This past weekend it dawned on us in a huge way that Matthew has changed. I do not mean this in a "duh my kid is ALWAYS changing" kind of way but in a "oh he just passed a huge milestone" kind of way and OMG it is HUGE.
Bolt arrived in the mail for us to watch this weekend. It is how we roll in the winter - the family movie night thing. Generally I would say we watch more movies in the winter. It goes along with hibernating and what not.
It was just Matthew and I when I started the movie as Kevin was putting Marisa to bed. I needed to get some housework done but it was stuff that needed to be done in the family room so I killed two birds with one stone. I have not seen Bolt so I was thrilled to be watching it. Suddenly I looked over and Matthew was swiping big hot tears out of his red rimmed eyes. He had this look on his face so that I dropped what I was doing and gave him a hug, sat down next to him and stopped the movie. I asked him if he wanted to stop the movie all together and he said 'no'. Well I probably should have because he cried three more times during the movie with the last time being full melt down with Matthew sobbing uncontrollably about the dog and the girl and me thinking holy crap what is happening here?!
Kevin and I finally calmed him down and got him ready for bed. We talked to Matthew about movies we did not like when we were kids that made us sad like the Fox and the Hound and Dumbo for me and Bambi for Kevin. Matthew finally went to sleep and left me with a dawning realization that somewhere along the line Matthew has changed. He is no longer the compartmentalized "toddler" type kid he was. His emotions are starting to show in a new way and he is much more aware of them. He has always been a sensitive kid but this is a new kind of emotional life he has grown into.
He is mortified when he makes his sister cry. One such recent instance had to with Matthew taking a flashlight out of Marisa’s hand without asking her and this caused her to start sobbing. He ran over apologizing profusely trying to stuff the flashlight back into her hand to get her to stop crying - the feelings of horror at making her so sad written across his face. This is just one instance - he runs back to help other kids when they fall down on the playing field, he wants to be friends with everyone and he "loves" everyone asking boys and girls to marry him which I suppose is a good thing in that he associates marriage with the purest of love and friendship.
He wants to help the kids at school - his teacher recounted to me how he always includes everyone in activities without being asked. He does not shy away from anything and talks in the kindest of ways about all of the kids in his class which is a pretty big mix between kids without any disabilities to ones with severe disabilities. His kindness got him punched in the face by one of the kids with severe autism and even then he said "Oh Johnny (not his real name) just did not know any better Mommy. It is okay."
He and Ashley did a MLK activity on Friday last week. Essentially he consistently answers that he wants to be an animal rescuer when he grows up. He told Ashley that he and his friend, Sophie, who is going to be a vet, want to take care of animals – that is his dream. He listed the ways he will become an animal rescuer, that he loves animals and needs to learn to drive a jeep and a boat and that llamas need special care because of their feet. Clearly, Diego still resonates in his world!
If he sees or hears something on the news, he has a million questions and you can see the look in his eyes taking in the horror of the world around us – this seemingly is to almost a cellular level. It is so deep that he feels this stuff and listens so intently that we are careful about what he is consuming because he will suddenly bring things up with tears pricking up in his eyes and fear trembling in his voice.
He no longer watches the "kiddie" shows. Gone are the days of Playhouse Disney and cute little PBS shows. If we even suggest Bob, Thomas, Mickey or Oso he turns his nose up at these shows and will begrudgingly watch them if we force them on him the whole while complaining! He wants Phineas and Ferb, he wants Batman, and he wants Scooby Doo. Anything but the kiddie stuff and be still my beating heart he asked me about Hannah Montana the other day... Ummmm.
This new emotional Matthew is such a mixed bag – no longer black and white like a toddler. There is the fear of the bigger world and yet wanting to watch big scary things like Storm Stories and dark shows like Batman. He falls in love with every girl from the In Style magazine and karate chops his way out of things, wrestling, tumbling, falling down, and fearing nothing can happen to himself.
He fiercely hugs and kisses us some times but other times he just wags his hand at us barely able to look up from the Lego set or building blocks. He is suddenly heartbreakingly going to be five in 12 short weeks. My baby who told me specifically the other day that he is not my baby, he is a boy "not even a little boy, Mommy, I am just a boy."