The Bean is six years old!
This little guy is growing up. The past week we not only discovered that his six year molars have erupted, but also that his bottom central incisors have started to push their way up behind his just slightly wobbly baby teeth. Though I should have been expecting it, I was still caught by surprise.
Physically he's still small, but he's pushing 40lbs and has definitely stretched out in the past few months (about 3'8" inches at the doctor today). All of a sudden his ankles are sticking out the bottom of his pants and we're having to move him into the next size up in all his clothes (Size 5 pretty much across the board, and size 12 shoes). Even his face is changing. Whatever roundness there was to his nose and cheeks and chin is starting to become more angular. Of course, he still has his big, round, blue eyes.
It should be no wonder that he's growing, given his appetite. A few months ago he was eating two and three servings of breakfast, which has slightly tapered off, but his lunch bag comes home empty and he almost always follows up dinner with a desert and then a plate of (vegan) cheese crackers... and sometimes a piece of fruit after that.
His favourite food is grilled cheese sandwiches. He also likes Campbell's Tomato Soup, french fries, and cashews. He's good about eating fruits and vegetables (which he likes with a generous dash of salt) and meat as long as there's ketchup to dip it in. Mealtime is rarely an issue with him. He mostly drinks water, though if there is juice around he'll want that.
Dairy is still an issue. We haven't really done anything further to figure out what's going on with his digestive problems. Both Jen and I strongly suspect that he has IBS, which is next to impossible to actually diagnose. So, we cut out dairy, maybe one day we'll try eliminating other common triggers or having him go through a full allergy test, but for now this seems like enough.
He remains incredibly active. He's excelling at gymnastics. I can't help but think they'd be recruiting him for the competitive stream if he were a girl. Maybe it's best that it's not an option for him though --while he certainly enjoys himself when he's there, it doesn't seem to be a passion. He moved up a level in swimming, which he's also doing well in, now swimming short distances on his own. On Tuesday he started ice skating, which he was very excited about. He dreams of playing hockey, but Jen and I are unlikely to allow that to happen. Really he's the kind of person who'd be happy to jump into any game or sport. He's already talking about joining the "Kilometer Club" (school track team) next year.
And while he's always been active, his ability to sit still has also increased. He loves, loves, LOVES to read. He can make it through short novels independently. Magic Treehouse has been a long time favourite, but he's also reading some A to Z Mysteries, Nancy Drew and other books from school. I'd guess he's reading at a late grade two level --he rushes so his comprehension isn't always as good as it could be, otherwise he might even be beyond that. It's shocking to see him read words like "throughout" without even the slightest pause. His writing has also really taken off since the last update. He still prefers that many words be dictated to him, but can sound things out on his own and loves writing cards and notes to mail to friends, often accompanied by a cute picture of a stick-figure boy skateboarding or dinosaurs or the like.
He also enjoys playing games. He hates losing, so that's something we're working on, but he'll rarely pass up an invitation to play cards, or Mancala and is even getting into chess thanks to our neighbour who's been learning at school. (I've never been a chess player, but I think I'm going to have to learn.)
He's also really into playing games on the tablet and more recently, the Wii. We try to stick to downloading educational apps, but Epic Skater and Angry Birds have made their way in there. We're strict about guns and haven't allowed him to play Minecraft and other games that are more violent.
He's still very into superheros and StarWars, and has recently added Ninja Turtles and Transformers to the list. I think he's seen one episode of Ninja Turtles and everything else he's only seen in books. Transformers were the one toy he asked for at Christmas, so probably needless to say, he received a few. He will play with the figures as well as toy cars and blocks and other things, but like his sister, he mostly seems to enjoy pretend play.
Fortunately for us all, the two of them get along quite well. They know how to push each other's buttons, but mostly they try to keep each other happy. The Bean has a few "best" friends in his class this year --one SK and one in JK. He still hangs out a good bit with one of his closest friends from last year, as well as friends from outside of school like Teagan and Quinn and his oldest buddy from when we were in birth class.
He seems very happy at school this year. His teachers often comment on what a good role model he is in the classroom and how he's always very eager to help. I think it's been nice for him to be in the same class for two years, I think he really sees himself as leader this year. We were very happily surprised when he was chosen among all the students in the school to receive the "Mindfulness" award. The class has a yoga teacher come weekly and work with them on various strategies --she and the teachers picked The Bean as the student who they felt made the greatest effort to understand and use these strategies to help in difficult situations. Go Bean! (Funnily, he will often try to "coach" Sprout when she is upset, which usually just ticks her off.)
I guess the last thing to hit on is sleep. Not to jinx things, but we've been doing pretty well lately. The Bean is a lot like Jen in that he NEEDS sleep and doesn't fight it too much. He's become a bit afraid of the dark and being alone in his room, but most nights if we leave the door wide open and the bathroom light on he'll fall asleep pretty quickly. Recently he's been waking up in the night and coming into our room, which results in a bit of musical beds. He's usually up between 6 and 7am, so getting between 10 to 12 hours a night, since he's usually down by 7:30/8:00pm.
We're pretty smitten with the six year old child and looking forward to all that this year holds in store for him.