The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vinny's Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th birthday of my baby. (His birthday is actually Monday). I can't believe how big he is getting. 4 years old has always seemed like the end of being a baby to me. If you ask my mom, 4 is still somewhat a baby, but to me, even when I was younger, it seemed like the beginning of childhood. I think it is because you think of 4 year olds doing so much for themselves, and mostly, I think it is because that is where most of my memories of my childhood begin. I remember a lot from being 4 years old. Although I think some of my earliest memories may actually be from before that, my most vivid childhood memories begin at 4. We moved to Simi Valley when I was 4, and I remember everything about that move. I was 4 when I started kindergarten (I started pretty early), and I remember everything about that too. Nothing about those memories feels like babyhood to me, so thinking that my little baby is now such a big boy is kind of odd for me.

It hit me the most at dinner on Friday night when my mom said something like, "Can you believe how grown up he is getting?"  I hadn't thought much about it, but as she said that he looked at the waiter and said, "Excuse me, can I have more apple juice please?"  It sounds like such a little thing, but it was like a revelation. I don't order for him any more. He doesn't tell me he wants more apple juice- he recognizes that the waiter will refill it for him. Seriously? When did this happen?

He is so creative, and SO my kid. Yesterday at Vinny's party, my cousin Brenda, who was raised very much like an older sister to me, was reminscing on how I used to put on "shows" in the backyard and line up chairs for the audience and make everyone come watch. As I got older, I got the other neighborhood kids involved and made them be in the show too. I was always the director. Haha... director, teacher... it is truly what I was meant to be. Somehow, in my life, it has always been about putting on the show. Vinny is so the same. Everything in his life is a show too. He reminds me so much of me. He got a transformer for his birthday, and  this morning, he announced to all of his Disney toys, "Okay everyone, come on. It is time for the transformers show. Come watch!" and then he lined them up in front of the transformer and put on a show by pressing the buttons on the transformer. His shows are about robots, while mine were about princesses, but he sure does bring back memories. It is funny, because Marc was playing with the transformer saying, "This brings back memories of my childhood," and I was thinking, "Okay, me too, but different memories."

I have to say, I am very proud of myself that so far, Vinny's favorite gift is the 1985 Disneyland playset that I found on eBay for $10. Yeah, that was a find. I am sure it was meant to be a collector's item, but I saw it as something Vinny would just LOVE playing with, and they haven't made anything like it in the past 20 years, so I bought the vintage toy, and sure enough, he loves it. He begged me ALL morning to put it together, and ever since, he has been playing with it. It is funny because it works like my 80s toys did- rather manually and far from perfect. The train gets stuck and the rockets need some manual spinning, but it is the type of fun I remember having as a child and he is having a very good time giving the little characters turns on the different rides. So Cute!

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