5 years. / by Christina Rosalie

Bean's birthday Five years ago tonight I'd just given birth, and I had no idea, no idea at all, how my life would be changed by the tiny baby with his big eyes looking up at me from a nest of warm cotton cloths on my chest.

All day I kept thinking about it his birth: how I labored for 2 hours; how I was walking through hard contractions on the back deck when the sun rose; how I remember seeing the way the buds on the lilac tree were fat, and how the air smelled like the beginning of spring; how I transferred to the hospital after about 18 hours leaving behind all expectations about home birth or what his birth would be like at all. When I recall either of my son's births, my memory slips into this place that exists somehow out of body; beyond the periphery of pain or thought; to where things are blurred and thundering with the pulse of the moment, but somehow are dislocated, out of time. And so I blinked, and here he is. Five.

This boy with his sandy blond hair and huge green eyes and his thousand questions every single moment of every single day is 5. It's such a heady, stupefying, astounding thing to have a kid and watch him grow up--and writing that I can see how it comes across as the most pathetic of cliches. But really: to watch your child grow up marks time's passing in this utterly absolute way. Five years looks like this.

He's intense, this boy I have. He didn't sleep through the night for the first three years of his life. He's allergic to dust and pollen and grass, and tugs on his shirts and pokes his brother. He is a knower. A thinker. A goofball. (Poop jokes are suddenly hysterical. WHY do boys find bathroom humor so funny? Why?)

He draws pictures of houses and vehicles and robots with wiring intact for doorbells and forklifts and motors. He plans how he'll build things in his head. He talks about math without knowing abstractly that he is. The way numbers relate makes sense intuitively to him. He's non-stop and funny and annoying. He is particular and bright and determined. He doesn't like the spotlight, the center of attention, but he loves to shine and be the best. A birthday questionnaire: Favorite color: green, pink, blue Food: pizza pasta and roll-ups (burritos) from school. I also like granola. Write that please. Favorite fruits: mangoes, and only on occasion I like ants on a log. Dessert: ice cream, peanut butter cookies, chocolate cake, pie and all good stuff. Toy: my Plasma car, my desk, my scissors What you want to be when you grow up: I want to be an astronaut and an airplane driver and I want to build robots that actually work and I want to tell people how to get the titanic up from the bottom of the ocean and I want to be a computer maker. That’s it. Sprout will be the same as me. Favorite thing about Daddy is: that he does stuff with me on my circuit board Favorite thing about Mommy: that we can snuggle and you let me draw on your phone sometimes Favorite thing about your brother: he's a jelly tub. Favorite animal: seal and octopus; NOT dogs. I also like fish and sharks. Favorite time of day: Morning, afternoon, and night. Night is my not good time. Favorite candy: licorice and chocolate. Ice cream bars. Popsicles. Favorite clothing: I don’t know. I really like my red shirt with a pocket up top and my overalls and my goose tag (lapel pin of a loon.) Favorite games: Circuit board. Sledding. Soccer outside. Favorite music: violin and guitar. Stuff you don’t like: The bottoms of asparagus. Taking naps. Tomato. I like broccoli now. What do you wonder about: I wonder about being in college What makes you sad: I’m only sad when I’m hurt.

Today on the way home from school we stopped for a raspberry danish and when he took his first bite the yummy raspberry jelly was a surprise and he said, "Oh mommy, when I bit into this I was just so delighted!"

My boy, through and through. I love him so.

+++ He's also one of the reasons I'm going for this.