Friday, January 21, 2011

Mason II Turns 5.5 Years Old!

January 21, 2011

Dear Mason II,

Happy Sixty-Six-Month Birthday! You are five and a half years old!

Statistics: Weight: 52 lbs. Length: 46 inches. Clothes: 6

Well, the word that best describes the past six months is CHANGE! There have been lots of changes around our house since I wrote last.

The first and greatest change was the arrival of your brother, Christian. Born five weeks early he really threw us for a loop. The first three months of his life were some of the most difficult I have ever encountered. I naively thought I would have another baby that was just like you – so sweet, so happy, so flexible. Ha! As you and I both know, your brother has not really been any of those for his first fifteen weeks of life. You, however, have been such a trooper and the most awesome big brother around. You fetch diapers when needed and can often be found signing silly songs to encourage your brother to stop crying. You love to give him belly pats and hugs and kisses. I hope the two of you will be lifelong friends.

One week before your brother’s early arrival you began your final year of preschool. You attend five days a week, from 8:30am – 12:30pm at a Montessori school that is very close to the house. They include a morning snack of cereal and fresh fruit, and lunch is also included. The school is beautiful – your classroom has beautiful windows with lots of natural light, a big playground, and very nice teachers. You have approximately twenty students in your class and three teachers. The classroom is filled with lots of interesting activities in areas such as math and language arts, but also science and geography. With so much to do and explore I thought you would just love it. But – no! I’m still not sure exactly what all the issues are, but you seem to be having a very hard time adjusting this year. It could be the five day a week schedule, it could be the Montessori environment, it could be the lack of a dress-up play area, or maybe that you just haven’t really made any great friends. Any way you look at it, it has been a hard few months for all of us where school is concerned.

Despite the fact that you aren’t always enjoying school this year, you have been learning a great deal. I’m amazed with the things you have learned! I try to make it a point each day to ask you what your favorite thing is about school and what is something you would like to change. Some of your favorite things have included: lunch, reading, playing outside, snack and various math games. You seem to be very drawn to all the math activities and you get your feelings hurt when your teacher tells you an activity is too difficult for you. You are now able to count to 200. You can count by 10’s to 100, and you are working on place value. You are sounding out words and recognizing some sight words. Most days when I pick you up from school, I find you snuggled into the reading corner with your nose buried in a book.

Speaking of books, you and dad have been reading some amazing books at bedtime. You are currently reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. You have already read the first books in the series. You are also enjoying Magic Tree House books, Star Wars books, and Adventures with the Parkers – about a family that has adventures while camping. You also still enjoy your old favorites: James Herriot and Winne the Pooh.

A comprehensive overview of your last few months would not be complete without mentioning your love of all things Star Wars. Just a few days after Christmas we all watched the movie for the first time. There were a few scary parts that we fast-forwarded through, but overall you loved it. Much of your playtime is centered around the Star Wars universe. We battle droids, use our light sabers to fight the Wampa, and make plans to capture the sand people. Oftentimes you can be found sitting in the bathroom talking to yourself, making up fantastic stories of battles and duels all centered on Star Wars.

In coordination with Star Wars, is your love of Legos. For Christmas, you received the Star Wars Lego AT-AT Walker and the Portal of Atlantis. Santa also left a special scavenger hunt for you and daddy that led you to a Lego winter village set. What fun you have putting together your Lego sets. I’m amazed at the ease with which you put together sets made for 7 – 12 year olds. You have made friends with a little boy in the neighborhood, Brandon. Together, with his sister, Lauren, you love to play Legos and Star Wars. Brandon is nine years old, but you have dubbed him your best friend.

One of the ways you currently fund your Lego addiction is through your weekly allowance. A few weeks after your brother was born, you stared earning five dollars per week allowance. You have daily chores which include: setting and clearing the table for dinner, getting dressed in the morning and dressing for bed, and no teasing. That last one we use fairly liberally to include insubordinate behavior. If you elect not to do one of your chores you earn a white tile on your chore chart. Three white tiles in a week and you forfeit your allowance for the week. Each day that you complete all chores you earn 30 minutes of computer or screen time for the following day. So far, it is working pretty well.

For the past eight weeks you have also been attending gymnastics once a week. Your friend, Lex, from Classroom of Discovery is in the class, and you seem to have a great time. You are learning to do cartwheels and forward/backward rolls. You have the chance to walk on the balance beam and work on the uneven bars. You don’t have a lot of upper body strength just yet, but you sure seem to have fun. When I asked you if you wanted to sign up for another session of gymnastics you said no. There have been a few weeks at class where the teachers changed, and I think that has been hard for you. In February you are going to start Tae Kwon Do. Your dad and I are hoping that it helps you build some self-confidence.

The past few months have not been the easiest for you my dear one. As I mentioned at the start there have been lots of changes. Many days you have preferred your dad’s company to mine and I hope that is due to the combination of all the changes mentioned above. I know during this time that my attention has definitely been largely focused on your brother, and I look forward to the days ahead when he isn’t quite so needy so that we can spend more time together just playing and having fun. Some of my best memories of the past few months have been when you and I dance in the kitchen. We sing Rockin’ Robin and dance and laugh while we make little bird noises. I hope that you know that even though my attention may be drawn elsewhere, you are always in my heart. Wherever you go, whatever you do, whoever you become, I will always love you my first-born son.

All my love,
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