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7 Years of E

Sometimes, especially when the boys are sleeping, I can get glimpses of the little guys they used to be and the big guys they are growing up to be.

When E was born, he was a peanut. Just about 6 pounds. Honestly, I remember looking at the bigger babies (giants who were probably about 8 months old) and thinking they looked so different from my teeny, tiny baby. I looked at super-long sleepers and couldn’t imagine how E would ever grow into them.

Obviously he did. And now he’s seven.

Seven seems so old to me. Especially since I have some pretty vivid memories of being 7 myself! I actually remember sitting in the same classroom E is in every day and freaking out because something was stuck to my arm. (It was a TICK! Who gets a tick in class? But I digress…) I remember being in first grade and finding a bad word in the bathroom and absolutely refusing to tell the principal what it was. So, he had to clear the girls’ bathroom to see it for himself. I remember…well, let’s just leave it at “I remember.”

So, without traipsing further along memory lane, here is seven years of E.

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10 Things That Happened This Weekend

1 – E had his seventh birthday party. Skating with 6 and 7 year olds…many of whom aren’t sure they want to skate…actually worked out to be a fun party!
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2 – I had a bit of a sore throat on Friday night, which turned into a pounding mucus-induced headache by Sunday morning.

3 – I am worried about running out of Kleenex. See number 2.

4 – We had a baseball-themed trunk (heavy one Harry Potter…which totally fits the theme, right?) at our church’s Trunk or Treat. I spent quite a bit of time inside the church, searching for Kleenex. See number 2.
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5 – We went to Cheddar’s for E’s birthday. In trying to come up with the name of the restaurant, D called it “Cheez It’s.” This is the cuteness that has saved him more than once.

6 – I finished my lesson plans, but can’t remember where I put the spelling tests from Friday. I think my brain is filled with mucus. See number 2.

7 – We watched a LOT of Cardinals baseball. I may or may not have fallen asleep (I swear I just planned to close my eyes and “listen” to the game!) before all of this happened.

8 – I ran more loads of wash than I care to think about, for reasons I don’t care to think about.

9 – I had high hopes of winning World Series tickets. To understand why I am clearly so deserving (insert sarcasm), you need to know that the Cardinals won the World Series the year my dad was born, the year I was born and we watched the big win in 2006 the night we brought E home from the hospital. We’re lucky charms! They WANT us there, I’m just sure of it. 🙂

10 – I can’t think of a number 10. Once again, I blame the mucus. See number 2.

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What I Look Like When I’m Sleeping

Poor E managed to mangle his face with poison ivy. As a result, we’ve spent a lot of time in the bathroom putting cream on it.

The other night, I out the cream on and quickly noticed he was tightly scrunching up an eye. Obviously, I panicked a tiny bit because I was about half convinced he was going blind from hydrocortisone cream in the eye. Darn me for trying to get it as close as possible without being in the eye! Why didn’t I head the package warnings better? (Nevermind that I really didn’t think I got it close to his eye…mom “panic guilt” mode was enacted.)

“Oh, sweetie, is it in your eye?!” (said while trying to figure out how best to flush the eye)

“Nope!”

“Um…then what are you doing there buddy?”

“Trying to see what I look like when I sleep.”

“Oh!”

“Heeeeey! Look! I winked! I winked!” (as he literally dances out of the room with excitement)

Thanks for the laugh, E. I needed that today this month.

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How Our Garden Grows

Years ago, we decided it was time to try a garden. E had already developed an intense love of tomatoes, so we bought one tomato plant and a few other plants (what they were is lost in the recesses of my mind -partly because E accidentally “weeded” some of them).

E loved that plant. He named it Tiny Tim and talked to it every day. Each time we came home, he asked to go check Tiny Tim to “see if his ‘matoes were red yet.”

I’m sure most people have read or heard about the studies that show talking to your plants actually does help them grow. I can’t prove it for all plants, but it sure seemed to work for Tiny Tim. He reached over the top of our 6-foot fence and spread throughout his corner niche, reaching at least 5-feet across. At the ironically named Tiny Tim’s peak, we were harvesting gallons of tomatoes every two days or so. (Did I mention that, at that time, E was the only family member actually eating raw tomatoes? And I had a baby, which limited anyone’s time and inventiveness in the kitchen?)

For the next few years, our tomato magic didn’t quite hold – despite Tiny’s year-two replacement receiving the fabulous moniker of “Santa Claus.” However, this year’s crop is going strong. (Thankfully, I have a newish, delicious salsa recipe and The Dad now makes killer spaghetti sauce!).

We scaled back quite a bit and only added a zucchini plant to our two tomato plants (one for each boy) for this year. Just a week or so ago, The Dad jokingly asked if our leafy plant was actually going to produce zucchini. This morning, I went out to pick tomatoes and found that someone must have secretly been talking to the plant I will now name Mr. Zucchini (creative, I know).

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Anyone surprised to find that zucchini lasagna was on the menu tonight?!

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Riding High

When E was about one year old, he was diagnosed with gross motor delays.

I knew something wasn’t quite right when he was about six months old. He had never wanted to push his head up during tummy time and, even though he sat tall and strong, he was no where near pushing himself up from laying down.

I knew my baby was smart. I knew he was amazing. But, I also knew he needed some extra help.

Help came in the form of developmental therapy (and tubes). In six months, he was caught up enough not to fit the definition of “delay” and graduated out of therapy. But motor skills were never as easy for him as some kids. He has to work at things a bit harder, practice a bit more. Yet, many people have been shocked to hear he had any type of delay because he’s so funny, clever and – frankly – a little monkey.

I learned a lot during that time though.

I learned the pain of being different when a mom, having heard about his motor and speech difficulties, said, “Well, is he…you know, smart?” while pointing at her head and wearing a strange look.

I learned about judgment when I watched the other babies his age crawl all over the place…or even walk all over…while he sat happily in one place.

I learned unequivocal love when I whispered to him that he didn’t have to be smart or athletic for me to love him SO much.

I learned confusion when I felt out of place when talking with moms of kids his age, yet even more out of place when talking with moms of kids dealing with much more severe diagnoses or delays.

I learned sheer joy when he walked across the room for the first time – just a week into therapy and a few weeks after getting tubes.

I learned a mother’s worry as he hunted Easter eggs…having just started to be able to bend down and stand back up without falling over.

I learned outlook when I noticed his smile always outshone every other kid’s, never feeling less than them or lacking in something.

Now, he is almost seven and doing amazingly well. So, why am I thinking about this?

This weekend, he finally took some interest in riding his bike without training wheels and practiced more (he has honestly known since before he could talk that physical things were harder for him…and often shies away from the potential failure). And he’s doing it! He’s not ready to take off on his own quite yet, but he’s made it around the yard a few times! And I could NOT be more excited for him.

But…

I know lots of kids (most even???) are riding by this age. And, having been in a place like this before, there’s a moment of hesitation before I share my excitement. Will others even care? Will they see it as a joy…or will I again hear, “Well finally!”?

Yet, I realize now it doesn’t matter. No one should not steal our joy. My kid is not your kid. But he is awesome and I am proud. He’s mine and I wouldn’t trade anything about him. He should be celebrated…and he will be.

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Go, E , go!!

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