Grant W. Ring v5

Five years ago yesterday, Grant charged into the world. It hasn’t been quite what he’s expected at each step, but he faces each moment with enthusiasm and his own agenda.

Grant, moments after birth.

The last couple years, we’ve been in the Adirondacks for his birthday. In the morning of his birthday, we gather around and tell stories about the day he was born, then about the day the twins were born. We talk about the surprising things about his birth (like how fast he came, and how he was born in caul), and about funny things he would do as a baby, then toddler.

Grant a few days old

He loves these stories about him as a baby, and he’s fascinated by the whole pregnancy/birth thing. In fact, he’s deeply jealous of the fact that he won’t have a period, and he’s slowly letting go of his resentment that he can’t have a baby in his belly. He very sweetly asked me if I would have another baby so he “could see” when it was born. When I said no, he got mad. He asked if Eleanor would kindly have a baby and he could watch it being born. Very unsurprisingly, he got an immediate rejection. While he melted down, Henry tried to console him by telling him that he might want to have a wife someday, and then she could have babies and he could be there for that. So then Grant asked Eleanor if she would be his wife, so it’s very clear there’s a lot he does not understand. I have the feeling he’s still thinking about this.

Grant celebrating his first birthday

Grant was a very easy baby. He was fun and smiley, and if he’d been my first, I would have had 10 more immediately.

Grant at 2

When he first started crawling, he was too impatient to actually crawl, so he pulled himself by his arms. He got really adept at it, and he looked like he was swimming across the ground. We’d set him down wherever we were and he’d swim all over the place. He also would waggle his legs whenever he was being held and saw the big kids running around. He’s definitely a mobile first baby.

Grant v3

Once he got going, he has thus far proven impossible to stop. He is busy. He’s constantly simultaneously out of sight and underfoot. He causes trouble with a winning grin. The boy has charisma.

Four for Grant

We’ve made it a tradition to climb Mt Jo in the Adirondacks on his birthday (so everyone can feel the struggle I felt on the day of his birth, I like to tell him, but he does not believe me). He summited last year on his fourth birthday, and he did so again this year.

As good as it gets when wrangling five sweaty humans for a fifth birthday mountain climbing selfie.

This year, we gave him presents over the course of our trip, so he had something new to occupy him most days. He loved his archery set (suction cups), and used his explorer kit non-stop. But he also read the two new books he got first over and over (or had Eleanor read them to him). He asked for “the rest of the books” so much I started to get worried (but I did have two more books for him, and I’m not sure how he knew).

Grant is someone with a lot of attitude. He knows what he wants, and reality is not an acceptable blocker. For example, the day before his birthday, we were driving up Whiteface and he was VERY UPSET that we “weren’t letting” him hike it. Hike up Whiteface. By himself. Mad at us about that.

The panorama from the castle on Whiteface

Grant saw the stairs leading from the castle to the summit (very dangerous, exposed stairs, a lot of open rock), and charged right up them. I hared after him, and about 20 yards from the summit, I stopped him. We took some photos, but we absolutely had to go back down at that point — it was very windy and I was sure he would be blown off the ridge. He was pleased enough with his little adventure, and I aged 20 years in 20 minutes!

Grant and Henry “climbing Whiteface” — they are about 5 feet off the ground.

Most nights on our trip, we wrapped up the same way. Grant cuddled with one of us for stories, and then we’d lie down with him until he drifted off — usually very quickly. He’s always been a pretty insistent sleeper. “Put me to bed!” he’ll march up to us and demand; at that point, it is usually only about 15 minutes until he’s snoring gently.

Reading Mighty Mighty Construction Site

Grant and I spent an afternoon playing together while Bob was running. We went for a walk and found a giant rock and a throne. So he decided the rock was a castle and we played kings and princesses.

It’s the Henry Van Hoevenberg rock.

As an aside, the chipmunks and squirrels at the ADK Loj are not shy at all. I doubt that they were so brazen because of my innate Disney Princessness, even though Grant believes I am a princess.

We spent days lounging and hanging out in Heart Lake. We also spent a great morning at Mirror Lake (which is actually the lake in downtown Lake Placid — fun fact, the lake in downtown Saranac Lake is … Flower Lake). The water was cold, but not as icy as the water higher up, which Henry discovered when he fell in a mountain stream while he and Bob hiked Phelps. We met a group of ladies in their 60s who were having a girls weekend together. The eight of them had booked the top floor of the Loj (it’s bunk style) and they were practicing swimming in cold water. They’ve known each other for 40 years, and they get together often. Several of them had climbed all 46, and some had “only” climbed 20 or so. Makes my four seem a little paltry (Marcy, Algonquin, Cascade, and Jo, not that anyone has asked).

We packed up from the Adirondacks a day early. Thunderstorms kept rolling through (indeed, Eleanor and I descended Jo in a downpour), and we were told we couldn’t have a tent on site (?), so we decided it was as good a time as any to make a change in plans. Bob booked us a hotel in Syracuse as a waypoint, and we met up with the kids’ former nanny, Naomi, for a really fun day the today at the Museum of Play in Rochester. Grant just cannonballed around, and thank goodness we did meet up with Naomi, because we had to play man-to-man with these three. Zone defense doesn’t work at the funnest museum in the world.

Grant has launched into being 5 with his usual recklessness and style. It’s hard not to root for him. He got a long birthday trip where he took center stage for much of it (as is right and good), and while he might be several bug bites richer tonight, he also has a full charge on his adventure meter. Look out world, he’s five!

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