Monday, June 15, 2015

eight is great

 First and last days of 2nd grade. Doesn't he look SO grown up in that second photo? I feel like I'm getting a good glimpse of him as a teenager right there!

 Birthday boy on his new dune buggy! I took a little ride on that thing last night - it goes 10mph and is SO much fun to ride! We're gonna have a ton of fun with that this summer.

 Sweet brother taking his sister for a ride. He said, "This is the best birthday ever!"

 Batman decorations for the win.

Love that kid.

 Being goofy at breakfast in the village. Birthday pancakes!

 Besides the dune buggy (he actually asked for a jeep but he's too big for all of them now) Tommy asked for a skateboard. We were inspired to try long boards by my good friend, Kerri, when we visited her a couple months ago and rode hers. We had a blast riding them down the hill in our driveway yesterday afternoon.

 Wasn't he just born yesterday?!

 That's supposed to be an "8" in the white icing in the middle there. Don't judge my cake decorating skills. Thank goodness the sprinkles really cover a multitude of icing sins.

 Happy kid!

 Pondering his wish :)

Happy Birthday, Tommy!

You guys, ever since Tommy was born I have been so nervous about parenting him as a "big kid." Since he turned 8 yesterday, I feel like we're officially in big kid land mainly because we are now only two years away from TEN. 

For as long as I can remember, like since I was big enough to realize that there were actually people smaller than me (hello, baby Carrie who I loved carrying around like a baby doll), I have always loved babies and little kids. I love holding brand new babies and bouncing drooling toddlers on my knees and playing peekaboo and reading board books and rocking in rocking chairs and pretty much everything else that comes with that age. But I've never really known what to do with older kids. That's always been Will's thing and it's one of the reasons why he and I make a great team. 

So while I was busy being nervous and focusing on changing and feeding and rocking my baby and wondering what I would do when he didn't need me to do those things anymore, time flew by and I realized one day that I was there at that point with BOTH of them now. At that place where I'm not changing any diapers, they both feed themselves, and very rarely do either one of them want to sit in a rocking chair with me. But when I finished having a little nervous breakdown and caught my breath and stopped to take a good look at this big kid that I'm watching make his way through elementary school, I realized something...

It's really not as scary as I thought.

Parenting older kids definitely has its challenges since they tend to think they know everything and don't want help with anything anymore. And mostly it's a mind game with him now instead of helping him with physical tasks. But even with the challenges, more than anything, having an eight-year-old is FUN. He's full of ideas, he can be incredibly helpful when he wants to be, he's creative, he inspired me to buy a skateboard and try a new hobby, he's completely hysterical, and he's just plain fun. 

So I'm happily giving up the nerves (at least until the teenage years!) and enjoying the new challenges and good times that come with parenting big kids. We're learning as we go, Tommy and I, and I'm so thankful for his understanding and good humor as we walk this road of "growing up" together. I'm working hard at letting go a little bit more, giving him a little more freedom, and letting him make a few more decisions on his own. It's not easy, but as I watch him at ease with his friends at school and at the pool and seeing him come home with the "Laffy Taffy" award (for lending a hand and helping others see the bright side of life), I'm confident that he's ready. Will and I are so proud of him and all that he's accomplished over the last year and so excited for the year ahead. Bring on Big Kid Land. We got this.

We love you, Tommy! Eight really is great.

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