There we were with five children. Dave had just graduated from nursing school and our future was looking bright. John Paul is our, "Yeah, nursing school is over, Dave has a real job" celebration baby!
Hands down, this boy was my easiest baby. He slept through the night almost from day one. He was also my largest. Weighing in at eleven pounds, one ounce, the nurses gasped when he was born. One of the funniest things was that I didn't even know I was in labor with him.
I had had a restless night, as one often does at that late stage in the game. But I wasn't feeling any contractions or anything. Dave was on the three to eleven shift then, so he was home with me during the day. I went to the bathroom about mid morning and saw some yucky stuff that the doctors call "bloody show", and I casually said to Dave, (who was making lemon cake for me, ) "I think I should call Dr. Powalski". I did and the doc said I should head for the hospital so he could check me out. I took a shower and then vacuumed the living room while Dave took his. We took the younger kids to my next door neighbor and off we went to the hospital. It was the day before my birthday.
We get to the hospital and they tell me that I am already five centimeters dilated. I laughed. Here I was vacuuming and I didn't even feel anything!!! The nurse taking care of me asked if we knew what we were having and I said, "Yes, a boy and we are going to name him John Paul." She could not believe it. Her son's birthday was that very day and his name was, you guessed it, John Paul! I received extra special care! And John was to be my extra special birthday gift that year. I held him all day on my birthday and praised God for my extra special gift. I can remember like it was yesterday, holding that warm bundle next to me, and just crying with joy.
With my John Paul, I discovered the beauty of breastfeeding. Can you believe it? It took me until the sixth child to breastfeed. It just didn't work with the first two. The three after that, I just didn't bother. But a nurse in the delivery room, who also happens to be a friend, convinced me to try it again. So I did.
And I couldn't have had a more perfect baby to do this with. He slept great, nursed great, (that big boy was hungry!), just an all around happy kid! He still is.
John Paul had the funniest run when he was little. He would run with his head, like he was going to charge at something. I also had more songs I made up with his name then the rest. Sung to the tune of the opening song for Catdog, (if anyone can remember that Nick ridiculous show), it went something like this, "I got me a baby and his name is John Paul, he's the cutest baby of them all, John Paul, John Paul, alone in the world is a little John Paul." Yeah, that is about as creative as I get, sorry folks.
John was barely a year old when we became involved at the mission. He grew up hearing the song, "God is a good God", and as he began to speak, we would pull up to the church and he would say "We are at God is a good God". He also used to call my spiritual mother "God is a good God". He just associated everything at St. Luke's as God is a good God.
That was also the year that all over Western New York there were statues of buffaloes. Every time he saw one he would yell out, "bubbalos!!!!". It was the cutest thing and soon everyone in our family was yelling it out.
Today, I have to tell you, John Paul is one of my most talented children. He is musically gifted. He started playing guitar last year and within months had written a song. Not a masterpiece, a very simple tune, but impressive. Just recently he started playing the drums. The man who is teaching him had the biggest grin on his face when he taught him his first lesson. His face said, "this kid's got it!". Never saw a grown man so excited!
John Paul can also speak with many different accents. We will be sitting at the dinner table and he will ask someone to pass something with an Australian accent. He is learning Spanish in school and I was in the room when he was learning new things from his teacher and I was delighted over how well he could pronounce the words. He is amazing.
John Paul is a softy. He will still, at the age of eleven, climb into my lap for a hug and some mommy time. He doesn't like to see me work hard so he is the first one of the younger set to jump up and help me clean. Yesterday when everyone else was goofing around, John cleaned the bedroom he shares with his three brothers. Unasked, and all by himself. He also surprised me by unloading the dishwasher. I went to the cupboard to get a glass and found all of my cups and glasses, neatly arranged.
He can also be a bear cub. He loves to wrestle with his big brother Tyler and he is tough. He really holds his own. Sometimes I worry that Tyler is going to hurt him, and I will hear him laughing but I don't know if it is from fear or fun, and when I step in, he says, "Oh, mom, I was just laughing, I'm okay."
He is so funny. He can come up with the funniest things. His jokes are so good! He has us laughing at the dinner table more than anyone.
He is smart and works hard at school. He loves to be organized like his big bro Jacob, and he loves to read the Hardy Boys.
He is one of the most easy going of my children and he is really good. I hardly ever have to discipline him. What gets him in trouble is his insatiable curiosity. He likes to see how something will burn, oh, like bread bag twisties. Or he will take things apart, just because he wants to see how it is made. Problem is, he doesn't know how to put it back together once he has taken it apart! He will take the sticks used for kabobs and poke holes in lemons, tomatoes and any unsuspecting veggie lying around, just to see what happens to the food product. He has to be reminded once in awhile that this is a waste of food. He doesn't do it to be destructive, (like when he wrote his name on walls and furniture, just to practice), he is just so curious about these things. You can just see it in his face when I have to remind him not to do these things, it's like, "What? I just wanted to see what would happen!"
He is a joy. I mean a real joy. I can't wait to see what he does with his life! Sometimes, I can't wait to see what he is going to do on a daily basis, because the boy is just so darn entertaining.
This next story illustrates my John Paul to a "t". One New Year's Eve about two years ago, we were heading to the cafeteria at the mission where we were going to enjoy some food, fellowship and karaoke. John Paul was leading our family and with arms outstretched, he said, "Everyone outta my way. Cause when I get done singing, there won't be a dry eye in the house!"
Wouldn't you just have to love a kid like that? I really, really do!