As a parent, there are times where you think “where has the time gone?” The last few months, I’ve been thinking about that more and more with you. I came to the realization that you have spent half of your time with us; nine more years and you’ll be an adult and ready to leave. It has been mind blowing to think about how you’re halfway to eighteen.
At the doctor’s office last Friday, I picked up a pamphlet about “Boys and Puberty” while we were waiting for the doctor to come in for your check-up. I started reading, and it said puberty starts from ages 10-13. In my mind, I thought we had a few more years, not just one before puberty started. I don’t think I’m ready for you to change from a boy to a man!
Day to day, I haven’t picked up on how you’re growing and maturing into a big kid, but having to reflect and write this post, it’s more evident to me. It’s the small things that are adding up. The PBS kids show you used to enjoy or tolerate, you now call “baby shows” (though we’ve admonished you from using the word “baby” since Karis still likes the shows). When we picked your new lunch box and backpack, you wanted a plain colored lunchbox instead of one with a character on it. You’ve also been asking to make more things by yourself (i.e. grilled cheese). You also started using a butter knife to cut things at dinner. You’re pretty skilled at using chopsticks too! :) All this to say, it wasn’t one moment of transition into a big kid, but rather small things that have added up this year to remind me that you’re growing up.
Academics has always been your strong suit. Like all of your teachers before, Mrs. P noticed how you were gifted in academics. You tested high on one of the tests they use for giftedness, and Mrs. P was surprised that you were admitted last year when you started in the spring after our move. Your dad and I have debated back and forth whether or not to send you to a gifted program, and we’ve decided it’d be better for you stay at our local school. Mrs. P has challenged you academically by creating an ALP (advanced learning plan), and I believe it’s been advantageous. With the ALP, you have certainly been stretched outside of your comfort zone, and you’ve needed to learn to persevere. It’s been quite a challenge for you not to have things come as easily to you; your natural tendency when faced with challenges is to give up and find something easier. We’ve been thankful that Mrs. P has encouraged perseverance over outcome because that’s what’s more important to us than your giftedness. I think it’s been a hard lesson for you to learn that not all things will come easily to you nor will you be the best at everything. I think it’s been humbling for you, but I have seen you grow so much in how you handle that truth. You are seeing the fruits of your hard labor and finding that delayed gratification of mastery is just as wonderful as instant gratification. I hope we can continue to encourage your perseverance through a variety of situations, not just academics.
You continue to shine with math, reading, and writing. You learned how to write cursive this past year, which you’ve enjoyed. You do enjoy school, oftentimes getting your work done soon after you come home after school. You bring great works of art home from school, and it’s been fun seeing your creativity.
Socially, you are blossoming. I didn’t realize how much going to a new school impacted you until our first parent teacher conference with Mrs. P. She said at the beginning, you still were more reserved and cautious, but you began to open up more late in the fall and spring. I had taken for granted that things were going well given our PTC last year with Miss J, and how you talked about some of the friends you’d been making at school. I’m glad that you started to feel at home and have a good group of friends where you can feel like being yourself at school.
Outside of school, we’ve had you in art classes and sports. I think you’ve enjoyed being with a bunch of boys on your soccer team. While your strength might not be athletics, I’ve really enjoyed watching your practice and push yourself in soccer, baseball, and swimming. I will say that you seem to enjoy the individual sports – golf and skiing. You’ve loved skiing, and through your last lesson in the spring, you’ve really been more aggressive on the slopes and planning out your path. Your teacher said by the second lesson, you had improved a lot! I think that skiing might be your sport. :)
You’ve always enjoyed laughing and joking around, and I think that’s a great personality trait. I think I struggle with letting you be free in your light-heartedness while trying to tone it down in certain situations where it might not be appropriate. I hope I will be able to foster your carefree attitude because it’s one of the things that makes you so likable and friendly. You always have a smile on your face and are eager to tell jokes and make others laugh. You’ve started to pick up on sarcasm, and you like to use it around adults.
Your favorite thing right now is Pokemon, which is great with the new Pokemon Go game (which we don’t have or let you play). You are happy to play Pokemon on the Raspberry Pi emulator that your dad installed. You check out Pokemon comics, collect cards, and talk about Pokemon. With the success of Pokemon Go, you’ve actually been able to carry on very intelligent conversations with some millennials we know since the game is a throwback to their childhood. It is a strange juxtaposition seeing you talk about Pokemon with adults twice your age. :)
Jonas has been your constant companion. You two talk about Pokemon, ride your scooters, wrestle, and play chess. You often comment on how you wish you were an only child and didn’t have to share your things, however, I think that you’d be quite lonely without Jonas and Karis (more so Jonas). Your grandmother warned me how much wrestling your dad and Uncle E did as children, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much it happens! With Karis, you tend to have less patience with her. There are times, however, you can be sweet and help her in current situations. When the timing and mood is right, you do play with her. I’m curious to see as she gets older, if you will start taking the role of “protective” older brother.
With our relationship with you as parents, you are starting to push back a little bit more like a teenager. You groan, grunt, and sigh when you don’t get your way. You are a great kid, and you still listen despite disagreeing (or being angry) with our decisions. We do give you freedom to express your displeasure, and I hope that we are fostering a relationship where you feel open to tell us how you feel and start discussions rather than battles of wills. You aren’t quite a teenager yet (which I’m thankful!) because you still let us kiss you, hug you, and hold your hand. It doesn’t happen often, but you aren’t embarrassed by it yet.
You are growing up fast, my sweet boy; changing so much in such a short period of time. I’ll always love you and be grateful for you!