Daily Archives: June 11, 2016

Sparky: Eleven Years Old!

We are into our second decade, people.

Eleven years ago, during a humid heatwave, we unexpectedly found ourselves with someone who wasn’t scheduled to arrive for another nine weeks. In those nine weeks, I had to correct the galleys of one book, deliver the first draft of another, unpack from the move, create a nursery, and perform in a rock concert. All that was rearranged, rescheduled, or cancelled (for me, anyway): the galleys were corrected in the hospital (yeah, I’m hardcore that way; HRH FedExed them to the publisher for me as soon as they were done), t! took my place onstage with Random Colour (I dictated basslines to him over the phone from my hospital bed), the delivery deadline for the first draft of the other book was moved (bless my editor at the time!), the nursery was hastily finished while Sparky was in the neonatal unit, and unpacking happened when it happened.

One…

Two…

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Seven…

Eight…

Nine…

Ten…

ELEVEN!

Eleven years ago he was born nine weeks early, and we’ve been trying to keep up with him ever since.

What is he into these days? Robotics, reading, Pokemon (some things don’t change), Portal, Animal Crossing

Lego is still huge, but instead of kits, he uses it to build original stuff from movies or games. He’s crazy good at looking at a piece and using it for something imaginative that it wasn’t designed for. He reads incessantly (no change there) but it’s even more fun to discuss storylines with him, or hand him a book I love and have him come back to enthuse about it. He loves to help people with video games, so my investment in my own secondhand 3DS and both a Pokemon and Animal Crossing game gives us even more stuff to share and talk about. (Did we both preorder a copy of Pokemon Sun and Moon? Yes, yes we did. He is so excited about doing this together.)

Sparky’s still really enjoying his weekly art classes, especially sculpture; I think he’s done two and a half years of it now. School is going well. He loves it, which is what’s most important for me. Decent grades are a bonus, but I’d rather lower grades and loving it than higher grades and being miserable. He’s excited to learn new things. He really has trouble thinking through the several steps required in complicated math problems, for which he now gets extra help at school through the resources program. (And just let me say that I wish they’d spend more time establishing a firm foundation in the basics rather than pushing ahead into stuff that I didn’t address till two grades later.) He started learning how to play the flute in music this year! And he registered to learn violin and try drums again this summer at camp.

And speaking of learning new things, he (finally) learned how to ride a bike this spring!

He’s in size 2 or 2.5 shoes, large youth shirts, and trousers are a shot in the dark because if it’s long enough, the waist is too big. (If we can find a tall/slim combo, he’s fine.) And after ten years, his hair is stubbornly trying to part on the other side. We’ve given in.

He’s still working on his self-confidence and allowing himself to feel fear of making mistakes and forging ahead anyway. That perfectionist streak undermines him a lot. We were so very proud of him for trying rock-climbing with a friend, even though he froze up halfway through and needed to leave to have some alone time.

He’s turning into a great person. He’s always been great, but the older he gets, the more I recognise the person he’s becoming is grounded, kooky, imaginative, inquisitive, supportive, and helpful. We’ve come pretty far in teaching him how to divert negative self-talk this year, which has been a rough ride. Do we still have to work to do on self-discipline, patience, self-esteem? Sure. But we all have to keep working on that; we’re all works in progress.