Thursday, December 2, 2010

He's Got Ears ... Say, Cheers!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my baby girl.  I enjoyed that sweet celebration of my last little one.  So many lasts to savor and remember.  In the days following that post, however, I felt like my eyes were opened to a different, fresh perspective ... the many firsts that we can celebrate, too!

On the other end of this spectrum of change, we have my Aaron-Boy:  my first baby, my first school-aged kid, my first 8 1/2 year old.  He is the first to do a lot of things in our house ... just because he's the oldest.  He was the first to have a sleep-over.  He was the first to get a Lego set.  He was the first to have a two-wheeler without training wheels.  He is the first to ride without a car-seat.  Such a big kid!

Because Aaron is the oldest, he gets to do many things that the girls don't get to ... but he also has the tough job of being the "Pioneer Kid".  The poor kid has to be the one to plow the way ... otherwise he would forever be my little Aaron-Boy!  The girls will enjoy following in his foot-steps, I'm sure ... without nearly the same amount of work proving their worth, either!  I'm quite certain that if it wasn't for Aaron's initiative to be bigger and older, I would still be treating him as my baby boy.  But as Aaron has gotten older, we have seen his desire for independence grow and his desire to be a bit more grown up cannot be ignored.  It's the natural course of life as our kids grow.  I'm sure if Aaron had it his way, he would be fixing his own meals, watching whatever he wanted to on TV (whenever he wanted to) and playing with buddies 24/7.  Somewhere along the way, we've had to find the balance between over-protective Mommy and free-to-be-older Aaron.  And it hasn't always been easy to find.

For example, Aaron asked about a month ago if he could start answering the telephone.  At first I was hesitant.  I have had many a phone message left with a little person on the other end of the line that never got passed on.  But, this was something that we thought he could handle responsibly.  We went over the rules of phone etiquette and talked about how to answer the phone properly.  Then came the big moment:  the first phone call.  He answered, "Hello, this is Aaron Kellum."  Just like we discussed.  He asked who was calling, just like we discussed.  He passed the caller onto me, just like we discussed.  It was a success!  And now, I have my own personal telephone answerer ... who doesn't mind running upstairs to get the phone when it rings!  He is one proud cookie of his telephone privileges.

Another example of maturity came just last week.  We were getting ready to make breakfast and Aaron asked if he could pour the pancakes.  And me, being the wonderful mommy, said, "No."  The look on his face stopped me in my tracks.  His shoulders were slumped.  His bottom lip was pouting.  And he let out this long sigh.  I could tell that he was disappointed and a tad bit frustrated.

Hmmmm ... time for Mommy to do a little thinking.  "With some supervision and a little help, surely he could get a few pancakes poured and flipped and then he would be satisfied ... and then I can do the rest."

"Okay," I said, "You can do a couple and then I'll take over."

"I can do them all, Mom."

"Let's just start with a couple, okay?  We'll go from there."

Such precision and focus.

Aaron took the spoon in hand and, with his mother looming over him (in full mommy-protection-mode), he proceeded to pour six beautiful pancakes.  Then he went on to flip them over without the slightest trouble.  Golden brown and perfect.  He stacked them on the plates, and brought them to his sissies ... while Mommy stood there a little surprised and a lot proud.  You see ... he didn't just pour pancakes ... he poured pancakes Mickey Mouse-style.  That's my boy!!

He's just a little proud of himself. :)

(Kudos to those of you who knew where the title reference came from before you got to this point
 ... you've been watching your Mickey Mouse Club House!)

It was at this particular moment that I realized three things:  my boy is growing up, he's going to knock my socks off with what he can do and I have an amazing helper living in my home.

Since that morning, I have been a tad bit more open to Aaron's desires to do bigger-kid things.  As long as we talk about it, have a chance to give some instructions and discuss expectations, I have seen him step up and fill his role as big brother in fantastic ways.  In exchange for these treats, he has also taken on a few extra big-kid responsibilities that are a huge help:  vacuuming, cleaning up in the kitchen, and sorting the recycling, to name a few.  Actually, in allowing him to have a few more privileges and responsibilities, we have shown him that we respect him and trust him to be bigger and he has responded with even more maturity and grace.

Hanging the ornaments with care.
Last night was a perfect opportunity to see Aaron take on a special job with finesse.  We were decorating our Christmas tree together; listening to John Denver and the Muppets sing "The 12 Days of Christmas"  (Five GOOOOLDEN Riiiings!) and unwrapping all the ornament treasures.

(Just so you know that our kids are still average kids, we did have to banish the big ones from the room one time to get their acts together and not break all those precious treasures!  Then they came back and we had more fun.)

As we put the last of the ornaments on the tree, the discussion came up about who was going to put the star on.  It has always been Brett's job to put on the tree topper, mainly because we didn't necessarily want to pull an "Elf" move and have anyone take the tree down.  But this year was a little different.

It was so sweet to see the excitement and pride on Aaron's face as Daddy handed him the star. He ran upstairs ... and topped the tree:

There's a snapshot I want to treasure!

Yes ... my baby boy is growing up:  First phone call, first time making breakfast, first tree topping ... and he's just going to go from there!  What a privilege for me to watch him grow up and celebrate all his firsts!

Go, Aaron-Boy, Go!  You rock!

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