Archives For Roark

Dear Roark,

Today, as I write this, you are four years old.  And even though I still call you “my baby,” we both know that that’s a stretch.  Truthfully, you’re no longer a baby.  You are now a full-fledged kid.

I can’t believe how much you’ve changed in just a short year.  At some point in the last few months, a switch flipped inside you.  Your father says the switch is called “testosterone.”  I guess he knows more about that subject than I do.

I’m not sure what exactly flipped that switch, but you are now wild and crazy.  It’s like one day your brain told your body that boys are supposed to be loud and rambunctious, that they  should run everywhere and yell for no good reason.  This was a completely new concept to your arms and legs because you’d always kept them under control.  You were quiet and reserved and never jumped on the furniture.  But now, I can no longer say those things about you.

Just this morning while you were supposed to be cleaning up, I caught you fighting imaginary bad guys in your room.  “Look Mommy at how good I can kick!”  you said as you whirled your body around the room, kicking and fighting at the air.  You’re imagination is out of control, and I absolutely love this about you.

To tell you the truth, I was a little worried when I found out I was having a son.   I thought you were going to come out of the womb climbing the furniture and trying to wrestle with your sister, but instead you waited several years before unleashing that energy.  I really appreciate that.  Now that you’re a little older and I’m a little wiser, I’m more prepared for the loud, rowdy stages that come with bringing up a boy.

At four years old, you are incredibly silly.  You spend most of your time at the dinner table trying to make us laugh.  Coincidentally, I spend most of my time at the dinner table telling you to “EAT!”   And if pointless knock-knock jokes ever become a talent, you, my son, will be famous.  You love to tell jokes that go nowhere.

“Knock Knock?”

Whose there?”

“Fisher.”

Fisher who?”

“Fisher-MAN!”

Then you wait for the laughter.  And when knock-knock jokes are no longer a crowd pleaser, you break out the big guns.  The freak finger.

I don’t know if your double-jointed or what, but somehow you can bend the top of your pointer finger at the first joint while keeping the middle joint completely straight.  And it is really freaky looking.  This trait definitely did not come from my genes.  So I can only assume that you inherited it from your father’s side of the family.  After all, that’s where all the freaky stuff comes from…except for those crooked pinkies.  You can blame those on Pop.

Whenever there is a lull in the joke telling or your punch line doesn’t get the reaction that you were hoping for, you start poking yourself in the head with your freak finger, saying “Hard as a rock!”  And even though we’ve all seen this gag a thousand times by now, we always laugh.  Always.  I don’t even know why, but it’s funny.

And while you do make us laugh a good bit of the time, sometimes your mouth gets you into trouble.  Ok…a lot of times.  In the past year, I’ve had to wash your mouth out with soap more times than I can count…and you don’t even know any swear words yet.  Name calling is your Achilles’ heel, and you are learning a hard lesson about how we treat each others.  About once every two weeks, you’ll lose control of your tongue, and I’ll make you stand on a stool at the kitchen sink and hold a bar of soap in you mouth for two minutes.  When the timer goes off, you’re allowed to rinse.  You cry and spit, spit and cry, all the while apologizing for the ugly things you’ve said.

And you are truly remorseful.  In fact, your apologies are so sincere that I often find myself tearing up.  “I’m sorry for saying all the bad things, Mommy.  I’m so sorry for all the bad things.” You’ll say as you throw your arms around me, squeezing me tight.  I love your apologies, Roark.  They show a tender side of you that makes me love you that much more.  I hope you never lose that tenderness and the willingness to admit when you’ve done wrong.

I went to a funeral today for a woman who was 87 years old when she died.  She was a mother to six children and spent the majority of her life being a homemaker.   The church was completely packed.  You know, that’s really unusual for a woman of her age, but she had touched so many people with her life that we all came to pay our respects.  I believe that most of those people were like me and weren’t there because they were close to her necessarily, but because they loved her children.

As I sat there in the pew listening to her sons and daughters honor her in this beautiful ceremony, my thoughts kept coming back to you and your sister.  One day, you will be my legacy, Roark.  You and Edie. The two of you are what I’ll have to show for my life’s work.

As a mother, it’s so easy to get bogged down in the daily rituals of the mundane like making PB&Js or tying laces on little shoes.  Sometimes I forget the bigger picture.  Most nights as I climb into bed, it doesn’t feel like I’ve really accomplished anything significant for that day.  Maybe I washed some clothes, took you roller skating, cooked dinner, but when my head hits the pillow, I often wonder, “Is this it? Is this all I’m supposed to be doing with my days? There has to be something more to it.”

Lately this has really been a struggle for me, but today, I had a moment of clarity.  God reminded me of the bigger picture.  Maybe I only took you roller skating that day, but when you fell down, I held your hand and pulled you up. Sure, I occasionally wash your mouth out with soap, and I teach you to control your tongue.  I cook your dinner every night and give you quality time to laugh with your family around the table. Those things aren’t mundane.  They are precious moments.  They are my life’s work being poured into you to mold you into a man.  A man who loves God, cherishes his family, and respects others.  That will one day be my legacy.

Never again will I say at the end of the day, “There has to be something more,” because quite honestly, I can’t believe how much I have.

Love,

Mommy

Roark and the Letter Factory

Leigh —  December 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

WARNING:  If you haven’t already bought the Letter Factory DVD by Leap Frog for your toddler, then this video will make you head straight to Amazon.com before you can say “Leap and Lily”.

Several years ago, I had bought the whole Leap Frog DVD series to introduce Edie to reading.  We have about five of  these movies, and I keep them all of them in our van’s DVD changer.  As a rule, I don’t let my kids watch movies in the car unless we’re going to be riding for an extended amount of time, and then when I do turn it on, the DVD has to be educational.  Oh yea, I’m one of those moms.  Not only do I make learning seem like a reward, I make them beg for it.  “Can we pleeeeaaassse watch a movie in the car?  Pleeeeaaassse?”

By the time Edie was two, she knew her ABCs, and this was before I even knew Leap Frog DVDs existed.  She would ask for me to quiz her every night, and not because she’s a genius, but because she has just always been a very motivated child.  In stark contrast to his sister, Roark could barely speak a coherent word as his second birthday was approaching.  And although I had thought it would be really cool to have two motivated kids, I really wasn’t too worried.  I just thought, “It’s a good thing he’s so adorable because he’s not winning any extra points with his smarts.”

Anyway, since Roarkie started riding face-forward in the car, he’s been inundated with Professor Quigley and his shenanigans at the Letter Factory.  I didn’t really think much was sinking in until recently, when out of the blue Roark identified all his letters in his little box of cards, and then not only did he know the letters, he knew the sounds too.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was just like when he decided to start talking.  One day he knew a couple of words, and the next day, he was using full sentences.  Crazy kid.  Now he begs me to quiz him every night as well, and he’s further along than Edie was at this stage in the game.

While Edie was at the beach for Spring Break, we had the rare opportunity to capture some video of Roark. Here’s Roark showing off his stuff from the Letter Factory…along with singing the intro to his favorite show. Enjoy!

So You Think You Can Dance?

Leigh —  October 14, 2010 — Leave a comment

Well, then check out my kids ’cause they got moves you won’t believe (and crazy Saturday morning hair as well).  Enjoy!

My dear sweet Roarkie,

You turned a year old at the end of last month, and oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s already been a year!  It’s seems like just yesterday I was lugging around this gigantic belly and knocking into things as I waddled around our house. 

Happy Birthday, angel!  To celebrate this momentous occasion, we let you stuff your face with birthday cake in front of all your family, and I do mean, STUFF.  Well, at first you just poked at the cake with your little sausage-like fingers and tasted them ever so slowly.  But you quickly realized that this wasn’t the most efficient way to get the sugar in your mouth.  So within a couple of minutes, you just picked up the entire cake and crammed it into the lower half of your face.  By the end, you were covered from head to toe in icing, and I was thankful that we decided to have this spectacle at your grandparents’ house as opposed to a restaurant like we did for your sister.

If there is one thing that I have learned this year, the thing most obvious that you insist on pointing out with every new milestone, it’s that you are not your sister.  I must admit this has thrown me for a loop once or twice because she has always been my gauge by which I measure other babies.  And before you start accusing me of playing favorites and loving her more, it’s not because she was a perfect baby, and therefore, dearest to my heart.  But she was what I knew, the only experience I had with infants until you came along.  So when you didn’t cut your first tooth until you were eight months old, I thought it was odd.  I mean, Edie had four teeth by the time she was four months old and spent most of her infancy looking like  a chipmunk. You, on the other hand, had no teeth and spent most of your first year smiling like a toothless old man.

Also Edie never had a definable first word because once she caught on that words had meanings she began imitating lots of sounds, but not you.  Your word is “Uh Oh,” and you know exactly when to use it.  You drop your paci, “Uh Oh.”  You fall down, “Uh Oh.”  You hurl your juice cup across the kitchen, “Uh Oh.”  But that’s it.  No other words.  I’ve been trying to get you to say “Mama” for months now, and you couldn’t be any less interested.  You have absolutely no need for any other words at the moment, I guess because “Uh Oh” seems to suffice in most of the situations you find yourself in.

Gosh, you are into everything!  It wasn’t until you came along that I had to put locks on my kitchen cabinets.  You love to open a drawer, any drawer, and pull out all of it’s contents onto the floor.   This is really one of the more annoying things that you do, and as payback, someday I plan to tell your highschool buddies about finding all my underwear strewn about the house because of your curiosity as a baby.   And don’t get me started on your love for remote controls!  Like a moth is drawn to a bug zapper, you, my son, cannot resist a remote control.  If I try to hold you in my lap while sitting on the sofa,  you begin climbing me like I’m a mountain that’s separating you from your precious.  And when we take it out of your hands and tell you “No”, you throw yourself on the floor like we are the meanest parents ever because we are denying you the fun of pushing buttons and hearing the volume change on the TV. 

Me & Roark

But for the most part, you are a very easy-going baby, and mainly only fuss because you want one thing:  yo’ mama.  All I have to do is pick you up, and you stop crying instantly (which I think is just proof that you love me the most in the whole wide world, and therefore, I win).  But there are times when I won’t pick you up, and you act like a baby, standing at my feet, holding my legs, and pleading for me to hold you.  Although it can be irritating in the moment, I want to remember there once was a time that to please you, all I had to do was hold you in my arms.

You are such a joy.    Over this past year, I have heard countless times, “You are going to love having a son,” and I now believe it.  That’s what you did.  You made me want a little boy.  You made me see how special having a son can be.  For as long as I can remember, I wanted a house full of girls.  I don’t know why, but that’s just what I always envisioned.   And even though I understand simple statistics, I was still surprised when I heard the words, “It’s a boy!”  I just could not picture myself with a son, and yet, there you were.  But over this past year, I have fallen so deeply in love with you that now, I can’t imagine my life without one. 

I have been given the most awesome gift a mother can have, a daughter and a son.  I now get to experience life through both of your eyes, see the world through different viewpoints that otherwise I would have missed. You did that for me, Roark, and I will forever be grateful for it.

Love,

Mommy

Walking Tall

Leigh —  January 10, 2010 — Leave a comment

A few days before Christmas, Roark took his first steps, by which I mean, he started walking. When Edie was learning to walk, she took a couple of steps one day, and then didn’t try again for weeks. Roarkie, on the other hand, decided one day that he was ready to walk, stood up, and started walking. He’s a determined little guy and has been practicing every day since. He’s to the point now that he rarely crawls anymore.

He reminds me of Maggie Simpson, and even though he falls about every tenth step or so, he gets right back up and keeps going. He is so proud of himself that as he walks towards me he’ll giggle and clap. It really is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen, and I can’t help but kneel down and cheer him on with every clumsy step.

To celebrate Roark’s new skill, Ken made a new video. Enjoy!