My son, Xander

Today we celebrated the birthday of my 6-year-old son, Xander,  His full name is Alexander, but we are closet “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans and had fallen in love with the name Xander way back.  I guess I can’t really say closet anymore, since I am writing about it in this post, and those that are close to us already knew it – but I can live in my own little bubble, thank you very much.

Xander is such a funny child.  For a boy who just turned 6, he has the most serious countenance of all my children, but the wackiest sense of humor.  He can make me laugh quicker than all the rest put together through his one liners.  He has his dead pan delivery down pat.

Xander's "camera face"

He is completely incapable of smiling naturally at a camera, he has what we call his “camera face” that is almost scary in how fast he can adopt it when a camera comes into view.  For the longest time we thought he had apraxia too (which my daughter has) but after several years of speech therapy, we now believe he is just suffering from an articulation delay.  As with all of my children, three of which have pronounced speech delays, it doesn’t in any way stop him from talking… and talking… and talking some more.  To say my children have the gift of the gab is putting it mildly – they can talk so much that even I need a break from conversations.  He is a wonderful child who will be able to put this delay behind him in the very near future.

My oldest son when he came to visit Xander's classroom - you can see why I encourage dance!

Just this summer we enrolled him ballet as well.  He really wanted to go into gymnastics like his older brother, but our budget was too tight.  His older brother also does ballet, so I am rapidly learning the world of male dancing.  I am fortunate in that our teacher strongly believes that men should dance as men, and she teaches these boys from a young age the more masculine forms of ballet.  It is unfortunate that I sometimes have difficulty telling the world that my boys dance.  You would think in a world with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, “So You Think You Can Dance” stars, even Patrick Swayze and Michael Jackson, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal – but there are those in the world who are small-minded.  I, for one, think it is an excellent discipline to teach a child – any child.  I have every intention of encouraging all my children to become proficient in ballet, male or female.

But this post is really about Xander, who is struggling to find his own in a house full of strong personalities.  He is a very smart little guy, who quietly solves all the problems in the world before obsessing over Super Mario.  He is a thinker, not really much of a doer, although when motivated I am surprised at what he comes up with.  He is not the most affectionate of the bunch, so when I get a hug or a kiss from him, or even a quiet “I love you, Mom” I know it comes from the heart.  It makes my heart swell when he shows me these signs – and I appreciate them for what they are.

I love this little guy so very much.  I have dreams of dancing with him on stage this fall, and hopefully for many years to come.  I look forward to getting to know him as a he grows, and seeing what that brilliant mind has to offer the world.  I hope he knows that even though we clash heads on a regular basis, I find him such a sensitive soul, who has made my life all the better.

Happy Birthday Xander!