Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My baby is a decade old.  He is very excited to turn ten on May 10, "but really Mama, why couldn't you have had me a year earlier so I could have been ten on the tenth in 2010?"

Every week during my pregnancy with you I checked the photos in the book I had to see what this creature- already called "Pookie" -looked like.  "A grain of rice!"  "The size of a strawberry!"  "He should have all his toes by now, so they say I can drink wine sometimes."

CD and I had made a deal before having children.  He would give them his hair, (blond and curly as a child, light brown and curly now) and I would give them my eyes (good vision, big and blue as a child, greener now and needing reading glasses).  And yet when you were born, as they placed you on my belly and gave CD scissors with which to cut the umbilical cord, my first thought was "Are they sure he's mine?"

You had a fuzz of red hair around your head and looked nothing like the babies I knew.  CD's uncle jumped several feet when he first saw you, remarking "Wow!  He looks like me!" and so, despite Uncle R's white head, I learned the source of your wonderful red.fluff.

We called you many names back then:  Pookie, Old Fluffyhead, Little Boy Blue (or LBB for short).  I watched your every move and knew that you were perfect.
Pook and Lego, just prior to his first birthday

I don't remember you ever not knowing things.  You amazed me at every turn.  At a couple of months old, you would listen to any book or magazine we would read aloud.  Your attention span was unlimited.  At twenty months, you put your tiny dictionary of learned words (first word: "This") onto a mental shelf and turned to mastering the alphabet.

We gave you a bike for your third birthday.  It was a little bitty thing with training wheels just like your friend's.  You were ecstatic that you'd also been given "SCISSORS!" and proceeded to cut out a line (as opposed to cutting on a line, your finished product being about 2mm wide.)  Since then your art has even been hung on the refrigerators in friends' homes--after one of them "bought" a picture from you and his mother was so impressed with the best drawing "her child" had ever made (until the artist was accidentally revealed to be you)

From you I am learning to slow down.  Making a train track wasn't about getting trains to drive around the room to accomplish their delivery goals, as I made the game.  It was about painstakingly designing complicated tracks with bridges and ramps and "spaghetti junctions."  I could lay on the floor to watch you and you requested little more.  But watch you I must.  While pregnant with your brother, and tired, you spoke to me impatiently one day as I mumbled "uh huh" with my eyes closed.  "Mama!  I want to see your blue eyes now!"

The slowness can still drive me crazy.  Someday I will wish you were still around, sitting half dressed on the floor, or deliberately chewing all your food until it is the texture of applesauce before swallowing. (A "Champion Enjoyer") But now I know I hurry you.  School and bedtime have to happen and are not as flexible as you are.  For you are (for the most part!) an easy going kid.  When your coach had given away the jersey with your favorite number on it, he wasn't concerned and neither was I.  "That's what I figured with him, that he would be flexible," he wrote to me.

You have a wonderful memory and are so consistent with your work that I never worry about you at school and seldom even look at your homework. When you set your mind to complete a project you do it without fail.  When that project was a challenge to do something every day to make your life and someone else's life better, you chose to give me a hug every day at 4pm.  And you did.  And it did make my life better.

Pook, you make my life better every day that you're in it.  I love you.  Happy Birthday.

PS.  I will always give you bonus points for letting me put my hands down your back to warm them up.


  1. Oh, that made me all weepy. Happy birthday, Pook!

  2. Me, too, Harriet. I was fine until I read this:

    When you set your mind to complete a project you do it without fail. When that project was a challenge to do something every day to make your life and someone else's life better, you chose to give me a hug every day at 4pm. And you did. And it did make my life better.

    I hope this post gets printed out and tucked away so Pook can read it when he's a grown man. What a beautiful love letter to a child.