Friday, December 18, 2015
It’s been almost four months since my last letter. You are happily settled in Senior Kindergarten, and seem to be enjoying school. I was concerned at how you would do without your buddy Nathan, but you’ve settled into a routine with other kids. You did miss Nathan at first; one day in September or early October I asked you what your best thing was that day, and you said, “If Nathan were still at my school, my best thing today would have been playing with him outside.” It kind of broke my heart. But it seems your class dynamic is quite different this year; you all tend to play together in large groups, rather than pair off into intense friendships. You seem to be happy, which is fantastic.
We have had four months of busy Saturday mornings, with a swimming class and then a Judo class. You have worked really hard at swimming, Moe, both in terms of listening to the instructor and improvements to your skills. It has been lovely to watch your confidence bloom. This was, I believe, your third kick at the can for Salamander, and you’ve made great progress, but were quite disappointed when you didn’t pass the level again. But we had a chat with the head lifeguard, who explained to you the different things you need to work on to pass, and reassured you that it’s not about passing or failing, it’s about having fun and improving, which you are definitely doing. You’ll be out of the pre-school levels anyway, and in Swim Kids 1 because of your age.
At the start of the swimming term, it was clear you were having trouble listening to the instructor. After some discussion, it became clear that you really just wanted a chance to play around in the pool. We developed a system where on days that you were a really good listener during your lesson, we would inquire with Bambi and Simon about whether we could swim at their place the next day. Your instructor also heard your plea and incorporated more play into the lesson, which helped a lot. There was once incident where you threw a life-jacket into the pool at the end of the lesson, and Daddy came down hard on this lack of respect for your instructor. But you took your licks (no screen time), and apologized to Rebecca on your own the following week. I was proud of you.
You certainly enjoy Judo when you are there, and Sensei Tina says that you’re an “okay listener”… “most of the time,” which I’ll totally take because I know how easily distracted you can get. Judo has been great for you in terms of your independence – you are expected to get dressed on your own and sign in by yourself. Parents are not allowed in the dojo, and I think that’s fantastic.
Lately, your favourite toys are your Beyblades, a small collection we have managed to grow thanks to friends whose older kids are ready to say goodbye to theirs. Beyblades are hard to find these days! But you love spinning them (sorry, “ripping” them), doing “battles” and seeing how long they will spin. You also enjoy building things with your Lego, like a park where your Lego kitties can play. (A Lego kitty is two square pieces staggered on top of each other. Bonus if you can find little triangle wedges for the ears.) TV is all about Paw Patrol and Lego Ninjago, although you have recently discovered Slugterra, which I find baffling.
You do love playing video games. We set up the Xbox 360 in the basement when Daddy upgraded to Xbox One (more on this later), and you’ve enjoy hanging out down there on a sumo sack and playing various Lego-based games. The big obsession for a while was Lego Dimensions on the Xbox One, which Daddy threw himself into heart and soul. But I have to say, it is pretty cool to watch you explore Middle Earth with Marty McFly while Batman and the Doctor tag along.
In November, we participated in the Extra Life Game-a-Thon in support of kids at CHEO and you were in heaven having a whole day to play video and board games with people you love. You were also great about helping us raise money. We’ve been giving you an allowance since September, and you donated all your charity money to the cause, as well as a bunch of your pocket money. We were very proud. Uncle Mark might have walked into a bit of a dust cloud when you solemnly handed him your sandwich bag of coins.
In order to get your allowance, you have to participate in our “clean-up time” on the weekend, and take care of a few basic tidying tasks during the week. It’s been going very well, and the house looks a lot better now that we have this designated time to work together on tidying things up.
Halloween was lovely this year. We did two volleys of trick or treating: we did some time around our street with Emmett, Theo and his friend. They moved so fast from house to house that I thought your head would spin. You worked hard to keep up! Then we went over to Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark’s street where you took your time at each house. You’d ring the bell, say trick-or-treat, thank you, and tell them, “I’m the Golden Ninja from Ninjago Masters of Spinjitsu,” and stare at them smiling until they waved at you while slowly closing the door. We had to explain that it’s up to you to end the conversation and walk away. It was pretty cute.
Your costume did double duty this year when you wore it to Geek Market, which was a big highlight for you. You came with your pocket money in hand, hoping to find a certain Pokemon stuffie, and lo, you found a tiny Squirtle that became your baby for the next month. You do take good care of your stuffies, my love.
Speaking of stuffies, we introduced you to an old friend of mine. You met Maddie, who I have had since 1996. She’s a lovely little cow, though verbally dyslexic (she says Oom instead of Moo), and she was very happy to meet you. You treat her very tenderly.
You’ve been reading on your own for some time now, but it’s been incredible to watch you this fall. You read voraciously. You read on the toilet, you read the cereal box, you read our text messages as they come in and you’re playing on the tablet (that was a rude awakening), you read signs while in the car, you read whole books while in the car, and you read in bed at night. (You have this head lamp thing I bought in an attempt to get better light for cross-stitching – it makes you look like a demented miner, but it works and you love it.) You’ve moved on from Chirp to Chickadee Magazine, and are very comfortable with Level 2 readers. You can do Level 3, too, if you are interested enough.
Christmas is around the corner, and your excitement is delightful. You have been enjoying the Playmobil advent calendar Grandpa Will and Grandma Anne sent you, and you wrote and posted your first letter to Santa. Your joy when he wrote back was wonderful to behold. And when he sent you that video message, you were pretty amazed. I wonder if this might be the last year for some of the magic, though. You told me in November that you don’t believe in Santa anymore, but I could tell you weren’t terribly confident in that declaration. I told you that it was up to you whether you wanted to believe, and that Santa was real for anyone who did. A few days later, you said you believed.
Most of the time, my love, you are a delight to be around. But there was a period this fall where we really had to crack down on your attitude, and in particular your tone. We also had to explain to you that there was a reason we weren’t spending as much time playing with you… the way you were speaking to us made it less than fun. There has been a great improvement, and I find this encouraging. I know these phases will come and go, but it’s reassuring that we can still turn it around with a bit of work.
Your recent attitude improvement isn’t the only reason the house is a nicer place to spend time these days. We did a huge junk purge in September, and got rid of so much stuff that the basement is finally liveable, and the living room and dining room are much less cluttered. We have been working hard to maintain this, as it makes me happier and more patient, which in turn affects you. You’ve been a real trooper about moving a lot of your toys out of the living room, and I appreciate it.I love our time together. Whether it’s reading together, playing Doctor Who Yahtzee, chatting in the car on the way to Judo, listening to Elizabeth Mitchell together in the morning, or cuddling at bedtime, you make my day complete. We love you so much, and you are growing more awesome every day. We didn’t think that was possible, but it seems to be. Overall, you are a thoughtful, caring little boy. Thanks for bringing such sunshine into our lives.