My baby is five. FIVE. He's five.
Five years ago I was pregnant for the last time. Sleeping in a recliner because sleeping in a bed had become too painful. Yawning my way through water aerobics. Eating giant cups of crushed ice with a spoon and savoring each one like a hot fudge sundae. Marathoning five season of Lost in three months. Prodromal labor for a week and then, birth. Just as hard as the three times before, and just as rewarding. I remembering alarming an employee at Bed, Bath and Beyond who saw me leaning against a post as I breathed through a contraction, and offered to call me an ambulance. I just laughed and bought a trashcan.
From the moment he was born, Felix united us all. We were at the end of a difficult three year period where Daddy was in school and working full-time. This sweetly unexpected baby gave us all hope for the future.
He was, in fact, so beautiful and sweet that his little face convinced a friend of mine to procreate again (and indeed, her little moppet is one of the cutest, most darling creatures on the planet!)
Felix was, and is, an intense little dude. He needed me in a way I have never been needed. He was tiny and a bit frail. He would only sleep if his body was touching me...if I moved even a quarter of an inch he would wake up and cry. I spent a great deal of my parenting reserves on my little man, which led ultimately to the decision to stop homeschooling and put the kids in public school. This was a decision that was the best for our family and I don't regret it, even though there are times when I feel a twinge of sorrow over the dream life I had. It wasn't right, and that's ok.
The good news about parenting an intense child...their intense need is matched by their love. My little guy is always full of kisses and hugs. He likes to take his favorite songs and put my name in them, like "Jingle Mommy." He's been obsessed with my belly button, and a mole on my shoulder. You can't doubt your self-worth when you've got a little monkey clinging to you for sustenance!
When he was just a little over two the family all got hit with a terrible gastrointestinal virus. We all got better, but Felix didn't. Soon he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and saw a tiny glimpse of what parents with ill children go through. He spent four days there, and I was worried that my tiny little guy was starting a journey of respiratory problems, but I was thankfully mistaken. He has never been that ill again, and I am deeply grateful.
Felix's first great love was the alphabet. He learned to recognize letters at a young age and, for some reason, fixated on the letter W. When we wrote out his name he'd demand to know "Where is the W?" You could keep him occupied in restaurants by trying to find all the W's on the menu. Passing Washington Square Mall would lead him to cry out "I want to go to W!"
And now here we are! I went away to work for a year, and then I came home. Even though I had the best caregiver in the world, I am grateful to spend these last few months before school starts with this kid! My little buddy is creative, funny, sweet and affectionate.
He's stubborn. He's introverted. He's creative. He's musical. He has the eyes of a Disney Princess. He loves adventure...on his terms. He prefers his siblings to kids his own age. He's opinionated: He loves his Star Wars bed. He's a true, authentic baby of the family in every way.
Nursing, potty-training, and riding in the sling has given way to macaroni and cheese, Lego underwear and a Radio Flyer scooter. My baby days are ending, but my adventures with you, Felix, are just beginning! Thank you for being my last great surprise.