milestones

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade

He’s knobby knees and sharp elbows.  He watches Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who instead of Thomas, Peppa Pig and Super Why. In the car, he sits next to me in a booster seat instead of in a car seat in the back.  We listen to the news, and he asks me to explain things like “hush money,” “witch hunt,” “flipping,” “stabbed in the back,” and “human punching bag.” I should probably change the station.

He is so tall, yet he cried when his bean plant died. He is both afraid of and in awe of his two kitty cat sisters.

He wants me to read to him still.

He is 9, and today he started the 4th grade.  We are in a bit in shock.  When did he get so big?  Where did the time go?  I can feel time’s inexorable march, but it is bittersweet. Right now, he still loves kisses and hugs, but conditions have begun to occur. Not at drop-offs. Or in front of friends. But at night, we can still hug and give kisses. Mostly.

Happy 1st day of 4th grade. Fingers crossed for a good year.

 

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#MicroblogMondays: Snaggletooth

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We had been on loose tooth watch all weekend.  One of Daniel’s lower front teeth was so loose that he could bend it all the way forward (fun fact: loose teeth are disconcerting). We had the tooth pillow. We had been talking to him about losing teeth and the Tooth Fairy’s job.  We were ready.

Sunday morning Daniel bounds into the bedroom around 7:30 AM. “Mommy, my tooth fell out,” he announces calmly.  I squint and ask him if he has the tooth.  I feel something drop onto my palm.  A tiny, perfect tooth. High fives and hugs are exchanged.

At bedtime, we put the tooth pillow on the door knob outside his door.  He is so excited.  Jimmy and I change our mind about 14 times on what we want the Tooth Fairy to give him for his tooth.

Daniel’s tiny tooth is tucked in our safe, and we wonder how long it will take for his adult tooth, already emergent, to make its way forward.

There’s something special about that first lost tooth.

 

toothpillow

Tooth Fairy pillow

 

Tooth and Loot

Tooth and Loot

#MicroblogMondays: Shark Teeth

Last week, we discovered Daniel has shark teeth. That’s what it is called when your permanent teeth come in before you lose your baby teeth, giving you a double row of teeth. Two of his lower front teeth are almost completely in, but his baby teeth show no sign of being ready to come out.

We were rather shocked to see the new teeth and a little freaked out, especially since the baby teeth are still firmly in place. Fortunately my cousin, a dental hygienist, looked at them over the weekend and said it would be fine to wait because the new teeth had plenty of room.

I guess I shouldn’t have been very surprised by the appearance of the shark teeth given our family’s dental history. All four of Daniel’s 6-year molars came in months ago. I myself was a precocious teether: a tooth popped through at 1 week old and the dentist pulled it when I was 6 weeks old. I also have 4 molars without enamel.

Parenting: never a dull moment.

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#MicroblogMondays: Words

Daniel loves words right now. He asks me to spell everything. And we think he’s reading. If not 100%, he’s close. Very close. That amazes me. I feel like I’ve waited 5 years for him to read, yet now that he can, I’m awed at all that it takes to be able to read.

Today Daniel and I arrived home a little early, and Jimmy was sitting outside with his laptop. Daniel was fascinated and wanted to type words. The two of them played on the laptop for a while, Daniel intent on typing sentences.

It was honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve seen and a reminder of how quickly Daniel is growing up. He looked like a natural in front of the laptop screen.

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A Lot of Popcorn and a First Movie

Daniel in the movie theater for Frozen

Waiting for the movie to start

I took Daniel to see Frozen, his first movie in a theater, last weekend.  We had been watching full-length movies weekly for several months, and it occurred to me that maybe it was time to brave the movie theater. Sometimes I forget he’s the mature 4.5 year old he is and not the whirling-dervish 3-year-old who traumatized us for a year. Maybe traumatize isn’t a tad harsh, but I would have laughed in your face last year if you had suggested he would sit through a movie 🙂

We had a hard time getting tickets at the theater closest to our house, so we went to the theater at Southpoint in Durham because they had a 10:30 showing.  The movie’s running time is almost 2 hours, and we thought that a later showing would be asking for trouble. Daniel doesn’t nap any longer (sigh), so he can become grumpy as the afternoon goes on.  I bought popcorn for me and M&Ms and chocolate milk for him, and we found seats in the middle of the theater.  I think there were approximately 8 million previews and a Disney animated short before the movie started that left me on edge: don’t they know there are very small children waiting to see this film? Children for whom patience is not a mastered skill yet?

The movie finally started, and it was really good! I might be the only person in the world who feels this way but in general, I’m not a fan of Disney and Pixar movies, so I was worried not only about Daniel’s behavior but also my own LOL. Daniel did beautifully.  He watched attentively and especially loved the snowman.  He even kept himself from eating all of his M&Ms. Actually, he did better than I did because I ate all of my popcorn (I’m a glutton for movie theater popcorn and don’t get me started on how much I love being able to add all the butter I want with the self-serve butter dispensers)!

Daniel said he enjoyed the movie, but it may have meant more to me than it did to him.  Movies were something I shared with my father, and some of my earliest memories are of him taking me to see movies: Bambi, Cujo (my fault – don’t ask), Halloween 3, The Land Before Time, The Goonies…I could keep going. Usually these outings happened on school vacations and were what we would call a “Special Day” with a movie, pizza and bookstore. My father loved popcorn too and having popcorn at a movie was a must.

When I looked forward to having children, continuing this tradition with movies was something I couldn’t wait to do. As Daniel snuggled against me while we watched his first movie in a theater, I was so happy. In a holiday season bound by traditions old and new, it was wonderful to be able to create another wonderful memory and pass along another treasured tradition.

And I got popcorn!

Four is…

Daniel turned 4 almost two months ago, and I cannot believe I didn’t write a commemorative post (that sounds odd) or a recap of his birthday party or anything. June was a busy month, and the entire summer is zooming by.

Daniel’s birthday party went very well. Eight preschoolers jumped, climbed and bounced to their hearts’ content, and then we threw pizza, cake and ice cream at them.  Daniel was thrilled with his garbage truck cake, and he, Jimmy, my mother and I were all exhausted when we got home (although no naps were had by anyone).

I feel like I need to knock on wood as I write this, but age 4 has been so much easier than age 3…so far. I wrote several times last year how unprepared I was for the huge changes and challenges age 3 brought almost overnight, and we’ve been waiting and watching, but so far, so good. I’m not saying it’s an easy age.  Age 4 has its own delights, but we can reason with him and are beginning to be able to use logic. We can have conversations with him and that helps SO much.  He’s funny and sweet and delightful and infuriating, often simultaneously.

Four is Inquisitive

Daniel: Mommy, do starfish have toes?

Me: No, they have feet but no toes (according to our starfish book)

Daniel: Why not?

Me: I don’t know.  That’s just how they were made.

Daniel: You do to know.

Me: ????????????

Four is Inquisitive and Chatty

Daniel: Mommy, what’s your favorite color? Do you like garbage trucks? Do you know I like Word Girl? What’s that, Mommy? Do you like Thomas? Do you like Percy? Do you like…<insert every train he owns>? It starts from the moment he gets up, to the moment I pick him up, until he finally lays his little blond head on the pillow and falls asleep.

Four is Inappropriate

Daniel: Mommy, do you wear underwear?

Me: Yes

Daniel: Mommy, what do they look like? Are they pretty?

Me: ummmmm we don’t really talk about our underwear

***

Daniel: Daddy! What’s in your pants? (reaches hand down Jimmy’s pants)

He was actually referring to what Jimmy had in his pocket, but we weren’t sure at the time.

Four is Bossy

Daniel: Mommy, do not argue with me. Do not say that word. Do not call me that name. I must be first! I own purple!

Four is Sweet

Daniel: Mommy, who am I married to?

Me: I don’t know?

Daniel: I am married to you, daddy, and Word Girl (he blushes a bit and my heart melts. I also suddenly hate Word Girl)

 

Four is Infuriating

Me: You need to finish your green beans.

Daniel: No.

Me: Yes, you do or you won’t get dessert.

Daniel: But I waaaaaaaaant dessert

Me: Well, who controls that?

Daniel: You.

Me: No! You do! (suddenly feeling like I’ve lost control of the conversation). Just eat  your green beans!

 

Four is Sensitive

Daniel: I’m a robot

Me: Are you like one of Toby’s robots? (from Word Girl. Toby is a bit of a punk)

Daniel: (chin quivering, face crumbling,  tears falling) I AM NOT TOBY. I AM NOT ONE OF HIS ROBOTS. HE’S A BAD BOY. NO ONE IN THE FAMILY IS TOBY OR ONE OF HIS ROBOTS.

Me: OK, OK, OK! (Maybe it’s time to teach him about similes)

 

There is never a dull moment around our house; that’s for sure.

Three

Dear Daniel,

Birthday boy, bright-eyed and eager

I had hoped to post this on Saturday, your actual birthday.  However, your sweet voice trilled happily over the monitor before 6 AM and when your eager feet hit the floor, I don’t think they stopped moving all weekend.  As a result, that meant that mommy and daddy’s feet didn’t stop moving either.  There was no time for mommy to slip away to her laptop or even to form a coherent thought.

You turned three years old at 6:48 AM on Saturday.  Three!  You are very much all little boy now, and my chubby-cheeked baby has stretched into a 39-inch tall string bean who looks much older.  Daddy and I were reminiscing over the last year, and I’m sorry to say that it was a stressful one for our little family.  Each day was carried out under an omni-present cloud of anxiety and worry about Mum’s health and that made its way down to you as we had IMPORTANT discussions in hushed voices and upended routines.

And I cannot forget the stress caused by our foray into preschool, how miserable you were and how I doubted my intuition and scrutinized your every gesture, conversation or interaction like you were a science experiment that needed to be fixed.  And finally, the biggest change of all in May: going to daycare every day instead of your grandmother’s.

Must.Have.Coffee

I’m so sorry for how rough and confusing the year was.  We tried our hardest to shield you from the craziness going on and let you continue to be the happy, cheerful little boy you are.  I’m amazed at how much you have changed.  A year ago you weren’t speaking much, but now you are a chatterbox.  It was in the fall that I realized you had memorized the books we read each night and could recite them on your own.

You also started telling jokes – quite clever ones actually!  Daddy and I still giggle about how you called Lucy’s tail her “tender.” You’ve started to sing the songs you know, and you have an excellent voice!   You’ve handled the daycare transition well – much better than I thought you would – and you are talking about your classmates at home; it makes us smile to think that they are telling their parents about you.

You stopped that heart-stopping running off the minute I turned away when we were outside and now display a love of nature that I hope we can nurture and help last.  You see beauty where others see weeds, and I’m reconciled to the fact that any flowers we plant may be there only for you to admire and pick.  Our porch and driveway are littered with your floral offerings.  Your artistic ability astounds me: your coloring has progressed from scribbles to trees, grass, rainbows and suns that look remarkably like what you say they are.

It’s a rocket, perverts!

Unfortunately you had a few other milestones that were unpleasant, yet unforgettable.  I’ll never forget the night you coughed at your easel and out came a tell-tale bark: croup!  But croup was nothing compared to your cutting open your chin and needing stitches.  The nice doctor who fixed your chin helpfully told us that those stitches were unlikely to be your last after he observed you in the waiting room.

Sweet Pea, you are so loving.  You give the best hugs, and it is precious how you pat our backs when you give us hugs as if to say, “There, there.  It’s ok, Mommy.” You have a huge heart, and I love that you comfort crying classmates or become upset when you think others are upset or sad.  You are always on the go, racing to get a different stuffed animal from your room, bringing an armful of trains into the kitchen or building long trains on your train table, but I am very impressed with how long you can concentrate on an activity you enjoy.

I hope 3 will be a great year for you.  We’re going to the beach soon, and I’m looking for a soccer team for you since you are enviably coordinated.  I can’t wait to see how you continue to develop and grow.

Happy Birthday!

Saucy boy enjoying his cake