Once the chubby cheeks are gone, he will have lost all little-kid-ness.
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It all started innocently enough. Zach reminded me that Alex had his five-year checkup in the morning, a fact that I had almost forgotten as I was giving Alex his bath and thinking about maybe sleeping in just a touch the next morning.
“Am I going to get a shot?”
Alex’s big blue eyes looked at us, hoping the answer was going to be a resounding no. Hoping that this doctor would be like his pulmonology doctor, who has never done anything more than look in his mouth or listen to him breathe, I’m sure. Wishing that the appointment would end in a treat but nothing invasive, without a doubt.
I sighed, and answered him honestly: “Yes. Unfortunately you will have to get a shot tomorrow…”
The tears were instant. The wails were strong. Between sobs, he explained to us just how much he did not want a shot. He told us he didn’t want a hole in his arm.
Zach held him, rocked him, shushed him, as I tried to explain how quick it would be. How it would hurt, I couldn’t lie about that, but that it would be over in an instant. And! And! It would keep him healthy!
Needless to say, nothing I said could calm him down. He cried on and off for a while, eventually settling and accepting that it was time to read a book (Batman!) before bed.
When I finished singing to him and kissed him goodnight, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes. “Mommy, I just don’t want to be shot tomorrow. I don’t like it when they put holes in my arm. And I hate Band-aids.”
I kissed him again, reminding him that he has done so well on his chore-chart that after his appointment I’ll give him the one extra sticker he needs for a new toy. His sniffling broke my heart, but he said “okay” and told me he loved me.
The appointment was not as disastrous as I had expected. Knowing that he was going to get “holes in his arms,” I had assumed he would not cooperate for anything or anyone. I was happily surprised that he was nice to the medical assistant, and even nicer to the doctor.
He told the doctor my phone number, our address, and answered most of the doctor’s questions with, “I already know that.” (“Are you learning your letters?” “I already know dem.”)
When the doctor left and said the nurse would be in for the vaccines, Alex jumped off of my lap and hid under the examination table. He was behind a little ledge, crying, insisting that he was never going to come out unless I said he didn’t have to get the shots.
Eventually he came out, and when the nurse gave him his shots I almost cried as hard as he did. “Noo! You have to stop! It hurts! Not another one! NOOOO!”
Holding down your five year old kid while he gets stabbed three times for a reason that he cannot possibly comprehend? Insanely awful. Insanely painful.
He cried for a solid twenty minutes while we sat in the examination room. He sniffled and moaned for another hour as we left and drove to the toy store, like I had promised him. He insisted I hold his hand “down at my size” so that he didn’t have to lift his arm higher than necessary.
I am so happy we won’t have to do that again for some time. And I have yet another reason to hope that his need for his controller medication for asthma is gone at his next pulmonology appointment in February: he can do the flu mist instead of the injection.
Poor kid. Today was not a good Monday. Just ask Alex.
Alex hasn’t been a napper in years. He began to fight naps as a baby, in fact; from about 8 days of age, he fought all sleep, so fighting naps was only natural, I suppose. Starting around one or one and a half, things took a turn for the worse. There were a few months where, if I ignored him for long enough, he would occasionally fall asleep. By the time he was two, naps were done at home.
But naps were not done at daycare. He continued to nap three to four days a week when he was in full time daycare, and up until his most recent transition he was required to have quiet time, resting his head on his pillow for an hour, even if he didn’t sleep.
Now that he’s transitioned to the big Kindergarten room at his school, there is no longer a required nap time. The day goes from morning to evening and it is non.stop.activity.
I naively thought that it wouldn’t matter. He hasn’t had a nap at home in years, and he only fell asleep at school twice a week during nap time.
Isn’t parenthood fun? You are wrong all the freaking time.
That quiet time was apparently keeping him together. That quiet time is apparently what made him a reasonable human being in the afternoon and evening. That quiet time was apparently keeping me sane.
I had no idea.
Needless to say, as he transitions into his new class, with no quiet time, there have been many tantrums. There have been many meltdowns. There have been many arguments.
More tears have been shed within the last two weeks than he shed in many prior months combined. “But I…mommy…::sob::…Mommy…I can’t…I just can’t…::sob::…” and it was all because his hamburger wasn’t…something. It wasn’t what he wanted for some reason that normally would have meant nothing to him, but now it brings him to full on sobbing uncontrollably.
He’s lucky he’s cute and sweet and funny when he isn’t actively melting down due to exhaustion. He’s lucky that at bedtime, he tells me how much he loves me, how I’m his “best Mommy” and that he can’t wait to see me when he wakes up. He’s lucky he makes me smile and laugh so hard I can’t breathe.
He’s a really great kid, but man do I hope this transition moves quickly.
Alex is officially five.
We kept him home from school on his birthday, something I hope will become a yearly tradition.
Donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch, chinese food for dinner, and an ice cream cake for desert. That child knows what he likes, and he got it all that day.
We went to Chuck-E-Cheese, an experience that I expected to take hours and involve a ton of activity, but instead was rather subdued and we were in and out of there in an hour. Twenty bucks worth of coins, and Alex got a few squishy bugs and dinosaurs.
I still can’t believe he’s five. Five. My baby is growing up, and it’s happening so fast.
My wonderful not-so-little Alexander:
Today you are five. Five. It sounds so very old, probably because it means you are officially a whole hand in years.
You have been counting down to five for months now. No birthday has ever held the same excitement before, and I can understand why five seems like such a big deal. It sounds mature. It sounds very kid-like. Very school-aged. It’s not baby, toddler, or preschooler. It’s five.
Yesterday, you had your first day in your new classroom at the same school. You entered their version if Kindergarten, a smaller class with fewer students and only one teacher. You had a great first day, and I hope that continues throughout the year!
Throughout this year, you will grow. You will grow in height, likely losing the last of your chubby cheeks and gaining even longer legs that will be nearly impossible to fit into appropriately waisted pants. Throughout this year, you will grow in so many other ways, too. I know this is true because it is true every year. From four to five you shocked me with your ever increasing vocabulary, your understanding of simple math, and your amazing memory. If we read a story one time, you could tell me the entire plot months later! Even your teachers commented on that fact.
At four, you couldn’t say your “r” sounds. You also couldn’t say your “l” sounds, so “I wuv you” remained the cutest thing you said for a number of months. Then, you slowly outgrew the wuv and entered into love.
And love you do. You are an amazingly sweet boy, hugging and kissing at every opportunity, cuddling whenever possible, and generally being a lovable little guy. You are sensitive, quick to be upset when scolded, and quick to beam when praised. You have won the hearts of so many people already, and I can’t wait to see how this wonderful aspect of your personality grows.
As a baby, you weren’t the most cuddly. You liked to be held, but only if it meant you could play or look around. In some ways, you never outgrew this. Cuddling is much more commonplace now, but it always involves lots of conversation, a movie, or quietly playing in some other way. You still crave a constant source of entertainment, and for that I can’t blame you.
Luckily, the world remains pretty fascinating to you. While we have entered the “I’m boooored” phase of childhood, for the most part you find ways to entertain yourself with the world around you. This, of course, involves lots of questions. “Why?” is a favorite, naturally, but my personal favorite of your questions is always the more complicated, “how does that work?”
You look underneath things to figure out where sound is coming from; you fiddle with your toys again and again to determine exactly where it is that a click is made, to figure out what part of one piece goes into what part of another. You follow wires, notice breaks, determine the cause of an effect. Your fascination with how things work is, well, fascinating.
And I know that this love for The How will continue to grow, and we will do our best to nurture this in you. I also know that this year you will learn so much more; you will learn more than I even think possible to cram into one little brain in one short year. You will learn to read and write. You will learn more words, more math, more and more and more.
You will learn new ways to share your stories, and new ways to share your love.
I hope I can continue to learn new ways to show you how much I love you as quickly as you learn new ways to show me. Because I love you. More than anything. And I hope you have the absolute best fifth birthday, and a most awesome year as a five-year-old.
So much love,
“Mommy, I’m booooored.”
That phrase? May be the number one most annoying phrase that children utter. Especially because the phrase is always accompanied by an excessive level of whine.
It didn’t matter that breakfast was literally two minutes away from being ready. It didn’t matter that until I walked into the kitchen, Alex was happily playing by himself. The instant he saw me, he was booooooored.
I told him to grab his current love affair: Power Rangers. Apparently they are boring. I suggested he spend some time with his beloved Toy Story action figures. Buzz? Totally boring. I suggested he grab his iPad. I mean, c’mon… the always entertaining iPad had to win the morning. “I’m bored of my iPad.”
As his breakfast was finishing, I removed the heels I had worn to an early-morning meeting. Finally his eyes lit up. He knew just what to do.
And so the boredom was gone, and breakfast was ready, and the day could resume.
I’ve given up on Project 365. At least, in the traditional must-take-a-picture-every-day sense. I still hope to take many more pictures on a regular basis, bring my camera with me more often than not, and continue to learn and grow.
I hope that at the end of the year, I have 365 photos that I love. Some may be, gasp, from the same day. And that’s okay.
It was becoming a task. It wasn’t something I enjoyed. I didn’t want to take more pictures of Alex’s toys. I didn’t want yet another shot of me in a mirror. I don’t need those pictures in order to learn how to take pictures. I don’t need those pictures to document my life. To document Alex’s life.
I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures, and being forced to do it every day was ruining that for me. So, I quit.
I feel comfortable using my camera now. I shoot in manual mode ninety percent of the time, up from zero before I took Michelle’s class. When the scene changes too quickly, I don’t shoot in manual and that’s okay, too.
This is all documentation. That is what photography is for me. It’s taking pictures to capture moments in life. Big moments, little moments, just moments. And being forced to make moments? Does not a good picture make.
So long, 365. It was nice meeting you for a few months.