and before you took one bite, you spotted a walnut and asked him, “Dad, what is that? Is that a nut?” And Dad, being ever so quick on his feet responded (without lying) that it was actually a tiny morsel of goodness. The answer satisfied you and you ended up devouring the whole brownie. As it turns out, you are not allergic to tiny morsels of goodness, and in fact, you like them.
Our next task is to convince you that collared shirts are not as awful as you think they are. Even super heroes wear collared shirts. Because on the rare mornings that I decide to fight that battle with you, you moan and groan about how much you don’t like collared shirts. How you would much rather wear your transformer t-shirt with stained pink spots all over it (I don’t believe in sorting laundry…it’s about efficiency). If a neighbor were to overhear this battle in the morning, they would probably think we were asking you to wear a full wool body suit or something equally as terrible. But no…no, it’s just that dreadful polo shirt with the collar that gets in YOUR way when YOU are trying to play.
Hayden, all in all, you are a talented and sweet boy with a few little quirks. You are the first to greet me in the morning with a warm hug and a kiss, and I know every year that passes gets me one year closer to losing this morning ritual. Just typing that brings a tear to my eye. It is so hard to balance the urge to see you learn and experience things early in life with the desire to keep you my little boy a bit longer. I love you and can’t wait to see what Year 5 has in store for you!

Your biggest fan,

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