A Tribute to Tiny on His Fifth Birthday

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babyMy child, my son, my sweet, rambunctious, beautiful Tiny Tot, is turning five. And, of course, after writing that first sentence, I am now–officially–tearing up. I’m sitting here mopping the drops from my eyelids, uncertain as to which direction this blog will go–but I do know this: this blog is a tribute, and testament, to all things Tiny.

Because, without him, I wouldn’t have anything to blog about.

One the very first day he was born, my beautiful tiny human astounded the nurses. Instead of crying uncontrollably, and wailing like a little bitty thing who had just been traumatized by the birthing experience, he babbled happily to the nurses.

They loved it; they loved him.

As they placed him in my arms, and I stared at the child who had been playing bouncy house on my insides for nine months, I could only summon three words, “He’s so pretty.”

baby4That day I laid him down, insistent upon taking a picture of my newborn child. It was only then that he did the very thing he would come to do throughout the years: hate the lens of my camera. He looked up at his mommy, took a gander at her cell phone bearing down on him, and yanked his cap down with a ferocity that was both amusing, and astounding. I knew right away what an utterly precocious–and wildly opinionated–child I had created.

He could lift up his head right away. In fact, I admonished him for attempting to lift his head, because I knew that babies shouldn’t do so for at least another month. Nope, not my Tiny Tot. He wanted to jump right into this life. So I did the only thing I knew how to do: I jumped right along with him.

When Tiny learned to walk, I learned to run. He was fully involved in everything dangerous, looking for adventures by repelling off objects. His mischievousness grew to be one quality that I both admired and cringed at–because every time I turned around, a lollipop was in his pudgy little hands, and a Cheshire grin was spreading across his happy, little face.

baby28He made me learn about disciplining the hard way, but it made me a stronger parent. I think he spent two entire months in the Naughty Chair, learning all the different restrictions and requirements his Mommy placed upon him. I was not keen on raising a child who sprouted a thousand hands in a second around sharp, pointy objects. Nor did I want to have a child who snitched candy and expected his mom to be okay with him having that before breakfast.

So he learned what Mommy expected, and I learned the way my crafty Son Son thinks.

I knew from early on that my child would always push his limits, and I would always have to stay ahead of his cognitive thinking skills. Because he’s a smart, precocious, rambunctious, wildly-opinionated kid. But, honestly? So was I.

He can, does, and will outthink and out-sneak his mother. The only good thing about it is that he’s just like me in those regards.

One of the greatest aspects about being a parent is that Tiny has taught me how to be a kid again, through raising him. I’ve learned how to be crafty, how to repulsor blast the bad guys, how to hunt for monsters, and how to put back together every single toy that pops into a thousand pieces–in under a minute–and then throw him back into the fight.

baby34As much as I state that I’m a parent who demands the hand hold, and walks everywhere my child does, I was just as involved in jumping, sliding, leaping, bounding, building, and discovering in those early years. Our favorite thing to do by the time my tiny human was eighteen months was spread our wings like Buzz Lightyear and zoom around the park.

My child has taught me so much about being a grown up, because I get to experience life again, every day, through his eyes.

On Tiny’s second birthday, he was given two dinosaurs by some good friends. One was a Parasauralophus, and one was a Tyrannosaurus Rex. No, back then I did not know their names. Well, maybe I knew the T Rex, because everyone on the planet knows what he looks like, including me.

It came to be that Tiny Tot fell in love with these two little dinosaurs. We would spend minutes at a time playing with them–I would say hours, but my child never actually played with toys, outside of these two dinos. They followed him around the house. They snuck up on him when he was minding his own business, sitting in a chair. They attacked each other constantly. The T Rex always won.

Because, well, he’s a T Rex.

baby7And so I named these dinos the Kissing dinosaur and the Mean dinosaur. One day, however, my little boy said, “No, Mommy. He’s not a kissing dinosaur. He’s purple. What’s his name?”

In that moment, I knew I had an opportunity to teach my child using his interests. He wasn’t interested in learning colors while I held up a flashcard. He learned by seeing, touching, and exploring. Therefore, he learned to classify dinosaurs by name, size, shape, and color. I took his love, and used it to my advantage.

Unfortunately, because of that, we know own around two hundred dinosaurs. He never forgets a dinosaur, knows exactly which ones he has, and when he’s asking me to find a specific one–amongst those two hundred–it can be the most aggravatingly insane hour of my life. Still, the household will always come to a dead halt in order to find a “missing” toy. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.

Okay, sure, I’ll complain about it a bit, but I became a mom to raise a child. Finding the dinosaur whose head pops off is just part of the job description.

baby12Around the age of three, Tiny Tot’s love changed from dinosaur to Super Hero. The Avengers battled the dinosaurs for space in our tiny house, and putting on costumes became a daily routine.

Tiny’s greatest love was Iron Man. How he decided on Iron Man, when Spider Man and Batman were all I had ever known, I don’t know. In fact, I didn’t know Iron Man even was a Super Hero. At least I didn’t, until my child started air miming putting on the Iron Man costume and repulsor blasting the house down. Only after a conversation with his father did I even came to realize how awesome it is to be Iron Man, and how much my child loved pretending to be Tony Stark.

By the time his third birthday rolled around, he had decided everything concerning his birthday party. He was so excited about it that he spoke about nothing else for months leading up to the event. I was to be Cat Woman, he was to be Iron Man, and everyone else had to jump on board and throw on a costume–because it was his birthday, and people should dress up on their birthdays.

Yes, opinionated. Wildly opinionated. My kid is a crazy nut, and I love every moment.

baby36He started into the preschool program at daycare shortly before the age of four. He loved the idea of going to school, and loved all of his teachers. Moving into a larger classroom, hanging out with all of his friends, and learning his letters and numbers was exciting for him.

For his mother, however, it was a bit of an aggravation that I needed to get over. I didn’t understand why a three-turning-four year old needed to bring home five sheets of mindless homework every week. I didn’t understand why children needed homework before the age of ten. I didn’t understand why a young child who sat in a classroom all day needed to sit and do more schoolwork at home. But, after I sucked it up, I realized that his schoolwork helps me learn to be a better mom, because I get extra one-on-one time with my child at night. It’s our moment to breathe, talk about our day, and bond over writing exercises.

Going from toddler to preschooler also meant putting Tiny into extracurricular activities. I was raised doing team sports; Tiny’s dad was raised doing team sports. Therefore, Tiny Tot would be involved in team activities.

I learned a lot about Tiny during his first year as a tee ball kid, especially since his dad was his coach. That first year was difficult for my tiny human, because he had to separate his dad from his coach, and then share his father with twelve to fifteen other kids. It was a new experience for him; it was a new experience for his parents.

We acclimated, though. As parents, our job is to adjust to the tiny humans, and help them understand how the world works. By the next year, Tiny’s dad was a secondary coach. Tiny learned how to default to the main coach, and I finally relaxed enough to be able to participate in the game, … instead of being the parent pulling a child off the coach’s leg every five seconds. Tiny learned how to hit, how to throw, how to be involved in a team sport, and how to listen to instruction. Those were the main things I expected him to learn from a young team sport, and he did. He also picked grass, stared at butterflies, brought me flowers, and doodled in the sand.

The one thing he never did learn was how to catch a ball. I expect he’ll pick up on that this year.

IMG_9567The span between four and five has seemed like the longest year in Tiny’s life. It was also the year that his cognition took off. He learned to read sight words, write his name, count in perfect one-to-one ratio, and do simple mathematical equations. He learned to make up songs, crazy stories, and interesting scenarios. He learned to do chores like taking out the trash, feeding the dog, and helping me cook. He started warding off bad guys in order to protect his mother, and always remembers that every day deserves a hug and a kiss.

His love has changed from Power Rangers, to Iron Man, to Batman, and back.

This year, however, he has centered around his love for Batman. He also loves playing with Legos. The day that Tiny Tot first learned there was Batman-themed Lego, his whole world shifted. He grabbed a Lego box, stared at it open-jawed, looked at me and declared, “This is a LEGO BATMAN!

What was even more funny was remembering his face after watching Emmett from The Lego Movie meet Batman for the first time. Which is why, to date, we have owned at least six Lego Batman men.

How many do we currently own? One.

IMG_3135How many are now allowed to go into preschool? None.

How many pockets does Mommy sift through every day? All of them.

Mommy learned her lesson after the fifth one got lost. Yes, it took five times, and six Lego Batman men for Mommy to learn to check pockets. I never said I had this Mom thing down. I’m still learning; Tiny’s still teaching me.

So, when The Lego Movie came out, he told me that his fifth birthday would be a Lego-themed event, centering around Batman Lego. I wanted a low-key event. I wanted to buy a few things at Party City and call it a day.

Life had other plans, though, because there are no decorations for The Lego Movie unless they are made by hand. So, this year, I’m having to buckle down and make an exciting party for my soon-to-be five year old.

IMG_3362It makes sense, though. I have celebrated every milestone, every event, every birthday, every tee ball game, every newly grasped concept. Five is a milestone in itself; it’s a big age to turn for a kid.

I can’t believe it, though. I’m the mother to the most amazing child on the planet, and I cannot believe he’s reached another year in his life. It doesn’t seem possible that five years ago I held a babbling tiny human who couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, couldn’t potty on the toilet, couldn’t tell a joke, couldn’t leap off the couch, couldn’t put on his clothes, couldn’t feed himself, couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance, couldn’t write, couldn’t read, and couldn’t use the remote control with ease. The time has been too short. In the blink of an eye he’s gone from an infant to a preschooler.

I’m not ready to be the mother of a Pre-K 5 child, let alone the mother of a soon-to-be Kindergartener, but that’s our next step.

But, whether I am ready or not, my tiny human is turning five. So here’s to the most awesome, most creative, most precocious, most adorable, prettiest Son Son on the planet (and I am biased, because he’s mine). Here’s to everything new that he will learn throughout the next year, everything he’ll get to experience, and everything I will get to experience with him.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful Tiny Tot.

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No comments posted on September 18, 2014 in Parenting, Winging It, Mom Style

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