I don't know why, but nine sounds like an awfully big number today.
Is it wrong to wish he was still this tiny once in a while?
When M was a newborn, he was much more interested in the red and black batik elephant tapestry that hung behind our couch than he was in me. Something in his eyes seemed very wise. It seemed like he had an old soul. A couple of weeks ago (at the pool of all places) M told me that he sometimes gets these images in his mind, like a memory, but of something that has never happened, or hasn't happened yet. I suggested he might be remembering past lives, and explained to him about reincarnation. This led to a discussion of theology and physics (why can't there be a material explanation to spiritual questions, I say?)
When I carried baby M, he always arched back, away from me, like he was much more interested in life going on out there. He had no interest in snuggling with his Mama. Motherhood is about attachment and a long, drawn-out letting go. I just wish the letting go didn't have to start so soon.
M and I tend to butt heads a lot. Maybe it's a first-born child thing. I've always had high, not always age-appropriate expectations of him (due, in large part, I think, to the vocabulary that has always galloped a few years ahead of his actual age). Parenthood may be equal parts exasperation and exaltation. I usually talk about the exasperation, but today is about exaltation (warning, I'm about to brag about my kid; please move on to the next blog if you find this annoying).
M is a child who never, ever, ceases to amaze me.
He is a child who can peruse the periodic table of the elements over his breakfast cereal, run up and down the soccer field for a solid hour or smack the baseball across the field (and, if he happens to strike out all three innings, jogs back to the dugout, smile on his face to cheer on his team). He is smart and funny and personable and athletic, all at once.
He painstakingly satin-stitched "US" on this little pouch he made (true, embroidery evoked more than a few tears of frustration), then gave it to his friend--the other Army guy--for his birthday.
He built his own Army tank one morning and announced that it was better than buying some plastic thing at WalMart that was made in China and would just break and end up in the trash--while his version was completely recyclable (oh my, have I brainwashed the kid a wee bit?).
Then he tried his hand at a biplane. It looked good, but didn't fly so well and also ended up in the recycling bin. But it's all about process, right? The product is secondary (although there were some tears of disappointment when the biplane crashed into the couch in a pile of corrugated cardboard and dental floss).
Did I tell you that he now "prefer[s] the Beatles to the Army,"? Good news. Here he is receiving a "pudding basin" haircut (of course the British wouldn't use anything so prosaic as a "bowl" to mold haircuts).
This is how he listens to a record (yes, I do mean record): he sits on the couch next to the stereo, with the album cover on his lap, memorizing every detail of information on the cover while listening to the record (or select songs) over and over. And over. If it's the Beatles, he also has The Concise Beatles Complete book open so he can commit the song to memory more easily. The Monkees, the Ramones, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson's "Beat It" are other current favorites.
His heroes are Frank and Joe Hardy, Alex Rider and Percy Jackson. I have to tell him to STOP reading and go to sleep.
He thinks he'd like to be a spy or a detective. This boy, who could barely be persuaded to wear a Halloween costume the first six years of his life has traded in his second-skin of Army fatigues for a Perry Mason outfit--blue button down shirt, navy blazer, clip-on tie and fedora (I'm a little disappointed in myself that I don't have a picture of him in this outfit). Sunday, after a gang of three masked thieves stole all of my belongings, he showed up on the scene (before I'd even reported the incident) with two deputies to ask questions and take notes. The only suspicious part was that one of the thieves and one of the deputies were both wearing 101 Dalmatians t-shirts.
Nine...still sounds like a big number. I can't believe I've been a mom for nine years (am I even old enough for that??). Lately M's been letting be hug him (instead of going all porcupine like he has for the last year or two) and even sits on my lap once in a while. It's nice, but I fear it's just a bit of reeling in before he casts off farther and farther from my reach.
Happy birthday M, and many happy returns of the day!