Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Big Boy

He's 5 today, my baby boy. Five years old. It seems impossible.

But then again, it also seems impossible that I could have given birth to such a delectible, unusual, hysterical creature. It seems impossible that he is mine--that I could have done anything good enough to deserve him.

He woke up early this morning, climbed into bed with Baroy and me, played with my hair, sucked his thumb, hid is face in the pilllows when we both sang "happy birthday" to him, because even though he was totally thrilled, grinning wide, it's too much for him, even coming from just the two of us. (Later on in the day, when I brought cupcakes topped with little Tonka trucks to his preschool, he kept his fingers in his ears when they sang to him as well, and refused to look up. But loved every minute of it.)

He accepted Em's bought-by-herself-with-her-own-money gift of a stuffed Curious George with an embarrassed but pleased grin, looked only briefly at the card that Baroy had made for him (we'll give him his other gifts at dinner), then wanted to just to be left alone to color in his coloring book. N at 5 still definitely has his limits, even for good stuff, and especially when he's the center of attention.

What made him happiest this morning? A piece of gum, usually forbidden before breakfast. Birthday gum. *That* is what got a "woohoo!"

Yesterday, driving home from preschool, he announced that he wants to be a fireman and a policeman when he grows up. "Three things," he said.

"But that's only two things," I said. "A fireman and a policeman, and what else?"

"A painter," he said, without hesitation, my boy who is conventional and like every other little boy, until suddenly he is so very much not.

He got punished last night for swinging his hand at Baroy in a fake but intentional slap when he was told it was time for bed--and for doing it three times. The planned sleepover in Em's room was cancelled, and he had to sleep in his own bed. He cried for a few minutes when Baroy handed down the decision, then settled into bed with total equanimity, cuddling up next to me as I told him the story of what had been happening at exactly that time five years previous.

"And then Cara came..."

"I know her!"

"Yes, I know you do...Anyway, then I took a bath..."

"And I took one too, in your belly!"

It was Em who was devastated by the turn of events, Em who so very much wanted her brother to wake up in her room in the morning so she could be the first to wish him a happy birthday. She cried in her bed for a good ten minutes, even after Baroy went in to explain why he thought this was necessary.

I love the relationship these two have, a total love affair, but a realistic one. They argue semi-regularly, and N drives Em crazy just the way a little brother should, but he absolutely worships her, and she is so protective of him, and so affectionate. When she came home from her weekend in Big Bear, he was overjoyed to see her, and she was just beaming. "I missed you *so* much!" she told him, hugging him to her.

"I missed you so much, too," he said, hugging back.

Of course, on this day when I want to regale you with his humor and his smarts andh is extreme specialness and utter uniqueness, I can't remember any good stories to tell. But he is all those things: smart, special, unique, charming, loving, pigheaded, funny, boyish, adorable and more. Totally, completely, absolutely his own person. He may look like a Disney cartoon, with his doe-eyes and perfect face and Dennis the Menace hair, but he is no creature from anyone's imagination. He is, however, a character. I am continually awed by him, even as I worry about his fragility and his future.

Happy birthday, big boy.

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