Four years ago, late at night, our Little Man was born. Our first son. Our first take-home baby. And the first baby I got to hold the day, the very moment, he was born.
It’s fun to watch how kids grow into their nicknames. We started out called Paul “Big Guy” and “Little Man”, and he is! Paul is confident and independent. He’s not afraid of “big people”. He’s not afraid to be alone. He knows what he likes, what he wants, he makes his plans, and he carries them out. For Christmas we got him a backpack. Most Sunday mornings, while Dan and I are after the other kids to get ready, or while we’re busy helping them get ready, Paul will pick out clothes, dress himself, and pack his bag for church. He makes sure that bag is full and we have shown up Sunday morning to find that he’s packed a change of clothes and shoes (for sports, like Daddy), a toy wagon, cars, football helmet, and (probably our favorite) about eight baseballs. Oh, he likes to put his Bible in there too. It’s not really his Bible, but an orange New Testament that he found and declared his own so adamantly that no one has tried to change his mind.
Paul gets his “Little Man” look, in part, because he studies men around him and imitates them really well. He does this especially with his Daddy and loves helping to “fix things” around the house. He also does this extremely well with sports. Paul loves sports, but especially baseball. Basketball is probably second and I’ll have to ask him if he prefers football over soccer. For his birthday Paul only asked us for “lots of baseball stuff”. He wanted baseball pants, socks, a belt, and a bat. And he got them all. The socks and belt are orange, of course, because that is Paul’s favorite color. He wears the baseball pants every day and when they go through the wash, he will sprint to the dryer the moment it buzzes to dig them out and put them on. He’s also designated certain articles of clothing for certain activities. He has basketball shorts (blue and green), and soccer shorts (the orange ones with the blue stripe). We splurged on our vacation last year and bought him a Cubs shirt at a Cubs baseball game. It is probably the only t-shirt we have every spent money on for Paul, but it’s gotten its use. He wears it almost as often as his baseball pants.
But, for how independent he is, Paul is still a good brother. He and Elijah often melt my heart as they sit side-by-side on my lap or in a stroller, both sucking their fingers and holding my hair, their own hair, or each other’s hair for comfort. Paul loves to chum around with his sisters and lately has enjoyed snuggling up with Abby as she “reads” to him. Other favorite games include wrestling, pretending to be puppies, anything involving water, and running around like crazy while hitting imaginary home runs and sliding into home plate.
Paul is incredibly silly and he is incredibly sweet. He often makes himself the clown for others to laugh at. He is also quick to give hugs and kisses, and ask to hold his baby sister. He cannot stand to see others in pain. If someone has to get a shot or have a sliver pulled out, or anything that looks like it might be painful, Paul is often more distraught that whoever is actually hurting.
Paul still loves his music. He has since he was an infant. That was the motivation behind getting him a drum for his birthday last year. This year my parents got him a small guitar. Every morning when we practice our Bible verse songs, Paul busts out his drum or guitar (or both!) and plays along enthusiastically. After church, he’ll often climb up on stage, playing with any instruments anyone will let him touch. Or he’ll bring his own guitar and lead some imaginary singing. He was devastated when we told him he couldn’t bring the guitar to Bible study yet, but he’ll still lug it around to church and get it out whenever we give him the ok. When Paul is having a particularly hard time with something, I can almost always calm him down by holding him and singing his long-time favorite: Jesus Loves Me.
We love you, Paul. We love your charisma and we love your charm. We love your passion and independence and courage. And we love your soft, sweet heart. Happy Birthday, Little Man!