Dear Alden, You’re Two!

Alden Roy,

This week you turned two years old! I really cannot believe it because I am pretty sure it was last month that you were a teeny baby in my arms. Where did the time go?

For your birthday this year you woke up to balloons, presents and cinnamon rolls. Your siblings each drew you a picture and Lila made you a special bracelet you wore all day. Your babysitter Amanda took you to Imagination Station during the day. At night we went to dinner at a hibachi restaurant where you loved watching them cook in front of you. Then we drove around looking at Christmas lights and had homemade hot chocolate cake. It was a great day!

You are such a delight in my life. Truly you make me so happy and I just love being with you. And while you are a fiercely independent Sagittarius like your daddy, you know just how to melt my heart with your hugs, “momeees!” and sly smiles.

While I would love to keep you little, you want nothing more than to be a big kid. You follow your brothers around and want to do everything they do. At parties we can always find you chasing after the big boys trying to do whatever they are. We also ended up giving your high chair away because you absolutely refused to sit in it and demanded to sit in a big boy chair like everyone else, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

You are a very coordinated and physical little guy who started scootering to and from school (1 mile away) at just 18 months. Every person we pass on the way marvels and how good you are on your scooter for being such a little guy. It cracks me and daddy up when you start lifting your leg to the side and doing swerving tricks just like your brothers.

You’ve never met a ball you didn’t like and will regularly inch your way out onto the court at your brother’s basketball games. Recently when I took you to a store they had baskets of balls sitting out front and you about lost your mind screaming “BALL!!!!!” over and over until I let you load a bunch in our cart.

You are obsessed with eating. Mostly eggs. Not only eating, but also cooking. Each morning you bring a carton of eggs to Daddy and demand he put you on the counter so you can help him cook them. You do the same when I’m making dinner. Its not unheard of for you to consume 4 eggs in one sitting and then go back for some fruit to finish it off. I think that may be the reason you’re in the 99% for height.

(Also note the mario boxer shorts of your brothers that you regularly refuse to take off)

If there are two things you’re not that interested in, it would be talking and smiling. Grunting and pointing remains your preferred method of communication and I usually have to explain that you’re a “stoic baby” to the little old ladies cooing at you to smile in the store. Although you refuse to smile for mommy when I take pictures, you’re more than happy to cheese it up for your babysitter! I think you’ll be the type to know your mind and not be swayed by others.

You’ve been thriving despite having hemophilia. I honestly forget about it most days thanks to your medication. You’ve still never had a bleed and hardly notice when we do your monthly injections. We feel so lucky that if you had to have a chronic illness, that it is hemophilia, because it’s been very manageable.

My sweet Roysie Boysie, Baldi Aldi, Boo Boo. I love watching you grow up and and cherishing your toddlerhood as my last baby. It’s clear you’re going to be spoiled because as I tell your siblings “what baby wants, baby gets!” All joking aside, I love being your mommy.

Hugs and kisses forever baby boy!

Mommy

Dear Lila: You’re Nine!

Lila,

You turned the big nine about a month ago. We celebrated with your annual balloons, flowers, presents and donuts for breakfast. Then we had a joint birthday party with your friend Bubba at the gymnastics center. Your classmates had so much fun celebrating you two and you got about a mountain of presents.

This year was another great one for you. You are doing awesome across the board in school, sports, your friends etc. This year you won the Cross Country championships again, made the 10U travel softball team and are playing in two basketball leagues. I love watching and coaching your sports! You also made it into the gifted program at school and continue to challenge yourself across the board.

I am in awe of your confidence as a young girl. I was always a bit awkward and very self conscious at your age, so it is so cool to watch you be so confident. At a cross country meet, a boy in your class was razzing you saying you were going to lose, and instead of getting your feelings hurt, you razzed him right back with a good comeback. The whole thing ended with you both laughing. This confidence will serve you well as you grow up and take on the challenges of middle school and junior high.

You are at such an interesting age where you’re kind of between being a little kid and being a tween. On one end you want to do more grown up things like go to bed later, walk to your friends houses on your own and pick out all your own clothes, yet on the other end you still want us to do your bedtime routine and set up the Christmas elves each night (even though you don’t believe any more).

Growing up isn’t always an easy thing. I still remember crying in my bed as a girl about your age because I was sad about getting older. I can tell you’re in a bit of that emotional stage right now too. Dad and I are trying our best to give you some freedom while also honoring your desire to still be a “little kid” when it pops up.

One of my favorite times with you in before bed when we sit and talk together. You tell me all about school, your friends and confide in me your worries. I feel so lucky that you feel comfortable talking to me about your life. You actually paid me the best compliment ever recently when you said “mom, I love talking to you. You should be a therapist!”

It’s very important to me that you know that I always have your back, I’m always on your side and nothing you could do would make me stop loving you. My goal is for our relationship to stay close as you grow up so you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, knowing I am here to support you.

You are an amazing kid who makes me incredibly proud. You are wise beyond your years, truly. Thank you for being a great leader among your siblings and for giving Daddy and I grace as we figure out this parenting job with you first.

Keep being you and show the world what a special person you are.

Love you sweet girl!

Mom

Dear Whit and Davis: You’re Five Years Old!

My sweet, sweet boys, today you are five! It’s hard to believe five years ago I was laying in a hospital bed with severe preeclampsia waiting to deliver you. I was so scared and anxious in that moment because it was so early (34 weeks), but I also had a peace in my heart. I knew deep down that you would be safe and that it was time for you to take your place in our family.

When you were born I was thrust into the life of being a boy mom. I honestly thought I would have all girls and was unsure of my ability to mother boys. I didn’t know if I’d be able to relate to boys or understand what your little hearts needed from me. For a lot of my life I felt disconnected and misunderstood by a lot of the males I was around, whereas with women I felt seen for who I really was.

God clearly had a plan in mind because now I am a mom to three boys! And the uncertainty I had about being a boy mom have disappeared. I very quickly was able to see you boys for who you are deep inside, sweet, sensitive, loving souls. And the love you show me absolutely melts my heart – it’s true what they say, “boys love their mamas.” The experience of raising you two and Alden has opened my heart to the joys that come with having sons.

After getting gipped for your fourth birthday (due to Covid), I wanted to go BIG this year. Your fifth birthday became more like a birthday week! Last Friday we hosted most of our family for a joint First Communion / Birthday party for Lila and you. We had a delicious brunch catered, two cakes and beautiful weather to enjoy being together outside in our backyard.  You loved running around with your cousins!

Then you celebrated your day at school with little goodie bags for your classmates. On Friday we hosted our close family friends over for a party with a magician! (Magic with Eli) You absolutely LOVED the magic show and were laughing so hard the whole time. I loved seeing you enjoy yourselves so much! You’ve been surrounded by so many people who love you this week, which is exactly what I hoped for.

Whitaker, this year you have grown so much both physically and emotionally. You are a good six inches taller than most the kids in your class and are seriously made of pure muscle. I can barely pick you up anymore because you’re built like a brick! Thankfully you love my piggy back rides.

You have shown what a natural athlete you are this year playing basketball, soccer, volleyball and t-ball. You pick up sports very easily and I foresee a future of cheering for you on the sidelines (which I will LOVE). You are always climbing and jumping off the furniture, wrestling with Davis or doing your silly dance moves (which always make me laugh).

While you are bold physically, you are my most sensitive kiddo. You have a tender little heart that can get bruised easily. I always say that “Whit is a little lover,” because you show your love for others easily. At school it’s common for you to tell your teacher and classmates that you love them, which melts everyone’s hearts. And while you have a hot temper sometimes, you want so badly to make those around you happy. You feel absolutely awful afterwards when your hot emotions take over. I always tell you that “you’re still learning and it’s okay to make mistakes.”

You discovered video games this year and love playing them with your brother. You are extremely focused and persistent when you have a goal in mind – like beating a game. It actually really impresses me how determined you are when you find something you really care about.

You are Mario-obsessed and will play for hours with Davis pretending you’re inside the games you love. My favorite time is when you two are completely engrossed in your pretend play and I can just observe and listen to your little creative storylines and collaborative play. It’s truly amazing to see how close you two are. You play all day long and rarely fight or get sick of each other. I can’t imagine how wonderful it would have been to grow up with my best friend every day!

Davis, out of all my kids, you have grown and matured the most this year. You suddenly want to know how everything works and are constantly building or taking something apart. Your interest in numbers, letters, puzzles has exploded and you’re taking in knowledge at a very fast rate. Everyone who knows you says you have an engineer’s mind, which I think takes after your Grandpa Batman.

Emotionally you have become much more adaptable, in-control and aware of your emotions this year. You are noticing how others are feeling around you and showing your empathetic heart. You particularly are in tune with Whitaker’s feelings and often are the first one to try to comfort him when he’s upset. Like the other day when I was taking a “time out” with Whit in his room and you came up and tried to cheer him up with some of your ice cream. You have a very loving, nurturing heart, sweet boy.

You still love transformers, but have also discovered a love of legos. You are able to build complex lego sets meant for 8 year olds and complete transformers with 30+ steps. You even took apart a lego set and rebuilt it perfectly with no instructions, which sort of blew my mind! You also love playing pretend and are often begging Whitaker to play with you. Usually you are the one “directing” the game you two play – coming up with challenges and storylines for you both to act out.

You’ve had a wonderful year at school this year after struggling the year before. Both you and Whitaker get nothing but great behavior reports and are progressing so well with your social and academic skills. We decided to have you guys do Kindergarten Readiness vs going straight to Kindergarten, and I think it’s going to help you be even more confident and prepared. I have a feeling you’re going to be a very smart boy who excels in school.

You are still my most snuggly child, which melts my heart. You will often plop yourself down in my lap or ask me to tickle you. I love being so close to you and dread the day you no longer want to cuddle. I love lying with you and Whitaker at bedtime, reading books, singing songs and drawing letters on your back. Will you do me a favor and promise to always let me hug you even when you’re grown up?

You boys have blessed my live in more ways than you’ll ever know. I feel like I finally understand how the “boy brain” works, and love how complex, sweet, caring and sensitive you are underneath the loud, physical exterior that comes with being growing boys.

My hopes for both of you is that as you grow, you don’t hide away that sensitive, loving side of yourself, because to me that is the most beautiful part of you both. Don’t ever be afraid to let your emotions show or to ask for help when you need it. The world needs more love, kindness and empathy, which you both have so much to give.

I hope you both know Daddy and I will always love you unconditionally and completely. There’s absolutely nothing you could do that would change our love for you. Have a wonderful time being five, my loves!

Love always,

Mommy

Dear Alden: You’re One Year Old!

Dear Alden,

This week you officially turn one! My last baby is leaving behind his babydom and entering the toddler zone. I know I should be sad about this, but you are such the perfect ending to our baby years, that instead of sad I just feel content.

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I do feel bad that this is my first post dedicated to you since I chronicled your birth story, but 2020 has been a YEAR baby boy. With the pandemic, school closures, work and raising four kids, my time was all used up. But I want you to know that I love every second we’ve spent together this year.

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You have been such an angel baby. Don’t tell your siblings this, but you have been by far our easiest, most content baby. From your amazing birth to now, you’ve made life easy for me. You took to nursing well, you slept through the night early on and you generally are just a chill, happy dude. I’d like to take the credit for how sweet you are, but I know in reality it’s just your good-natured temperament.

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Before you were born, my friend has a “psychic party” where the psychic told me you were the oldest soul in our family and that we’d all learn from you. At the time I got chills because your name was already picked out and meant “old, wise friend.” I think this prediction was right too, because you have a mature, almost angelic quality to you.

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Physically you started rolling, then sitting up, then crawling earlier than any of my other babies. You have started taking some steps and love to climb everything. You seem very sure footed and very rarely take a tumble. You are also a very curious little baby who is always creating mischief – usually by dumping out Finny’s dog food and water.

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Due to the pandemic, you have mostly been a “house baby” as I like to say. Your days are spent in the safety and familiarity of our house among your siblings, dog and parents. You love crawling from the playroom to the kitchen and back exploring the toys set out, finding remotes to bang and attempting to break through the gates and up the stairs. You bring so much fun to our home.

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One hard part about your first year was your diagnosis with severe Hemophilia. I noticed when you were four months old that you started getting bad bruises just from rolling over. When I took you to the doctor, they thought I was abusing you and made me take you to the hospital with warnings that CPS may be called on me. That day about broke me.

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Thankfully the hospital workers were kind and very quickly we got your diagnosis. We were all in shock as we have no family history and you have two older brothers without the disease. Recently though we found out that I am a carrier and didn’t know. I felt so much guilt when I found out – like I had given you this awful thing you have to carry for the rest of your life.

Early on though, Daddy and I decided that this disease would not define you. It would be something we dealt with, but not the focus of your life or who you are. Thankfully you were able to get on a new medication called Hemlibra that has dramatically changed the lives of hemophilia patients. Instead of infusions three times a week, you just get one injection every month. And my sweet boy, you’ve been absolutely THRIVING since we started your injections. It’s been such a wonderful blessing.

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I’m so looking forward to this year (and the years to come) to see how you grow and develop into your own special person. I know that nothing will hold you back from doing the things you want in life. I will make sure of that!!

So many people love you baby boy. You bring a special light to our family that I cherish. When you’re in the room it’s pretty much impossible to feel upset. The sweet way you lay your head on my shoulder, when you try to say “doggie!” when you see Finny, the way you wave at daddy, your squeals of delight when you’re around your brothers and the way you light up when you see Lila fill all our hearts. I’m pretty sure you’re everyone’s favorite in this family.

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Thank you for choosing to join our family and for bringing us such joy. Daddy and I love you forever!

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XO,

Mommy