As an alternative to my stress freakoutazoid, I'm going to share with you that I love all my boys. I think in fact, that although I grew up wanting FOUR GIRLS, I'm actually better suited to raising boys. With a little practice, which I've gotten a lot of in the past seven years, I get them. I know what they're up to. I know what makes them tick, what they're thinking, what motivates them, and how to distract them and calm them down. This doesn't erase my desire for a girl, nor my green envy when I see a friend with a little girl. But it makes me happy for what I've got.
Until very recently, #5 (Riley's nickname) has been an anti-affectionist. He likes his milkies, but otherwise DON'TTOUCHMEDON'TCARRYMEDON'THOLDMYHANDANDDAMMITWOMANYOUBETTERNOTKISSMEORELSE!!!!!
A few days ago he came up to me, puckered his lips, and kissed me, all over my face, like I often do to him (amid protests). I became a puddle. Since then, he hands out kisses like they're going out of style. And every single time, I puddle. Ohhhh, babyyyyy, don't grow up! You are cute as sugar coated candy just the way you are RIGHT NOW! His lips are so soft and his face is so earnest! It's just too cute.
We also played trains together today for an hour while both big brothers were at school. He's developing quite the imagination, and a funny little sense of humor. He set up the tracks to go up a hill and then drop off a cliff like face, so every train drove up the hill and then crashed in a heap on the carpet on the other side. Then he used strictly onomatopoeia to describe each crash in detail for me.
Matthew has been making LEAPS and BOUNDS forward in dealing with his stutter! Both speech therapists (the free one at school and the one we pay $100 so she can drive a Mercedes SUV, ha ha) have been focusing on managing the stutter, and he is really putting it to use. Every single sentence, just about, which is HUGE because a few months ago he didn't even have an awareness of his stutter, and here he is working on it every time he talks. So great. It is astounding to me how wonderfully simple speech pathology really is when it's broken down into manageable chunks. Like listening to an orchestra play and wondering how on EARTH so many different artists learn to play together melodically. Each one breaks a concert down to its basic building blocks and starts there. Individual notes. A. C. D sharp. G. Whole notes, half, quarter, trills. Then they try phrases, then an entire piece. Then they play together. They keep trying, and practicing, and playing together, and suddenly, it sounds melodic. This is what it is like to watch Matthew's speech transform in front of me.
Our friends who sail around the world in a fit of unconventional and totally cool living are in town again, having been gone since shortly after Riley's birth. So they were here to witness the often failing attempts to dicipher Matthew's speech just as he started speech therapy, and were gone for almost 2 years, and are back again--can you imagine the difference they see in him? They keep bolstering him up with positive affirmation that his speech is so fantastic, and it's evident he has been working hard. As tough as it was, I wish I had taken a recording of his speech for before and after comparison. I remember. But it would be neat to really compare.
Ayden and I have been keeping up with the reading dates. We eat snacks in my bed and read together, which is kick ass awesome. Except he's a talker so he keeps wanting to read me large sections of all his books. Cute in small doses. Really bloody annoying when you're deep in your own book...
He has an especial passion for Geronimo Stilton, which is nice, because although Diary of a Wimpy Kid was funny and great for meeting his reading level abilities and teaching him the subtleties of irony, Geronimo Stilton is more appropriate for his age and emotional maturity.
And I have to offer props to him in public for being consistently UBER helpful. He will show Matthew where the bathroom is if I'm busy with Riley, figure out what Riley's beef is during a freakout if I'm busy on the toilet or cooking dinner, fetch me stuff, set the table for me, empty the dishwasher, modify his behaviour MOST of the time if reminded to be a good example, comfort his brothers, pick up his toys and books, hold the dog's leash, cut vegetables for me, hold doors for me, read to his brothers, compliment my cooking, and wash Riley's hands when it's time to eat. It's hard for me to remember sometimes that he's only seven. He acts so much older that I often think of him as ten. I don't know what I'd do without him!