Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cruz Man

For three months, I've been jotting down little notes about you, snippets of things I want to record and never forget as I watch you grow up faster than I can sometimes keep up with.  You're changing lately, Cruz, maturing and finding yourself through new interests and knowledge, getting ready for the big kindergarten this fall.  And while it's true that I do miss those years of babyhood with you, your rough-and-tumble attitude, linebacker build, and wispy blonde hair, God just keeps working and giving me new things to love even more than the day before. Some of my favorite parts of the day include picking you up from school and hearing all the things you learned and discovered, thanks to one amazing teacher, and then watching you apply that new learning here at home.  Yesterday, you told me you "wearned" about all things leprechaun -- that little leprechauns leave a lot of mischief around the house and that they're very hard to catch.  You said that Mrs. W. helped every kid in the class bend over backwards to kiss a class version of the Blarney Stone, but that you missed it because we were on a "bacation" (we went to the Iowa Children's Museum).  And you were pretty concerned this morning over the fact that you didn't have green pants to go with your green shirt, socks, and new shoes with a green Nike swish.  A little boy who used to be so nonchalant about life that I wondered sometimes if anything stuck, now picks up on and cares about the details, and seems to reveal every day how much is stored in that little head of his.

You're growing up, without a doubt, showing courage, wit, and an occasional loss of innocence that makes me hurt and smile big all at the same time.  You finally decided to start riding a bike this spring, a big feat being that you wanted nothing to do with it the past few summers.  Now, with your tongue out just like your daddy used to do, you concentrate and push those little legs and have found seamlessly easy success.  You've got just enough of your mommy's fear in you, paired with a good bout of your daddy's adventurous spirit, and once you finally jump off the ledge, it seems you pick things up pretty easily.

The same held true at Ninja Zone, your most recent Saturday morning adventure.  You caught me a little off guard with this, expressing nervousness and initial fear of not being able to do the things the other kids would do.  And when the very first station your first morning was a somersault, I started to wonder if we had made a mistake signing you up.  As I stood and peeked around the corner of the waiting area, trying really hard to not look like the overbearing parent, it was the first time I had ever seen you nervous.  As you watched the other boys tumble down the mat with your hands stuck in the pockets of your mesh shorts, I saw the tears well up in your eyes and my first instinct was to go in and rescue you.  But then, as the coach knelt down beside you and asked if you knew how to do one, I watched you blink those tears away and step up to the plate, trying all the brand new moves and never giving up.  My heart swelled as I watched you try and try again, and we cheered big when it finally clicked and you did that somersault dang near perfectly.  You skipped out the building that day and have loved going back every Saturday since.  Signs of a true ninja. :)

When you're not being a ninja, conquering those somersaults and monkey bar flips with ease, you're showing off some budding talents and skills that your daddy and I love.  You love to draw, love to build, and love practicing letter sounds and early reading skills.  The details you put in your drawings are downright adorable, like the beard you drew on your leprechaun yesterday, or the Dr. Seuss details you add in all your illustrations to his books.  You've been on a Dr. Seuss kick lately, and have been drawing illustrations to go with the words daddy reads to you.  Then, you explain your drawings, and we can't believe the details you pick up on, small things we even miss while reading.  You love writing words, and this week, we started reading little BOB Books before bed, where you seem to pick up on early phonics easily.  Embarking on this new reading adventure is going to be so much fun with you.  

Your Lego builds are my favorite, though.  At first, you wanted to stick to the instructions and needed a lot of assistance, however, you've evolved to master builder, and have found a lot more fun in creating your own buildings, vehicles, playgrounds, and inventions.  You spend a good chunk of time either drawing or building, although you've always been so very good at play.  I love to watch you get lost in your toys and dream up fascinating worlds with your imagination.

And while it seems you're maturing and revealing a serious side to you lately, let's not forget your silly, and oftentimes, squirrly side that's always been a prominent part of who you are.  You are definite boy in many respects - the way you spout of "tooty butt" lingo to your daddy and Papa Curt, your love of swords, nerf guns, and power bombs on the bed, and a little note on your preschool progress report that alluded to your silly behavior with a few friends in class.  You rarely pass up on an opportunity to find humor in something, and I have a feeling you will be surrounded by friends, and run into a few issues with teachers along the way.  You have a lot of friends, and you are kind, sweet, and loving to them, a characteristic I pray always stays a part of who you are.

And you dance like nobody's watching!  Thanksgiving weekend, we attended a family wedding in Iowa City, to which you formed quite a bond with your extended cousin, Eli.  The two of you cut a rug on the dance floor for HOURS, and were in your own little world most of the night.  My favorite part of the night, though, involved a little run in with the cute blond running the photo booth.  We did the photo booth as a family earlier that night, and you must have decided later on that you wanted to get some pictures taken by yourself.  We watched as the women told you that you had to find an adult to be photographed with.  You walked away, only to return later, put on a simple black top hat and glasses, then stand in front of the camera posing until she finally caved and took your four snaps.  We helped you tape them in Will and Stacy's guestbook, sign your name, and stowed the duplicate in my purse for safe keeping.  I ADORE these four pictures of you so much.

You were made to be a big brother, and have seamlessly filled that role with patience, grace, and love from the very first day you met your spitfire sister.  You let her pour cup after cup of water over your head in the bathtub, deal with hours of Dora on TV when you'd really prefer Ninja Turtles, and never get bent out of shape when she breaks a lego tower or rips through another crayon box.  You just love her.  

You are sweet, silly, sensitive, and kind, a staller at the dinner table, and a snuggler before bed.  You get teary at the end of Disney movies, clean your plate when I promise you dessert, and love to take showers and sing your heart out.  You still love your comfy pants, still love Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk You Up, and prefer milk and water to juice because they're "heafier for you."  With just two months lefts before you "graduate" preschool, we are counting our blessings and thanking our lucky stars for the little boy you are.  

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