Connor is Five

This morning when Caroline crawled into bed, the first thing she whispered was, "today is Connie's birthday!" We waited patiently for him to wake up from their little sleep over in his room last night and when he arrived on scene, he brushed the sleepers out of his eyes and climbed into bed beside me with an excited but still tired "birthday!"

Today is Connor's FIFTH birthday and in so many ways I feel like this is the closing of a long, beautiful, hard, wonderful, went too fast chapter in our family's life. We are counting down the few months that remain of our colossal mortgage payment sized child care costs. (I can't even wrap my head aound this!!) At the same time, we grieve the loss of the ease of preschool: drop off/pick up, learning and playtime with no expectation greater than following the classroom rules, being a good friend, and learning what he can tolerate before Kindergarten.

It was an exceptional year, marked by memorable moments, personal triumphs, and knock your head against a wall frustration. Connor became more outgoing, but maintains a spot pressed tightly beside his mama any chance he gets. His highs are high and his lows are so very low. When he is happy and laughing you cannot help but join him. When he is less than happy, he erupts into a fury that has us calling him Hulk. I don't know of many other kids his age who become "hangry," but his mood is so tied to his appetite that we know we are in trouble when lunch is even slightly delayed. He struggles to communicate the things he is worried about, scared of, or upset about and we struggle to get him to open up verbally. He requires more patience than you should have to muster in a frustrating eruption.

His love for sports seems limitless. I've never before seen a child decline a bounce house to watch a college football game (not BC, by the way, Clemson, which he knows by logo). He perches himself behind Steve's legs on the couch to watch baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, anything. He asks question after question and cheers loudly. He can quickly determine if this is "our" game or just a random one Daddy wants to watch and needs to know immediately WHO we want to win so he can cheer appropriately.  Steve always hoped he would love sports and he got a kid who loves sports and then some. I like to imagine they will always share this and watch games together and talk about sports, the same way I see Steve talking to his own father about that play or that bogus call or that amazing goal. Connor is still Mama'a boy, but is leaning more toward Daddy all the time. He wants to come home and ditch his pants for mesh shorts often and I don't know ANYONE else who does that everyday.

He cheered for #74 during the Olympics and beyond and still feels conflicted when St. Louis comes to Boston.

We discovered the Sports Guys this year and quickly adopted the entire collection, even turning football into lacrosse for a short time. Limitless hours of play with these great sets.

 We tried the skates back on to at the end of the spring session with some success. He's gotten out there this fall, with smiles and tenacity. We recently discovered that his reluctance to go to hockey has more to do with leaving something home that he wants to continue playing with OR that he thinks he isn't very good at it. sigh.

Participation is something I think we will struggle with for some time. We alternated weeks in the spring Pre-K soccer league begging him to play AT ALL or begging him to pass the ball so he would not score AGAIN. He embraced the "learn to lacrosse" program we did after school without one ounce of reluctance. A true head scratcher this one.

He remains steadfastly in love with his best friend Caroline. There are of course fights and disagreements, but there is no sweeter thing than hearing her reading her bedtime book extra loud to herself so he can hear it too. He wants to be able to read just like her and he is closer everyday to picking up a book and reading it all the way through.


He learned to write his name this year, a huge feat for a boy who refused to acknowledge the existence of letters last year. Thanks to the Land of the Letter People at school his letter obsession continues. I think we ALL know about Mr. M and his munching mouth and Mr. O's opposites. He can identify and write all his letters and knows all their sounds. He is working on sight words and is motivated to read every word he sees. He knows numbers too and has been spending time with some of his big sister's math tools to learn his math facts.

Our lucky boy went to two Red Sox games this season and cheered for his favorite player Dustin. Ask him to show you his Pedroia impression next time you see him ;)

We lost a treasured friend while on vacation in New Hampshire and were reunited a short time later when a package arrived in the mail. He hardly needs his little monkey, "Monkey," anymore. I often find him in his backpack from the day before when I ready it again for the next day. His face is starting to disappear revealing the stuffing beneath. Like his babydom, he is ready to let this part of his life go, but maybe not just yet. The sound of the rattle in Monkey's head is often my first signal that he is awake in the morning.

Time slips away, but we adapt as they grow and try new things, explore our world more fully. A Boston College night game would have been a Steve only event in the past, but with these two, we try the impossible and bundle up for a game that doesn't even begin until bedtime. It's a past time so routine to them now. I remember the blank expressions people used to give me when I would tell them in CT that we were leaving on Friday afternoon to bring baby Caroline to a football game in Boston on Saturday and come home that Sunday. Looking at these kids now, I am so grateful that they know this, that they have these experiences, that we all have these memories. We sit squarely in the "golden years" of our family life when memories will last and be recalled in decades future, when we might not even be around to reminisce. We look for opportunities to do crazy things like spend the day in Boston, enjoy a meal in the North End, and end the day with a hotel room dessert party. Our Connor is big enough now to allow us to do ANYTHING and we plan to push that envelope even more this year.

This shy, sensitive, rough and tumble will totally scratch your face in a wrestling match boy is FIVE today. He wants to drive a Zamboni, make movies, and be Tom Brady or Tukka. Tonight, he gets to GO to the game with his Dad and Steve's parents and I can't think of another five year old who would appreciate it even half as much as our little big sports fan. Happy birthday, Connor. You are still and always will be my baby, but I adore watching you grow.


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