i must say this every year when the birthday of our youngest, Tate, rolls around, but it’s true — “I can’t believe my baby is EIGHT!” has it really been eight years since we brought a newborn home from the hospital? while far from a baby (as Tate would beg me to clarify), Tate is the youngest of our three boys and the age of EIGHT suits him quite well.
Tate is in second grade and has had a great school year. Tate is a strong student, a great listener and a compassionate friend. like his brothers, he is strong in math and reading and finds academics in general to be fairly easy. he doesn’t necessarily enjoy being the center of attention and had some small obstacles to overcome this year in that regard (think presentations, readers’ theatre and pretty much anything that required him to get up in front of the whole class). i can certainly understand where he’s coming from — neither Tate nor i share Phil’s affinity for speaking in front of a crowd. in the end, he rose to the challenges and made some great strides this year, and he enjoys all of the other aspects of elementary school.
our Tate is a hands-on type of guy. he received his own small toolbox for Christmas and has enjoyed taking apart several old household items, like a broken clock, an old camcorder and an old blender. he’s the kind of kid that will keep his favorite parts from inside those gadgets and tuck them away somewhere safe just because they look cool. this week, Phil’s parents are visiting and Tate’s “Papa” was installing a ceiling light for us. Tate was his faithful assistant and insisted on using his tools when he had the specific tool that Papa needed. Tate is also drawn to other gadgets that you might find in a spy/ninja/action movie. case in point: he asked for a grappling hook a couple Christmases ago. he did receive it, but the problem since then has been finding an appropriate (read safe) use for it! so Tate was thrilled when we were able to incorporate his grappling hook in the escape-room style game we invented for his birthday party. amidst a series of clues, riddles, locks, combinations, and hunts, Tate and his buddies had to scale the side of our front porch from the yard (snow) below using Tate’s grappling hook & rope (which Phil had secured above the porch). the delight all over Tate’s face was pretty fun to see, and he accomplished the mission with ease. Tate received two robot-type gifts for his birthday, and his favorite part by far was constructing them and taking one apart, only to re-build it again in a different configuration.
i’ve heard from other parents that their youngest child often seems the most responsible when it comes to household chores. Tate is no different. he often is the first to remember to clear his dishes after dinner, the first to volunteer to empty the dishwasher and works diligently to earn his allowance more often than either of his older brothers. when it comes to brothers, tate seems to get along the most naturally with his oldest brother Silas, our 14 year old. Tate & Lincoln (10 years old) can also play together well, but it does take more intervention on our part. getting along as a sibling-threesome is typically ripe with difficulties, which again, i’m sure is common in families as well as many other areas of life. Tate is capable of keeping up with his brothers now in almost every way — reading, video games, swimming, biking, storytelling, conversation, etc. — a matter of pride, to be sure.
Tate has crazy cool eyes. you can’t tell in the black & white photos, but both eyes have several colors — a mixture of green, blue and a splash of brown, too. his personality is similar — Tate is a good blend of so many characteristics. while he still likes to snuggle at times, he’s also fiercely independent and rarely truly needs either parent to help him out. he enjoys time with friends but also acknowledges when he prefers a quiet day at home. Tate can be shy around adults at times, but he can also be the most outspoken at the dinner table. this week, each of the boys spent a day home from school so that they could have one-on-two time with their grandparents. Tate thoroughly enjoyed his time and didn’t even ask if Phil and I were also going to be around. Tate does have some crazy mood swings. he is quick to get upset if he’s embarrassed or when he feels that he is the victim of an injustice. his tendency to stomp up the stairs reminds me of my childhood in a family with three sisters. fortunately, he cools off pretty quickly, too… let’s just say Tate experiences intense emotions. he rarely forgets to hug and say “I love you” at school drop-off or bedtime. he can get so angry that he simply can’t hear your reasoning for several minutes. he gets embarrassed to the point of tears, and when he’s bored, he’s REALLY bored. ha ha!
clearly, i could go on and on about the boy. there is so much to say. what a joy to watch Tate learn & grow and a privilege to be his mom (& dad). while he has two amazing big brothers’ footsteps in which to follow, my hope & prayer is that Tate will be 100% Tate. that he will be fully confident in who he is as he walks through these formative years surrounded by so many of us that love him like crazy.
happy 8th birthday, my son!