Oh, Owen. Where to begin? He is such a character. Writing these posts is a true challenge; it’s impossible to capture Owen’s essence in words. But yet I try, because I want to remember all the hilarious, sweet and exhausting moments with him.
The moments with him are numbered. He’s four years old now, ready to start preschool in one month. I can’t decide if I’m excited to have him gone from our house every day from 8:30 to 3:00, or if I’m sad. Owen has no doubts — he’s beyond excited about preschool. I know he will excel socially with his outgoing and friendly nature. He was far from shy at the open house we attended, where he raised his hand at every opportunity, even when he had no clue what the teacher was talking about. I can only hope that his attention span and listening skills are better at school than at home.
Owen is certainly not afraid to put me in my place, ignore me, or disobey me. When I ask him why he didn’t pick up his toys yet, he replies “Oh, I was distracted playing with my toys.” “Distracted” is a frequently used excuse. When I suggest getting ready for bed, he snaps “Are you kidding me? I didn’t even have dessert yet.” He definitely has some sass in him. When we rush him along or chide him, Owen usually responds with something like “Don’t be so dramatic!” or “Geez, give me a minute!” While playing dinosaurs recently, I told him he should be an “Owenosaurus.” Owen immediately expressed his annoyance: “No, I’m going to take that idea and throw it in the trash. There is no such thing as an Owenosaurus. I’ll be a spinosaurus.” Touché, Owen.
He’s fitting into his oldest sibling role quite well, since he’s already a bossy little turd. He hands an item to my dad and commands “Give this to your wife.” He likes to correct me even if I’m not doing anything wrong. Like when I said “pandemonium.” Owen looked at me with disgust and said “NO, no. You’re saying it wrong. Here, say it with me: Panda. Moan. Eee. Ah.”
And I guess I can forget my hopes of being a “cool mom,” since Owen recently asked me “Why is Nana more fun than you?” (He also recently asked Richard why he had hair while looking at our wedding photo. So at least I’m not the only one being insulted.)
When I correct Owen’s behavior, he tends to take things quite literally. I say “Watch your mouth” and Owen replies “But how? My eyes can’t see my mouth.” I explained that you can’t make fun of people and call them names. A confused Owen asked “But what do I call them if I can’t call them their names?” This parenting shit sure does stump me a lot. Thank goodness I can say “Your dad can explain it to you.”
Owen only has one volume level — loud. VERY loud. This can be awkward when he makes comments about strangers in public places. Luckily, most of the time, he’s nice (he’s got his dad’s knack with people). A couple weeks ago, we stopped by the local convenience store for an ice cream treat (obviously) and I gave Owen the dollar to pay. The cashier did nothing more than accept Owen’s money and give him the ice cream sandwich, but Owen still loudly whispered to me “She seems very nice!” I think it made the cashier’s day.
Owen is extremely dramatic. I’m sure this is typical of most 4-year-olds (right?). A lot of times he mimics me, but gives it a lot more gusto. For example, I say I’m exhausted and Owen sighs dramatically and laments “That was exhausting!!” like he’s giving an Oscar-worthy performance. Recently, an hour or so after going to bed, I heard Owen yelling and crying in his bedroom. I rushed to go check on him and asked what was wrong. Tears rolling down his cheeks, he said “The sun is taking too long to come up!” For real. This is the shit I have to deal with. Is it possible for a 4-year-old to be hormonal?
During his four years of life, Owen has had many obsessions – trains, emergency vehicles, Legos, fire trucks, play-doh, and more. His latest obsessions are his most lasting and passionate yet. One is dinosaurs. He loves them and he gets very involved while playing with his dinosaur figures. He knows every long-ass name of every species and he’s not afraid to correct me if I mispronounce any of them. He memorizes facts about dinosaurs and spews them out like a little paleontologist. He also immensely enjoys watching dinosaur TV shows, like Dinotrux, Dino Squad, and Dinofroz (most of which he finds on YouTube to watch). He tells me he stepped in dino DNA and then he goes into “dino mode” and runs off roaring like a T-Rex. Sometimes I hear him playing with his dinosaur figures: “A herd of young males were in a forest engaged in battle. The ancient leader of the herd had giant horns…” He’s a strange kid.
Besides his dinosaur shows, Owen also loves watching play-doh “surprise eggs” on YouTube. This has led to a fascination with “blind bags” (tiny collectible toys sold in blind packages that are ridiculously overpriced) and toys in general. It’s like he expects everything he opens to have a surprise toy inside. He hides toys in bags and play-doh and re-enacts the videos from YouTube. These videos on YouTube are some of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. But based off their number of views (millions), it appears that I’m not the only parent with a weird kid.
Here are some other humorous tidbits (or at least humorous in retrospect) from our dear Owen:
- While the song Applause by Lady Gaga was playing on the radio in the minivan, I noticed Owen changed the words “I live for the applause” to “I live for chicken nuggets.” (Owen – a man who knows what he wants in life.)
- Owen was quietly coloring a picture and I asked what he was making. He excitedly said “I’m making a picture of someone pooping all over for Nana!” How nice for Nana.
- One day, I found Owen staring at his naked Barbie doll. He told me “I like looking at her when she is naked.” Pretty sure I had a small heart attack.
- He’s also fascinated with bellies. He likes cuddling up, belly to belly. He notices pictures of girls in bikinis and never fails to point out that their bellies are showing. Sometimes this is creepy. Sometimes it’s endearing.
- Owen was examining my growing belly and he said “Is this the baby’s head? I think so, because it’s looking at me.” Either he has an active imagination, or I’m carrying Rosemary’s baby.
- We were leaving the beach and Owen didn’t want to go, so we did what we usually do — act like we’re leaving without him. But, this time, instead of rushing out of fear of being left behind, he didn’t even look up from the sand and just casually said “Bye. Don’t worry, you’ll see me again.”
- Owen likes to perform. He does a really strange (almost creepy) dance with bizarre facial expressions. He loves that it makes us laugh. For the 4th of July, we gave him a bunch of glow sticks and sparklers; this inspired him to act like a magician for hours. He would stand in front of us, twirl his arms around and, like a true showman, yell “WATCH the AMAZING light show!!”
- He’s not always sassy. Sometimes he’s sweet. A few weeks ago I asked him if he needed anything else while I tucked him into bed. He thought about it and replied “I need company.” I said you have your stuffed animals to keep you company. He shook his head and said “But they are not real. I need YOU. You are real company.” I mean, you guys, how adorable is that? And when we give him the wishbone from the store-bought rotisserie chickens that I occasionally (and by occasionally I mean at least once a week) serve for dinner, Owen’s wish is always the same: To be with Mommy, Daddy and Carmendy every day. Recently, while Owen was getting car sick and vomiting in a bucket, Carmendy became very upset (she hates seeing him get sick). In between heaving puke, Owen sweetly reassured Carmendy that he was okay. These moments make me feel like I’m doing something right as a parent.
Here are some photos of Owen in Ocean City, NJ (his favorite place). It’s a small miracle that I was able to take any photos since when I approach him with a camera, he growls “Don’t even think about it. No way, Jose!”