half of 16

As this little guy's birthday was approaching I kept commenting that while I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason, 8 seemed like such a milestone.  I mean, why the big deal?  We'd already crossed the "we no longer have kids able to show their age on one hand" and the double digits barriers.

Why was 8 bothering me so much?

And then it occurred to me it was because 8 is half of 16.

Oh. My. WORD!

This once upon a time baby boy is growing up right before my eyes!  I mean really, just look.

his first birthday with us...turning 3
funny thing is that each time today i asked him to flash me an 8, he started with 7 fingers...just like that day when he started with 2

And yet...

Last week I re-read an piece I had written for No Hands But Ours.  It was about co-sleeping and how even though sharing a bed with our pint size tornado was not restful (to say the least), we did it because we knew he needed physical proximity to us in order to heal emotionally.  I also mentioned that while it was hard at the time, we knew that one day we were going to miss the pitter patter of those little feet.  As I read the article, I realized that I no longer could even remember the most recent time he'd come to us in the middle of the night.  The last time had come and gone and I didn't even notice it.  So maybe that's why I was melancholy about him turning eight.

if only pictures included sound effects...

But last night after folding some laundry and catching up a bit with Ian, I headed upstairs for bed.  Upon entering the boys room to kiss their sweet faces as they slept (as I do every night), I noticed that D's bed was empty.  So I was not surprised after stopping by the girls' room to find him in our bed.  He stirred as I walked by the bed and when I asked if he had experienced a bad dream, he shook his head and said, "No, I was just lonely.  I wanted to be close to you and Daddy tonight."  So I'll hold onto that little gift to me on the eve of his birthday...if it's the last time, at least I know when it came.

managing to smile and act excited when he thought he'd gotten a box of cereal for his birthday
the lego sets were inside...
I guess it goes without saying that he's still a snuggle bug.  Running laps around us one minute, crawling up into our laps or coming close for a "run by kiss and hugging" the next.  He is football crazy, but still yells "Mommy!" from the other side of the street and runs as soon as the crossing guard lets him across the street to get a hug after school.  He's given swimming, soccer and basketball a season or two but is now moving on to test the waters with flag football.  (He wanted tackle, but at not yet 50 pounds, we didn't think contact football was in his best interest...the kid still wears sizes 3 & 4T shorts)  His goal is to try every sport and then decide which one he wants to focus on.  Fine with me because I don't see his most far fetched dreams of getting to luge or do skeleton as central NC doesn't exactly have the climate for extreme winter sports.

Legos, marble tracks, Wedgits, blocks, name a building system...he'll take you up on creating with it.  Just this morning he made an X-wing fighter while he waited for his breakfast (waffles sprinkled with chocolate chips and rainbow Jimmies).

Armed with that knowledge we knew the mini Star Wars sets were going to be a hit.

Did I mention football?  Totally his current jam.  His heart lies with two teams.  The Virginia Tech Hokies and the Carolina Panthers.  The expression on his face when he opened his new Newton jersey (his old hand-me-down Dehlome had the numbers starting to peel off) made the hunt of finding one a very satisfying experience.

Birthday dinner choice?  After trying to make a decision to please everyone else, he finally admitted that he really just wanted to have chicken tenders and fries, but wanted to try somewhere new.  So we headed off to Bad Daddy's Burger Bar where he got a birthday hat and enjoyed a glass of root beer with his meal.

And the cake.  This year he wanted a Nutella cake.  After putting out a plea for favorite recipes, we had several types of cakes to choose from and one with Nutella AND strawberries won his heart.

Thank you Pioneer Woman for creating something so amazingly delicious.  And thank you Grandpa M for pointing out the relighting candles when we were in Rehoboth with you.  They may have brought about a few giggles...

my hand to keep him from flopping into the relighting candles...he was flopping around in fits of laughter
and beloved "blank"...the boy has been our only "Linus"

Daniel Zhenyu, you truly are our little universe shaker.  You live life OUT LOUD, and while you get upset with all of us at times, you are fiercely loyal to your family.  Even your little brother across the world doesn't get left out and you often can be heard saying, "I miss Nicholas, I wish he was here with us!"  I look forward to seeing what this year holds for you, just do me a little favor if you will.  Slow down on this growing up thing.  A Mama's heart can only take so much at one time...
All my love,


Laurie said...

I LOVE that you are blogging again- I've missed your stories and fun pictures!! Happy b-day to your adorable 8 year old!!

likeschocolate said...

He is so handsome! Happy belated birthday!