Saturday, November 24, 2012

Introducing the Bryan Clan: Part III....finally

        I am just a little embarrassed (but only a little....) that I introduced all of my kids individually, two at a time.....way back last November when we started the blog........but that I never did get around to putting the finishing touches on the last two kids......and publishing them.
Just as a recap and to see what I am even referring can discover Introducing the Bryan Clan here.......and then there was Introducing the Bryan Clan, Part II
So, it is with great relief, to get this post published and off of my do-to list.....which is long enough as it is!!!  Welcome to Part III.......
Here are the two youngest boys.......who are a year older than when I wrote these intros......

Since these were originally written last Fall……rather than update them up to this point, I will leave them as is…….for the sake of the original time period and memories……

Kid #5


     If I have one child I can define as “all boy,” this child is it.  Garrett was born in 1997.  He was the only baby who arrived past his due date....and that by 11 days.  Actually, that was quite a blessing as I came down with pneumonia on his due date. Ugh....and my lungs have never been the same since..... His hair was quite long at birth.  He was stingy with his first smiles......not committing to frequent smiling till well after 12 weeks of age.  But once he got into the habit of smiling, his grin became the object of perfect strangers’ admiration.  He still has the best smile in the family.  While the girls were only about 17 pounds at 1 year of age, this little man was 17 pounds at 3 months.  He had gained about a pound a week!  This made him the chunkiest of the babies.....actually, this made him our only chunk.  His hair grew longer fast, and after an evening shift on New Year’s Day, I crawled into my bed to cuddle with my 9 month old....only to find his hair had been buzzed.  Quite the shock. : )



     Garrett has always been brave, strong and interested in “buttons.”  From the time he could crawl, he would reach for anything that had buttons or involved batteries or any kind of engineering.  Nothing has changed.  This kid is constantly figuring out how things work. His siblings now ask him to fix anything and everything.  Even though he does not have the experience, he still is capable of fixing almost anything.  Where does that come from???? Now that Garrett is in his teens, it is a challenge for this mom for whom the homeschooling life of low-exposure-to-electronics-media is a virtue.  : )  He and I are currently struggling to find a balance that pleases both of us.  Hope that we can find it soon!


     He is tall, quite muscular for his age, and enjoys playing sports.  He is particularly good at soccer and does well with basketball and snowboarding/skiing as well.  He has played baseball for years, but does not enjoy it.  He has rarely had a coach who knew how to coach the sport and the group of kids he has grown with in baseball have not been the most pleasant to hang out with in the dugout.  Plus, I think that since he is fond of moving, baseball does not quite have enough movement for his preferences.  He usually shines on the other teams.  Because our community is small, he ran out of soccer when he reached the age of 14 years.  There are not enough players to support a high school team and a U-16 or U-19 team.  It breaks my heart that he does not have a team with which to play right now, at least in the fall.  He was invited to play with the U-19 team for spring soccer and did quite well with the group which is made up of mostly players from the local high school team which has won the championship for the last six years.  This is where I like to use the quote:  “The public schools in the US have a monopoly on sports for kids aged 14-18 years.”  Grrrrrr.  Please whisper a prayer---we have homeschool friends who are trying to convince the local high school to allow Garrett and other homeschooled kids to play on their sports teams.  Their soccer coach has coached Garrett in U-12 and watched him through U-14 and is definitely willing to allow him on the team.......hopefully the school administration will allow it!  (September 2012 update:  They would not. We had to sign him up with the Independent Study program through the local high school so that he could play for the team......) These friends are working to get Garrett on so that in the future their little homeschool soccer stars can play, too! Oh......and please offer another prayer for this coach’s young wife...... she has cancer and is currently going through treatment.  They have two little girls under age 8. (September 2012 update:  She is through the treatment and is now in remission.) Garrett plays sports hard and for real.  He gives it everything.  He was born this way......and why my husband thinks he might do well as a soldier. It also means that we have injuries.  This is how I became an “expert” onconcussions.  We are currently trying to heal his back so he can play his final year with our charter school’s basketball team. One more prayer for that, too, please??? (September 2012 update:  He did play, but back has still been giving trouble….but not enough that he will not play soccer.  Actually, he thinks all of the stretching at soccer practice has helped!))


     Garrett is just getting into literature on his own.  After finishing his first full novel, he said: This is probably the best book ever written.  He was referring to Treasure Island.  Right now he is reading his way through The Count of Monte Cristo.  He is currently in 8th grade and we are picking up the speed and a deeper quality of his academic work. (September 2012 update:  He is currently in ninth grade and we never did pick up the amount of work in 8th grade that we needed to……sigh)  For a boy who likes to move and do and explore......schoolwork is a bit of a chore.  I really appreciate what he is giving this year for his education.  He is coming to the understanding that he needs to own his learning, a bit of an uncomfortable lesson, but we are making progress.  High school should be fun.  : )  (September 2012 update:  We are still learning this lesson.)


      My son actually has a “fan club.”  Garrett is considered a hard worker and there are many people after him for his services.  Seems he is frequently earning money somehow.  In fact, I am writing this little essay while sitting in our local library while he rakes up acorns, leaves and pesky crabapples for an older woman.  Every man and woman he works for appreciates his work ethics and his abilities.  Since he could not play soccer this year, I allowed him to be a referee.  He quickly became a favorite of the person in charge.  I totally expected that to happen.  He made some good money, too!

      A couple of extra facts:  he is good in the kitchen.......his homemade pizzas are delicious.  He plays the piano, like the rest of the kids......and has nice style.  He is very social, loving to hang out with people. He is a credible ballroom dancer.  His sisters very much enjoy dancing with him, and one of them even partnered with him for a Tango for her high school graduation performance. November 2012 update: He played well on the High School soccer team as a freshman, eventually getting to start many of the games ........and he has made the JV basketball team, and expects to have a lot of starting time.  One of rare freshmen who get to be in advanced drama at the local high school, Garrett played the role of Ferdinand in The Tempest earlier in this month.

     Garrett likes to find any reason to get out of the house.  He blames me.......for “taking him on so many awesome adventures that he can never be satisfied just being at home”.  Ah......more challenge.  J  I know I mentioned his smile earlier, but his hair is also the best hair in the family.  Thick brown hair…….the kind that we all love to run our fingers through.  His love language is touch.  It is a great thing to have a teenage boy who does not mind hugs.....and he even tolerates me kissing his head......when I can reach it!  I just love this kid!


Kid #6


     Malachy, whom I am fond of calling “my wee fella” or “my little man,” was born 4.5 years after Kid #5.  I had finally lost the last baby weight and was in great shape physically (the only time ever in my life I was strong) when I discovered that I was pregnant with him.  I had intended to stay in shape during this pregnancy, but that was not to be.  I have never had “morning sickness,” but “sleeping sickness” and I were close companions with every pregnancy. Thus, I spent my time sleeping, not exercising. By the time I had become pregnant with my little man, Willa and I had known each other, via phone and internet, for almost two years.  In fact, we actually met in person for the first time when I was about 17 weeks along.  It was a long pregnancy with much uterine contracting, but thankfully no cervical change.  Without going into the full-version of Malachy’s birth story at this time, let me just say that providentially God provided someone to watch over my other offspring when I went into the hospital to give birth to this wee fella: Willa and her six kids!  More on that in another post……   : )  I would like to share his name story someday, too.


     The blessing of Malachy into our family was immediately noted.  Until his arrival, I had not realized how “self-centered” his five older siblings had become as a group.  His presence gave them the opportunity to put the baby and his needs first, themselves second.  I strongly believe that having this baby at this time in their lives taught them better than in any other way, how to be in service of others.  It started with the pregnancy since I spent much time in the horizontal position. Of course, they adored their little brother.  Who wouldn’t love someone so cute!  He was our first real blondie, and our second with blue eyes.  His blond hair grew so fast, that you could actually see it growing….and it stuck straight up!  They taught him sign language, dressed him in ballet costumes, and danced and sang with him, and for him, with great constancy.  The older siblings definitely appreciated the great audience the little man provided.


     Speaking of music, Malachy obviously recognized lullabies he had heard in utero, specifically Michael Card.  Music has always made him happy.  At six months of age, he was heard humming a recognizable tune.  Adorable.  At age five, he was humming the Queen of the Night’s aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute……which he had really only heard once about six months before!  He hums incessantly.  Cute----but occasionally annoying. In fact, as I sit here writing this….…he is humming….of course.  His music tastes run the whole span of genre…….Frank Sinatra, The Four Seasons, Elvis Presley, classical, opera, fifties, Broadway tunes……he thrives on music. He always has music in his head.  He dances to music we cannot hear.

     He was attracted to the piano as soon as he could reach it.  His oldest sister began piano lessons with him when he was 4 years old.  According his current piano instructor, Malachy has the most musicality of my offspring.  She has to work hard to satiate his appetite for more music to play.  I love that I do not need to make him practice, a particularly good thing considering I never remember to make anyone practice. 


     Malachy also seems to have a talent with sports…….particularly soccer.  This last season he was on a team without much experience, and he was able to merge as a leader.  That was fun to watch. He also plays baseball….he moved up to minors a year early so he could start working on his skills, instead of being stifled by tee ball.  He is a good little player.  This is his papa’s favorite sport…….so we especially look forward to baseball season every year.  Malachy has an amazing ability to throw a ball exactly where he wants it to go.  Amazing. I believe he was born with this ability.  The very first time he threw a ball….…at about five months of age……he threw it right to me….and he did it over and over again. And he has never lost his aim.  It was scary when the rubber swords went whizzing right past our ears…..usually unexpectedly.  Thank God they were only toys!  He is doing a lot of pitching for his Spring 2012 team….and is pretty accurate.  (September 2012 update:  He also was able to pitch for the All-Star team….they used him as their “closer.”  His father has continued to pitch with him almost every week so that he does not lose his touch.)  We sure enjoy watching him.

       Basketball is another favorite sport……until lately, he has only played in a short clinic once a year, with age-mates.  Last year he was able to attend two other clinics, and has been allowed to practice with his older brother’s charter school team.  He could not play in games because he was too young, but it will prepare him for next year when he can play on the team.  Due to practicing with an awesome coach and with kids older and better, learning real plays, not just drills……he is a much better player for his clinic this year.  I love watching him play.  Taking a place on our charter school’s elementary track team, he won overall in the events.  Malachy learned to ski at a young age and progressed quickly…….this kid is a natural athlete. His father and I are so enjoying the sports-boon this little guy is bringing to our later parenting years.


       Oh!  I just had another flashback about Malachy as a baby…….within a week of learning to walk, about age ten months, he started jumping down the hallway.  Real jumping!  The kind that the child development books said he would not be able to do very well till he was two. Yep.  A natural-born athlete.  J


      Malachy has other talents as well.  He is good little artist and loves crafts of all kinds. He and older sister Sarah, Kid #3, sometimes play art-stuff together.  I will often strew art materials……and secretly observe the two of them digging in……they are so easily inspired.  In fact, I “strew” stuff all of the time for this boy.  Ever since he was little, I lay out math, art, copywork, picture books, audio-books and more……just before I go to bed…..and in the morning, I watch him stretch, look around….and when his eyes alight on the strewed materials…….he goes for it!  Love it.


     Malachy is the youngest of six---so he has always had seven parents. ; )  While he is definitely a kid, he is surrounded by a household of adults.  His manners, his vocabulary, and his perspectives definitely reflect this.  Because his social network consists mainly of this group, his activities mirror theirs.  When he was seven, and his older siblings took ballroom dance classes, he joined them.  Now at age ten, Malachy is quite the little dancer.  Give him any music and he can identify the dance and throw in some nice improvisation with all the steps he seems capable of remembering. He often grabs me for a dance when the music inspires to him move…..since I am such an Unnatural Dancer…….he drops me quick….since I just can’t “get it.”  Poor Me…the only UNdancer in the family.  All the girls…from young to old, from siblings to strangers… to dance with him.  He SO gets it. (September 2012 update:  Just this week the ballroom dance instructors have invited him to join their classes for middle school students as their assistants. )


     In the last year, another talent has emerged from this little guy.  Before he had any formal writing instruction beyond copywork, he and his best friend began writing Tragedies. Oh, my!  They are hilarious.  Now that he has had one semester’s worth of writing instruction in an organized writing class led by his oldest sister, with the Institute for Excellence in Writing course, his writing is flourishing.  He LOVES doing his assignments.  I am so thrilled…..especially because his reading skills are not as advanced as his writing skills.  Who knew you did not need to know how to read well to write!  I just know that when his reading skills really take off….he will be the best lover of the reading worlds.  He will so enjoy exploring the world of books.


     This kid loves to cook.  His specialty is pies.  How cute is that, to have a specialty of pies by age ten?

     Malachy is great little playmate.......he plays well with all ages, both genders, developmentally disabled.....he has a great heart to accept people where it is best for them.....and play at whatever speed works best for that person. A great quality.

     I suppose I should wrap up this boy’s short story……..I think his bio is longer than his siblings who have lived longer lives.  When he was born, my plan was to have a “babymoon” that I stretched out for as long as was possible….just in case he was my last baby.  With that attitude, I believe our “babymoon” lasted well into his fifth year of life. That was so sweet. His primary love language is touch… three of his siblings…….and his very close secondary love language is quality time.  One way that he enjoys spending quality time with people is by playing games.  He is quite the gamester…….any kind of games.  If no one will play, he will play by himself.  Monopoly……Risk….cards. This is in imitation of his paternal grandfather.  : ) ( I finally finish up this post and then read this last sentence....he and his best friend just woke up five minutes ago and are already playing cards....)


     We look forward to spending the next decade of his life with him.  Sweet boy…….who does not go to bed till he has hugged each person in the house……..not because he loves them so much…..but because it keeps him up longer.  ; )
Thanks for humoring me, while I introduce these great kids.......



1 comment:

  1. Chari
    Loved reading this:)
    Oh my heart breaks for your G and soccer. Here in Aust. our sports teams are not linked to schools so we do not have the same issue, this story just makes me fighting mad, grr.
    Oh and I know all about concussions too, sigh, our 4yr old has already had 2 cat scans due to concussion and suspected concussion.

    Well now your Malachy sounds like a sweetie, as you know already biased due to the name;)
    do you pronounce your boys with a key sound or an i sound? obviously ours being spelt with an i is the second


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