Monday, January 11, 2016

The Bean is Five Years Old!

Today The Bean is five years old!

FIVE. Can you believe it?

This kid. He has been trying to act very grown up lately, "practicing for when I am five", he says. I think he thinks it will make us happy and proud --he is very much a people pleaser-- and it does, but it also makes me want to squeeze him and kiss him all over and toss him up into the air and tickle him and read him a million books while he still enjoys it all.  

So, where to begin with our Bean? He really is a complex little person. The past few months have been kind of hard. There were some mixed emotions as he was about start school, and sadly he doesn't seem to be enjoying it as much as we had hoped he would. After the initial adjustment, he seemed happy. In October he was upset for a while because he wanted to be seen as a girl and he felt the other students weren't accepting of that. His teachers were very open and responsive though, and I felt like we had resolved things (meaning, he knew he could be whoever he wanted and the other students were seemingly understanding of that). Then in late November he got a cold, I kept him home for a half day, and after that he did not want to go back. As in crying at drop off many mornings a week, sulking, telling us he was sad/lonely/had a bad day at school etc. I talked to his teachers about it in passing before the break, but they assured me he seemed happy and engaged at school. It's been a bit of a mixed bag since school started up again last week, so I think we're going to ask for a meeting. As his pediatrician said at his well-check this week, he should be happy at school.

So, mood wise, I'd have to say he's been a bit glum, but not all the time. He still has many moments where he is happy and playful and full of giggles and jokes and jumping around. It's very hard as his parent to navigate this. While it's fine to feel sad, I would like to get to the root of it and make it more of an emotion that he only feels on occasion than something he's feeling on a regular basis.

Academically he seems to be doing very well. He comes home reciting many songs and rhymes he is learning at school. He LOOOOOVES visual art and his art teacher (though he is awfully hard on himself when his pictures don't turn out the way he would like). Phys. Ed. of course, is much enjoyed. He's counting to 100, doing some basic arithmetic. And his reading has taken off. I mean, shockingly so. I know he's among the eldest of the JKs, but even still, his ability is pretty remarkable. He can pretty much read any story book from our shelves. He stuggles with unfamiliar words and will still guess at things rather than really sound them out, but for a just-turned-five year old I'm thoroughly impressed. He is also showing an interest in writing and can often be found carrying around a notebook and pencil. He regularly proclaims his love of his teachers and several of his classmates, but does not see, to have a "best buddy" in the class.

For a while now he has been interested in distinguishing between "good" and "bad" (both people and behaviours). I get fairly regular reports over who in his class has misbehaved that day --fortunately he thrives on positive attention and tells me he is "never bad" at school. Before Christmas he became more concerned than we would have liked about whether his behaviour was "good" and what Santa would think. A bit heartbreaking when he would do something like spill a drink and ask right away whether Santa would be upset with him.

As I mentioned already, he is really a people pleaser which makes him pretty cooperative overall. He's been doing a lot that shows his growing independence --getting ready in the mornings, bathing himself and washing his own hair, wanting to help prepare snacks, tidying up after himself and his sister. He glows when given praise. It's a good thing, but we're also aware that it's something that could be taken advantage of. So far there haven't been any issues, but when he talks about friends telling him to do things, we're always a bit more alert than we might be if he weren't so eager to do what others ask/tell him to do.

Somewhat related, he is also very aware of other's expectations and preferences. He often refers to himself and Jen as the boys in the family and will occasionally call her dad. She never makes a big deal out of it, but one day asked why he never calls me dad. He told her it was because he didn't think I would like it if he did.

He loves girls. He especially loves older girls. If they're 10 or 11 and have long blonde hair, I would almost guarantee that he will be talking about them for days.

He's starting to ask more involved questions about why things are the way they are and how things work. He got some really interesting science kits and books along with a set of Magic School Bus DVDs for gifts recently, and I'm sure they'll spark more questions and investigations.

He loves rocket ships, robots and knights. He's just getting into more superheroes (his exposure is pretty limited). Board games are starting to be a semi-regularly requested activity --Camelot Jr. and Jenga are two recent favourites.

Mostly he loves being active. Skatergirl and Scootergirl continue to be two of his alter egos. He is always running, leaping, flipping... He zooms around on his bicycle, practices on his skateboard (doing all the coolest tricks in his mind, I am sure), and just got a very awesome scooter from his Grandma and Grandpa and a (kid's/intro) snowboard from my cousin and her son for his birthday. He took gymnastics lessons this fall which he will be continuing through the winter. While he is developing his skills, I have to say that his body awareness and control is pretty remarkable. He listens carefully to his coach's instructions and really does his best to do things the way they describe.

He still loves music. Living room dance parties have continued. Back in May I got to take him to his frist Whitehorse concert which he was just thrilled about. The lucky, lucky boy got a shout out from Luke Doucet during the encore and his requested song played, even though it was a song they haven't played live in nearly a decade. His new favourite band is Van Morrison. His favourite song: Gloria.

He still loves being read to and will choose tried-and-true favourites from the shelves before bed each night. He has recently shown an interest in the Magic Tree House series of books. We've read a couple and he got a few more for Christmas and Birthday gifts, so I imagine we'll be starting those soon. He and Sprout will pretend to be the characters from the story and go on adventures in our apartment.

He's really started experimenting with different phrases.  "Give me a break" "Get over it" "You're killing me" and  "I'm dead" are a few that come to mind. He also uses the phrase "You're sweating my paws!" which we're not really sure where he picked up but seems to mean he can't believe what you're saying.

Not much has changed for him in terms of his gastro health. We have had him off of dairy forever now, and it does seem to help, as does having him on a regular dose of fibre, but still there are issues. He does not have Celiac disease and we are not moving forward with a test for Crohns. We suspect he has IBS, as it runs in the family. It's a hard thing to diagnose, as it is really a diagnosis of exclusion. We go back for another specialist appointment in the spring.

His food preferences are about the same, but we're starting to insist that he take a few bites of the things Jen and I are having for dinner. He has a good appetite. He usually has two breakfasts -cereal, toast, cream of wheat, etc. I pack him a hardy lunch and it usually comes back about 3/4 eaten, though he's getting pickier about what he will eat at school. He eats his dinner (and a small dessert) nightly will follow it up with some cheese crackers and often a fruit. We wonder where he puts it all and fear for the teenage years!

He is currently in a growth spurt. He gets thicker looking in the trunk and then shoots up. He had his well check last week, but I forgot to ask for his stats. I know his somewhere in the 10th-25th percentile for both height and weight. A bit of a peanut. I think that's just him. He's consistently in size 4 tops now and moving into more size 4 pants because the 3s are just getting too short. He has tiny hands and feet. About the same size as Sprouts, who is nearly two years younger. His shoe size is a 7.5/8. Sometime mid-November he decided he wanted a haircut, so after months of growing it out he got a super-cute undercut, which we rarely style. Ha!

And while the past few months have had their difficult moments, when he is happy he just shines. The way his eyes light up and his smile radiates is contageous. While I am always happy to be his Mama, I can think of little that makes me feel happier than seeing him in these moments. I love him with my whole self. My baby.


  1. Happy 5th! What a smart and sensitive little boy. Not to mention, cute. :)

    He sounds like he's a perfectionist with a touch of anxiety. The fear of being bad or that Santa would think him naughty. The anxiousness about school... Reminds me of Jackson. I mean, just in those aspects. Jackson gets himself worked up about school even now. November and December were better but we're back to where we started in September and it is tough. He is a good boy in school and does well enough but he's a perfectionist so he struggles with things too. One thing Jackson HATED about kindergarten was the shared bathroom because he's a very private person and kids would just open the door when he was using the bathroom.

    He is small. Quinn is also small but more of a sturdy build and is in size 5 pants and shirts for the most part.

    My kids all start to narrow their lunch lists for school over time and it is super frustrating when you lose lunches that were easy or well received.

  2. Can hardly believe he's five already!

    He reminds me a lot of Erik with being a perfectionist and being hard on himself, feeling anxious etc. I felt like I was reading something I would write about Erik and I can relate to how you feel as his parent as you try to figure out the root of the emotions. Erik has had a particularly hard year at school this year and just like you said, we feel like he should be happy at school but the things he tells us don't seem like

  3. Oops, I hit send on that post before I was done! I was saying the things we hear about from him don't seem like something we really need to go in about but at the same time he clearly isn't happy.

    The Bean sounds like such a wonderful kid. I hope he had a great birthday and has a wonderful year.

  4. He is such an awesome kid!!! Sweet and snugly for sure!

    I agree about the touch of anxiety coupled with perfectionism. Quite common with "over thinking" kiddos. You are right though, he should be happy at school. Perhaps self pressure gets to him?

    LM loves the magic tree house books. We go through a book every week or so here. He is currently in the middle of the MTH series Merlin adventures. Lots of knights and castles, the bean would love!!!

    Such a good looking kid! Happy Birthday, Bean!

    PS- LM called me dad for a while. Our child therapist friend said it is usually just a way of them sorting out family dynamics and reflecting on what they see/hear in mainstream society. Normalizing their own experience. Not really related to him actually "wanting" a dad.

  5. Both Charlie and Rosa both have a bit of an obsession with gender. They both seem to be adamant that some things are for boys and some things are for girls, which is weird because we have always been very relaxed about such things.
    Did he ever elaborate on wanting to be a girl?

    1. It's definitely not the issue it was in the fall, but he does still day he wants to be a girl from time to time. Wanting to be beautiful and wanting to carry a child are two things he cites as reasons and he is particularly upset about the second. In play he chooses to be a girl about half of the time. We do our best to be supportive and understanding and are just following his lead at this point.

    2. It's definitely not the issue it was in the fall, but he does still day he wants to be a girl from time to time. Wanting to be beautiful and wanting to carry a child are two things he cites as reasons and he is particularly upset about the second. In play he chooses to be a girl about half of the time. We do our best to be supportive and understanding and are just following his lead at this point.