Sunday, October 12, 2014

GW is 5!!

I can't even believe it... my little boy is 5 years old.  Part of me feels like this is absolutely normal and nothing strange to wrap my head around as the reality is that I can hardly remember (nor do I want to) what life was like before him.  A bigger part of me, however, is completely floored that the little 7 pounds 14 ounces baby I held for the first time on Columbus Day in 2009 is now 50 pounds, the size of an average 6.5 year old (he's just shy of 3 feet 11 inches) and full of a whole-adult's worth of energy.

Left: age minutes.  Right: age 5 years. 
This kid astounds me.  I'm sure pretty much all parents say that about their children, but getting a front row seat for his development is like watching an unedited version of my favorite show - nothing is censored, nothing is primped and everything is so genuine that I can honestly say I envy his star-eyed perception of the world.  I'll admit that I am sometimes shocked by the things that he does and says, for better and for worse, but to have such freedom and joy of expression is flat out beautiful... even if sometimes embarrassing.

For much of this past year, GW was suffering from a serious case of the "I can'ts" - stubbornly unwilling to identify letters, play structured games by the rules or even wash his hair just because.   Attempting to break this through encouragement and attention, HB and I have been pushing GW to just try things... and, go figure, it's working: 

Reluctantly beginning speech therapy at the end of the summer to help correct his annunciation (for example, replacing the "f" sound for "th"), he appears to have surprised himself with how much progress he can make with just a little bit of effort.  Over the past four months, the number of comments we receive as a family for how much easier it is to understand what he says seems to be directly impacting his confidence and, as a result, his willingness to expand his sentence structure.  Using longer, more complicated sentences to express himself, he wants to talk and ask questions about everything - particularly what new words mean and when he should use them.   His latest words of interest are "wisdom," "convenient" and "immersion blender" (yes, I do think the budding chef in him is interested in the combination of those three... bam!)

For those of you who knew me as a child, you may remember the struggle I had learning how to read due to an ocular-motor disfunction that caused my eyes to operate independently.  Worried this might be an issue our kids will need to address, HB and I decided to have GW's eyes checked and the optometrist found that, unfortunately, he's in the same boat as me and is currently struggling with similar eye teaming issues.  As the correction for this is to strengthen his eye muscles through eye exercises, GW is about ten weeks into his first 24 week session of vision therapy. I remember the process being long and painful as a child, but with GW starting much younger than I did and with his enjoyment of anything exercise-related, I'm relieved that he's breezing through his sessions like it's flat out no big deal. He's still not a huge fan of the glasses he needs to wear for reading and doing school work, but the carrot of not using them after he "graduates" from vision therapy has him motivated to get "big strong eyes" and learn how to read.  Hopefully this will result in a much easier learning curve for him during elementary school than the steep wall I ran straight into and eventually fought my way over.  Fingers seriously crossed!

For the second year, GW is taking music lessons at the local piano school. Starting out last year in a music appreciation course, this year he's moved up to actual piano lessons - something, I'll admit, I wasn't sure he was ready for when the year began back in September.  But much to my surprise, he's taken to music and the piano like a fish to water (Lord knows he's nothing like a fish in actual water, sorry HB).  Able to sight-read the g clef staff in key of c and to use the right fingers on the correct keys, he can play all of the songs from his lessons without looking down at his hands... sometimes he even plays melodies from memory with his body turned away from the piano entirely!  His latest accomplishment was to perform in his first recital during the school open house for the community - he played "Hot Crossed Buns" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and bowed very nicely at the end.  I'm ridiculously proud. 

Another thing that made HB and I glow with pride was GW's running in and finishing his first ever one mile road race (no official time, but oh well, that doesn't matter at age 5 anyway).  He's been along for the stroller ride for most of our races thus far, but this time he wanted his very own bib and he wanted to compete!  It was an after dark, glow run that looped the local mall, which meant that the majority of the race was wind sheltered except for the last quarter mile... when we turned that corner and the wind hit GW face-on he whined to me "the wind is pushing me back!" to which I responded "are you going to let it stop you?" and - get this - he yells "NO!" as he started to sprint to the end.   That moment was the first time in his life that he hasn't responded to a challenge by saying "I can't" before even trying... my Mama heart just welled with pride and I waddled (yeah, Baby bump isn't so helpful with a smooth stride any more...) my way after him.  Crossing the finish line with a big smile, he promptly turned around and wanted to give high-fives to all of the runners still coming in...  Doesn't. Get. Better. Than. That.  #EagleEthos

Granted, I can't say that every moment this year has been rainbows and pop tarts, but even with the bumping of heads and the random sticky-yucky-gross moments of childhood it's been an experience I wouldn't change in the slightest.  I am so glad I quit my job to stay home with him and his siblings.  I am so glad that he's still willing to hug and kiss me at school (even if sometimes only in the hall way when no one is looking).  I am so glad that he's my boy and I'm his Mama.   

Happy birthday my silly billy goat gruff, we love you very, very much. 

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