Five years ago yesterday, at about the time of the morning I start to write this, we welcomed into our family a precious baby boy, Zachary Morgan, more commonly known here as Batman.
In an early preview of what has proven to be one of his strongest personality traits, Baby Batman stubbornly refused to join us in the cold bright world. My doctor reached in through the incision she had performed for my caesarean section and gently put her hands around the baby. He squirmed away, right up to the very top of my tummy where he shrank against her touch until she actually had to have her assistant push him downward from the outside so she could get ahold of him.
To this day, it is very difficult, nearly impossible in fact, to get Batman to do something before he is good and ready.
Here he is, at about thirty seconds into the world.
Batman joined us during what was a somewhat tumultuous time in our family history, and I think that somehow my tiny man knew I was about tapped-out in emotional strength right then. He was from day one the sweetest, calmest and happiest baby I’d ever seen.
While I had loved every second of his sister Annabelle’s infancy, she was a spitfire from the moment she was born, colicky and fussy; impossible to please most of the time. I have many, many pictures like this of her early months. And I didn’t take them because it was so cute that she was crying. There was never another time……she almost never stopped.
Batman was exactly the opposite. When it was time to leave the hospital, he just looked up at me as if to say “Let’s get going mom!”
He rarely cried, even after we brought him home. He just looked calmly around and took everything in.
His sister waited eagerly for him to be born.
And though she was just nineteen months old when he arrived she loved him without reservation, rarely showing a hint of jealousy or impatience with the change in family dynamics.
Batman was a great sleeper as an infant and toddler.
He slept after he played.
The bouncy chair was one of his favorite spots.
He slept after he ate. (Yes, I did have the tray on the high chair. I just took it off for the picture).
He slept for pretty much any old reason or in any place.
Note that he is wearing his sister’s underwear over his shorts and my bracelet on his wrist. More on his cross-dressing tendencies later.
He still loves a nap now and again.
In the chair with a friend…..
or in his car seat after a chilly trail ride.
Even under the dining room table after a fit of rage when he was really mad at daddy (did I mention he has quite a stubborn streak?).
It takes a lot, though, to make Batman angry. The sunny demeanor which has been present from his birth has not failed a day since.
I think the phrase “his smile could light up a room” was created for my little boy.
When he was about five days old I started walking along the dirt roads around our house with him in the baby sling and his sister in the stroller. He was never so happy as in that sling. He’d snuggle in and go right to sleep.
When he got big enough to ride in the stroller himself he loved that too.
And he rode miles and miles in the double jogger with his big sissie, through uncountable laps around fields and town, and through lots of 5k races too.
My little scholar loved books from a very early age, showing an unusual amount of focus for a little boy.
He still loves books, but perhaps even more he has retained that extremely high level of focus, and he channels it to make remarkably intricate and creative art projects.
Like this collage of eight “paper robots” (his word) that have individually pieced legs (average eight each), horns, and tails. After each piece was completed he painstakingly taped it to the prior ones to make the whole family.
Or this vase of flowers that he made all by himself using leftover muffin cups and pipe cleaners from a project his sister had completed for kindergarten.
He will sit and work on his projects for literally hours at a time.
And he draws too. This is his rendition of a deer family.
No roll of tape or pair of scissors is safe from my little artist.
Especially the tape. I certainly hope we don’t have any electrical emergencies around here anytime soon.
He’s fairly fond of markers, too.
My boy got his nickname of “Batman,” because, of course, he loves Batman. He dresses almost exclusively in t-shirts that have some Superhero or other on the front.
Outside of that, though, he has his own sense of fashion, a fact which cannot be disputed.
He wore his sister’s Dora swimsuit all one summer, even at the “Y.” I just let everyone tell me what a pretty girl he was.
He wore this to the local Wal-Mart. In January.
And he loves to just throw together a few things from his closet, too. Along with a few from his sister’s.
Yes, he put together this little ensemble all by himself.
Despite his proclivity for dressing up in female clothing, he is a manly man of sorts.
He has loved camping and fishing from an early age.
A little boating when he gets the chance.
Paddling around the lake.
And hunting with dad.
He is thrilled to get come home with game, and recounts with glee the process of stalking, and yes, even killing the birds.
But at the same time he loves animals as much as anyone in the family, and has a soft spot for every living creature, especially the family dogs.
He is a bit of a sports guy.
With quite a kick on him.
And a truly hard worker.
He loves to pitch in to help get chores done.
He’s always been a good eater.
Yes, that is mayonnaise. With an artichoke on the side.
He will share a sandwich with the dog now and again, but his favorite foods are actually beets and asparagus. I’m not making that up.
He’s very attached to the horses.
And he’ll go for a pony ride on occasion.
And sometimes even hit the trail for an hour or two.
But his favorite mode of transportation is still his trusty four-wheeler. Or his sister’s. Wearing his ninja costume.
Batman is unfailingly affectionate. He tells me that he loves me at least five times every day and is constantly hugging me and kissing me. I hope he never outgrows that trait.
Even though he’s five now.
Happy Birthday to my little man.
Don’t climb up that slide of life too fast.