Six years ago today my first nephew was born, joining a trio of nieces. It was a Friday and though he wasn't due for another couple of days (on his Aunt Michelle's birthday), the doctor scheduled an induction because he was kind of a big boy. The nice thing about scheduled inductions is that people like aunts and uncles and nanas and popas have time to make the five or ten hour trip to be there to meet new babies. It's handy.
The other handy thing about Pinkie's birthday is that often falls on or near MLK weekend, so I get a long weekend to make the ten hour trip to party. So far in their little lives the Handful have had thirty-four birthdays, and I've been at every celebration. Taking advantage of long weekends has kept the dream alive for me. I know there will probably come a day when I'll have to miss one, but I do my best, and so far it's working out for me.
Last weekend we celebrated Pinkie's sixth a bit early.
I took way too few photos of the party. Before things got going, Pinkie put on his knight costume to get into the spirit of the festivities. Thumb wanted to get in on the thematic fun as well, but baseball player dress-ups were the closest he could get. Pinkie generously allowed Thumb to act as his squire. Pinkie discarded his get-up before I took any photographic evidence, but you can still see the remnants of the squire costume below. I also didn't get any shots of the super-cute and chocolatey castle cake. Bad aunt. It's a pretty standard tradition to get a shot of the birthday kiddo with all the gifts right before opening, and I would have managed that one if not for Pinkie's awkward attempt at smiling. Usually it's not necessary to request a smile when faced with the prospect of diving into a pile of presents. But Pinkie's expression was so priceless that I skipped the gifts and balloons and zoomed in on that funny face.
******Bad photographer's apology: Sorry about my moma's shoulder featuring so prominently in this photo, but I loved the excitement and the grabby hands too much to leave it out. If this weren't Pinkie's post, I'd get side-tracked and tell you about how the sweater covering that shoulder was originially purchased for me as a Christmas gift, but my moma ended up liking it so much she kept it for herself.******
Despite my lack of appropriate photographic documentation, it was a great party. I'm a big fan of six-year-olds as it turns out.
And to prove it, here are my five favorite things about my favorite six-year-old:
5. Pinkie is a giant ball of energy. He's almost not capable of playing sit-down games if he can't run laps or stand on his head between turns. He is perhaps the most kinesthetic learner I've ever encountered. All of his emotions are expressed in movement, and though this particular trait occasionally manifests in inopportune moments, his energy and acrobatics and constant activity are so entertaining that I have to love him for it.
4. Because Pinkie and Ring are fairly close in age, he's never seemed to be much of a little brother. They play together and occasionally fuss together mostly as equals, and though they have some skirmishes that are reminiscent of their daddy and myself as children, I think they both do a pretty decent job of being friends. Lately I've really taken note of Pinkie as a big brother though, and I think I like it. Now that Thumb is very much un-babyish enough to hang with the big kids, there are these adorable moments when Pinkie advises and instructs and indulges his little brother. From giving him Wii-gaming pointers to dressing him as a squire and letting him assist in gift-opening, he takes care of Thumb--and seems to get the concept more than most of our family that Thumb is not a baby anymore.
Watching the two of them together and seeing Pinkie brother-up like he does is so special. Reminds me of the happier moments with my own big brothers.
3. Pinkie is hilarious. Sometimes it's a result of his high-energy physical comedy, but he's also a big tease. He attempts all sorts of solemn, big-eyed trickery, but all too often his dimples give him away. Those dimples and his wide-open mouthed laugh are all part of his comedic charm. And if his own teasing and jokes don't provide enough of his laughter, he's the most squeally, ticklish little guy. I must admit to taking shameless advantage of this knowledge regularly.
2. I've made reference before to the fact that the Handful often display characteristics of their parents, but there is something about Pinkie both physically and in personality that reminds me so forcibly of Joshua that it amazes me. The energy, the big-brotherly moments, the hair that gets completely and adorably unruly if it gets even a speck too long, the giant blue eyes with eyelashes completely wasted on a boy, the love of sports, the stubbornness--everything except the dimples--are so obviously like his daddy that it's hard to see him without seeing Joshua as a little boy and a grown-up. Sometimes it makes it feel as though I've been loving Pinkie for longer than his six years--and that's a lot of love to have for a person.
1. And yet Pinkie is staunchly his own person. And though his energy and love of action--and all the very boyish pursuits that go along with that--are at first glance his more prominent traits, he's always had this layer of sweetness and genuine kindness that is just precious to see. He is tender-hearted and doesn't like to see people get hurt. He loves babies and is so gentle with them. He's demonstrative in his affection, and even though his current little-boy contrariness and that teasing nature I mentioned make him a bit more selective in the cuddling department than he used to be, the loving little soul behind it is still there.