Sunday, August 31, 2008


This is my second son, who I'll call Ammon. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, you can find Ammon's story here. Ammon got off to a rough start, but when turned his life around, nothing could stop him. He's known for his strength, his faith, and for his tender heart. My Ammon is cheerful, ambitious, and has a tender, tender heart.

And he almost didn't live to be twelve.

Ammon used to look up at me with his clear blue eyes and say "tell me what I was like as a baby." My eyes would get a faroff look, "Well, you had this scream..." I would begin, and then I would shudder. It wasn't just a scream, it was a deep chested bellow. He would go on for hours. He seemed to scream for his first two years.
He was born with fiery red hair, and the temper to match. As a toddler, he would get so explosively mad that I couldn't just send him to his room, he was too much a danger to himself. I had to wrap him like a burrito in a blanket. I could coo at him, sing and rock him like a baby while he struggled and practically foamed at the mouth.

He was a spicy one, my Ammon. He was just too big of a spirit crammed in too small of a body.

He was born just 13 months after Blade. The two of them got into more trouble than you would believe. More than I can actually tell you on a blog. Seriously, you wouldn't believe me. One day when they were two and three we put them down for a nap after church, and we crashed in our room. We woke up to a horrible smell. When we opened the door to their room, we were horrified at what we saw. The walls were painted with poop. Everything was covered in it, as high as they could reach. They had taken a poopy diaper and used it like a washrag. Then Blade pooped in a bucket for more 'paint supplies'. The bars of the Jenny Lind crib were coated, the shag carpet had it ground in. It was insane.

Ammon was crazy athletic and daring. He rode a two wheeler bike when he was two. He could climb higher, ride faster and scream louder than any kid his age.
One day when he was four, my neighbor called me to report Ammon was peeing off the roof of my house. Yes, the roof of the house.

As his temper waned, his sweetness emerged.
When I'm snappish and harsh to him, instead of giving me attitude, he puts his arms around me and asks if I'm stressed. When the toilet overflows, he volunteers to clean up the whole mess, all on his own. When he throws up at night, he makes it to the toilet and doesn't even wake us up. He even cleaned up my favorite shoe after the baby pooped on it. He loves to play his violin. He cracks us up with his interpretive dances. He can really get a groove on. I can't wait to see him at a church dance.He's pretty far into writing a four book fantasy series. He just started middle school and was so thrilled to find himself in an advanced math class. He came home with shining eyes to tell me what it was like to walk in the room and find himself in a room of geeks. "It was like coming home!" he said. The other day on a road trip, my husband and I had to laugh. From the back of the van we hear Ammon talking to himself while playing his gameboy. "Suh wee eee eee eeet! I got the ork with my battle axe!"

One thing that has always driven him crazy is his tender heart. He hates it when he breaks down and cries. We've given him pep talks for years about how to get more mental toughness, and he has just despaired of ever being able to face something tough without bursting into tears. Today, I couldn't have been more proud. He's a brand new Deacon, and it was his second time passing the sacrament. As he handed the first person the bread, the tray fell to the ground and emptied. He knelt down to pick it all up, and not having any idea what to do, offered the fallen bread. Someone gestured for him to take the bread back to the altar, so he did, blinking back tears. Not understanding what had happened, the Priests told him to take the tray back and still offer the recycled bread. He dutifully went back and tried again. This time my husband got up with him and took him back to the altar. It finally all got squared away, in front of the entire congregation. I could see that he was mortified. It took all he had to not run and hide, but he did it. He finished passing the sacrament with his head held high, and not one tear fell.
He's a gentle, patient big brother. Here he is, ushering his little brother onto the school bus for the first time.

Sharing his Hot Wheels to comfort a fussy baby brother.
Keeping the brothers quiet and clean before we head to church. Note his favorite tie. Classic, no?
Ammon is an amazing person. All you parents of screaming toddlers, take note. There's hope!


Kimber & Jeremy! said...

He is such a cutie. Do we believe in arranged marriages these days? You know, I have a really cute daughter that is just a few years (well 4, but who's counting?) younger . . . :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, no, visions of things to come (for John and I). :)

It's almost unbelievable the things they come up with, especially being so young.

The other day Gabe managed to take the batteries out of the remote control and he wanted me to put them in the microwave with his milk bottle.

Boys. (sigh) :)

Jana said...

Is that the cleaned up barf shoe on the pillow on the right? With Ammon who has just cleaned it for you? What a great kid. Man - makes you wonder what you did right AND wrong to deserve such an adventure with this boy!?! You are very lucky! I like your little kiddie tributes - they are very entertaining.

Home of the Muddy Kids said...

He really is such a great kid. I'm proud of him for keeping a stiff upper lip that Sunday. And yes, he was a little stinker when he was little--and scarily agile. I remember freaking out when he was tiny and perched precariously at the top of the swingset ladder. You just told me to chill out and that he would be fine. The crazy little thing. (o:

Anonymous said...

Nice bling.

SkinnyJeanGirl said...

Oh yay! There's hope for my Daredevil yet. What a sweet son you have. You must have done something right to get such good kids!:O)

Anonymous said...

I really needed to read about him today. Rough day working with boys. I was beginning to feel like there were no more decent teenage boys around. Working at a psych hospital can do that to ya sometimes. But now I feel renewed and ready to go back tomorrow!

Michelle said...

EEeee-oooh! Poop painting? I think that might have put me on the fast track to tubal ligation. But, I can see they've turned into great boys, so there is hope for all us moms!

Jodi said...

I have a poop story almost exactly like yours! Yuck! I actually took photos of it because I knew no one would ever believe it! It was one of the biggest messes of my life. Someday I may to blog that one.

Allison said...

Oh, the poo painting almost made me hurl! What a sweet, sweet son...crazy that he came all packaged as a wild child and turned helpful and tender as he grew...good to keep in mind...

Kimberly said...

What a guy! Can't wait to get to know him on a personal level!