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Sunday, February 26, 2017

This is Childhood: Six!

How do we have a 6 year old?!

We celebrated a few weeks ago when we took the boys to see the Harlem Globetrotters, but today is all about Hayes, the boy who made me a mama and changed our worlds. Grant's in Spain on a business trip ("too much work!", Hayes said, which kind of broke my heart a little bit), but I'm trying to make up for it by taking the kiddos to Chuck E. Cheese for playtime and pizza, followed up by presents and cake at home.
Hayes, Greyson and Hayes' friends Jackson and Zachery at the Harlem Globetrotters...
My letter to you, Hayes, on your sixth birthday...

It feels like we blinked and all of a sudden, you were six years old. Where did the time go? This was a big year for you. You became a big brother for the second time when your little sister, Henley James was born a few weeks before your fifth birthday. You came to visit me in the hospital with Pa and were very distant; we think it was because I was hooked up a thousand IVs and heart monitors, "chained to the bed" as you put it, but I worried maybe we had expected things to go too smoothly and had forgotten that you weren't the only little boy in our family who's life was changing as a result of this new creature. Luckily, as soon as we came home, you warmed up to your new sister and quickly assumed your role as protective big brother. You were so eager to help, offering to feed her bottles and wanting to hold her all by yourself. As she got older, we trusted you to keep an eye on her (and Grey) when we needed to be in the kitchen to finish up dinner or if we had to run to the bathroom really quickly. We knew you were such a rule follower that you'd never let anyone get away with anything! You finished pre-school, graduating from Green Beginning with an adorable ceremony where you donned a cap and kazoo. I cried my eyes out, sad that my baby was growing up, but also excited for what laid ahead. We celebrated with lunch at McDonalds, the graduate's choice. You started Kindergarten in the Fall; you were apprehensive, but brave, leaving me shedding the tears (again!) on the first day at drop-off. It took you a few weeks to warm up to the whole kindergarten thing, often complaining that the days were so long and counting down the minutes until the weekend arrived. But you made friends quickly and loved to learn, often choosing to do math and writing workbooks instead of playdates. You weren't the best student in the class - things didn't come to you as quickly as they did to others, but you always put in the effort and were so inquisitive about everything. You were popular - it seemed as though kids were lining up to play with you, but you were pretty oblivious to that. You quickly fell into a group of about 4 boys in the class and were definitely a little goofy when you were with them. A jokester, you liked to trick people, your favorite pranks included hiding plastic bugs and rats in inconspicuous places and pretending you hadn't done your homework when you had. You were definitely a little socially awkward and weren't quite yourself when you were around your friends and other grown-ups; sometimes it seemed as though you didn't quite know what to do with your hands and you'd become really clingy with me and Daddy. Even though you were the older brother, you depended on Greyson a lot and used him as a crutch in social situations. You caught the electronics bug big time this year and couldn't get enough of the computer and video games on your new ipad. But you also had a great imagination and would play (for the most part) nicely with Greyson, building legos or driving cars around the house. You knew how to work the AppleTV and were frankly better at understanding the whole technology thing than I was. Your brother and sister adored you; I think both of them would say you were their favorite person. Your name was one of Henley's first words; she said it even before she said 'Mama'. But boy, were you a Mama's boy. You called me "Mommy-uh". You would give me kisses and hugs whenever I asked for them and nothing made you happier than sleeping in my bed when Daddy was away on work trips. You slept with multiple loveys, including my and Daddy's childhood stuffed animals. You were afraid of the dark. You hated taking baths and would ask to skip every day. You started playing other sports beyond soccer this year; Daddy coached your AYSO soccer and Basketball League. I think you liked the fact that he was coaching far more than the actual sport itself, but you'd go every week and participate without complaint. You were super into music and we'd often hear you singing along to songs on the radio. You weren't a huge fan of movies or any story line that had a villain. Your favorite show was Rescue Bots; you liked that they helped people and that they weren't the bad guys. You simmered on the police obsession shortly after you turned five, but still had an affinity for it. Your favorite toys were legos and remote control cars. Your #1 item on your Christmas list was a drone, which you thought was the coolest thing ever. You were Batman and a pirate for Halloween. You hated all vegetables - I think because they were called "vegetables". I could get you to eat tomato soup though and considered that a win. Your favorite color was blue. Your favorite animal was a giraffe. You did speech therapy for about 5 months as you had articulation issues with the 'l' and 's' sounds. We had a routine where we'd go to Starbucks and practice every week before your sessions. Eventually, we stopped going to the therapist but continued going to Starbucks to practice; I don't know how much you were getting out of it, but I liked the one on one time and I think you did, too. Your favorite thing to order at Starbucks was chocolate croissants. You drank gallons of milk every week. You requested cinnamon buns or donuts every Saturday morning. Your sweet tooth was insatiable (like your Mama!). You loved Christmas and thought it was so awesome that Santa Claus made a special trip to Nana and Papa's to visit you on Christmas Eve. Every night, you'd ask us to "check on me every one minute!" and would only let me put you to sleep. I think we probably babied you more than you should have been at this age. I dressed you every morning and still brushed your teeth and you were probably more than capable of doing that yourself. Your brother was so the opposite of that, I think I liked feeling needed and just fell into the routine. I often struggled with the guilt of not having enough quality time to spend with you doing homework, or helping you learn to tie your shoes or ride a bike but you never complained and were just an easy going kid who went along with whatever was going on. You were patient and understanding and helpful - and we needed that in our crazy house! You also started showing signs of independence though, pouring your own milk in the morning and asserting your individuality when you dressed yourself by insisting on wearing your shirts and underwear backwards. I genuinely enjoyed spending time with you and was so proud of the young man you were becoming. Sometimes I'd just stare at you and think, how did I get so lucky to get to call this handsome kid all mine?
I lub you more than words can express. Happy birthday, Hayzey Badger.


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