Of course, that was before we got our souvenir from our cruise. Now, of course, I cannot imagine our family without Gabriel. No one calls him Gabriel. That is reserved for his "getting in trouble name." When he is acting like a wild person (like he was this afternoon), I will yell, "GABRIEL!!! KNOCK IT OFF!" I swear, he doesn't know who I am talking to. He's like, "Who's this cat named Gabriel? At least he's getting in trouble, not me." We all call him Gabe. Or Gabey. Or Gabey Baby. Or Gabers. Or Gabersaurus. Or GooGoo (courtesy of Nat).
The little dude turned two yesterday. Or, as he said it when Heather asked him, "Twooooooo!" I have written about Gabe before back in March. He is just a really unique and funny little guy. Josiah was nine pounds, four ounces when he was born. Natalie was eight pounds, one ounce. Gabe was six pounds, fifteen ounces. We were used to these mongo babies and he was too small to fill out newborn clothes. We didn't even have newborn clothes because the "pass me down" stuff was all so much bigger. Josiah and Gabe celebrate their birthdays two weeks apart. We figured that would be great in using Josiah's old clothes. The seasons and everything should match. Well, we didn't expect such a little dude.
I am not a little person. And my kids seemed destined to be on the upper range of growth charts. Natalie is a full head taller than ever other girl in her gymnastics class. She is only two inches shorter than Josiah. As a baby and toddler, Josiah was at the upper levels on everything. Gabe celebrated his second birthday wearing his twelve month shorts. We just now are able to get into the clothes Josiah wore when he was one. In addition, Gabers is blond with blue/green eyes (depending on the light and what he's wearing). He looks very little like his daddy.
One of the the things about Gabe that is just so awesome is that he is nuts. I mean he is absolutely crazy. He will tear through the house "GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO!!!!" I have no idea what he is going to (or running from). He has always just assumed that he should do whatever the big kids do. The fact that their is six years between him and Josiah is one thing. Add to it the fact that Gabe is so tiny and it looks like an 18 month old trying to climb into the bunk bed or play with Legos. I think Gabe is such a joyful kid (although the ladies who watch him at church would dispute that). He is always smiling and laughing. He thinks he is so funny. He has come up with a whole bunch of goofy faces that he will do at you to see if you will copy him. The other day I put him down for his nap and I caught him standing on the bed, looking in the mirror making faces at himself and laughing.
Back to the joyful thing... I know that over the last two years, Gabe has made many preschool workers consider changing their area of church service. For a long time, people swore he didn't smile because every picture was him just staring at the camera. Part of his deal is that he simply adores his family - all of it. He thinks his older siblings walk on water. He will follow Josiah anywhere and now has realized Natalie is his crazy play buddy. He loves his grandparents, his aunts and uncles. Sure, he's still not sure about his cousins - but I think it is because he is trying to make sure they aren't getting his attention. One of his favorite people in the world is Heather's dad. This has been true since his birth. "POP POP!!!!" He loves his Pop Pop. Whenever we get to visit, there will be multiple times where Gabe and Pop Pop are seen cuddling somewhere. He loves to cuddle. He naps and sleeps so much better when he is near people. He wants to be hugged and kissed all over. He'll come up to you when he's playing. "Holdchuuu? Holdchuu?" That means, "Hold you?" Which means he wants picked up. Even as I am writing this, he keeps coming over to the couch and climbing up on me just to hug me. He cries just as much when I leave as when Heather leaves. The other night I went out with a couple friends and he just wailed at the door. He wants to go with me to the store and whenever I go out.
That is possibly the most special thing about Gabe - and it maybe isn't even him. I have spent so much more time with him than the other two kids due to working mostly from home his whole life. And I also am so much more comfortable with him, since I have been doing this for so long. As a result, he and I have such a great relationship. He loves to sit with me. He asks for me. "DADDEEEEEE!" When I worked at Apple and ICS, I would walk in the door and he would run down the hall to see me when I came home. Now, he is really getting into sports and balls. He will throw balls to me . . . and at me. He prefers to through them at you, actually. I'm not used to this. Josiah would always take the balls and make solar systems out of them. Today at lunch, Gabe was staring at ESPN watching the football pregame show. He kept yelling, "BALL!!! BALL!!" I remember even when he was little he would sit there and watch basketball and football with us. A lot of people will watch him and say, "Well you got your sports buddy."
Gabe is talking all the time. He is memorizing songs from shows. He plays with blocks and toys like a big boy. He writes and colors all the time. We have gone through dozens of notebooks with his hundreds of circles and scribbles. He absolutely loves chocolate. And he can spot it from across a room. 1 Fresh Stir Fry (one of our favorite restaurant treats) has a big jar of Hershey's Kisses. Gabe remembers this and starts begging before we are in the door.
I absolutely adore my kids. Each of them are so different and so special. And I have completely different relationships with each of them. They bring something so special to our family. I don't love them more or less because of what they bring to the table. Josiah is such a brainy boy - he plays video games, loves Star Wars and Mario Brothers. He runs around making sound effects and acting out whole worlds. Natalie is such a girly girl. She loves dresses and bows and jewelry and falling asleep in my lap. BUT, she is MY girl. So she also will belch and fart and laugh - she's hilarious and can be a total clown. And then Gabe is a sporty, mechanical, crazy, funny boy. It is like he bridges everything and ties us all together. He is smart and wild. He loves little intricate toys and big bouncing balls. He will dance to music or sit and read a book. I am so blessed to have these three little people in my life. And I certainly am glad that God decided not to take our advice on what we thought we wanted for our family. He gave us what we wanted - and needed. He gave us Gabey. Happy birthday little man.