Raising Richmond: 50 things about my son

Regular readers of Raising Richmond might’ve noticed that I’ve recently backed off a bit from sharing specific anecdotes about our son. I partly did this because I figure you all have other things you’d like to discuss from time to time. But my main reason? Guilt.

Regular readers of Raising Richmond might’ve noticed that I’ve recently backed off a bit from sharing specific anecdotes about our son, JR. I partly did this because I try really hard to avoid making this column “The JR Show.” I mean, I think the kid’s pretty adorable, but I figure you all have other things you’d like to discuss from time to time.

But the main reason I pulled back on the JR tales? Guilt.

I wasn’t feeling guilt over sharing stories about him in general but rather over my tendency to only share certain stories about him—stories that follow whatever parenting narrative I’m constantly trying to construct in my own head. Consequently, my previous posts seemed to turn him into this character of sorts—the preschool version of that smart, funny, and incredibly neurotic friend we all have.

Don’t get me wrong, he is all of those things…but he’s not only those things. There’s much more to JR than what I share here each week, and if I’m going to keep using this space to talk openly about what it’s like to be his mother, I owe it to him to give you all a more complete picture of who he is.

My previous attempts to do this in an essay format always ended in disaster because that aforementioned parenting narrative kept getting in the way. I just could not fight the urge to wrap everything into a nice “And In the End My Child Taught Me What Really Matters” package and tie it up with a sweet little bow.

So that’s not what I’m going to do today. You’re getting a list instead: 50 things about my son. Some offer up a bit of his history, others give glimpses into what he’s like today, but they’re all things that help make him…him.

— ∮∮∮ —

  1. JR’s full name is Jackson Ross Catrow.
  2. He, however, would prefer his name to be Jackson Ross Peter Parker Spider-man Catrow.
  3. We called him Jack for about a month after he was born, but eventually decided JR was a better fit.
  4. As a result of our indecision, all of his “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornaments say “Jack” instead of “JR.” He thinks this is quite funny.
  5. JR’s due date was November 12th, 2008, but he didn’t join us until the 17th—five days late, which was very un-Catrow of him.
  6. I labored with JR for 22 hours before the doctor had to do a C-section because of plummeting heart rates and all kinds of terrifying things.
  7. Turns out his birth basically foreshadowed what his personality was going to be like: stubborn and sometimes in need of a little intervention by someone who knows what is best for him.
  8. The fact that he was 10 pounds, 2 ounces at birth might’ve contributed to the need for a C-section as well.
  9. JR’s largeness continued well into his babyhood, and he sat squarely in the 95th percentile for weight and head circumference for the first year of his life. However, his height was always pretty average–a stocky, solid baby if there ever was one.
  10. Now he’s quite tall and there’s not a trace off chub on him—other than his adorable, delicious, nommable cheeks.
  11. JR has been a thumb sucker since he was a not-so-wee babe in my belly.
  12. He was born with a callous on his lip to prove it.
  13. We’re trying to encourage him to give it up, but it’s all he wants to do when he’s tired or really upset.
  14. You can tell he’s about to nod enough once he brings out what I call his Special Move: left thumb in the mouth, right middle finger gently rubbing his upper lip.
  15. JR is the only grandchild on both sides of our family.
  16. And since my parents are divorced and both have re-married, JR has three complete sets of grandparents: Mamaw and Papaw (my in-laws), Grandma and Grandpa (my mother and step-dad), and Gramps and Mémère (my dad and step-mom).
  17. Spoiling happens.
  18. JR first word was “DIS?”, his version of “this” and always said in a comically deep voice. Next up was “Dada” and then “Mama.” Not that I noticed.
  19. For a while there, JR called blankets “bee-bees” and bananas “mee-mees.”
  20. He’s got most words down now, but he still thinks movie theaters are “movie see you laters” and pistachios are “mustachios.”
  21. JR will not voluntarily eat most things that aren’t pizza or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he will eat pork right off of a pig carcass.
  22. He enjoys a post-nap smoothie but does not like the sound of the blender. Typically he waits quietly in the bathroom until it’s ready.
  23. Since receiving Candy Land almost a year ago, JR has legitimately won all but two games he’s ever played.
  24. You’d think his track record would be the reason why Candy Land is his favorite game, but it’s really about the board. He reverently refers to it (usually in a whisper) as “the most beautiful thing in the world.”
  25. Whenever JR sees something he thinks is cool, he immediately declares, “I’m going to get that for Christmas.” That statement is the ultimate compliment coming from him.
  26. JR is currently an only child, just like his father, and his father’s father, and his father’s father’s father before him.
  27. He seems fine with this arrangement, as evidenced by his tendency to eventually ask, “Is it time for him/her to go home yet?” when he has a friend over.
  28. However, he’s recently been insisting he needs a baby sister who we must name “Maroon.”
  29. Despite his introverted nature, JR is the loudest person in our house—possibly in the world.
  30. He’s at his noisiest when he’s supposed to be going to sleep. Lately he’s taken to singing the ABCs in a death metal voice as he lies in bed, waiting to drift off.
  31. He’s also got one of the loudest, most distinct laughs I’ve ever heard—a laugh that hasn’t changed one bit since he was about a year old.
  32. JR first illness didn’t happen until he was 15 months old—a nasty cold and ear infection combo that eventually ruptured his eardrum. He didn’t laugh or smile for three full days. Those were the three saddest days of our lives.
  33. Since then, save a couple unpleasant but short-lived stomach bugs, he’s been a pretty healthy little man. He still brings home every disease/virus/bloody flux on Earth home to us, but he rarely gets sick. It’s like we have our very own Typhoid Mary!
  34. Although he does have seasonal “allergeese”, as he calls them.
  35. JR does not like to be called “a baby.”
  36. But he acknowledges that he still is (AND WILL ALWAYS BE) my baby.
  37. And even though he tries to act tough in front of his friends at school, he’ll still give me a hug and a kiss at drop-off and pick-up. Most of the time.
  38. JR hates getting people in trouble. This often leads to him brushing off behavior from his friends that probably should be addressed by an adult. We’re encouraging him to stand up for himself more, but it’s a bit of a battle because he’d just rather not rock the boat.
  39. He will, however, tell on his father any chance he gets.
  40. JR is a sympathetic crier—especially if he played a part in whatever is making his playmate cry in the first place. Most apologies are broken up by choking sobs.
  41. Spider-man is JR’s hero—maybe his everything? The fascination began right after he turned two, and it’s been going strong ever since. I was sure we would’ve moved on to someone else by now, but to Spidey he is true.
  42. In fact, his preferred method of greeting his friends (young and old) is to “shoot webs” at them. Much to his delight, most people don’t miss a beat and simply respond in kind.
  43. JR knows (and sings) all the words to the chorus of Fun.’s We Are Young. He calls it “his song.”
  44. Although Everybody Dance Now is really his jam, especially when it’s time for a kitchen dance party.
  45. JR thinks picnics are the best thing ever and will announce this repeatedly as you partake in one.
  46. He can lounge with the best of them.
  47. Bedtime stories these days typically involve SpongeBob or comic books, but JR still sees the benefit of closing out the night with a reading of Blueberries for Sal.
  48. As of press time, he has 20 sight words.
  49. He’s an excellent arguer and negotiator. A few weeks ago I was mid-rant over something when he turned to me, placed his hand on my shoulder, and said, “Excuse me, Mama. I’m listening to you, but let me just say this…”
  50. All stuffed animals are referred to as “his cuddle friends.”

— ∮∮∮ —

I loved writing this list about our son, and I encourage you to do the same thing for your kids. If you’re so inclined, share your lists in the comments—I’d be thrilled to read them.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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