But then it's our middle child's birthday and I have this nagging pressure to not let our middle child feel neglected. Mostly because I can already tell there is something pretty significant about the whole middle-child-thing. Not because I was a middle child....which, I was....I was 3 of 4 - although, I was the only girl, so I'm quite sure there was a bit of the princess syndrome going on. I don't see it, but my brothers insist it was so. Anyways. I get it. The firstborn hits all the big milestones first. Gets to experience things first. A bit more of a domineering personality. And then the baby.....well, oh my.....he's my BABY! So, I'm working on trying to understand those middle kids and their view on life and the world. And how I can keep our middle child's heart from being hurt and feeling like he is always lacking something and voicing that things aren't "fair." (By the way.....we're OK with things not being "fair".....we consider it a life lesson....Because in case you didn't know, life isn't "fair.") :) How I can already see that he's trying to figure out who he is and sometimes wants to do things differently than his older brother. How he clearly has so much going through that mind of his already. How he is still trying to figure out how to express his big and extreme feelings. How he surprises us with his deep generosity and spot-on insights. This kid is so amazing.
Anyways. Our dear and favorite middle child turned 8.
For the 2nd year in a row, his birthday wish was to go fishing. So, Adam made some arrangements and they went fishing bright and early that morning.
Later that day, he opened gifts and cards from family. He chose to go out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Tate LOVES some bone-in chicken wings with a spicy sauce. (Thanks to everyone who sent something special for him!)
And well, did we have a birthday party?
If you know me at all, it takes a pretty strong force to convince me not to throw a birthday party!
They are so stinking fun!
But because of a really busy end of June which lasted all the way through mid-July.....I scheduled his birthday party 2 weeks after his actual birthday.
We invited a few handfuls of boys, anticipating that because it was summer we would catch some on vacation or with other commitments.....But on the night of the party, we had 17 young boys in our backyard (and a teenager). Every single one we invited was able to attend.
It was Pokemon themed......little creatures with special powers. There's a whole empire around them with all sorts of playing cards, apps, toys, etc.
The games were all themed. I found a bunch, 144 to be exact, of knock-off mini Pokemon figures on Amazon and based most of the games around them.
First, they had to hatch a Pokemon. I had put a character in a balloon and then filled it with water and froze it. There was 1 for each of them. They had to handle it with care (i.e. they couldn't just smash it in the driveway. So, it mostly involved them trying to melt it in their hands, blowing on it, etc. to see what character they got.
I had a pencil pouch for each of them that they could put their little Pokemon figures in as they collected them throughout the night.
Then they played Pokemon Bingo in our basement (the ONLY time I let them inside the house.....except if they had to go to the bathroom). The game leader for this was super cute. And they could win more little figures or cards.
Then they returned to the backyard where I had hid a bunch of figures in a staked-out part of the yard. We had done the math. There was enough out there for each of them to find 7.
Then the super-cute game leader led them in some sort of game involving throwing balls at each other and running around. I don't know what it was...They were having fun and I was getting the food out.
Nothing too fancy. Little boys aren't going to be impressed with fanciness and finery.
All of the food was named after Pokemon characters. My boys had fine helping me come up with these. Squirtle Juice. Weedle Watermelon. Charmander Chips. Jigglypuff Jello. Pikachu Popcorn. Bulbasaur Beans. Combusken Cupcakes.
(Yes, Pokemon characters have ridiculous names)
Here's what our Tate is like at 8:
- He LOVES being outdoors and exploring nature. A small stream could keep him entertained for hours.
- He has a very strong affinity for rocks. We can't go anywhere without him looking for interesting rocks. And he's rubbed off on me....I've even found myself picking up rocks for him when I'm somewhere if I notice an interesting one.
- He wants to try football this fall. There were some full-on football leagues that he could have just barely been old enough to play in.....but I found a flag football league instead. He doesn't even like when contact happened in soccer.....so I'm interested to see how he responds to it in football.
- He is quite tall for his age. He's now eeked above his older brother barely. But its clear his limbs are longer and his feet are bigger.
- He is a light sleeper and the earliest to rise in our family.
- He is a voracious and good eater. Always the first one done at the table. Sometimes we have to implement a "put the silverware down between each bite" rule on him.
- He thrives with one-on-one time. I still have some behavioral issues with him, but he responds great to Adam and other adults.
- He can be an excellent worker when instructed and motivated well. He's excellent at being Adam's right-hand helper when he's working on things.
- He's a thinker. Oftentimes, I'll look back at him when we're driving somewhere because he is so quiet and he is very clearly in deep thought, looking out the window. His deep thinking often results in deep questions.
- He has a sensitive heart. He internalizes mean things that are said or done to him and it bothers him quite a bit and hurts his feelings. Kids at school. His brothers. BUT, on the flip side, a kind and nice gesture or word towards him -- he'll remember and appreciate it forever.
- He has the sweetest smile and big, dark eyes and we are so thankful to have him in our family!