Seven years old. SEVEN! I cannot fully wrap my mind around the fact that our first child — my first baby — is seven years old. It’s been a year full of missing teeth (eight!), learning and growing, questioning and maturing and LOTS of fishing, creature catching and outdoor fun with our animal and nature-loving guy.
Chase is so much of the little boy he once was — social, curious, imaginative, energetic — yet so much more of a big kid now. He’s the best big brother to Ryder and Rhett and an excitable, dependable, loving son. Our family is better because he is in it.
Everyone in our family looks to Chase constantly for different reasons. Ryder looks to his big brother for his incredible imagination and endless brother playtime but also turns to him for security and support. Rhett is constantly yelling out, “Ah Chase?” (“Where’s Chase?”) and at almost two-years-old has already seemed to figure out Chase is a great person to seek out when he wants to be included in creative play in a loving and (mostly) gentle way.
I say “mostly gentle,” because Chase was the brains behind this “swing” the big kids made for their little brother last week…
Sooo his creativity is not always channeled into the safest ideas. Ha!
Dubbed “Creature Man” in our family several years ago, Chase’s passion for all living creatures has only intensified through the years. He loves animals, especially sea creatures, reptiles and butterflies, and his favorite activity on the planet is catching and releasing lizards, butterflies, tadpoles, fish and toads.
Chase’s thirst for knowledge and the curiosity we loved so much about him as a baby and toddler has followed him into big kid life. He questions everything, listens to everything (seriously the kid has sonic ears when it comes to overhearing things!) and remembers everything. He’s always sharing animal facts with our family and continues to enjoy exploring our world and being outside. He’s a nature-loving, animal-obsessed seven-year-old we absolutely adore!
This past year was Chase’s first year in elementary school and kindergarten was one of his favorite places. Though I heard more about the soccer games he played at recess with Jack and Luke more than actual school from him, Chase’s teachers assured me he was a hard-working, cooperative, kind and attentive student who loved and was loved by his fellow classmates.
He seemed to enjoy science and math above all and continues to not be as excited by practicing writing words and letters, though he really loves story-telling. He’ll listen to us read him books for hours (truly HOURS — he adored the first two Harry Potter books and every single book in The Magic Tree House/Merlin Missions series) but isn’t nearly as excited to practice reading himself. Chase seems to prefer guessing what more challenging words on a page say versus taking the time to sound them out which he can do just fine when he slows down.
Chase adores running and sports and soccer is his absolute favorite. He’s hard working and passionate on the soccer field and gets so excited whenever any of us ask him to play or when he knows it’s time for soccer practice or a game. He’s played Soccer Shots for years (and endless rounds of soccer at home with Ryan) and will be starting in his first “real” rec league this fall with two friends and cannot wait!
The super social toddler who could not get enough time with his friends morphed into an extroverted big kid who loves playing with his friends for hours and never seems to need a break from social time. He’s constantly requesting play dates with friends and cares deeply for his buddies.
When I think about my relationship with Chase, it’s a relationship that feels incredibly special to me. He’s my first baby and the child who taught me so much about motherhood and myself and what it meant to love someone in the most unconditional and vulnerably consuming way that took over every piece of my heart. We have an open, communicative relationship that’s equal parts loving and fun and spending time with Chase is one of my very favorite things to do. He is so curious about our world and everything in it and I love experiencing everyday normalcy through his observant, excited eyes.
He’s growing up so fast and part of me feels mom guilt creep in because, as the oldest, it feels like Chase can sometimes get the least amount of Mom time because he’s in school all day during the school year and has two little brothers who, by nature of their ages, need more of me. In the same breath I know that at 7-years-old, Chase is also chasing independence in a new way. Still, I can tell we both love our one-on-one time together and it’s incredibly important to both of us.
Some of the challenges that come along with parenting toddlers and little kids have fallen to the wayside and I’m seeing what moms of big kids have told me for years — that things get easier (and then hard again, but that’s motherhood) and it feels like we’re beginning to exhale a bit now that Chase is older, more mature and less physically needy than he was as a baby and toddler. Parenting Chase for seven years has been a true gift and a blessing I thank God for in my life every single day.
His family and friends
Catching and releasing creatures
Riding his bike
Weekend movie nights
Driving his Power Wheels Jeep
Building with Picasso Tiles
Playing board games
Podcasts (What If World, Finn Caspian and Story Pirates are his favs)
Octonauts, Wild Kratts
When we have to leave home early in the morning for school
When it’s time to stop doing something he loves
Trying new foods mixed together (soups, casseroles, etc. are nooot his thing) but his eating and appetite have come a LONG way since his toddler/baby days (thank goodness!)