Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Toughy

Today is J's birthday.  5 years old.  Man does time fly.

I've heard it said that your child's birth is a preview of his life.  That is certainly true in 
J's case. He was born with intensity and gusto and that's how he lives his 

He spent his first few months messing with us. 
 He tricked us into thinking he was a mild mannered, timid baby.  And while his first year was mild mannered, he also quickly evolved into an opinionated tank.  His baby fat rolls were so immense it prevented him from sitting up straight.  

Jack was talking well before age one and his walk was as distinctive as his personality.  He'd walk upright, but with arms stuck straight out BEHIND him.  He'd put his head forward, stick back his arms and come at you like a battering ram.   Aaron's mom affectionately referred to him as a bulldozer.  My dad nicknamed him "Straight Line" because it didn't matter what was in his way, if he saw something he made a straight line right for it.  

Sam, Aaron and I called him Toughy because although he was still sweet and mild tempered, he was clearly a bad ass.  None of the other kids on the playground were going to mess with him. 

 I think Jack's most endearing feature is his protectiveness of his brothers.  We saw it for the first time when he was maybe 14 months old.  Aaron had the boys at the local children's musuem.  Sam, who was almost 4, was playing with a ball.  Some big kid came up to him and took the ball out of his hands.  Jack saw it happen.  In response he furrowed his brow, squared up his target and went at him.  He grabbed the ball back, gave the big kid a push and marched the ball right back to Sam.  

Just recently I forced Sam to have a playdate with the new kid in his class.  Sam said he didn't want to but I gave him a lecture on empathy and inclusiveness and invited the boy, we'll call him Aidan, anyway.  Within 5 minutes, it was clear WHY Sam didn't want to have Aidan over.  Let's just say he was a PITA and leave it at that (but my kind readers must know I am making a gross understatement).  

At one point, Aidan accidentally hurt Ben.  Ben erupted in tears, I ran to comfort him, and Jack came out to see what happened.  "Did that kid hurt Ben?!" he asked in his gruffest, meanest voice that he is not allowed to use.  "YES!"  yelled Sam.  As soon as Sam said yes I knew there was trouble.  Before I could grab Jack and tell him it was an accident, he was running at Aidan full force like a bear - his claws outstretched, growling at him.  

Sadly for Jack, Aidan is 3 years older than he is and Jack was the one who got taken down.  But despite the long conversation I had with Jack about violence and hitting not being the way to express anger, I was secretly filled with pride over his fierce protection of his little brother.  

So today my sweet, exhausting, affectionate, fiesty, tough, protective, intense boys turned 5.  I still remember our first moments alone together in the hospital.  He had the deepest, slate eyes and he stared at me as though he was memorizing my face.  "Who are you?" I whispered.  "Where will we go together?  What will I learn from you?"  

I'm still learning the answer to those questions.  What I do know is that the joy he has brought to my life is not quantifiable.  He is a blessing beyond all  blessings.

Happy 5, little Toughy.  Mommy loves you.



Laurel said...

Aww...sniff! LOVE the pictures, especially the one w/ the striped towel!

Sage said...

Happy Birthday Big guy!

Maryellen said...

You're a wonderful mom, Sandie.