Five years ago today, during a humid heatwave that was nothing like the cool damp weather we’re having these days, we unexpectedly found ourselves with someone who wasn’t scheduled to arrive
till after the Wicca book proofs were handed in um till after the first draft of the green witch book had been handed in er till the nursery was ready well till we were fully unpacked from the move for another nine weeks.
Last night after he went to bed I put up some of his party decorations (we’re doing a space theme this year, since he is newly obsessed with the space shuttle) and got his present ready by the side of our bed, because in the past he has bounded into our room for a first-thing-in-the-morning birthday thing. Today HRH had to go scoop him up out of his bed, although I think he was already awake, and carry him to ours, where he burrowed under the covers for a moment before popping upright and saying, “I’m five now!” We sang Happy Birthday to him and gave him his present, and he hugged us both before unwrapping it. Lo and behold, there was the Lego Atlantis submarine he had repeatedly told us he wanted. “You got me what I asked for! Thank you!” he said, and gave us both another huge hug. (The original plan was to get him the Playmobil police station, but he had stuck to the submarine request for a month, so it was clear to us that it was what he really wanted. The station can wait till Christmas.) Then I made pancakes for everyone as a special weekday treat, and I put a birthday candle in the boy’s buttered and maple-syruped stack, which amused him.
His building skills are extraordinary. The educators at school kept a biplane he assembled from Lego, but he can do pretty much anything with any kind of set like Knex or Tinker Toys. It shouldn’t surprise me because HRH is really excellent at three-dimensional modelling, too, but when I get comments from educators I listen a bit more closely. I’m also impressed at how he can follow the instruction booklets, something else HRH has taught him. (I will, however, be the one to teach him how to read the instruction booklets that come with video games, because HRH doesn’t even look at those.) Seriously, I’m going to start hiring him out to assemble Ikea furniture for people, because if he can assemble advanced Lego sets by reading the pictorial instructions, then Ikea furniture should be a breeze.
He has decided that perhaps he will not play the cello after all; perhaps the violin is where he wants to go instead, which is fine. He will probably never know how much of a gift he gave me when I met him after his kindergarten orientation day two weeks ago, and he said, “Mama, I have to show you… there’s a whole music room in this school!” He showed me the piano and touched the keys gently and lovingly, and he would have stood there for an hour with it if HRH hadn’t herded us out. I’m thankful that he loves music enough to want to play anything. The excitement on his face when I told him about the little strings-only music school that runs in the area in which we’re house-hunting was wonderful. Whether he ends up playing the cello like me or a violin, or even branching out into wind or brass instruments, or chooses piano or guitar or percussion, I will support him with love and find the necessary equipment and education. And again, just as I’m not surprised at his three-dimensional modelling and building skills, his love of music doesn’t surprise me either; you learn what’s around you. He makes up songs that are make rhythmic and make metre-sense, knows how to insert words or sounds into existing songs and match the beat, and loves to sing along to soundtracks.
Reading is coming along. He knows how to spell out the word he sees, then sound out each letter (if we can break him of the habit of sounding each letter out twice the way they do on Super Why, it will make hearing the word in his head much easier for him), and he’s starting to break the whole-word pattern down into smaller patterns to sound out. This morning he looked at the Atlantis logo on his Lego box and said, “That almost looks like it spells ‘Atlantis.'” And I give him full marks for that, because the font is highly graphic and the letters don’t look like the ones he’s used to. We had this problem with the Via train logo a few months ago because the A doesn’t have a bar across it, so he knows now that sometimes letters don’t look exactly alike all the time, depending on their design. We’ve been working on sounding things out and recognising repeated words or patterns (like ‘ch’ makes its own unique sound, it’s not ‘k-h’, and the word ‘the’ spells ‘the’ no matter where it is on the page), and he ran to find HRH one day when he read a whole sentence from a Mr. Putter & Tabby book ( “It was summer and the weather was very hot”, just for the record).
Recent films he has been into include The Lion King (and believe me, you haven’t lived until you’ve been in the car with the boy singing ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ at the top of his voice, something that makes HRH want to burst with joy) and Atlantis, which has initiated a whole discussion about the Atlantis myth. He looked at us this morning and said, “You mean it’s a real place?”, to which we responded with an explanation of what a legend is. He decided we should build a three-man sub and go looking for it ourselves.
He’s pretty open to any kind of food, except when he’s not, which is typical of any kid, I think. The big stumbling block seems to be tomato sauce. I made him a bechamel-based lasagna that he ate with gusto and complimented me on; the recipe needs refinement, but we’ll work on it. He also has a thing about onions, and doesn’t want them anywhere near his plate. He loves pasta tossed with garlic butter, likes the idea of lobster but passes on it every time, and no longer is interested in salmon or shrimp. He gets excited about pork chops, and has lately been manfully eating the salad we put on his plate. I don’t know when we stopped preparing a separate meal for him in certain cases, but we haven’t done it in ages; he eats what we eat, or he doesn’t eat at all.
We haven’t had a doctor’s appointment since December, but we know he’s about 42 lbs and about a metre plus eight centimetres tall. He wears size 4 or 5 shirts, size 4 pants, and size 11 shoes (!!!). He sleeps about ten hours at night; naps officially ended a month or so ago, although we still suggest one on hard days or when he’s sick and he’s usually willing to do it. Otherwise, quiet time is good.
He’s five now, and as I have previously mentioned I’m going to officially cease the monthly posts here. They’re great records for me, but they take a lot of energy to assemble, so from now on I’m going to do boy-themed posts as they come up instead. I wanted to end this monthly review series with some kind of huge flourish, but instead there’s just the figurative bang of the back door as it closes behind our boy, who has run out into the backyard looking for adventure, leaving us inside with a cup of tea, wondering where the past five years have gone and what the next five will bring.