Five: The Beginning
I've been thinking lately about how little I've been blogging, especially on the parenthood front. It's bumming me out that I'm going to have little or no record of what age 4 was like... but obviously not enough to make me sit down and write. The impetus to do so now comes from seeing my friend (and the Beaner's former nanny) Jess and her 11 week-old baby today. It really brought home how little I remembered of the early days of parenthood, and how if I hadn't written a lot of it down, it'd be totally lost to me now.
This account will probably be a bit scattershot, as I've got a lot of random thoughts to record and I'm having trouble stitching them into a coherent narrative through a mirgraine. It helps to remind myself that I'm writing mostly for my own benefit; apologies to the five other people who will read this. :-)
Foremost on my mind is today's visit with Jess, Geoff, and HR. The Beaner was as interested as ever in Geoff and Jess, and especially in locating all the instruments he played with last time we visited J & G at their apartment, but he showed only a passing interest in the baby. When I was holding HR, he started smiling and cooing at me, so I started talking and cooing back. The Beaner came over and said, "who are you talking to?" Me: "I'm talking to H_____." Beaner: "Who's that?" I laughed and said, "this little guy right here."
Later, when we positioned HR on the Beaner's lap so we could snap a photo of him, he smiled and posed and then tried to toss HR aside, saying, "I'm done." He didn't seem to grok that this little thing we (and he) were holding was a real live person, even if this person was barely bigger than a stuffed animal. He was thrilled to death to find that it pooped, however, as it gave him a chance to say "poop" and "poopy" over and over.
I'm hoping that we'll get to interact more with HR as he grows so the Beaner can understand what it would be like to be a big brother. (This is a seed I planted in his head as we were leaving.) He's been saying things like "if I get a little brother or sister..." lately, and I don't think he realizes that something like HR is exactly what he'd be getting. I think he's expecting us to give him a little sister who's about 4. (For the record, we have no plans to give him any siblings, sad as that may sound.)
I also wanted to say a few words about the work he's doing at Montessori preschool and cover some behavioral issues we've been dealing with lately, and the above photo kills two birds with one stone. We've been getting more and more of these stories (see also "this story by the creator of Cheese") in his Friday Folder; at our last parent-teacher conference, his teacher mentioned that he's more interested in language arts-related work than math work because he thinks language allows for more creativity. She also mentioned that he often makes up his own work rather than selecting a pre-defined activity, even though there are many to choose from in the classroom. (The photo below is something he did entirely on his own, without prompting.)
But back to the story above, the one about his best friend Emily. What I like about this piece of work, in addition to it being a record of his first crush, is that he obviously asked one of the teachers to write the story out in highlighter for him to trace—and then he substituted the words he wanted to use instead. The highlighter version is written in the third person; the Beaner re-wrote it in the first. This, and the creating his own work in the classroom, are both examples of him going his own way. I'm happy that he's demonstrating both independence and creativity, and I don't want to squelch these impulses... but sometimes the independence manifests as not listening. He thinks he knows better or has a more interesting idea than we do when we tell him to do (or not to do) something, and he completely tunes us out while he does the thing that's in his head. I have this sneaking suspicion that my parents could confirm that I was exactly the same way as a child; perhaps I should consult them on the best way to get my kid to listen to and respect others while preserving his creative streak.
Speaking of creative streaks, Al's been fostering a love of inventing in the Beaner, and the Beaner has run so far with it that he's taken to digging through the trash and especially the recycling bin looking for parts. He even went through the recycling bins at school and brought home a paper shopping bag full of cups, bottles, milk jugs, and yogurt containers. AS IF WE DIDN'T ALREADY HAVE OVERFLOWING RECYCLING BINS AT HOME. I got him to pare down his collection of junk to a single box, and stipulated that he must be able to close the flaps. Anything that doesn't fit goes. He alternately refers to it as his Recycling Box and his Invention Box, and he drags it all over the house.
This afternoon, while Al was asleep on the couch, he criss-crossed the living room with string, Scotch tape, two broken Slinkys, and a small pulley. I didn't get a photo of it; I was too busy peeling the Scotch tape off the wood floor and the furniture.
At five the Beaner:
- is still as lovey as ever
- is still as big an eater as ever
- likes to dress the same as his Dad (or, when I wear Threadless t-shirts, like me)
- is a voracious reader
- is an equally voracious TV and iPod-watcher (Olivia, Toot & Puddle, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Berenstain Bears, Arthur, and The Wiggles are his favorites, and he now gets up on Saturday and Sunday mornings and watches TV by himself while we sleep in, just as my sister and I did as kids)
- still doesn't like scary movies (nearly every movie is too scary for him)
- has become a fearless, if mostly phonetic, speller
That's all for now.