A Constructed Life

Dear Crosby. You might be a little crazy. Love, Mommy.

Crosby,

Today is your last day of preschool. I remember sitting at my desk 8 months ago, writing about how you were barely making it through the 2.5 hours you spent there – you’d pass the time crying for me. But you adjusted months ago and learned to play with a variety of personalities and children who had either mastered or were still learning the art of sharing and being kind. You’ve gained so much confidence these last months, made new friends and found new passions (move over trains and cars; basketball, baseball and bike riding now rule your world).

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Your first day of preschool

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Cruising the playground after dropping Addy off at school and before biking to your school.

You are so…not subtle. In everything you do, you are 100% you, not caring if you’re too loud, totally obnoxious, no one wants to play, you’re being a punk or wearing girls’ clothing. You follow a strict rule of not giving a shit (which is equally respectable and infuriating), until you completely do give a shit. Underneath your “I’m Crosby. Deal with it.” demeanor is a very sensitive boy, which means when you feel wronged or misunderstood, you storm off, kick and yell or burst into tears. You don’t understand why some people/kids aren’t always nice to you, don’t always want to play or sometimes get frustrated. When someone you love gets upset with you – be it parents, sibling or grandparent – you really take it to heart. I’ve learned to stretch my patience miles longer, adapt to your insane stubbornness and pay close attention to my tone of voice. But I’m trying to teach you that you simply cannot always get your way, that playing by yourself can be a good thing, and that just because someone gets mad at you, doesn’t mean they don’t still love you or want to be friends.

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Your big sister loves to dress you up.

Sports are your new obsession, with basketball being the love of your life. You shoot hoops on and off all day, every day, even impressing the big kids at Addy’s school when you make more baskets than they do on the playground. Strangers will stop and watch you, commenting on how well you play.

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And you don’t give up. You will keep practicing (basketball, writing letters – only ‘A’ and ‘C’ so far, getting dressed) until you can do it well and emphatically insist I not help you. You’re also really into Nerf guns and playing “bad guys,” which I blame on the movies Wreck It Ralph and Mega Mind, two cartoon movies other parent friends recommended, but also happened to have a fair amount of fighting. Of course, you and your sister adore them.

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A creative attempt to get you interested in learning the alphabet – shooting at the letters as we screamed out what they were in our best tough guy voices.

I have embraced all of your interests, but don’t know how to handle the gun stuff. While numerous moms-of-boys have told me it’s completely natural, I play down your interest in guns and fighting. Maybe it’s because of the time when we were in Target and you started yelling, “I want the guns! Take me to the guns!” and I felt every mom there stare with concern, or maybe it’s because a few other moms-of-boys don’t allow Nerf guns or forbid their sons to play “bad guys.” Admittedly, other parents’ opinions of my parenting choices have influenced my unenthusiastic reaction to combat play and toys. But mostly, I just want you to be safe. I want you to understand that real guns and swords are not toys – they’re deadly. And that fighting, even playfully, can lead to injuries and feel scary for other kids. My solution for the time being is to attempt accepting your curiosity about guns and good vs. bad guys, but to also put these things into the context of real life, mostly so that if you ever encounter an actual gun, you treat it with safety and respect, not like a toy. The way parents view acceptable and unacceptable play could be a whole different post. So back to you at 3.5…

You seem to have scraps of an old soul in you. You’ve said some pretty mind-blowing things, like “I used to like peanuts before, when I was a bigger, but this time I don’t like them.” Or, for awhile, when I’d say your name, you’d say, “I’m not Crosby. I’m just a boy.” Occasionally you remind me of a 40-year-old man with the words you choose (“Yes, Mommy, I sure would like a drink. Thank you very much.”).

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You just recently learned all your letters. I tried for months to get you interested in them, but in true Crosby fashion, you didn’t give a shit about them until finally…you did. And you learned them all, practicing over and over, in 2 weeks.

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You’ve had imaginary friends for almost a year now. The first one was Queen Elsa from the movie Frozen, but she faded out quickly and was replaced by your “Baby.” You often talk with your Baby throughout the day, teaching him how to play basketball or ride bikes with you. Honestly, I think you so love being around people that even when you’re on your own, you just want someone to talk to, and that’s what your Baby is for. You only really talk to your Baby when you’re by yourself. It’s been a neat little insight into what you would’ve been like as a big brother, and my best guess is you would’ve been awesome, but pissed to have to share attention.

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You were talking to your Baby about helmet safety when I took this picture.

You want to play all. the. time. Your eyes pop open around 6:00 every single morning, no matter when you go to bed, and you immediately start playing – talking to yourself and your stuffed animals until I enter your room. You are a morning person – the only such person in our household. I pull you out of bed quickly so you don’t wake up your sister, because you have no sense of what being quiet means. Once downstairs, you start asking to go for a bike ride or play basketball. I wearily pour myself a cup of coffee and explain that it’s too early because almost everyone else in the world is still sleeping or wishes they were still sleeping and wouldn’t it be so nice to still be sleeping???

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In Grandma’s motorcycle helmet.

You give big, huge hugs; have the greatest, biggest belly laugh; love being tickled and chased and generally just want people – anyone – to play, have fun with you and be nice to you. You genuinely love other people. You are a quirky little kid but mostly because you completely do not care or have a sense of being any different from anyone else.

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You ran around the playground of Addy’s school hoisting your pants up because…I have no idea.

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You wanted your hair in a ponytail (“Addy had one!!”) and your pants rolled up (“I want to see my entire shoe, Mommy.”) Maybe the home remodeling was getting to you on this day.

You are a wonderful boy, but also a relentless boy. Just as you relentlessly practice until you master a skill, you relentlessly demand attention and to get what you want. Here’s an example: In March, you made the connection that basketball players never wear long sleeves on the court. So you began refusing to wear anything but short sleeves, even outside in the 25 degree weather. This still continues today, but thankfully, it’s now above freezing. For a while I opted to conserve my energy and not fight with you about this – “Go ahead and be cold, Buddy.” I’d bring a coat and sometimes you’d relent and finally agree to put it on. Other times, when temperatures were dangerously cold, I’d “discuss” with you the benefits of coat wearing, like not losing your limbs to frostbite cause how do you play basketball without arms?

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How to get a non-coat-wearing boy to school on a cold day? Bundled in blankets.

Now that it’s gotten warmer, the only thing you’ll wear are shorts and t-shirts, like the basketball players and cause “they make me faster, Mommy.” Even to your school graduation ceremony today. No khaki pants or button down for you. And finally, I’m the one who doesn’t give a shit, because I am so tired of trying to get you wear anything other than what you want. You win, Dude. But that’s been your plan all along.

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Last day of preschool.

You are such a delight. I love your “you-ness.” You’re a little bit different and that makes you so awesome. You are such a tough guy with a soft, smooshy heart who just wants to love, be loved and have so so so much fun all the time. It is such gift to see the kind, goofy, brave things you do and to have the best seat in the house to watch you grow into yourself. Thank you for being my son. Thank you for being you.

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I love you, I love you, I love you, my sweet sweet baby boy.

Love,

Mommy

3 thoughts on “Dear Crosby. You might be a little crazy. Love, Mommy.

  1. Father

    Lizzie,
    Crosbys “Crosbyness” is obviously genetic. His behavior strongly indicates his genetic make up clearly comes from his beautiful, tell it like it is, wise, crazy ass mother. From your Father

  2. Nicole Walsh

    Catching up on your blog. Love the updates on what Crosby and Addy are up to. The Crosby pics are hilarious. The one of him wrapped in blankets refusing to wear a coat is priceless. I gotta get my butt to WI and see these kids in the flesh soon. Hope you are enjoying these last days before school starts again!

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