Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Baby Boy is Four

Dash's birthday was Sunday. He's four. He wants to grow up. He talks about it all the time - how he's looking forward to it, what he'll do when he's "big," etc. He says, "I'm almos' bigger." I tell him to slow down and enjoy it, of course. Though obviously none of my kids were wanted or loved more than the others, his birth was an especially magnificent, yearned-for event. I know how blessed I am, being able to have kids...when some people are I don't want this to sound like "poor me, I had to wait so long," when I know there are some who will never have one, let alone three. But...three years passed from the time I knew I REALLY wanted another baby until he was born. When Tornado was almost two, I was ready, and I waited and waited for months but no luck. Then I found out I had cancer. I remember my thoughts at my "diagnosis appointment" being consumed with how this was going to affect me having another baby pronto. I could hardly control my sobbing when the doctor said I'd need to wait at least a year before trying again. My endocrinologist ended up giving us the green light before an entire year was up, however, it took almost a full year after that to find out I was expecting. Any mom who has waited to get pregnant knows the feeling of seeing those two lines on the stick. Even my horrible morning sickness didn't get me down.
picking up Tornado from Googie and Papaw's house, on our way home from the hospital
My water broke almost two weeks before my due date. I think it was partly due to all the stress of my mom almost dying in the hospital from pneumonia. I was also HUGE; I had gained 60 pounds. I could barely waddle through the parking lot up to her hospital room each day. I was at the point of not knowing if my mother was going to meet her fourth grandchild...not knowing HOW I was going to even be able to smile when my baby boy was born if I lost her. I'm not trying to turn this blog post into a bummer, but I'm just trying to get the point across of how good it was to have him here - with her well again. (She had only been home from the hospital for less than a week, I think.) My c-section after VBAC attempt/24 plus hour labor was rather traumatic...however, it was one of my happiest moments ever when Tornado got to come in the room and meet his brother for the first time. We might have been fine having one child, but I so wanted him to know the joys of having siblings, as I do. Just as he picked Sissy's middle name, he had also gotten to pick Dash's middle name. (which is actually Dash...The Incredibles movie was out while I was pregnant.)

There's nothing like sweet little baby giggles.
He was really always a good, content, happy baby.

wearing Daddy's cycling glasses
He was a quick little learner. He was rolling over, sitting up, crawling, talking, etc. early and with ease.
He also always lunged for food long before it was officially time to give it to him. He fed himself so well at a really early age, too.
It also was not long before we realized...we had our work cut out for ourselves. It's like we barely had any "baby" time before he was up and into everything. I'd walk into the room and find him standing on top of the table, just like this. He was capable of amazing things...and looked right through us when we said the word "no." Some things have not changed. I just told Ryan, on the phone, that Dash just screamed after he stuck a golf tee in his ear. Ryan said, "Short of duck taping him to a chair, I don't know what we're going to do with him."
He and Tornado were great buddies from the start, though. Here Dash has his hair in his Bam Bam ponytail he always wore when he was growing his bangs out. During this time period, his cousin Owen was convinced "he" was a girl.
Little clown on his second Halloween, age 20 months - wearing one of aunt Tracy's costumes from when she was young
Further displaying that mind of his own, he often insisted on wearing underwear over his pants
2nd birthday...I think he looks just like Sissy here.
Photo shoot soon after his little sister was born...they are 23 months apart.

I had to leave this one color to get the full effect. The title on these crayon pictures in his scrapbook reads, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Before we took him to get his long, curly locks cut off...I only had it cut because he was starting preschool (Nov. 07), and I didn't want him to always have to explain to the other kids that he was not a girl.
Right after his hair cut...I cried on the way home. :)
Vacation to the Northwest, June '08...I can't believe how much bigger he is now, in less than a year.
For almost an entire year he talked about wanting a cowboy birthday party. (age 3)
Dash can't be talked about without mentioning Super Heroes. He loves them as much as any boy could possibly love them. He is one. The majority of the time is he dressed up like one - or at least, pretending to fly from the top of the couch to the floor, zooming by like Dash, his namesake, or growling and "smashing" like the Hulk.
We had his birthday party at Oogles 'N Googles. I think he really loved it. They walked the plank, had a scavenger hunt, learned pirate lingo, played pirate games, and danced, etc.
I love this picture because it shows his wonderful sweet side. He really IS a good, sweet boy. It just gets covered up sometimes by his stubbornness and temper issues. I love the innocence and excitement in his eyes and face and the way he is holding his hands in expectation. Makes me almost forget he is capable of a conversation like the one we had recently. Mom: "Can you please not yell? I have a headache." Dash: "Well, it gives me a headache when you talk." Mom: "That hurts my feelings." Dash: "You're starting to hurt my feelings." Oh, boy.
I loved how they let him pick his own candles and put them in his cupcake, and make very important birthday decisions. "Do you want the lights on or off?" Dash: "Off." "Do you want us to sing quiet or loud?" Dash: "Quiet." "Do you want us to cha-cha-cha or no cha-cha-cha?" Dash: "No cha-cha-cha." Vegan cupcakes courtesty of Little Bird Bake Shop in Springfield, Missouri.
I complain about how difficult Dash can be, but we just have to keep praying and working with him to become the little man God wants him to be. I had to tell his father that he lost his treasure chest privilege at school today because he was spitting and not listening to the teacher. Ryan said, "We have 'that kid,' don't we? The one who is always going to get in trouble at school." Sigh. However, there may not be a person I love spending time alone with more than him. When left to his own devices, he is capable of complete mayhem, just like the mud that is currently all over our front door and windows. (He thought of it, and so he did it.) But when you get that little guy alone, he is FUNNY and FABULOUS. He likes having his head and back rubbed. He likes to wrestle and be chased and giggle and pester and have lots of fun. He likes to look at his photo albums and talk about them. He is at the age in which he is learning new things with letters and numbers every day. The other day I told him I love him. He said, "Wuv you." I asked, "How come you never says it unless I say it first?" (Okay, I clearly have positive reinforcement issues, haha.) He smiled and said, "I like you." "You like me?" He smiled again, "I like...your teeth." He tells great stories and adds a whole new perspective to life that we need and love. The other day, when we were at the daffodil field, Ryan started a little speech about "being in the outdoors, really appreciating the beauty around you, feeling at peace, etc." Dash said, "Don't say that anymore, Daddy. It's making me feel funny." My baby boy wants to be all grown up, but he still clings to my leg upon entering new places and situations. He still wants me to get in bed with him at night, and he still says, "I want you to hold me," all the time. And I am just fine with that.


Cary said...

So sweet! Happy birthday, Dash. We all love you!!!

Pam Rohde said...

You are such a wonderful mother and an inspiring writer! I love reading your blog! Although when I see the wonderful things that your kids eat I must admit the guilt overwhelms me! So, I learned while reading this time about your cancer diagnosis. I was shocked! This is very near to my heart as my mom is battling the disease now. I hope you are doing well!
Pam Rohde