On June, 8, 2017, you turned 5 1/2 years old.
These days you seem to be a very sensitive and sentimental person. You hold on to each moment with a desperation akin to the way my grandma used to save the last bite of food on her plate at dinner. She had been through WWII, but I’m not sure what your excuse is? Maybe that you’re 5.
One morning when you had awakened, you told me you’d had the best dream about a Monstro whale and that he was a really nice whale, and he liked you. And you really liked him. And you were so sad that he had left you. You started sobbing. I told you that sometimes a goodbye isn’t forever, sometimes it’s just “goodbye for now.” This gave you hope. I also told you that sometimes you can see your dreams again the next night. I know sometimes i have the same dream. You took hope from that… but then there more tears the next morning, because you didn’t see your whale again. At that point, I suggested that you draw your whale so I could meet him, too. You were thrilled with this suggestion! You sat down the next day and drew out the story, like it was a comic strip story… the initial meeting and how happy you were, the playing time with each other, and the the sadness when you left each other. Now, whenever we go somewhere, if you see a picture of a whale, you claim it as “your whale.”
I finally found a dentist who was willing to do the work that was needed on your molars without general anesthesia. You met with her for a cleaning and you both just fell in love with each other. It was an instant connection. The first visit was cleaning and x-rays, the 2nd visit, she tackled the toughest two teeth (2 hours in the chair), the next visit she did two more difficult teeth (1 1/2 hours in the chair — you decided to take a nap), the 4th visit she did 2 easier teeth (you told her you were going to take a nap… haha) and the last visit she did just a couple fillings… all on your molars. I am relieved and thrilled that we were able to find someone who is so skilled with teeth, such a good fit for your personality. She is now my dentist, too, and when I leave her office, I feel like I’ve just visited a really good friend. We are so blessed!
Travel and Activities:
We traveled to see my Aunt Marjorie in April, and when we got there you curled up in the hallway under all the family photographs and started crying, “I want Uncle Jim back.” I know you were grieving his loss, and I know that it wasn’t really real to you that he was gone until we got there and you actually realized that he wasn’t there, but … damn… could your timing have been just a bit better?
We’ve visited Legoland and Sea World several times each in the last six months. One of the times (for each park) we brought your Grandma D. You held her hand and acted as her personal tour guide around each park, sharing all the things that meant so much to you. Your Grandma D. is a true treasure, she just let you lead her around and soul-feasted on your joy in sharing with her.
In April we enrolled you in beginner’s basketball. My boss at work was coaching her son’s basketball team and she said she wanted you to remember her always as the first person who contributed to your fame, so she sponsored you. We have tried… gymnastics, dance (ballet and tap), swim class (although not as a sport, just to learn), ice skating, aerial arts … and it appears as if basketball is your love. You LOVE basketball. You were excited the first night, even though it was orientation, and wanted your ball despite the fact that your ball was flat. You didn’t care. You wondered where your coach was… you’were ready! As far as I can tell, the stories I’ve heard, you are a willing and eager participant in learning to play the game.
The end of May found us doing a road trip to the Monterey peninsula, with an overnight stop on the way to visit a long-time friend of mine in Ojai, who graciously offered their home to us so our drive wouldn’t so long and sent us on our way the next morning with a delicious breakfast under our belts. We stopped next at Hearst Castle on the way to Monterey. We also, later, drove up further north to see the Redwoods. We were thrilled to be able to meet our friends, Cat and Jake, and their daughter, Scarlett at both Hearst Castle and the Roaring Railroad camp near the redwoods. It was such a unique trip and you loved having Scarlett there to play with. We also met up with my best friend from high school, Bridgett, who also happens to be a cartoonist and she drew you an octopus in your sketch pad, and her friend, Judy, looked for shells with you. They also brought us a yummy lunch from a local deli. It was just a delight to spend the afternoon on the beach with them! Pictures from our trip can be found here: LINK
You finished out your Awana season in the Cubbie group, and next year you’ll move up to the Sparks group. You were excited about that and then the next day you randomly realized that by becoming a Spark, you would no longer be a Cubbie. Child, I think you outgrew being a Cubbie about halfway through the season, as you towered over the other kids in your class. You are going to thrive in the next level; you are SO ready.
Your teacher at the co-op preschool group you’ve been attending left the group. She was driving a long distance to teach our little group and traffic in California is increasing rapidly every day. It just got to be too much for her. With her leaving, the other child who was your age also left the group, and the remaining children are a year younger than you. I think the socialization has been good for you, but I’m evaluating whether it’s time to move on.
In the last few months, you went from shunning coloring other people’s pictures to coloring them with vivid colors and you focus really hard to stay in the lines. You prefer to paint things over coloring them. You still prefer to draw your own pictures. To that end, I found the Draw. Write. Now. books that show you step-by-step how to draw things, starting simple and gradually getting more complex. I will find you with those books pulled out, a piece of paper folded into fours, and you diligently working on drawing something.
One evening after finishing watching the Moana movie, I had instructed you to go upstairs for your bath. You disappeared and I followed you upstairs… except when I got up there, you weren’t there. You had tucked yourself into the corner in the living room behind your desk with construction paper and markers, and you were drawing freehand the kakamora (coconut pirates) that you were seeing on the screen like it was the most important thing you’d done you’re entire life. When you were done, you instructed me to send them to Disney so they would use them in the next Moana movie.
You’ve also had a turn of attitude in the last few months about workbook sheets, you are now seeing the value in them. You still prefer to work on a chalkboard or a slate instead of paper. If we do that, you will sit there with me for 2 or 3 hours and do the work. We completed one workbook in a weekend that way, you just wanted to keep doing more and more pages. Even in just the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen that you fix your “pencil grip” yourself without a reminder from me. It is so thrilling for me to see each step of progress that you’re making!
You love, love, love to be read to, especially The Magic Tree House books. You love good story lines that involve adventures, journeys or mysteries. Because of that love, I somehow stumbled onto the Five in A Row curriculum for learning. We have had the BEST time working through those books and we love the flexibility of it to explore every topic and subject we can think of while reading through the recommended classic literature. You are working hard to learn to read and write, sounding out letters, learning how to shape your letters. One day you sounded out Happy Birthday all by yourself, and wrote it down… backwards. That’s OK, if I remember right, Leonardo da Vinci wrote things backwards, too. ha
As you’ve grown and changed in the last few months, I find that you are more analytical and are sometimes a step ahead of me in your mental processing skills. Yet, there are still gaps that I’m seeing as far as the end result of your decisions. I find that I’m working harder these days to evaluate how the things I teach you will impact you as an adult, and find myself pausing more as I respond to you, while I try to give you coping and problem solving skills that will serve you well throughout the next few years. I see everything in that perspective these days because I’m realizing that some of the methods that have been used by the people who taught me were designed to “shut down” the process of learning instead of “working through” the problem to a solution. I see now, in parenting you, how I have “learned” responses that result in panic and anxiety, because of the “shut down” method I was taught as a child resulted in a fear response instead of a “solving” response.
Our sweet boy… I treasure my time with you. You are equal parts silly, funny, sweet and mischievous. You are always on the move, experimenting, and yet you go completely still if I’m reading to you. I love our snuggle time and I love our active time. Time spent with you and your father are the best times of my day.