Maddux Musser Franklin

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those “my kid did the cutest thing” or “I ate at this amazing new sushi place” blogs.

Matt Franklin, liar

At least you don’t have to read about sushi.

Look at the pic above and try not to be distracted by the sexy, ripped dad with amazing choice in professional football teams. Today (Jan. 9) is the other little guy’s birthday, and I’d like to celebrate him.

Maddux is just like me, the good and the bad. Our personalities and interests are almost exactly the same. Probably every dad says that, but in this case it’s really true. (Probably every dad says “in this case it’s really true,” too, but instead of going down that rabbit hole you’ll just have to take my word for it.)

Does that mean I have the personality of a 5-year old? Possibly, but that’s not the point of this post. Maddux loves reading more than anything. When he was a toddler, he used to go grab a book or two from the bookshelf and then walk backwards all the way back across the room with his buns sticking way up into the air until he got to your lap. Ain’t nobody got time for turning around. He’d just plop down and expect you to start reading.

Even now he’d prefer having a book read to him as opposed to watching a TV show. I don’t know how many 5-year-olds that’s true of, but it’s not many. Now that he’s in pre-K he knows all the letters of the alphabet and is starting to recognize some sight words, and he’s already getting impatient about being able to read on his own (another trait of mine, I get frustrated when I can’t do things I want to do or things I think I should be able to do).

When I was little, I’d go into my room by myself with a deck of cards and invent a game, playing it all afternoon even though I had two siblings I could have been playing with. I also spent hours looking at the backs of baseball cards and learning as much as I could about every player on every team. Maddux generally plays great with his three siblings, but oftentimes he prefers to just be alone, building towers or playing with Legos or Transformers. If he wakes up early, he’ll just stay in his room and play with his toys until we come and get him, no complaints.

Unfortunately he also seems to have inherited my anemic balance.

I’m telling you, Maddux face-plants like 5 times a day. And he has ever since he started walking. 99% of the time, he hops right back up and says, “I’m OK!” real loud and just goes on his way. I’m a grown adult, and I’m constantly stepping on the one random toy in my path or losing my balance for no reason. I just don’t run as fast or as often as he does.

On Sunday, I noticed Maddux had a big bruise on his right temple. Not quite a black eye but close to it. I was with him all day and didn’t know anything had happened. I asked him how he got it and he said he didn’t remember. Then Addison said he had tossed a Transformer or a Hot Wheel car up in the air and tried to catch it but it nailed him right in the head. And he didn’t even cry about it. I love that about him; dude is as tough as nails.

Then on Monday we go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate his birthday. He’s running around there at 100 mph, goes around a corner and nails a little girl coming the other direction. This one was hard enough to make him cry and he had some blood coming out of his mouth. Two minutes later he was ready to get back to the games. Tuesday was their first day back at school after winter break and my mom was worried they’d report Missy and I to DHS since he had a bruised eye and a puffy lip!

Like me, Maddux is outgoing around people he knows but shy in new situations and with new people. He still hangs on to my leg for dear life and refuses to poke his head out if we’re trying to get him to go someplace unfamiliar.

Maddux has an oversized conscience and a super-sensitive heart. He can give himself a black eye and not shed a tear but if he hurts one of his siblings the waterworks begin. When he does something he knows he shouldn’t have done, he just goes into a shell and starts crying.

He can get super-passionate if he feels he has been wronged. He’ll stick his index finger in the air and start rambling incoherently through tears to state his case. Very similar to me when I’m talking politics.

For awhile it didn’t seem like we’d ever get a Maddux. After Addison, we couldn’t seem to get pregnant again, then when we did Missy had a miscarriage. We knew we wanted to do foster care anyway so we went that route and got a 3-month old named Myra. A couple months later we got word that we’d have the opportunity to adopt her if we wanted to. The next day we found out we were pregnant. After a long labor and a few days in the hospital with some minor complications, we got to bring Maddux Musser Franklin home to join our fast-growing clan. I can’t believe how fast those five years have flown by.

In addition to being the name of my all-time favorite baseball pitcher, Maddux means “good fortune”, which seemed like an apt moniker considering our sudden baby luck and my line of work. (Musser is my mom’s maiden name.) I sure do feel fortunate to have this sweet, smart, shy, clumsy boy in my life. Happy birthday buddy, I love you.

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