He thinks it’s funny to say that.
Probably because I glare at him and tell him to shut up. And we’re not supposed to tell people to shut up in this house, so I don’t know if he delights in the fact that I actually SAY that or because he knows it is torturous to imagine him in double digits.
Freakin’ NINE, this boy of mine.
Yesterday, he looked like this:
Wasn’t it yesterday? I could have sworn it was.
He was three months old in that picture. He and I were both lying on the living room floor on our stomachs. He was holding his head up so well…and I was taking picture after picture as he did it. There were probably pictures where he was smiling, or not drooling…but this shot has always been my favorite of the bunch.
He doesn’t drool now. And he holds his head up even better.
He’s an avid reader. He loves loves loves baseball. And his Pokémon cards. And lizards and our cats and pretty much every kind of animal that swims, flies or walks. He’s very gentle and kind. He’s really good at math, but he loves reading more. He plays classical guitar and recorder. He loves loves loves to ski. He’s become a very good swimmer.
He’s good with younger kids. He loves his sister, though he would rather eat okra every day than admit it out loud.
He is getting too tall.
He came into our room early this morning, anxious for presents. I told him it wasn’t even time for us to get up yet, so he might as well climb in bed and hang out.
He crawled in between Bill and me and I flashed back to his infanthood. When he’d fall asleep in bed with us, and I’d just stare at his sweet little face. He was so small. Curled up on the mattress like a little lima bean, his little lips pursed…sigh.
And then here his head on a pillow next to mine, his feet much too close to my feet.
And the grinning. The excitement about presents, yes, but the grinning was all about torturing mom.
“I’m almost as tall as you! Next year I’ll be ten! Soon I’ll be going to college!”
All that grinning.
I asked him if he really wanted any presents, and he got the hint, for about a minute.
I’d say he’s at a great age, but really, all his ages have had lots of greatness. All the early milestones, of course. His tiny little voice. Learning to do so many things. Ride a bike, ski, swim, play baseball.
Currently he wants to be a professional skier in the winter, a professional baseball player (Go Sox!) in the summer, and then, when he retires from all that, he wants to own a zoo.
He is fond of telling me he’s a man.
“Alex, why aren’t you wearing a shirt?”
“Because I’m a man, mom!”
“Alex, close your mouth when you’re chewing.”
“But mom, I’m a man!”
“Alex, that’s disgusting!” (Feel free to imagine one of the many disgusting things little boys love to do.)
“It’s because I’m a man, mom! That’s what men do! Wait – I think I’ve got hairs growing in my armpits!”
But he will still hug me spontaneously. So he’s still my little baby boy.
I’ve tried to explain that when mothers look at their kids, they don’t just see the face staring back right now. They see all the faces over the years, from the first day outside the womb to first days of school and birthdays and little triumphs and tragedies and bad moods and good moods and…everything. Layers of faces. Layers of years.
And so I’ve warned him that even when he’s taller than me and all grown up, he will still be my baby boy.
Even when I’m ninety. Or a hundred.
So get used to it.
Happy Birthday, Alex. My boy, my firstborn. I love you.