Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Special Post for the Birthday Boy

Allan turned 5 years old today and I'm bummed that I missed his birthday party. I also feel like a bad Titi because I was a little absentminded last week and completely forgot to shop for his gift. Luckily, anything I would have purchased would have paled in comparison to what his mommy bought him -- a PSP!

Allan is such a sweet little boy and I'm so glad he's a part of our family! Those two boys are so completely different from one another -- in every conceivable way. Allan is full of energy -- my mom says he's "wide open" and I never really understood how she came up with that one -- but it's definitely true. Sometimes I call my mom on Thursday or Sunday nights -- her grandma duty days -- and it sounds like there are two dozen kids running around the house, and not just two. Allan is also super smart. He picks up on things really easily and is genuinely interested in learning. He loves being destructive, like any boy that age I suppose, but he's also really into singing songs, practicing his ABCs, practicing his Spanish, and he loves when someone reads to him! Jay's the exact opposite! Even as a toddler and young boy, he didn't enjoy story time and tried to weasel his way out of it.

What I like best about Allan is -- it may be too hard to just fine one. Allan is really honest. Sometimes, I'll ask him if he's been behaving badly and he'll admit to it and then cry that he doesn't want me to yell at him or send him to time-out. But I love that he knows not to lie. (Although that may be because both he and Jay said when I'm angry it's really scary. That actually made me kind of sad and I thought maybe I was yelling, but Jay said it's not that I'm yelling, it's just that you can tell I'm really mad and I make really mad faces!) Allan also reminds me a lot of myself (when I was a newly turned 5 year old, that is.) He loves his big brother so much and looks up to him. I know what it's like to be the younger sibling and crave attention from your big brother/big sister. Hopefully, as he gets older he'll develop his own interests and friends and won't feel so slighted by his big brother. And hopefully, his brother learns to be more patient and loving with him.
Allan is by far the pickiest eater I've ever met, which is saying something because I'm pretty picky myself!

He pretty much only consistently likes grits and cookies. Can't say I blame him. Sometimes my sister will call and I can hear her begging him to eat a chicken nugget or to take one more bite of pizza before he has cookies. Or sometimes I'll call and not know they're in the middle of a meltdown because my sister baked cookies and Allan wants to eat them ALL. Again, can't say I blame him -- but maybe he'll start to like new things as he gets older and his taste buds change. It didn't happen for me -- but we can all hope.

It's great having two nephews. I'm forced to love them differently because they're so different. Jay's generally really introverted and likes to stay home, so it's nice that we've bonded over movie nights and cooking meals together. Anytime we've been outside, other than a park, it's been because I initiate taking a hike or going for a swim. I have a feeling, Allan would much prefer to be the kind of boy who wants to be outside roughing it out. It's these relationships that make me change my expectations for all interpersonal relationships. It's not that I don't have expectations from either of my nephews -- because I do. I expect them to be obedient and kind, generous and thoughtful, respectful and loving-- oh and hardworking. Anything after that kind of falls into the category of not important. Do I want either of them to grow up to be neurosurgeons? Nope. I want them to grow up knowing that the world is full of endless possibilities and that if they work hard and cultivate a passion for their work, then they can make whatever dreams they have for themselves come true. I want them to take the best of their relationships with their parents, siblings, extended family and try to give that very best that's in each of us and give it back to the world somehow. I hope they'll be be loving and attentive fathers someday -- when they're much much much much much older (and married!) I hope they'll be respectful and loving to their wives, that they'll practice what we've been preaching for the past 5 (and for Jay 10 years).

Love you, Al!

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