Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday, Boy Pop!

Dear Joey,

Tomorrow, you will be 6 years old.

As I’m writing this letter to you, I am watching your birthday gift do back flips and swim around. We got you a “frogosphere” from Brookstone on Monday and it has been in my office all week. The two frogs inside have been keeping me company on my work from home days. I’ll miss those little guys when they move from here to whatever place of honor in the house they will soon hold as your very first pets of your very own (your words).

Words cannot adequately express what I’m feeling right now. I remember so clearly the day you were born. And now you are six. No matter how much I want time to slow down, for the universe to suspend animation for a while so I can sit back and enjoy everything, every moment, every hair, every toe, every word, every look, every teeny, tiny detail about you, it won’t. And upon re-reading the last four letters I’ve written you, the recurring theme is that I want time to stop.

For Halloween, you were, of course, Optimus Prime. I can honestly say that in your short life, your Transformer obsession is the longest-running one. You’ve been a fan since you got those first three on your fourth birthday and have been collecting them, playing with them, drawing them, watching cartoons and movies of them ever since! I’m glad you love them still, though, because A) they are not cheap and I hate throwing money away on toys you won’t play with two months from now, and B) grounding you from them on the rare occasions you misbehave is a very effective punishment.

November was a laid-back month. We spent it watching football, finishing up the fall t-ball season, and hosting Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the one holiday we get to have at our house, and I cherish the time! I love sharing that with you… A holiday where we don’t have to drive or fly somewhere and can just be at home and have everyone come to us! And come they did! And this year, you even went to the annual Texas vs. A&M Thanksgiving football game. Nana and GrandDad came with us and we all tailgated together. It was a great day!

In December, it got colder here, but we decided we needed even more cold. So we all packed up (including Nana and GrandDad) and flew to Colorado. You went to ski school and skied like a champ, blowing through the first level and taking to the slopes like a pro. You are so athletic, it’s scary sometimes. I worry that you will have a hard time later choosing a sport to focus your time on. After Colorado, we all headed to Mema’s house once again for Christmas. When we got back, you, your daddy, and I all just hung out and rang in the new year together.

At the beginning of February, we enrolled you in the ATA “Tiny Tiger” program by our house. What an incredible experience this has been! You absolutely love tae kwon do. And we love that you love it! They have you doing things I could not imagine a five year old doing… From push-ups and sit-ups, to kicks, punch combinations, and self defense. You are quickly moving up the ranks and soon, you’ll graduate out of Tiny Tigers and into the basic class. Your muscles are getting defined as well… I’ve never heard of a 5-year-old with defined abs, but you have ‘em! This month, you graduated from green to purple belt and are now in the advanced class, learning how to use “Son Chul Bong” (i.e. Nunchuku).

You also went through two seasons of T-Ball this year (fall through the YMCA and spring through an actual league). Spring t-ball was a new experience. It was competitive, we kept score, and there were trophys and “all stars” at the end. It took some getting used to, but your father and I realized that in order for you to improve, you needed more than “everyone bat, everyone just throw to first.” And learn you did. Your favorite position this past spring was short stop and you excelled! Considering the way the season began, we did have our doubts…

At the very first t-ball meeting of the season. The meeting before practices start. The meeting where we meet the coach, the players, and the other parents for the very first time. You fell and broke your ankle. It was a slight fracture in your growth plate, requiring a cast for four weeks. FOUR. WEEKS. I was afraid your season was over before it had even started! Luckily, the season got off to a late start due to field issues and by the time the first game rolled around, the cast was off! You got very lucky with that break, you know… It was in a non-weight-bearing bone and you were given the green light to walk on it while wearing the cast.

Smack dab in the middle of t-ball, we hit what was probably the moment that had me grasping for the past the most over the past year… You lost your first tooth. The tooth that I watched come in when you were a baby. It had been loose for a while and you were obsessed with trying to pull it out. And on May 3rd, right before bed, you yanked that sucker out! The second one followed on July 7th and now you have two permanent teeth coming in, filling the empty spaces.

So t-ball came and went and all of a sudden, summer was upon us! We went to Mazatlan for Memorial Day Weekend. It was the first time we’ve taken you with us on a Mexico trip and you LOVED IT! And to tell you the truth, we loved it, too. So much so, in fact, that we all went back in July! You made friends at the resort, too, having never met a stranger. You swam and played in the ocean and pool, collected sea shells, and hung out with us. You also made friends with an on-site iguana you named Iggy. He was there both times and you had a blast feeding him French fries and ham.
When we got back from Mazatlan, we turned around twice and it was August. August was a tough month for your mother. I knew what was coming, you see. Kindergarten! I held onto August with all my might, bemoaning the coming fall. The heat was oppressive enough for us to not even go swimming. Imagine that! It was actually too hot to swim this summer! But that didn’t stop you from playing. You hung out with your friends. Watching you interact with other children is a completely captivating phenomenon, by the way. You play rough and you play nice. You try to include everyone. I see the internal struggles you wage when one friend is trying to monopolize your time and leave other friends out. Unfortunately, this dynamic is probably something you will face your entire life. I am so proud of how you act, though. You don’t allow anyone to be left out. These are skills that will serve you well through life.
This year has been the year of the trip for our family. We took you skiing in Colorado and to Mazatlan twice! Aside from those adventures, you spent a lot of time with your grandparents and Mema, and helped your great-grandfather celebrate his 82nd birthday in Oklahoma. We also had a stop-off at Sea World before our friends’ Craig and Vanessa’s wedding in San Antonio. You love Shamu and water slides, my boy. Unfortunately, while it *seemed* like you grew about 6 inches in the past year, the reality is that you’ve grown 2 and a half inches, and are still one inch shy of being able to ride the “Steel Eel” and that fact makes you a little sad.
I really want you to know how very much I cherished the past year. It was your last year before starting school. The last year of sleeping in, hanging out, and playing hooky if you and your dad wanted to. And while I’m sorry it had to end, it was a blast while it lasted!
On August 25th, your childhood status officially changed from preschooler to kindergartener. I sporadically burst into tears the entire week leading up to that day and I bawled my eyes out as I walked back to my car after dropping you off. You were so confident. So happy. So ready to jump into the next adventure! And while I may have cried that day, my tears weren’t all sad. They were also reflective and proud. Seeing you rush off with such joy in a room full of children who were clinging to their parents’ legs, sobbing for them to not leave, my independent, free-spirited little boy was ready.
The other day, you shared with me a story you were writing. You titled it “The King.” It took you two days to write the three-page story, cover page, and illustrated title page. As you were writing it, you shared the story with me. And once it was completed, you had me staple it together for you. The spelling is off, but that is just fine. The fact that you had a general idea on how to spell each and every word and did each one all by yourself is truly amazing.

The King
By Joey (September 19 – 20, 2009)

Ones upon u tim
Thr livd
A king
A nis king

He livd in a
Casl for for awa
He stad

U live 1000
Yers n thin

(Translated: Once upon a time there lived a king. A nice king. He lived in a castle far, far away. He stayed alive 1000 years and then died.)

You are extremely curious and have inherited the same love for reading that your father and I both have. I am thrilled for you. You soak up every word and action in the world around you. It’s a real eye-opener for your father and I. Your curiosity knows no boundaries. You have no limits. Sometimes, your curiosity is not quite appropriate, but that is something that your father and I need to work on. I don’t know if it’s the fact that you are an only child and have spent your entire life around adults or if it is just innate in your nature, but you come across so much older than you are. We have to stop and remind ourselves that you are, in fact, only 5 (now 6) on those occasions that you do act your age. You get so frustrated when you cannot figure things out. More so when you cannot adequately verbalize what you are trying to say. You want so badly to let us know what’s on your mind that your mouth works faster than your brain and you stumble a bit. We are always reminding you to slow down, think it out, then tell us. And sometimes we get frustrated as well. You might be the best reader in the world, but the patience department is definitely lacking… Perhaps another inheritance from Mommy and Daddy? That’s okay, though. It’s just something we can all work on together.

You are always asking me to tell you stories. You want real ones and made up ones. And poop ones. Don’t get me started on your very typical boy obsession with bodily functions!!! You and your father can laugh forever when you make the armpit fart sounds or he tells you a “Longtail poop story” before bed. It’s a guy thing and I’m glad you have your daddy to teach you those things.

And while I have so much more to say and share with you, this is getting a little on the long side. So I'd like to tell you a little story...

Once upon a time,
There lived a little prince named Joey.
He lived with his mommy and daddy, the king and queen.

Their days were spent playing and laughing and learning.
They watched too much TV.
They ate dinner together and had lots of hugs.

Each night, the prince would “blast off” from the king's arms into the queen's.
The prince and queen would race up the stairs to bed.
The prince always won and then would say his prayers and hide under his covers.

The king would bring the royal dog to the prince’s bedroom.
The royal dog would then jump on the bed and “find” the prince.
Everyone would get hugs and kisses and maybe a story or two.

Then the king would turn off the light with the words,
“Have super-sweet dreams and sleep super-tight.”

As the king and queen went down the stairs each night,
The prince would call out,
“Night Mommy and Daddy!”
The king and queen would reply,
“Goodnight Joey!”
And again, “Night Mommy and Daddy!”
And again, “Goodnight Joey!”
And again, “Night Mommy and Daddy!”
And then, “Good night Joey, go to sleep, we love you!”

This would play out four times. And on the fifth, “Goodnight Mommy and Daddy, last time!”
And the king and queen would say in unison, “Ooooooookaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy, laaaaaaaasssssttttt tiiiiiiiimmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, SHAMALAMADINGDONG, OLDMACDONALDHADAFARMEIEIO, ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQURSTUVWXYZNOWI’VESAIDMYABCS, NEXTTIMEWON’TYOUSINGWITHME, LALALALALALA! Good night!”

And they all lived happily ever after.

The end.


Mommy and Daddy


Anonymous said...



Mrs Pop said...

Thanks Amy! :)

Binary Blonde said...

Oh my gosh.. What a beautiful post! I was crying by the end. Love the stories month by month and love the photos! It makes me think about what is to come for us, as we are very heavily leaning towards one child, as well.

It makes me feel so guilty for not posting in my blog about my little guy, too, but I am trying to let go of the petty guilt I feel about everything lately. It's hard, though. Really hard.

Anyway.. I hope Boy Pop has an AMAZING 6th birthday!!! :) (Thank goodness the weather is cooling down, right??)

Jessica Gottlieb said...

That was beautiful.

Left me weepy in the good way