Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Little Pound and a Half of Butter Turned 12 Yesterday!

That's how someone described Chris during a children's sermon at church soon after he was born at 24 weeks, weighing 610 grams (or 1 pound, 7 ounces)...it's completely bizarre to imagine that he was once so little. He was only 11 inches long, stretched out, when he was born.

His birthday, yesterday, was a very long day because we arrived home on the red eye from Hawaii in the morning. As soon as we got home, we all went to bed for 3 or 4 hours.

When we awoke, Chris opened up his big birthday present, which had arrived while we were away. He put his saved-up allowance with birthday money from Grandma England, aunt and uncle in Australia, and us into purchasing Rock Band for the Wii. Rock Band is essentially an expanded Guitar Hero game, with electronic guitar, drums, and microphone. I've tried my hand at all three, and I'm pretty bad! I think I will sneak down to the family room in the evenings after the kids in bed to practice. Chris has already jumped to the "medium" level while I'm still stuck on "easy" and often get kicked off the stage because I miss so many notes! ;)
It doesn't help that I know only two of the songs...

Nicholas loves Rock Band, much to Chris' chagrin (he's a bit of a distraction while one is trying to concentrate on the notes). He keeps running around with drumsticks shouting "my drumming!!"

We had my parents over for dinner last night for a quiet birthday celebration. Our friends Neal and Annette were housesitting for us while we were gone, and we returned not only to a cleaned-up yard (they spent hours pulling weeds and cleaning up our yard!) but also a homemade lasagne and apple pie! Delightful! So nice to not have to worry about cooking when one is jet lagged.

Tomorrow morning Chris goes to his middle school orientation. I'm slightly freaked out about middle school because I do not have fond memories of junior high school (the classes were great; it was the kids I didn't particularly like).

Long-term blog readers will remember our internal struggles about contemplating whether we should send him to the arts magnet school. I don't think I ever wrote an update on that. In the end, we opted for the local middle school for several reasons: (1) I suspect that they "get" boys more there, because DaVinci is 66% girls and it's very female-centric, plus Chris tends to prefer hanging out with boys for now, (2) we specifically asked the vice-principal about bullying, and we felt confident that the school had a strong anti-bully policy, and (3) we concluded that he'd be more likely to land roles in plays or be able to get opportunities in the arts at Gray, because the competition will not be as fierce as at an arts school, (4) it will be easier for him to be in extracurricular activities because the school is not across the river!, and (5) he really wanted to go there. The discussion about DaVinci seemed to be stressing him out, and he seemed relieved when we decided on Gray.

He seems excited about middle school, so I'm happy for him and hope he really likes it. He learned that the band teacher plans to take the band on a trip to Disneyland, so that alone has him excited.

Twelve years have passed in a blur. I'm relieved that Chris continues to be an affectionate, sweet, and kind boy. He does seem a bit obsessed with video games and the Simpsons, and doesn't read as many high-quality books as he used to, but that seems par for the course for a preteen. Tonight when my sister and her husband and three boys called and sang to him over the phone, he looked so pleased. I hope he keeps his sweet nature throughout his teen years!

Even though at times he seems much younger than his years, at other times he seems older and wiser than his age. I remember the "old man" look he had about him as a baby...any child who has seen 4 months in the NICU and experienced the pain and discomfort that he had, akin to being a prisoner of war, is bound to age quickly in some ways. The maturity I see in him is that he is the most forgiving person I have yet to meet. He never holds a grudge. I aspire to be like that. I used to call him my "wonder boy" when he was a baby, and he continues to be my hero for his survival against the odds and his upbeat, optimistic nature.



Rockin' out with Grandpa


Nicholas LOVES Annette's lasagne!


Chris and his birthday pie


With his few remaining birthday gifts (after the BIG gift)




Chris with Mike and me


The whole family


I LOVE this photo of Chris with my parents--
my dad doesn't like to smile in photos,
and I was trying to get him to smile, and my mom tickled him...
that's the trick, now I know!

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