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Thumper Turns Eight

My darling Thumper,

You are not so little anymore.  You are EIGHT YEARS OLD.  I keep writing it out in all caps because I can hardly make myself believe it.  How can you be EIGHT???

When you were born, we knew that you would be our last baby (barring something wild and miraculous happening).  So it is hard to think of you as a second grader, a big kid, and an EIGHT YEAR OLD.  You are a cuddler and a snuggler, and you don’t want to be a big kid.  You want hugs and kisses, tickles and backrubs.  You sneak into our room every morning, and before you try and steal an iPad (or this morning, your brand new Super Mario Game & Watch handheld game) you climb into bed next to me for a morning snuggle.

I’m not quite ready for you to grow out of that, so please don’t.

This year has been a messy and difficult one.  Your last birthday was in lockdown, but you didn’t care – except that you were missing people.  Very, very, very slowly, those people have started to come back into your life.  Your therapists all came back over the summer, and very soon, you will see your teachers in person instead of over Zoom.  The adjustment back might be difficult – I still am shaking my head over your hesitancy in getting out of the car at school for pictures – but I know that you will be able to do it.  You might not believe in social distancing at all, but the hugs are returning, and you are happy.

However, you are now a full-fledged screen addict (even worse than before) and when Flash stopped working on your old Chromebook (Ane’s old one that she used for school until she needed to upgrade), you became a skilled sneak and your brothers now complain that you have opened up new tabs on their Chromebooks where you can play games.  (Here’s hoping that new birthday present curbs that impulse a smidge.)  Your ninja skills are still unparalleled in this house.  Your ability to play “Name That Tune” when it comes to movie soundtracks is second to none among your siblings.  We can slowly tell that you are gaining more speech, and – amazingly – you have begun to script!  Hearing the sound of your voice, even when using someone else’s words, is a fantastic experience for us.  We know that you are progressing rapidly in ABA – five sessions a week will do that, especially with a dedicated and competent behavior tech – and even though we have yet to conquer the overnight potty training mountain or the scream that can shatter glass, we know you are gaining skills.

And you are still beyond cute and still have not really grown into your eyelashes.  I don’t think you ever will.  But you will always be my sweet baby Boo, even though you are EIGHT YEARS OLD now.

You are so loved, and we know that you know that, because you love us so hard back.  Happy 8th birthday, you stubborn little tickle ninja cookie monster.

Love,
Mama

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