Saturday, December 13, 2014

Big, beautiful, blue-eyed, board-breaking Birthday Boy

It's possible that he's getting to an age where I need to be really careful about what I write here. He's starting to recognize words and soon he will be reading and I wonder what he'll think of what I say about him; I wonder how much he'll want people to know. Not much, I'm guessing. He's a private little guy, full of secret reasons for why he does this and doesn't do that. Sometimes he lets me into his sweet little head and all I want to do is keep swimming around in there, examining the pieces that make up his nature, but eventually, he shakes me out, and we move on.

Noah turns six this week. Not that he's all that excited about it. He likes being five quite a bit. I think he knows that six feels old and, like Grace, he's not crazy about being that much older than he is. He has this great shirt that says, "I AM FIVE" and he's just not giving it up when he turns six, he tells me.

He's in Kindergarten now and he loves it. He loves recess the most, but also art and gym and circle time and library. I don't even think he minds doing worksheets during class time. He has been ready for this constant stream of new information sinking into his curious little head. He tells me so many things I didn't already know.

"Oil pastels are the easiest art tool to use... they don't even make your hand hurt."

"St. Nicholas Day is a holiday in Holland where you put carrots and hay in a wooden shoe the night before and you get toys in the shoe the next day."

"A cylinder is actually not a shape at all." Huh?? Is this true?

"Toilet tag is a tag game where you have to hold your arm out to get flushed and then you are back in."

Oh, the things I never knew before!

My Noah still loves Legos more than anything. His room overflows with vehicles and buildings and hideouts and good guys and bad guys and lairs and so forth. You have no idea the organization involved until you try and move something and "WOAH, that is the villains' jail for good guys you just almost destroyed, mommy!" Stop and listen to him for a moment and you will see that you are standing over the villains' airport, which overlooks the good guys' clubhouse. And there's a hidden meeting going on near the closet, where those ten Lego guys are sitting in a circle. The Coast Guard is gearing up to protect another circle of guys in the other corner of the room. It all makes sense to him, and, once you stop and see the place as not just a mess of Legos but a world created by this little boy, it will make sense to you too.

I will say that I am one of the privileged few that gets to step into his room and touch his stuff. These are his things and he takes that very seriously. I think it's probably okay that this is how it is right now, though I struggle to accept it. Sharing is our biggest challenge with Noah. He knows it, we know it. It is not a natural thing to be okay with someone playing with your stuff, I get it, and it takes a long time to get there... and we're working on it, he is working on it.

We had a really upsetting day last Friday, centering around this very thing, and we both reacted heatedly. We talked and talked about it, probably too much, but the conversation had to happen. The next day we were having 25 people over, 10 of whom were under five and would be most certainly playing with ALL of his stuff. At one point on that difficult Friday, long after the incident and conversation, he came to me and said, "I'm sorry about earlier, Mommy. I know it wasn't right. I was embarrassed too." And my heart both broke and grew at the same exact moment.

And the next day, with 10 little friends digging through his beloved things, he couldn't have been kinder.

We talked later that night, as we so often do. It's the later hours of the day when the private thoughts come out - for some of us, in our journal, or a talk with our partner in bed, or in a late-night email. Noah opens up to me at night and I lie there and we talk. We talked about how great he did with sharing and this is what he said.

"Oh my gosh, it was so hard, Mommy. You know... you just see someone holding your toy and you suddenly just NEED to play with that toy. You need it. It was so hard not taking it. The hardest thing was when X put my Batman costume on. Just seeing him have it on, I wanted it so much! But I didn't try to get it back." The next day, we talked about it a little more.

"I was thinking all day I had to make a choice between sharing and not sharing... and finally, I decided to share."

"Why, Noah, why did you decide that?"

"I knew it was the right choice."

I don't know - I'm sure there are mixed reactions from my readers to all of this (did I talk it to death? should I have let it go sooner?) - but my only response at this point is that I'm just really proud of this little guy, for examining the situation, articulating it, and working his little butt off to make it right even when everything inside of him wanted something else.

Oh, and by the way, he can break boards too. (And now I'm just bragging and it's totally obnoxious, but that's what a birthday blog is for.)

He is sweet beyond words, passionate, inquisitive, and quick-witted. He is the most loyal friend you could ask for. He seeks out joy and finds it in unlikely places. Little kids adore him and when they wrestle with him, he takes incredible, gentle care of them. He lost his two top teeth this year and he's never been cuter.

He's started to care about his hair, which was unexpected, and gets nervous when he gets out of the bath that it's not going to go back to how it was. Kid loves his hair. He surprises me many mornings by popping out of his room already dressed. He loves to see my shocked look.

He looks up to his Daddy in endless ways. Every morning he gets up with John, sees him out the door, runs to the upstairs window and watches him pull out and disappear down the street. When John gets home, Noah will ask him how the stocks were today. On the weekends, in the car, he will drill John about football - rules and players and scores. He will get pumped for the Bills game and cheer when he thinks something good has happened. He scorns the Patriots because that's what Daddy does.

He is my little boy. He wants to live with us always. He tells me he can't sleep at night at all unless I'm there. That's not true in any way, but I love that he says that to try and get me to stay longer. He has a whole private world in his mind and I respect that it's there, but love it when he hints at it to me. Besides his Daddy, he is the love of my life. He is my little boy, my giant spirit, my perfect fit.

Merry Christmas, from our little reindeer