My brother, staring at his 8 or 9 minute old nephew, suddenly let out a joyful laugh, which I assumed meant, "Aw, he's so cute I don't have words, just this reflexive laugh" and which actually meant (as later explained), "He was just so... alert."
|Um, was it you who touched my head in there?|
About a week prior, my OB was attempting to give me a dilation status, feeling the top of that same little head, when suddenly she let out a yelp. I can't remember her exact words, but they were something along the lines of "He moved his head around! As in, 'Who's up there? Who was that? Who just touched my head?'" She'd never experienced that, she told me, such a clear and human reaction to the startling touch of her hand to unborn head.
Days later, baby Noah was born, making his eyes as giant as they could vertically stretch from the moment of his birth, closing them only when his curiosity had literally exhausted his busy little head to the point when he could fit no further images.
That was 2008. He is five now. Five is big. He wanted it so badly. Any time he was asked, in November, how old he was, he would prompt me with a "take it away, mommy, you know what to tell them" look and nod in frank agreement as I said, "Noah is four and eleven-twelfths." But he's made it now.
He's five and I can hardly keep up with him. I can still run faster and spell better, but that's about it, so I live with a constant low level guilt that I'm going to spend more time throughout his life thinking of creative ways to say "I haven't the slightest clue how answer to your questions" than actually answering them.
"Mommy, what's Batman's weakness?".... "Well... I know it's not kryptonite." (creative technique: stall while demonstrating related knowledge of subject)
"What kind of bird is that?".... "Could be a sparrow... looks like it might be possibly be a sparrow of some sort." (creative technique: carefully wing it with the hopes that he doesn't commit the likely bogus answer to memory)
"How big is the International Space Station?" ... "Pretty darn big." (ct: be vague enough to not be wrong) ***
Sometimes it's not even a question. "You just missed the exit, mommy."
The thing is I'm not an expert in much. But I am an expert on him (and whatever his preferences are at the time...Legos? Hair bows? I'm down).
His favorite show is Wild Kratts and he knows an outrageous number of animal facts, such as "How many bones does an elephant have in his trunk?" (40,000). He actually pines to be a peregrine falcon (which can go "up to 200 mph in a full on dive towards its prey... even faster than a cheetah"), but he gets that he's not (most of the time), so he'll settle for being a super hero.
He still straddles the magical line between a real and imaginary world. He occasionally tells me about his long days at his job where his boss made him "work until midnight" on the computer, "doing emails, computer stuff, making ice cream..." He has a different "secret identity" every day (read: super hero t-shirt hidden underneath other shirt). If I happen to see it because, I don't know, I am the one who chose his clothes that morning, I am required to zap it out of my mind so I have no idea what his true identity is any longer. When called upon for his super powers, though, he will not hesitate to just sweep in and reveal himself in true form (as seen above and below).
He could tell knock-knock jokes for hours, even though he only knows three actual knock-knock jokes. The rest he makes up, at times just using words that rhyme with the words of one of his three real jokes in hopes that the rhyming version might work just as well.
He gets up as early as he can in the morning as to not risk missing daddy leaving the house. He has never once in his entire five years and one month of life said he was tired, but when he sleeps, he sleeps heavily. One night a couple months back, I checked on him before I went to bed and found him upside down, head almost touching the ground, legs on the bed, completely sound asleep, blood undoubtedly rushing rapidly to his head. I photographed him, lifted him, repositioned him, covered him, kissed him, and told him the whole story in the morning. He laughed, couldn't believe it.
He laughs often, but rarely for the sake of just laughing. Things have to be pretty darn funny (good thing a lot of things are). Noah has a serious side which comes out when he's talking about "work", Grammy, villains, the "venomous bite" of rattle snakes, and any time he's listening to a book or story. He can be quite frank at times, very matter of fact, and he flatten his lips together, curves them down, and shakes his head slowly from left to right. In the scene depicted here, moments after a bunch of waiters goofily sang Happy Birthday to him, you can see the reaction of, "Well. Yes. This is my cake, put in front of me, for me to eat all of. It is what it is, guys. Those are the breaks."
He is the perfect size for piggy back rides if he ever held on. I think he falls off so that I'll tackle him with tickles. Just a working theory.
He drops me hints when I'm struggling in his Memory game, but hates to lose in Sum Swamp. In fact, I have watched him replay the second half of the game (presumably when things started to go wrong for him) with different rolls and moves for each of us so that the scenario turns out differently and I am, in fact, the loser. In his world, he can still erase what happened and replace history with a better version.
He usually brushes his teeth only at night (I try... but maybe not that hard -- because they are going to fall out anyway -- regardless, let the judging begin!), but his breath is delicious always. The carpet in his room is so covered in Lego pieces that, in the words of my mom, and of really most moms in the history of motherhood, I can't even see the floor.
His favorite color is pink.
He has the same bowl haircut he's had since he was one, not because that's how we got it styled at one and really liked it and kept doing it... but because *that* is him, that is his hair, and that's the only way it wants to fall. Stubborn and lovely.
When he knows he is doing something adorable with Grace (usually a prolonged hug), he alerts me immediately, "Something cute is happening in here! Come quick!"
|OK, this one was posed...|
He's five and... I wish I was as happy about that as he is. I'm a little ashamed to say it, but not too ashamed... because you get it. He talks about kindergarten like it's a real thing that is actually going to happen, not an abstract concept that only big kids understand. His size 4 pants look like Capris and he's getting a little big to share the tub with is sister. Today I asked him, "Did your teacher peel your clementine at school or did the parent helper do it?" His answer was, "No, mommy... no. I did it." So he peels his own clementines now, just like that. One day he's born and the very next one he's peeling his own fruit.
My boy is my sweet heaven, imperfect and irresistible. It's his great wide blue eyes and his floppy hair, and his sweet stinky breath, and his little boy body with the all too dry skin and the the nails that need cutting (whenever he will let me do that). It's the talks we have when he doesn't want to go to sleep and convinces me to lie there with him (oh, these talks... (but I can't share those)). It's finding the love of your life in a whole new way and a honeymoon phase that never ever ever goes away.
Happy Five Years, little boy. Always be my little boy.
***Concerned readers (ie, grandparents): Please note these are questions I am forced to answer on the spot. He always (mostly) ends up with the actual correct answer, which usually requires some reading. Exception is the birds, who always fly away.