Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Six...going on thirty-six

Dear Stephen~

Yesterday, as your Daddy and I stood in front of the cake case at the Walmart (because I forgot to get eggs so I could bake your cake), I asked him how it was possible that we could have a six year old. How is it possible that that little tiny bald-headed baby could already be so tall (you come up to my chest!), so smart, so wise and so loving?

I kind of had to giggle to myself because after I wrote the title to this post, I went and looked back at your 5 year old letter, and I said then that you were 5 going on 35. Obviously, that aspect of your personality has not changed. You astound most of the adults in your life when you use words like 'sarcastic', 'dilemma', and 'assume' in conversation. You don't just say what's on your mind, you say it with intelligence and with style. This year, you also tried your hand at some more "grown-up" language.

One of the things that you started this year that has surprised me is the way you eat. You eat everything. All the time. All day long you want to eat, and you will eat just about anything that I put in front of you. And then you eat what's left on everybody else's plates. You've always been a good eater (my best!), but in the last few months, you've started cleaning your plate. Which no one in our family ever does. It's also obvious, that besides just being hungry all the time and filling up, you also have an appreciation for food. And that makes me glad. I try to give you new foods often because I know now is the time for you to be open-minded and I know now that you are learning what really good food is. You still love you a chicken nugget and mac and cheese, but you're finding all the more grown-up foods are really good, too.

You lost your first tooth this year, and I wasn't even there for it. But I was there for your second tooth, and your daddy was there for your third. Both your two top front teeth are loose now, and I can't wait until that happens. You are cute now, but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep from grinning and crying when you lose your two front teeth.

This year, you've really started learning self-control and how to handle stressful situations. You still fly off the handle (I'm afraid to say that I think you have your mama's temper) once in a while, but a lot of times, you will just seperate yourself from the situation, and there's been several times I've found you alone in your room sorting things out in your head, praying, or just taking a few minutes to calm down. I'm so proud of you for this, and I hope it's something you never forget because knowing when to give yourself a "time-out" is a valuable tool to negotiating your way in this world.

You started gymnastics this year, something you love and are getting really good at. Last week, I saw you hold yourself upside down on the rings which astounded me. The first week you tried gymnastics, it was obvious you had little upper body strength, so you've come a long way. Last month, you were evaluated by your coaches and they said that you are doing well at learning all the skills, but that you needed to work on listening skills. Hmmm. It seems that you love gymnastics, but you also love the antics of all the other little boys and have a hard time remembering why you're there. But you love showing off new skills and you and Zachary compare new tricks every week.

And I just have to add quickly, that your knowledge of all things relating to the Star Wars universe is staggering. You don't just know about Yoda and Darth Vader, but every other obscure character and storyline. You know all about the heirarchy of the Jedi and you are quick to correct me when I say something wrong about it all. How you know all this is still a mystery to me, but the fact that you do amazes me.

I talk a lot about how grown-up you are, but there are times you remind me that you are still a little boy. You jump off your bunk bed (and teach your brothers how, too), giggle at cartoons, love a good game of Guess Who?, color outside of the lines with one color on each page, laugh at words like "butt" and "toot", fall out of your chair at the dinner table, run through the house swinging a lightsaber, have an imaginary friend, sleep with stuffed animals, flip-flop all over your bed while you're sleeping, wake up at the crack of dawn, cry when you're overtired, have dirty fingernails all.the.time, can't tie your shoes, love to play in a bubble bath and ask amazingly bizarre questions. You are this perfect balance of little boy and wise, old man.

What's been so amazing about having you as my firstborn, is that you have taught me so much! Sometimes, "firstborn" translates in to "guinea pig", but you take all that in stride. Aside from watching you grow, one of the joys of being your mom is that I have grown with you. I look back to that excited but scared and ignorant 21 year old mom that I was when I held you for the first time, and I can see how much you've taught me and how you've not only made me a better mother every day, but you've also made me a better person. You are joy to have in this family and none of us will ever be able to know how much you've blessed us.

I say it to you all the time, and every time I mean it: I'm so glad God gave us you.
Don't grow up too fast, I'm having too much fun.
I love you,


kelli said...

What a sweet boy.

happy birthday Stephen!!!

Kate said...

Happy birthday, Stephen! What a delightful boy you are!

Jana said...

Sorry if this posts twice, but something wonky happened when I hit publish.

What a sweet letter and cutie pie of a boy! Hope he has a great birthday.