Sunday, November 30, 2014

Brock Tom

Brock started Kindergarten on August 20th, 2014. This is a defining moment in the life of a person as well as their parents, or so I am told. I see pictures all over social media, labeled with sentiments of sadness, and tears. I keep waiting for the flood of emotions to arrive and inspire me to pour my heart out. To feel the end of an era has come. That my life is totally changed. That my baby is growing up, never to return. But the draught remains. Maybe it's because he is the oldest, and I have 3 more baby boys at home to keep me occupied while he is gone. Maybe it's because I was never a fulltime, stay at home mom, so his absence through the day is not as palpable. Mostly though, I think it is because Brock needs school. He lives for new experiences, stimulation, education, logic, and structure. Brock is intensely motivated by "if...then" conditions.
Everyday, he comes home with his homework starred. He completes his worksheets. He stays on or in the lines. He earns "shine" tickets for doing good deeds, near daily. This morning, he got dressed entirely on his own, I didn't even ask him to put on his shoes. He has begun to get his own breakfast. When there was a carpool miscommunication and he was stranded at school, he didn't blame anyone, and I could tell, felt partially responsible for not remembering his Wednesday carpool schedule. This is all a big change from my generally anxious and resistant to change eldest son. Though he still insists that he is "scared" to go upstairs by himself, he has become self-sufficient in so many ways. All of these things signify growth. Rubs time and aging in my face. Forces me to accept that my babies will eventually become men, but for now, I will continue to love every phase and not mourn the passing one.

Brock turned six years old last week. If I hadn't already organized an extended family dinner for him, I think he would have done it for himself. He had already asked Mimi to make him a turkey cake. He reminded me, on a daily basis, for the entire month of November, to ask his aunts and uncles to join us for his birthday. You see, Brock is a control freak. He is not nosy, or trying to get all up in everyone's business...he genuinely thinks that his involvement will help the situation. Years ago, we hosted a get-together, and Brock counted the people, then the chairs and came up to me, very concerned stating that we had more people then chairs. I reassured him it was fine, but he couldn't understand, he continued to pace about the house, filled with nervous energy, repeating to me, "but where will everyone sit!?" I believe the phrase, "don't worry about it, Brock" is second only to "I love you" in number of times I have said it to him. Speaking of pacing, my next video collage is a collection of Brock pacing or bouncing anxiously. These are frequently while he is waiting in line. Or watching something dangerous or unpredictable. Or waiting for me to open a package, some candy or other exciting item. One might confuse it with the "pee-pee dance" at times.

Recently, Brock received a binder with some old Pokemon cards in it. He loves this. He carries it with him at all times. He has organized and re-organized these damn cards, no less than 11 times in the last 24 hours. He nearly gave his youngest sibling a concussion for even attempting to touch his beloved cards. Previous to receiving this binder of cards from his aunt, he had never even HEARD of Pokemon.  He has done this before with other equally, or even more insignificant items. In fact, at all times he has some "item of interest" that is in constant rotation, and is revered and loved. One could say he "obsesses". Previous items include but are not even remotely limited to: a plastic pencil sharpener (Mary Lynne), a wide-ruled spiral notebook (Mimi), Tinker toys (Annora) baby brain evades me, as I know there is so much more. Sometimes, you can find them under his pillow. Give him an unexpected gift and he loves it. Loves you. Obsesses. Don't get him something that he wanted/expected for his birthday or Christmas (even though he never made it clear he expected said item) and prepare to hear about it forever. He is the most grateful, loving, appreciative, easy to please child that is also impossible to satisfy. He wants more, he wants everything. And I don't just mean stuff. The boy is nothing if not persistent and filled with passion.

As I have said, a million times before, Brock was born "busy". Everyone said so. It is immediately obvious, to anyone who meets him, that Brock has a fire burning in his soul. The wheels are always spinning. His theories and explanations for life, never cease to amaze me, and simply never cease. Tonight, at the dinner table, I was listing sports, asking Curtis which he was going to play. When I rambled past track, Brock perked up and said, "track!? what's that?" I thought to myself, your sport buddy. Your sport. You can be as self driven as you want. You can never stop moving. You can burn energy, lots and lots of energy.

Ultimately, Brock will do whatever he wants. He will make his own decisions. He won't be persuaded by his parents, or teachers, or friends. Brock simply "knows". As a parent, I just hope I am guiding him in the proper way. Helping him to harness his energy and passions. Teaching him to direct it positively. Showing him when to accept things as true and when to push and question, and not give up. I'm not being honest if I don't say that I see myself more in his personality than any of my other children. Which almost makes me worry more about him, makes me question my parenting. What I want most for all of my children is happiness. I hope, despite his desire and drive, he will find joy in every day, for the rest of his life. Like I have.

Happy 6th Birthday to my oldest boy. The one who made me "mom". My tall, brilliant, and beautiful, Brock Tom.

Friday, November 7, 2014


We call Mitch, "the Roly Poly Pup". He earned this name, when he first started crawling. He would crawl, barreling  head first, not ever looking up to make sure the path was clear, to any living thing on the floor. As soon has his huge, hard head made contact, he would roll over and look up at whomever or whatever's lap he landed in, and continue to play. Wrestle. Cuddle. Last night, I watched him attempt to be fully involved in the pillow fight being had between his 3 older brothers. He was literally laughing, with his deep, near grunt-like laugh, as his brothers pushed him away, trying to get him out of the way. Little brothers can be so annoying. When George would get blasted to the ground, Mitch would sprint (toddle) over and jump on top of him, sabotaging his pillow. Though, all the children have begun calling him "the Roly Poly Pup" (except George, who still calls him "baby"), Curtis has come up with another, now probably more accurate, name: "Monster Truck". Which generally should be pronounced with a batman-like tone.
Despite being my largest child, topping the charts on height at 32inches and remaining steadily in the 95th percentile for weight at 25lbs 8 ounces, he is my most lovie. When I get home, he quickly hobbles up to me with his slightly pigeon toed gait, whispering "hi". Which he thinks can only be said while nodding your head up and down and really getting your jaw into it. I scoop him up, and he rests his head on my shoulder. He will do this forever. Generally, forcing me to be the bad guy and finally set him down on the floor to hug and greet my other children.  He mutters "nigh nigh" as we walk up to bed at night, and loves to be swayed for a moment. He babbles himself to sleep every morning, noon and night. Something new sitters have a hard time adjusting I get him? Or not? Is he not tired? Is he sad?

Not everything he does is so sweet, and adorable, though. He does have the voice and volume to match his massive physique. When that child is hungry, or thinks he is about to be fed, he screams. Yes, it's a scream. There is no other way to describe it. Ned Yost, manager of the Royals, got to experience it in line at the grocery, the day before game 6 of the World Series. It's obnoxious. It's loud. Perhaps, that is why he is so huge, we just stuff his face to stop the screaming. Or maybe he knows he is the fourth child of all boys, survival of the fittest, and to get food, you have to be aggressive. While George chooses to silently sneak off and eat, well, EVERYTHING (I mean we are talking soaps, lotions, TUMS, vitamins, candy, paper, glue...) Mitch makes sure everyone knows he is hungry and needs something to eat NOW.
I know, I know, my fourth child turned one, a huge milestone, over a month ago. I also didn't get his final photo with the "12 month onesie". He had it on at the birthday party, but we took no picture of it. (#fourthchildproblems). In my defense, we currently, 6 weeks after moving in, still don't have internet at our new house. Which means, I haven't been able to load any of the photos we did take. At one, Mitch is now a fully, proficient walker, as he started at 10 months. He does start falling and hitting his head on things as he gets tired, but I'm hoping that improves with time. He is trying to drop the morning nap, but is not always successful. He sleeps ok. He is no Curtis or George. Those two would giggle, smile, give a sigh of relief as you laid them down to sleep. As mentioned above, Mitch babbles. He is surprisingly Brock-like and does not want to miss a thing. He laughs a lot, but is not overly smiley. I would pin him as more serious, maybe even skeptical. Again, reminding me more of Brock. He is passionate, and you can see it, when he has fits of banging his mouth against a piece of furniture, repeatedly while being loud. I fear biting may be in our future.

I frequently joke that Mitch is my favorite. He's just been such the perfect addition to our family. I feel his name fits him extremely well. He looks just as I had hoped he would, just like I had envisioned all our offspring to look. George being the least like I would have expected. It's funny, I frequently marvel at the 180 degree, polar opposites that are Brock and Curtis, but George and Mitch seem to be equally as separated, only in very different ways. I love having 4 vastly different personalities living in my home. Watching the relationships evolve and develop. Every birthday, fills me with joy, love, admiration and some satisfaction, that we made it another year. It makes me incredibly thankful for my children's health. (Which is a complete and total understatement. I will never know how to express how truly lucky, privileged, blessed, appreciative, I am of not only this gift of life we have been given, but the thriving, health of each child.)

Happy First Birthday to my baby boy, Mitch!