Dearest Mario Bo Bario:
How are you five years old already? How did I turn my back for what seems like 2 seconds on my seven pound, 19 inches smiling black-haired baby boy and find a wild, vibrant, insane toe-head five-year-old son?
You entered this world in a flash. My water had barely broke when I started to feel heavy contractions. And then, 15 minutes later, there you were squirming all around and wailing for your mama. You seemed so tiny to us although you were the same size as Maria when she was born. Maybe it’s because Maria was almost 2 and a half when you were born and nearly 40 pounds so any newborn would pale in comparison! You came home to a room decorated with safari animals. It was the smallest room in our house. We could not even fit a rocking chair in it to rock you. So your sister was kind enough to let us rock you in her room. She loved that predicament, actually, because she got to have me and dad in her room while she fell asleep since it took us quite some time to get you to sleep every night. And then when we thought we had you to sleep, you would pop up in your crib and hold out your arms and cry. Neither dad nor I could walk away. And so there we were back in the rocking chair again.
You smiled ten times more than your sister smiled as a baby. You loved to play on your green safari blanket filled with mirrors and lights. You always wanted someone right by your side when you were on it; if someone was there, you had a blast. If someone left your side, you cried hysterically until they came back in the room.
You are like your mama – extreme. You either smile like a mad man or cry your eyes out. All or nothing. Either incredibly happy or completely pissed.
When you are in the mood, you crack people up with your antics. Whether it’s singing the “Call of the Wildman”, yelling “hey hot ladies” out the car window, grooving to “I’m Sexy and I Know It”, or making funny gestures at the dinner table, you get everyone laughing. How many nights have I come home from a rough workday only to find myself in a better mood after sitting with you for five minutes? You bring out the fun of life – the silliness and absurdity that it entails. Dad and I need that.
So, what highlights can we review from your fourth year of life?
1. You learned how to do a mean cannonball off the low dive.
2. You played on your first baseball team.
5. You slept in a tent with Robert.
6. You rode a roller coaster at Kings Island.
7. You caught a catfish at Uncle Mario’s and Aunt Vicki’s house.
8. You went to the dentist for the first time (and had a cavity!).
9. You put on your first play, Abiyoyo, at your school.
10. You played your first round of putt-putt and wanted to win (imagine that?).
11. You learned how to skip a rock in the river (thanks Peepaw).
12. You got to go to a zombie walk at Halloween (thanks Grandma Ionno).
13. You got to find golf balls on the golf course (thanks Grandma Lolo).
14. You got to ride a horse (thanks Mama Meg).
15. You got to give Grandma Menkedick a kiss and hold her hand before she passed away at age 92. You also spoke kind words about her at her funeral (what a brave boy).
16. You fell in love with the Wild Kratts and Ben Ten.
17. You learned to swim like a fish!
18. You visited Pittsburgh.
20. You pet an alligator!
So there you have it, little man. Or, I guess I need to start saying “big man” since you are now five years old. Go a bit slower this year, will you? I want to savor five as long as possible…. We love you.