January 19, 2016
Nicholas Stephen at FIVE years old.
On 12/20/2015 this beautiful boy turned five years old. Sometimes five years seems like such a long time and sometimes it doesn't. It's crazy how much a kid can grow and change and mature in a short five years. But on the flip side, I can hardly remember my life without him and so it seems longer. What did I do with my time before I had this little boy? Because he is everything to me (along with his little brother) and I love him so much.
I'm also so proud of him. He's been five for almost an entire month now and I have to admit that I can seriously notice a difference between four and five! I feel like in the past month we've been in a better groove, as far as my parenting goes. Fewer fights, fewer tantrums. Honestly, I am just so in awe of Cole. How did he come from me?! We are so very different in so many ways, but at the core of it, our personalities are just opposite. Sometimes I like to picture what I was like as a five year old little girl and I know I was nothing like him. I was quiet and shy and soft spoken. Cole is so much like his dad: loud, confident, smart, knows exactly what he wants. He always has new ideas of things he wants to try out and he frequently tells me what his plans for the day are. I don't mind spending a quiet day at home sometimes-- but not Cole. He always wants to be out and doing something. Or playing with friends. Or at least having friends over.
We put him in Parkour a few months ago, instead of gymnastics because it seemed like a better fit. And it's been perfect for him! It's only once a week for 50 minutes but it's probably the happiest 50 minutes of his life! Haha. I love watching him because he always has a huge smile on his face and just bounces around happily the whole time. I love seeing him thrive in it.
He also started a co-op preschool in September and he loves it! He doesn't always love doing all the crafts and he'd rather just play with his friends the whole time but it's been something that he looks forward to every week. I wish he could do it three times a week but I guess once a week will have to do :) In 8 short months he will start Kindergarten! Like, the real deal, get on a yellow school bus, gone for most the day kind of Kindergarten! It makes me excited and nervous. I think he'll love it, but still, I hope it all goes well for him.
After reading some parenting books (because geez, parenting is hard!) I've finally been able to figure out that when Cole and I butt heads, it's because of this difference in personality that we have. I am very protective and I'm such a worrier! But Cole gets frustrated with me because he feels like I'm holding him back. I'm not trying to, I just have issues with taking unnecessary risks. He just wants to explore the world and I just want to keep him safe. A conflict in interests is what it really boils down to. Sometimes when I watch him at the playground, I like to see if he ever looks around to see where I am after he's been playing for a while. I seriously think I could just leave him there for hours and he would never notice! (Obviously, I would never do that.) But it's interesting, isn't it? He never looks up to see if I'm watching or to make sure I'm still there. He just makes friends and plays with them and is in his own little world for hours at a time.
One of Cole's greatest qualities is that he is very tender hearted. He loooooves his baby brother and yes, he still calls him that: his baby brother. I think it is the cutest thing and I especially love how Cole always, without fail, stands up for his brother on the playground. When Cole meets new kids, he almost immediately introduces Logan to them and proudly says "This is my baby brother Logan!" All while patting Logan on the head. He's got that big brother protectiveness going on and it makes me so incredibly proud. I don't think I taught him that, he's just always been that way. (They get in their fights too, but mostly Cole takes such great care of Logan.)
A few months ago I put on the movie 17 Miracles since it seemed like an appropriate Sunday movie. It was the first time Cole had seen it and you'll know what I mean when I say it's a tear jerker if you've ever seen the movie. Scene after scene after scene you basically want to sob through the whole thing. We had almost watched the whole movie and then one of the last scenes is of this woman and the man she loves huddled in a blizzard underneath their handcart, freezing to death. When the woman realizes that her husband is dead she starts sobbing for him and it was in the moment that Cole looks at me and Steve with tears streaming down his face and says to me almost angrily "Mom, where did you find this show????" I was crying myself (I secretly hate that movie) but when Cole said this to me I couldn't help but laugh! He was so distraught though. Poor kid. He's at that age where he can actually understand what it means when someone dies and his tender heart couldn't handle it. Neither could mine.
Lately, in the mornings, Cole and Logan have been waking up between 5 and 5:30 which really is just madness and I think to myself every morning whyyyyyyyy but what it comes down to is that my boys just don't need that much sleep??? Seriously bad luck on my part but what do you do..... So, they wake up super early in the morning and now they don't even come in my room and wake me up anymore!! Cole gets the both of them breakfast and they play together until Steve and I wake up. This is craziness right? I don't know what to do about it. They are independent souls (who hate sleep) but especially Cole since he is older.
Luckily, Cole has a great sense of direction. It's not perfect like mine (haha kidding! But mine is pretty good ;) but his is still good and I think he'll be great at directions when he's all grown up. He's disappeared on me a handful of times and if he didn't have a good sense of direction, I don't know if he would have found his way back. Still to this day I don't even know where he went one time when he disappeared. He left out the back door when I was in the other room and he did it so quietly; I didn't even notice he was gone until it had already been 10 minutes!! But about five to ten minutes after I noticed that he was gone and I was frantically looking for him outside, he came prancing around the corner of a house, on his way home. He heard the mowers outside mowing the lawn and cutting the bushes and wanted to check them out but I still don't even know how far he got. Scary stuff. I hate thinking about it but I owe his great sense of direction for getting him home that day.
His latest disappearance happened in October. It was Sunday evening and we were coming home from Steve's parents house. I had dropped Steve off to go home teaching and as I pulled into the driveway, I parked there, opened the garage and told Cole that I was going to pull out the trash can since the next day was garbage day. Logan was asleep but Cole was still awake and I didn't think anything of leaving them in there while I got the trashcan which took me all of 60 seconds! After pulling it out, I got back in the car and drove it into the garage, and then proceeded to unload. Cole normally gets himself out and as I opened the back door to get Logan out I realized Cole wasn't there! I was so confused! I thought maybe he was hiding in the trunk but when I looked he wasn't there! Then I thought maybe he had run into the house before I had driven the car into the garage and I just hadn't noticed, but when I opened the door to the house, everything was completely dark so I knew he wasn't in there. I started seriously panicking. Where could he possibly be??? It had taken me tops 2 minutes to pull out the trashcan, where could he have gone in that short of time?? Then I started wondering if I had run him over without realizing when I drove the car into the garage?! So I got on my hands and knees and looked under the car. I was so scared to even look. I really thought I might have. He wasn't under there, thank heavens. And before I could worry much longer than that, my neighbors were suddenly right there in my driveway with Cole. They were in their pajamas because it was pretty late. He had hopped out of the car while I was taking the trashcan out and he had done it oh so quietly. And oh so quickly!! Our neighbors had put up this huge fake spider in their front window for Halloween and Cole wanted to check it out. They told me that he came and knocked on their front window. When they asked him if his mommy knew where he was he said "No, but I know where she is." !!!! I seriously just about had a heart attack but I was so grateful to them for bringing him back so quickly. I pretty much lost it after that and he got in big trouble and went straight to bed. I just felt like I had no control over him! Like he would just disappear at any given moment and it freaked me out!!! I don't think he'll do anything like that again any time soon (because he hasn't) and because he got in so much trouble. It still blows my mind that he was able to get out of the car so quickly and so quietly. I never heard a thing and that's what freaked me out the most.
I've come to realize that this quality of his-- of knowing what he wants and being independent and going out and getting what he wants-- it's an amazing quality and will serve him very well when he's older. Those are qualities that I'm still trying to develop in myself and that's why I say I am so in awe of him. That's why I wonder how did he come from me?? But I absolutely love the little person he is. I'm so so so proud of him and I know that great things are in store for him. He can be everything that I'm not and it makes me feel like I'll leave the world a better place by bringing him to this world. I hope he always knows how proud I am of him and how much I love him. He is truly amazing, just like his dad.
Happy five years, Nicholas Stephen. I love being your mama. ♥