My baby Peter is 5 years old.
Starting late in the age of 2 (right before we moved to Wisconsin), Pete used to love to tell anyone who would listen to him that he was actually, in fact, 5 years old. This continued through his third year, heck he got so good at telling this fib that a few people even fell for it. Well, now he is officially not lying anymore. And because this is such a Banner Year for that kid, I decided to do it in style and make it a longish post. Sorry, guys. Deal.
Peter was born June 7, 2009. He was 8 lbs. 13 oz. at birth, and was 21 inches long. He came exactly on his due date, after a long labor and FINALLY turning, after facing the wrong way for 14 hours straight of back labor (not like I’m counting…). When he was born he didn’t cry, not once, he just looked around at us with a very confused look on his face and made those funny squeaky newborn sounds.
One of my favorite baby things about him was the overnight feedings. He was always all business, just feed him and he’d curl up in my lap and nod off. Easy peasy. Sometimes I’d stay there and rock him for while he curled up into my shoulder and slept. During the winter holidays, we had a tree in his room and I’d turn the lights on and just look at the tree and listen to 60s Christmas music on the radio while I sat there rocking him. At 2am or 4am or midnight or whatever feeding it was. I mean don’t get me wrong, I was beyond exhausted, but it really was so lovely. Pete still is my cuddle bug.
Pete has always had amazing hair. I am really jealous actually. Thick, luscious, golden curls? Why was this wasted on a boy child, I ask? Not fair, not at all.
Sometime around age 3, he started telling the meatball joke. “Guess what, mom” “What, baby?” “MEATBALL”. Or: “Knock knock” “Who’s there?” “MEATBALL”. Ad nauseum. He still uses ‘meatball’ as the punchline for about half his jokes today.
He has a very active imagination. A house-ful of toys, and yet every evening without fail, he picks up his plain blocks and creates a sea of aliens deep in battle, dinosaurs on the prowl; just anything his brain can cook up. Usually he sneaks a few blocks off to his bedroom so he can continue his battle after being tucked in for the night. He makes up stories for everything, absolutely everything, and sometimes I can’t tell if he really believes it or not. Like at a recent doctor’s appointment, when the doctor told him she was just going to listen to his heart, and he matter-of-factly told her that instead he has a chest full of robots, but “sometimes they do break down”, so she was still welcome to listen if she wanted.
He is my buddy, my chum, my best partner in crime. Really, he is, the one who is always at my side. He begs to go everywhere with me, so very content to tag along even if it’s to my brow wax appointment or to Walgreens to pick up cold medicine. Is this a first-child thing, is there an affinity there to be your sidekick? Or does he have a bad case of the Mama’s Boy? Who knows, man. All I can tell you is that sometimes when I drop him off at home or preschool or whatever, it feels WEIRD for a minute. Like this kid is such a character that you actually feel a void when he’s not around.
He is quite adamant that when he grows up, he wants to be a teacher. Or (and this one is sort of a secret, because I get the feeling that he views it as somewhat scandalous and not socially acceptable): a race car driver.
He is our Highly Sensitive Extrovert child. Yes, that’s a real thing. He loves people, he thrives in big groups. He’s a loud talker and a total class clown (which, hey: he has a pretty decent sense of comedic timing for someone his age). And man, but he adores every bit of the attention. Laps it up.
But he is very much an observer and feeler, too. He could walk into the living room and in an instant, notice a tiny decoration that is usually on our fireplace mantle is missing. He’s a perfectionist, he asks tons of questions, and he is very in-tune with other people’s feelings. If someone is hurt in a movie or TV show he is watching (and I mean: emotionally hurt) he gets very upset and will talk about it for days. The Lego Movie, people – he won’t watch the Lego Movie again because of the bad guy in it.
His teacher calls him the School Canary, because if the mood is off in any way, he immediately picks up on it. The last few weeks of school were very hard on him, because (as she told me), “He’s feeding off all of the teacher stress in this building”. When something upsets him, it can ruin his whole day, and he takes even a mild scolding or teasing so, so badly. He internalizes it to the point of just being absolutely devastated. And THIS, people. This is the part I have the hardest time with. I want to comfort him, I want to hold him tight and talk him through it, but I feel like he also has to learn to cope, because: this is Life, you know? It is not going to get any easier, let’s be honest. So it’s a weird, murky area that we kind of muddle through and hope we’re doing the best for him, not being too soft but not too hard, oy. Parenting just gets you coming and going sometimes.
So anyway, that’s our little Highly Sensitive Extrovert. And frankly, you guys? I hate to end on that note, really. Because while yes, he is quite the sensitive little muffin – that boy is just the wildest, funniest, loudest, sweetest, and nuttiest of all of us, and I wouldn’t change him for the world.
Happy Five, Peter. I hope it is everything you could ever have dreamed of.
Oh and PS – Pete chose the video song. For several months he was obsessed with Roar so I really thought it would be his song choice, but then he told me this was his favorite. So some overplayed Lumineers it is, my son.