My Dearest Olivia,
This year has been an exciting one with you. You have grown into this incredibly caring, loving, and helpful little girl. I am so grateful to have you around for so many reasons, but you are turning out to be a huge help in a practical sense. You take it upon yourself to check on your younger siblings when you hear an altercation begin, often saying things like, "Don't worry Mom. I've got it!" There is a nurturing side to you that is developing nicely. You watch out for your siblings, play with them, snuggle with them, and correct them when they are clearly out of line! We are working on using a kinder tone, as you have a tendency to yell. But in all honesty, you may have come by that naturally. :/ Anyway! This helpful, caring side has been evident at school as well. Your teacher, Mrs. Camerucci was very complimentary about how you interact with the other children. We are so proud of you for this. It is a quality that will serve you well in your life.
Another recent development has been your desire to help around the house in other ways. Without prompting, you decided that your "job" would be to clean up the playroom in the evenings. This has fallen off a bit the last week or so, but we can still count on you to get to work and see it through when asked. SUCH a HUGE help to me. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! :)
You started all day Pre-K this year at A.G. Bell. And we have already seen a lot of growth in you because of it. You know a lot of your letters and their sounds. You have have gained a greater appreciation for art...specifically coloring...something you want to do a lot now. And your handwriting is improving a bit. It may take awhile before your penmanship is up to that of your peers, but the reason for that makes you all the more special. We have thought, and now your teacher seems to agree, that you are truly ambidextrous. One hand is not favored over the other. When you are drawing and the hand you are using gets tired, you simply switch hands and keep going. You will even switch hands part way through a WORD! And the incredible thing is, you can't tell by looking at the letters where you switched! It's very fascinating, and I am curious to see what affect this may have on how you learn, what you enjoy, and how you think generally. But in the meantime, it is taking a little longer for you to master some fine-motor skills. But we aren't worried. That will come. :)
Just as you have been from the beginning, you continue to be outgoing and theatrical. You throw yourself into everything you do. You feel it all and love it all. Your personality is big and commanding, but the love and kindness you feel toward others balances that well. Essentially, you are a joy to have around. You make us laugh, you push our buttons, and you teach us every day about the things that matter most in life. Your greatest attribute is that you are forgiving. Genuinely. And in that way, I try every day to be like you. :)
I love you, Olivia Ruth Bowman. You are the peachiest of peaches. And I have been blessed beyond measure to have you as my daughter.
Happy 5th Birthday!
My Dearest Charlie,
At our first parent-teacher conference, your teacher, Miss Trisha, gave you an wonderful compliment. She told us that you are "a leader" in the classroom. As all of your classmates are hearing impaired, they often look to you for guidance in what they should be doing at any given time. Apparently you are doing quite well at following directions, so your friends are able to follow your lead. Being a leader is an incredibly important attribute, and your Daddy talks with you about it often. So it was great to hear that you are already becoming one!
You are going through a critical thinking stage right now. Focusing a lot on rules, right and wrong, good guys vs. bad guys, etc. At this stage, everything is black and white for you. So it's funny to hear your questions (which are MANY), and things like crossing lines while driving, lying, or saying something hurtful. Basically, if you mess up, you're going to jail. Period. Better not yell at your brother, because the police are coming to the door! You are asking deeper questions too, though. About death, and where we go after this life. Sometimes you ask questions so deep I have to think a bit before I answer. It's hard to give a 5 year old answer to a 80 year old question! But it keeps things interesting!
All this questioning has only gotten more intense now that Santa has entered the picture. You want so desperately to believe, but things just aren't adding up. The Elf on the Shelf doesn't even BLINK for crying out loud! And why on Earth would Santa tell him not to talk? What harm would it do for Elf to say, "Hello" every once in a while? The questions go on and on. My answer is always the same now..."What do you think, Charlie?" And then you create a reason why it COULD be true. But I just don't see you believing too much longer. If you were an only child, it would probably be over. But Liv keeps the light shining on that one. :)
This year, you have finally begun to really enjoy Jack, Luke, and Wendy. You take time to play with them now, and have really developed a special relationship with Jack. The two of you get along so well! Like Liv, you also take on a parenting role with them every so often. I have also noticed that you have become more affectionate with them. Tonight, you came into Wendy's room with me to help tuck her in. You gently helped her lay down, gave her "Ya-ya" (her dolly), and covered her up with her blankets. You helped me sing her a song, and when we left the room, you told each other, "I love you." And for the first time since she was in a big girl bed, she didn't stand up and try to leave! You, sir, are my new bedtime helper! :)
I love you so very much, Charlie Bear. You are a blessing to this family, and I can not imagine my life without you in it. We are a lot a like, I think. And this may be our blessing and our curse. :) But I want you to know that no matter what, I think you are an incredible child...and incredible person. There is so much potential locked inside your little body, and the world better watch out when it's finally unleashed in all it's glory. Because WOW are we in for a treat!
Happy 5th Birthday, Charles David Bowman!
I love you with all my heart.
To both of you:
One of the greatest joys in my life is watching the bond the two of you have. It has grown immensely in these 5 years. But there is one thing that has never changed. You balance each other PERFECTLY. Where one is loud, the other is quiet. Where one is a introverted, the other is outgoing. Where one is creative, the other is analytical. But the miraculous thing is that these traits do not cause trouble. You lift each other up. You bring out the best in each other, and push each other to grow. You are the best of friends and the worst of enemies, but you LOVE each other so totally and completely. You have both done excellently in different classrooms this year, but when you come together you do just as well.
I love the people you are, and the people you are becoming. But I can't help but think back to those days in the hospital, as we waited anxiously for your arrival...hoping it would be later, rather than sooner. And in those many quiet moments "by myself," I got to know you both. We've been together longer than this birthday suggests. Before your birth, I knew that you, Olivia, were vibrant and outgoing. That you would take charge of situations and lead with exuberance. Charlie, I knew you would have a quieter personality, but there would be strength and wisdom in abundance. I knew this then, and I see it now.
Your birthday always tugs at my heart-strings in tender ways. Because it also brings back memories of your Grandpa David. How grateful I still am that he was able to meet you both in this world before he passed on. I see him when I look into your sweet faces, and you remind me daily that this family we have goes far beyond the walls of our home. And the love we have for each other extends even further. And I am grateful for that. I am grateful for you.