Growing Up Is Losing Some Illusions, In Order To Acquire Others

Oh, my sweet Alexander,

Today marks the day that you turn eight years old. Eight. A huge number. Two away from double digits and closer to being a teenager than I can manage to think about just yet.

DSCF0120 You are marvelous. I’m honestly not sure I tell you that enough. I’m not sure you know just how much I adore you. Just how much you are adored by me, your father, your grandparents, your fake uncles and aunts. How well liked you are by nearly every adult you meet, and how sought after you are as a playmate. We tell you, sure, but do you get it?

All children are special, and I know I’m very biased, but I honestly think that you are unique. Outside of the fact that I’m your mother and obviously think you are great, I truly believe you are spectacularly special. You are one of the most kind-hearted, sensitive, and sweet, people I’ve known. You still ask to hold my hand. Every night, I sing you a song before bed. You want kisses, hugs, and cuddles every single day, multiple times a day. You won’t let people kill bugs, you have decided you don’t want a dog (besides the fact that you are so allergic) because you don’t want to be sad when it dies, and when I so much as get a little angry at you? You get very upset, sometimes cry, and it’s not an act.

The other night, as I held your hand and rubbed your back, tucking your blankets in around you, I told you a list of things you had done that day that made me happy. We had spent the day with one of your friends, and I couldn’t help but choke up as I explained all of the things you did, how you handled yourself, that made me so proud to be your mother. You were willing to put aside what you wanted for your friend. You were willing to ask them how you could help when they got upset, kindly asking what was wrong when they started to melt down, quietly nudging them back into happiness and asking how you two could make your time together work. You were so mature and kind, and I’ve never told a story about your behavior that made me as proud or tear up as much as this one.

Last Day of First Grade!

Every year, I write you a letter on this blog. Every year, I love to talk about what you learned. You learned to walk. You learned to talk. You learned to run and throw a ball and swim. You learned to read and write and do simple math. You learned to be more independent. But this year? This year you showed me what you’ve been learning all along: how to be a good human.

Alex, you are a good human.

I couldn’t be more proud.

Love,
Mom

When you turned one!

When you turned two!

When you turned three!

When you turned four!

When you turned five!

When you turned six!

When you turned seven!

Some Days, Part 6 (The Summer Edition)

Heeeeey, Taylor. (June 6 part 5)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

WE LOVE ICE CREAM OMG. (June 8 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Hello, gorgeous. (June 9 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

I think someone grew a little since September. (June 17 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Mary Poppins o'clock! (June 18 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

And he's off to his first overnight camp adventure! (July 9)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Wheeeeee! (July 15 part 3)

A video posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Friends make Kennywood even better. (July 15 part 4)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Forgot to post this last night. Cute boys. @zpaine @edibiase @markdotf (July 17)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Bathroom selfie. #rachbachelmira

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Selfie o'clock! (July 29 part 4)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

He caught a fish! (July 30)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Swimming with friends. (@secretninjamom's kids not pictured.) (Aug 7)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

First ride of the day. Amazing. (Aug 11)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Boat day. Aw, yeah. (Aug 15)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Oh, those boys of mine. (Aug 20 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Summer Fun

This was our first summer together in many years. Alex has been going to full time care during the summer, hopping between summer camps or simply sticking with daycare. He’d loved those camps, but with me not working it was obvious that we would spend the summer together. Our first time spending all day nearly every day with one another has been pretty great, and I can’t believe that we are in the last two weeks of freedom. We are officially very close to the start of second grade.

Alex has definitely enjoyed doing absolutely nothing most days. He’s enjoyed being able to tell me that he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Every morning, I ask him what he wants to do, and nearly every day he responds, “I don’t know. Just hang out here?”

So, we do that. He has lots of screen time, jumping between video games, Minecraft, and movies, all of his very favorite activities, and I plan our upcoming trip to Europe, anxiously thinking about how to pack and what activities we will do and where we will get cash and how we will get around and and and…

We’ve also gone to the amusement park a few times, the zoo, swimming, out with friends and family, and recently spent a long weekend in The Poconos with my best friend.

Poconos Vacay 2015

There was fishing, and swimming, and, of course, lots of junk food and marshmallows over the fire.

Poconos Vacay 2015

He went to a few day camps, had an overnight at a far away camp where he slept in a cabin and went zip lining and was without family supervision. So, that was A Thing. (A Thing for his parents, not for him. He loved it and very nearly decided to go for an entire week by himself!)

This summer has flown by. It’s flown by in beautiful colors and I’m hopeful that it won’t be our last together. But even if it is? I’m glad we had it.

Pittsburgh Zoo August 2015

And now we have to work on getting back on schedule, back to the School Stuff, back to the really hard reality that is Alex hating school and barely being able to talk about it. If it were up to him, he’d have summer break forever (but only if I could bring his friends with us on most of our adventures. “You’re fun, Mom, but…I just like my friends, too!”).

Fourteen days left. Let’s make the most of it, Kiddo.

Pittsburgh Zoo August 2015

Friends and Furries

Nearly every year for the last three (four?) years, I have spent some time downtown during Anthrocon, the annual convention for furries held right here in Pittsburgh!

This year? It seemed like a good year to take Alex.

Unfortunately, our schedule was a little tight that day so we were only able to stay and Furry Hunt for about 45 minutes. We were there during the parade, this year marking the first year that the parade has been outside. (Typically, I’ve gone down with friends during the evening and basically just hung out around the main hotel chatting and taking tons of pictures.)

It was busy. SO busy. I have never seen it like this before, and while it’s a good thing for the Furries, it was a bit of a bummer for us. As nice as it was to see a huge crowd gather for the parade, I missed being able to easily see everything and everyone I wanted.

Overall, even during the short time I was there, it was so fun. I adore the Furries and I love taking their pictures.

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

And who doesn’t love spending time with flurries and friends?

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Friends and Furries

Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Friends and Furries

First Grade: Nailed It

Well, I officially have a second grader living in my house.

Last Day of First Grade!

Who let that happen?

Last Day of First Grade!

First grade ended up being an “okay” year for Alex, if you ask him. It wasn’t as fun as Kindergarten, but he thinks it is going to have been a lot better than the dreaded second grade.

He learned to read. He learned to add and subtract and some basic multiplication. He learned to swing really high, run really fast, and climb farther than ever before. He made friends, a few that he will be seeing regularly this summer. He adored his first grade teacher.

He also learned that kids are mean, that they are judgmental, and that they will hurt your feelings again and again if you let them. He learned some ways to cope with that, and the importance of recognizing when to tell a teacher. He learned to say “screw them”, only in his head!, because honestly, that’s the best I could usually come up with and it often made him laugh. He learned that his parents, his family, and his friends, love and respect him, and that anyone who does not is not worth his time.

Last Day of First Grade!

I know I’m biased, but I think he nailed first grade. He came, he saw, he conquered, and now we have an amazing summer to spend together. We have ten weeks of camps, traveling, activities, and days with nothing at all to do. Ten weeks of pools, amusement parks, playgrounds, and sitting around the house finding entertainment in the most unexpected places.

And also, maybe, growing another eight bajillion inches? (First day versus last day of first grade is crazy!)

Last Day of First Grade!

A Touch More Magic

It’s been about two months since we were in beautiful, magical, Disney World.

When I got the e-mail that our Disney Photopass pictures were going to expire, I scoffed. Why would I pay money for pictures when I took a million and mine are probably way better anyway?

But I’m a curious person, so I went through the pictures. And, I have to admit, there are some really hilarious pictures from the rides. I didn’t quite realize that they were taking pictures on all of these rides, which is evident in how awful I look in all of them. But they are awesome all the same.

Did Alex enjoy the Tower of Terror? If you had any doubt, this pictures proves that he wasn’t lying: he hated it.

Disney Ride Photos

Seeing how happy Zach was in all of the pictures was another question answered. Did he really love it? Well, yeah. The pictures prove it.

Disney Ride Photos

So, I broke down and bought some. I even purchased a family shot because it was so cute. (I had the photo guy take one with my own camera, but he didn’t have us do the silly face, so, good job, Disney! Smart move.)

Disney Ride Photos

I seriously can’t wait to go back.

Some Days, Part 5

During closet clean out yesterday I found this backpack (rucksack) and Alex insisted he use it. (May 15)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Maxi dress Friday because Anna Kendrick deserves it. (May 15 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Ice cream after class, waiting for the torrential rain to die down. (May 18 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Watching the big roller coaster, debating whether he wants to do it. (He decided no, he does not.) (May 19 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Alex loves this travel pillow from Sarah. He's been asking for it since he first saw it in January. (May 25)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Hey pretty city, from the back of an uber! (May 26)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on

Cute. (May 27 part 2)

A photo posted by Allison Barton (@allisonbarton) on