34 weeks! Everyone says we are in the home stretch. Time seems to be disappearing fast as we get closer and closer to the due date. Preparations are definitely in full swing. Matthew and I are attempting to be prepared as possible. Is that even possible? We have found ourselves asking tons of questions to friends that are already parents. The three most common questions have been, what bottle, diaper and formula? Selecting the best is a high priority for the both of us. We found out extremely quickly that tommee tippee was the right bottle for us.
As we began to assemble the nursery and prepare our house and lives to welcome a newborn, we thoroughly reviewed every possible product. Whether it was through Consumer Reports or customer reviews on a particular store’s website, we wanted to make sure we were happy with the choices we made. While reviewing specific products to use as parents, we also looked at the company that makes the product as a whole. It is highly important to both of us to seek out companies that support our community as well as share in the joy of adoption and same-sex parenting. Mayborn Group, the parent company of tommee tippee, is one of those companies. I shared on our twitter feed that “we are a tommee tippee family.” We received a short letter and package from Mayborn and tommee tippee. It was short, sweet and left a strong impact on the both of us.
It is exciting that they are following our journey to parenthood!
While we are just over a month a way from hopefully becoming dads, we are clearly practicing (playing) with all of our tommee tippee products. It is possible that all of our bottles have been sterilized two or three times each. We both enjoy our Keurig that we received as a Christmas gift last year and while visiting a Babies-R-Us we were shocked there is a similar product for baby formula made by tommee tippee. The excitement was instant and became a must have. While we call it the baby Keurig, its official name is the tommee tippee closer to nature perfect bottle prep. I love it! I am without doubt acting like a kid in the candy store.
If you read our very first blog you know that we decided to start the adoption process while on an Ikea trip in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our journey will reach the one-year mark in just a few short weeks. At the start of the adoption journey, we were particularly worried as to what reaction we might receive from everyone. So often we had heard what a traditional family should “look” like. Looking back over the past year, we are humbled by the encouragement we have received from our family, friends and even our community. In the beginning, we were reluctant to share so much about ourselves in this process but the friendships that we have built since then and the words of support we have received were worth taking the leap.
The journey to parenthood is different for every person and every couple. Each adoption journey is unique in itself. We both try to educate family, friends and followers about open adoption. Our message is a positive one about becoming dads. Next week I am enrolled and excited to participate in a new parenting class. Diaper changing, burping, swaddling and bottle-feeding are just a few of the topics. I even can’t wait to tell them that we are a “tommee tippee family.” We are surely on the fast track to become The Next Family in September.
By – Trey Darnell
Eight weeks to go. Eight weeks still seems like an eternity and relatively quick at the same time. We are busy preparing in all ways possible. Most of the preparation legwork has been making sure that our home is prepared and stocked for the first months of parenthood. Working out the logistics for our next journey to Texas for the birth of Baby T-Rex and the return trip home. With the preparation for a new addition to the family, we are also working hard to spend quality time together and enjoy the foundation we have already built as a couple. Vacation time!
Matthew and I loaded up the car and drove to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with another couple to enjoy three days of fun and sun and celebrate pre-parenthood. Is pre-parenthood a word? The experience was as exhilarating as a childhood summer vacation. This mini-vacation was filled with roller coasters, water rides, go-karts, pancakes, laughing and ice cream. The trip even had educational value. We learned the difference between jam and jelly and how to cook fondue style. Matthew and I enjoyed that quality “couple” time and welcomed the excitement that continues to grow for parenthood.
Like most vacations, this trip lacked the dreaded sadness that usually comes with the end of a vacation. The typical feeling of “back to reality.” Why this time? Maybe because we were only 100 miles away from home or the trip was only three days. I believe that we both were excited of what was ahead. On our drive home, we knew that we were three days closer to becoming dads.
Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be marking off the remaining tasks and items that we need to finish prior to Baby T-Rex making her appearance. The list started out extremely long but now there are only a few things left to be completed. I am going to finish reading “On Becoming Baby Wise” as we are contemplating using this method or at least a hybrid version when it comes to feeding, sleeping and play time. Any time we go to the store, we purchase diapers. Between diapers and clothes, space in the nursery closet is dwindling.
Time to get back to the preparations. Thanks for letting us share our adoption story with you. Eight weeks to go! Here is a photo of Matthew from this past weekend. He just finished wakeboarding and made it look very easy. The photo is mere seconds before he said, “My cell phone was in my pocket.” Sigh!
By: Trey Darnell
On Wednesday morning (June 26, 2013) Matthew and I were in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee vacationing with my parents. It was a few minutes before 10 o’clock and everyone was just waking up. We knew that in just a few moments everything could change for us as a couple. Along with thousands of other LGBT individuals throughout the world, we had joined the live chat with SCOTUS Blog
10:02 AM. Everything changed!
The Supreme Court of the United States found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in the case United States v. Windsor. A huge win for marriage equality. The Supreme Court of the United States found that the petitioners of California’s Proposition 8 lacked standing to appeal and allowed the lower court’s ruling to stand. A huge win for marriage equality in California.
Wednesday was a great day for the movement toward marriage equality and a moment that allowed Matthew and I to think further into the future. Living in East Tennessee, we reside in a state that has a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The truth is, we are a long way from seeing marriage equality in the volunteer state.
With these outstanding and unprecedented victories, we have to keep moving forward. There is still a long way to go to reach the finish line. Momentum is on our side. We have to keep having the conversations and educating our families, friends and communities.
I encourage each and every one of you that are reading this blog to take a few moments and email your elected officials both in the Unites States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. Encourage their support for the Respect for Marriage Act. This particular legislation would repeal DOMA in its entirety and allow every marriage, no matter if it is a man and a woman, two women or two men to be seen equally both at a national level and a state level. The Respect of Marriage Act is a monumental piece of legislation. Help encourage its passage.
It is hard to believe the month of June has come to an end so quickly. It seems like yesterday I wrote about the excitement that laid ahead for June. I feel we both used the cases involving DOMA and Prop 8 to take our focus off of the wait for Baby T-Rex to arrive. It seems that we went from 20 weeks to 30 weeks so fast. It is hard to believe that parenthood is quickly approaching.
Paperblog voted Matt & Trey Adopt as one of the Top 10 Adoption Twitter Feeds to follow.
June is here. I am truly excited! June has always been one of my favorite months of the year. Maybe it’s because my birthday falls in the month of June. Is it possible to have two favorites? Just consider it a tie between June and December. I love the excitement and happiness people show around the holidays and not to mention the cooler weather. The heat and humidity in Tennessee can be a little too much, and I have already reached that point this year. This June is going to be much different from any before.
We both have settled back into routine following our wonderful visit to Abilene to meet the expectant family that we have matched with. I can honestly say that some part of me is still there emotionally, and I guess physically, I think I left a sock at the hotel. Today marks 98 days from the anticipated due date. 98 days! That seems so soon and yet so far away. What do we do? What needs to get accomplished between now and then? We turn our focus to the month of June.
June 2013 has the potential to change everything as we currently know it. The LGBT community is no longer years and months away from a ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on issues surrounding marriage equality. We are now only days away from the decisions on California’s Proposition 8 and the much broader Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It is time for forward movement and time to leave inequality behind. No longer talks of separate but equal. It is time for just equal. There are a lot of people anxious for the month of June to hurry along.
I have always tried to figure out a way to celebrate June as my birthday month, and I have been unsuccessful. This year it will be somewhat a month long celebration. June 2013 has been designated as LGBT Pride Month. That is exciting. An entire month! The 17th will be my day though. A day I will be celebrating my 33rd birthday (34th as Matthew would say). We plan to use this month to spend time with family and friends as we continue to prepare for the arrival of Baby T-Rex in September. Since it is officially LGBT Pride Month, I wanted to share an excerpt of an interview we did in the first couple of months of our adoption journey. Sometimes it is good to look back and reminisce. You can read the whole interview here. We are so happy to share our story with you and are excited that you are a part of our journey.
Q What obstacles have you run into as a hopeful adoptive gay couple?
Finding the right agency for us was a definite obstacle. There are a lot of Christian-based adoption agencies in our region as well as in our surrounding states. We both are Christian, and we were shocked about how we were received when it came to our desire to adopt. One agency offered to let us pay them their fee, but they would not promote us like other families. If we found the birth family, they would proceed with the steps to complete the adoption. This was very disappointing to both of us, but we didn’t veer off course.
Q What’s been the best part?
When you make the enormous decision on what journey you will take to growing your family you then learn what it will take to get there. You basically open up your life to be reviewed. Everything from medical history and medical tests to financial stability is scrutinized. Someone even comes into your home, on multiple occasions, and decides if you are going to have a child. Then you create marketing material. The text gets reviewed and edited along with pictures and layout. You read books and attend a weekend intensive course. It takes months to complete.
You might be thinking how does this have anything to do with the best part? The day when everything is complete, and you are an approved waiting family, you feel like an overnight success. An overnight success that took four months. We received our Dear Birthmother Letter when Matthew was working. I waited what seemed like days for him to get home so we could share the joy of opening them together. This is no joke, it felt absolutely amazing to see our very own letter after seeing so many of them of the families before us. We felt like we truly worked hard to represent who we are as individuals and as a couple, and we were truly happy how it turned out
Q Why do you think there’s still so much opposition to gay adoption?
I personally think that the opposition comes from misinformation as well as ideas and a thought process that is outdated and taught. There are a lot of people and organizations that are working hard to educate people that there isn’t any difference in a child raised by a heterosexual couple versus a same-sex couple. While you have one group using recent data from research saying there is no issue, there is another group using data from research several decades ago that didn’t even include same-sex couples in their research.
Q Do you think attitudes are changing?
We both feel positive and optimistic about new studies and commentary that show the tide is changing among individuals in the United States. It is also encouraging by all the changes happening around the world. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on DOMA and Prop 8, as well as the push for equality is full steam ahead. We have great representation and positive images of gay individuals as well as couples in numerous television shows and media outlets. I guess I will use my chance to reference Dan Savage. I honestly believe that every day it gets better.
Q What do you know about the open adoption process now that you wish you had known when you started?
I wish we had known that we didn’t need to worry about “the what-ifs.” We didn’t need to fit into a certain box to become parents and we didn’t need to say this or that to become parents. All we had to do was be ourselves, and everything else would happen when it is/was supposed to. Fortunately, we learned it truly early on in our journey.
Thanks for reading. You can read the rest of the interview here.
I am a 47 year old woman who has been a member of many families. First, there is the family I was born into. I am the second child in a family with three children. I am the only girl with two brothers. I lived with my two brothers and my mother and father until I was 18 years old. I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s which was a time that was different than growing up now. We didn’t have all of the technology that kids have these days. I think of it as a simpler time, but to be honest that may be because I was a kid and didn’t have the responsibilities I have as an adult. I don’t know if my parents would call it simpler. My family was far from perfect. We had our struggles, and our good times. We had dysfunction and we had function. But over all when I look back on my childhood, I remember being cared for and not worrying too much. We had food on the table, and were taken to the doctor and dentist regularly. My father always had a job and we always had a house to live in. My parents did the best they could, and frankly I think they did a good job.
Then there was my Navy family. When I was 18 I joined the Navy and my coworkers became my “family”. We all shared a similar vision, and frame of reference. I think in many cases people in the military bond so well because “teamwork” is talked about all the time, and we are in such close quarters, both living and working. If you are a young person in the military you probably live with your shipmates (or fellow soldiers as the case may be), and so a certain camaraderie and sense of “family” is established.
So now I am a grown up and have a family of my own. However, my family is different than many other families and I am going to tell you why:
I believe that kids should get good grades. Getting an education gives you options, as I always tell my kids, and unfortunately for my 16 year old, I talk about his grades and his education ad nauseum.
I have always expected my kids to get a job when they turn 16. I am relentless about them looking for work. I make them keep a list of the places they have applied and the dates, so they know when to contact the managers and check up on their applications. I have done this for the 20 year old, the 18 year old and most recently the 16 year old. These days it is not as easy for a young person to get a job and follow up is very important. The squeaky wheel get the grease, and the kid who goes back week after week to “check in” with the manager of a place of employment gets the job. (The 20 year old, 18 year old and 16 year old have jobs by the way)
My “adult” graduated from high school children pay rent if they live in my house after graduation. Now before you get upset about that, you need to know that it is a very small amount, and I actually put it aside and give it back to them when they move out so they can use it to buy things they need for their own apartment. I believe that a young adult needs to understand responsibility and staying in our pocket forever will not do that for them.
A big way our family is different than most is that the teenagers in my household do NOT get a cell phone unless they can pay their bill themselves. We do have them on our phone plan so their bill is only $50.00 per month, but since they earn an allowance, they use it to pay their bill first, and then use the rest for their own enjoyment. We feel as though a phone is a luxury not a necessity, and luxuries need to be funded by the person who wants said luxury. If they blow their money and can’t pay the phone bill, I suspend the phone line, so it can’t be used until it can be paid for. Isn’t that what will happen to me if I don’t pay my bills? Why not teach them the responsibility of paying bills while they are teenagers?
There are also many ways my family is JUST LIKE millions of other families. We fight with each other, but are fiercely loyal to each other. We joke around and have fun with each other. We love each other and can’t stand each other alternately. (Some days more than others). Sometimes our feelings for each other change on an hourly, even moment by moment basis.
So, you can see that just like millions of families around the world, our family is just like some families and very different from other families! The differences and the way we parent makes a significant impact on the kind of adults we are raising, and we really want more than anything else to raise adults who are kind, caring, responsible, compassionate, productive members of society.
Oh, and I suppose I forgot to mention that one other small way our family is different than others. We are a two mom household. And believe it or not that makes NO difference at all in the way our family functions, or how we relate to each other. It doesn’t change the fact that our kids play sports on school teams, that one son is a Boy Scout, that we like to be together, and we need space from each other. We fight and love and laugh together. Having a family with same gendered parents does not make our family function any differently than any other family, and it isn’t better or worse.
It just is what it is, and we are quite happy with it!
By Trey Darnell
Matthew and I matched with a wonderful expecting couple more than a month ago. The time had come for us to travel west and meet them. This past Thursday we said goodbye to our cats and flew to Texas. Our flight arrived in Dallas, and we rented a car to complete a three-hour drive to Abilene, Texas. I am sure most of you are aware of our love of In-N-Out Burger. Driving through Dallas-Forth Worth, we spotted several locations, but we did not stop. We were on a tight schedule and needed to be in Abilene for our match meeting early that afternoon.
To be truly honest, Matthew and I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this meeting. It seemed to escalate while driving to Abilene. A counselor from our agency, Independent Adoption Center, would facilitate the meeting. This would be the first time that we would meet the expecting mother and father. We were overly excited and nervous to meet both of them. The moments leading up to the meeting felt like a first date. We had built a foundation of communication over the past several weeks and now it was time to meet each other.
Our counselor had reserved the children’s activity room at the Abilene Public Library Mockingbird Branch for everyone to get together and participate in the match meeting. There was not much about this exceptionally large room that indicated children or activity. It was full of six-foot tables and chairs. It did not have that small quaint feeling that we hoped for. We picked a table in the middle of the room and allowed our anticipation and nerves to build even more. We heard a library representative say, “The activity room is located in the back”. We stopped breathing.
Matthew quickly stated what I think we all were feeling. “I know we are all extremely nervous”. The ice had been broken. Questions were posed to both couples and with each one it seemed to get more and more comfortable. Thirty minutes quickly turned into an hour and a half. During this time, we learned about the expecting mother and father as individuals and as a couple. Looking back on the match meeting, all the anxiety left as we said goodbye to the counselor and began our weekend in Abilene. I am thankful for the anxieties as it allowed us to be aware of this truly memorable moment and prepare us for the spectacular time we would have the rest of the weekend
Over the next few days, we were welcomed into this energetic, funny and loving family. We were able to spend time with parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins. Each and every one of them made an extra effort to spend time with us and show their support for us as a couple and potential adoptive parents of their future daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece and cousin. We told stories and listened to stories. Needless to say, some were embarrassing. We learned about them, and they learned about us. We laughed a lot. Family members commuted from hours away, and everyone made sure they had ample time away from work to meet and support the mother and father and Matthew and I. We felt so welcome and loved by this family, and we are extremely excited to merge them with ours.
The final night was marked by an epic family barbeque Texas style. Many hours went into the preparation of the BBQ. Cloth napkins, table decorations, a T-Rex and a roadrunner. The menu was overloaded with superb food. The menu included brisket, baby back ribs, sausage, green peppers stuffed with cream cheese wrapped in bacon and then grilled to perfection. This evening was certainly a celebration, a family celebration that we were a part of. There was not a better way to end our visit to Abilene than enjoying each other’s company after a terrific Texas BBQ.
I have to say it was a little emotional to say goodbye to everyone that night. Over the previous three days, we felt as if we were a part of their family. We know that this goodbye is only for a short period of time because in just 16 weeks baby T-Rex makes her arrival. We are extremely excited for what the future holds for our entire family, which has now grown much larger. We have already started talking about future family vacations.
Oh, we did stop at In-N-Out on our way back to Dallas before flying home to Tennessee.
By – Trey Darnell
A very hot topic for individuals going through the adoption process is what to do about the nursery. Get the nursery ready? Wait until being matched? Wait until the baby is home? Will working on the nursery jinx adopting? What if it is a boy? What if it is a girl? Why are there so many questions?
There are many people that have told us not to worry about the nursery until after the baby comes. A common theme is family would have everything ready when you return home with the new baby. No offense to our family, but Matthew and I looked at each other and quickly determined that we wanted to work on the nursery during our wait and make it exactly what we wanted. Being able to walk into what has transformed from an empty room into what will one day be filled with rocking, changing diapers, feeding, laughter, crying and a little spit up, we could not be any happier. Would you like to see the result?
Colors – Choosing a neutral color usually means picking a shade of green, tan or yellow. In my opinion, there is nothing exciting about any of those. Matthew and I are fond of the color gray, and when all else fails, it is the color of choice. Valspar’s Colonial Woodlawn Gray has the record of our go to color. Our two favorite colors are gray and white. So it would be easy to guess that the nursery furniture color would be white.
Glider – The glider is by far my favorite piece of furniture in the room. From the very first moment we talked about growing our family, we would visit Pottery Barn Kids and relax in the various rockers and gliders. In the process of constructing the nursery, we have easily tested over 50 different rocker/glider combinations. Nothing ever seemed perfect. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, the first stop was not to In-N-Out Burger (surprising I know) but rather to Pottery Barn Kids. We vetted all of the options available and shared our adoption story to the staff and everyone helped in making the choice. What an excellent decision it was? Looking back, we should have gotten two.
Crib – The crib was also a result of the visit to Pottery Barn Kids. We had looked at various different baby and furniture stores locally. Everything was exceptionally specific to gender or a certain traditional style. Pottery Barn Kids had that special crib that matched the color, look and style that we had pictured.
Bookcases & Dresser – The bookcases are a neat feature of the room and hold a little personal sentiment. They are identical bookcases from Ikea with a twist. Instead of using the particleboard backing, we repurposed twenty year-old lumber that belonged to my parents. This completely changed the look of the bookcases. With the addition of a little lighting it helped finish the room, once bolted to the wall.
Accents – The accents in the room are neutral and have a variety of different textures. The side table next to the glider is a repurposed telephone pole. We have children’s books that Matthew and I both read in our childhood. We also added books that help show the positive message of adoption and having same-sex parents. Birds have become a popular theme in the room. Maybe it has to do with my love of flight. There are two accent pieces that will have a new color once we know the sex of the baby. A baby boy would produce the color blue, and if a little girl we would repaint purple.
The nursery has become my favorite room in the house. I used to think of the nursery from Father of the Bride II. It was beautiful, soft and warm. I could be biased, but our nursery has all of those feelings and then some. There are days that the door to the nursery is open, and we sit and enjoy what will be. There are days the door remains closed. As I mentioned in the last blog, we are expecting a little one in late summer. This is an exciting time for us and allows us to add the pops of color to match the gender of baby T-Rex.
To see other photos showing the creation of the nursery visit our Pinterest at pinterest.com/mattandtrey
I originally had something else planned to share today, but chose to share something different with all of you. Matthew and I have debated what we want to share as well as to what extent. We began our adoption process in August 2012 and became a “live” waiting family December 17, 2012. We just reached the four-month mark as a waiting family.
In my first post with The Next Family, I shared our excitement and sense of optimism after seeing the number of same-sex families that have matched and placed with the Independent Adoption Center (IAC). The Atlanta, Georgia office has two different bulletin boards. One of the boards portrays the brochures of waiting families that have matched and the other shows the brochures of families that have placed along with a picture of the new addition. The number of same-sex families that appeared on both of these boards was inspiring to Matthew and me.
This past week I received a photo from our counselor located in our agency’s Atlanta, Georgia office. The picture also included this message. “Thought you might enjoy seeing your letter on the match board.”
The past two weeks of our adoption journey have been filled with so much excitement. This picture prompted so much emotion for both of us. We struggled with just the imagination of our letter making it onto the board. This was a special morning for us and for her to take the time to send us the picture helped us both realize that this was actually happening. In this case, pictures speak just as loud as words. Matthew and I have matched with an amazing expecting mother. We will share more in the future as we await the arrival of baby “T-Rex” in late summer.
We decided we wanted to share this with all of you. We will share the blog that was supposed to post today “A Shade of Gray” next time.
By: Joey Uva
Grace just turned seven last week. It’s hard to believe how fast the years have gone. We’ve been through good times, challenges, great times, and hard times but none of that has been able to stop the hand of time.
It has been said that every seven years begins a new cycle within one’s lifetime, and that every cell in your body changes within a seven-year period. The first seven years of life are said to be the foundation for growth and change, where language, concepts, structure, ideas, instincts of hunger, and the need for love and protection are developed. The first seven years of life set us up for the next seven-year cycle.
Grace is now entering the second seven years of her life; lots of changes are on the horizon. The second seven years of life are considered the cycle of continuous growth. The development of a sense of right and wrong and social responsibility starts to really develop. We broaden in our experiences and test our abilities of the outside world, much different than our previous inner world development. The beginning of new maturity approaches as we start to reach puberty and adolescence. We grow physically and physiologically. It is said that the habits learned in the first seven years of life are now part of the character of the growing child.
Grace is changing. She’s more independent, she knows her likes and dislikes and is beginning to develop more self confidence. I know she’ll mature and grow and this I hope I am ready for. This is a new cycle for me too. I have a new experience in life to be had along with her. I pray the habits she takes with her as she grows into adolescence are good ones. I pray that she becomes a responsible, socially conscience and empathetic person as she enters into this new phase of life.
Our daughter is no longer the little girl we knew at three, four, or five. She is changing and growing. She makes me proud to be a father and my love for her will be here for all the change yet to come.
By: Ted Peterson
“What do you want for Christmas?” Santa asked as he gave Mikey a lollipop.
“This?” Mikey answered, referencing the sweet.
“No, I mean what else, besides the lollipop?” Santa replied, with a ho ho ho.
“A Christmas tree for Jimmy, and one for Evan, and one for Bryan,” he said, rattling off three of his best friends at preschool.
“That’s very nice,” the fat man chuckled. “But what can I get for you, little boy?”
“Oh, nothing,” said Mikey.
We have an unvicious circle with our son. If you captured any one moment of his life out of context, you would think he was either horribly spoiled or almost saintly in his altruism, but the truth is a little of both. He gets pretty much anything he wants, and he shares it all, anytime of year, holidays or not.
I myself was raised on a similar philosophy. One of our family stories has my grandfather calling my mom from a toy store, asking what he should do –I was crying about some toy.
“Here’s what I would do,” my mom said. “Buy it.”
Kids are grabby, greedy little things, but their needs for toys, for stimulation, for something to spark imagination and laughter, is as pure as rain water. People talk about education and play as if they’re two different things, but in a child, they aren’t. I am not going to deny my son anything that I would have fun playing with him, and I’m not going to apologize for it either. He knows the word “no” not because we say it all the time, but because we say it rarely, and when we do, we mean it.
Last weekend, we were going to my brother’s house for a holiday party, and Mikey wanted to bring along a beloved wind-up chick he had been playing with. He left it in the diaper bag because there were other toys to play with, and as we were leaving, he asked my brother if he could have one of the small containers of Playdoh.
When he was told he could, he ran to his diaper bag and gave up his wind-up chick in exchange. I wouldn’t have asked him to do this in exchange for a gift. It just seemed fair to him.
For some reason, Mikey’s been empathetic for as long as we can remember. He runs to help when he hears another kid crying, he loves to share, and when he is faced with a baby or an animal, he always assures everyone he will be gentle before he touches them. At his preschool’s holiday show, he stood immobile at the front of the stage with the other three-year-olds, occasionally mouthing the words, occasionally waving to the audience, acting just the same as the rest his age. Then at the end of “Feliz Navidad,” he looked at the boy closest to him, and decided that he needed reindeer antlers. Jimmy started to object when Mikey took off his own antler hat and put it on him, but he realized resistance was futile. He gave his friend a high five in return.
So, what do you get the kid who has it all, who just wants to share and do things for other people?
Mikey has his own idea he came up with after he told Santa that he only wanted Christmas trees for his friends. He was looking at the Christmas card from my cousin’s family who is expecting their third child. I pointed to the mother’s belly and the expression on her daughter’s face, and said, “It looks like she’s saying ‘Look, that’s my baby brother in there.’”
“Oh,” said Mikey, frowning and studying the card more. “Can I have a little brother too?”
Probably not for Christmas, kid, but we’ll see.