Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Bean is Six and Half!

Today The Bean is six and a half... actually, that's not entirely true. It's been a little over a month since he reached that "milestone" age, but summer equals busy and I'm only just now finding the time to sit down and write his update. Don't worry folks, we'll pay for his therapy.

What an interesting age this is. The Bean certainly isn't a "little kid" anymore, but he's not quite a "big kid" either. While he very much wants to be a part of grown up conversations and have all kinds of independence, he still loves to pretend play with his sister, is afraid of being alone, and loves getting snuggles.

This may sound a bit funny, but he seems to be speaking in a more mature way lately. I think a lot has to do with all the reading he does, because he has been trying out new words and phrases fairly regularly. Sometimes he gets them in the right context, other times not so much. It catches me off guard. I guess it's just not something I really expect. It is pretty neat to see him try to figure out. It also surprises me in that I would definitely hesitate to try out a new word with other people, but he is so willing to take the risk. I'm not sure if that's personality, something that has been fostered, or what.

While he can be shy at times, particularly around new people, overall he is outgoing and confident. He's still on the small side, but rarely hesitates to approach older kids and ask them if he can join in. He wears his heart on his sleeve and you can see his shoulders slump when he is rejected. Occasionally he needs reminders of how it makes him feel to be told he's "too small," but overall he does well with younger kids too. He adores babies.

He LOVES be outside. I think he would live outside if we let him. He and I did a "Nature Nuts" program at the Brickworks over the winter. I didn't think it was very well organized, but he loved getting out on adventures. He hikes, runs, bikes, scoots, skateboards, skates, climbs, swims... The summer has been pretty fabulous for all of that. Second to being active, he probably enjoys reading the most. Okay. Not entirely true. iPad or other tablets might rank as #2, or maybe even #1, but they're almost exclusively reserved for short periods over the weekends. He also really likes TV. But again: his access is limited. He's become a lot more interested in playing games. Uno and Old Maid have been in high rotation this summer. He's very competitive.

We have been so busy over the past few months. The end of the school year was a whirlwind with lessons, and playing at the park after school and visiting friends, but the summer has also been busy. We've taken a break from all scheduled programs, but will likely go back to piano, swimming and gymnastics in the fall. The Bean wants to do everything. Jen and I have talked about putting him in dance or acting, because he seems to enjoy both, but he's been talking more about learning to play drums and basketball. I think our neighbours might find a way of getting us evicted if we bought him a drum set, and we'll see what happens with the basketball...

On top of being active, he's also pretty fearless. He has no reservations about climbing to the top of the tallest trees and jumping from their branches back down to the ground. He loves to go fast. He got to ride go carts for the first time this summer and thought they were pretty much the best thing ever along with the roller coasters he was able to ride on at various amusement parks. I can totally see him getting into some sort of extreme sport.

Health wise he's been good. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned what we found out about his belly issues. The gastroenterologist we've been going to hasn't been super helpful. After reading some research, we decided to take him off Restorolax, and if anything I'd say we've seen a positive improvement both with his digestive issues and with his temperament. We tried to have him tested for Celiac, but it turns out he actually lacks the protein that is used to check for it. Then, again after doing some research, I found out that the vast majority of people who lack this protein are allergic to dairy, which we strongly suspect is The Bean's #1 issue. Anyway, we may have him tested for other allergies, but it's not a huge priority right now as things mostly seem to be under control.

His teeth have been an ongoing issue. He lost his first tooth in the spring, which was pretty exciting with the tooth fairy coming to visit and all. His second tooth fell out shortly after. We were happy that they came out as the new ones were already growing in behind the baby teeth. The top two were wobbly for a while and both fell out, again within days of each other, at the end of the school year. Meanwhile his six year molars erupted and when we went for a dentist appointment last month they were already showing signs of decay. The dentist assured us that we're doing a good job looking after his teeth, but that probably because of deficiencies or an illness during their developmen, he has what appears to be very weak enamel and is prone to cavities. Poor kid. He got his eighth filling shortly after that appointment.

He eats well. He seems to like what he likes, and NOT like what he doesn't like. He isn't super into trying new foods, and often will say "Yuck!" before it's even touched his tongue, only to say after another few seconds that actually he does like it. Lately he's been eating a ton which makes me suspect he's about to have another growth spurt. He would be happy to survive on carbs and ketchup.

He's currently about 44/45 inches tall and about 44/45lbs. We just got him new running shoes for school and they are a size 13. They're just a smidge big, but I'm hoping they will last into the new year. In clothing he's anywhere between a 4 and a 6, but leaning towards the larger sizes. Bottoms are generally smaller so they don't fall off his tiny waist. If he had his way he would be either in underwear or pajamas 24/7.

We've been a bit off of our schedule, but generally speaking he goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:30pm and sleeps to about 6:30-7:30am. There were a few days earlier in the summer that he slept until after 9am. It was amazing!

I'm not really looking forward to getting us all back on a schedule for the start of the school year. The Bean is excited that he is going to be in Grade One. I feel like he's ready. Like I've said before, his reading is amazing. His comprehension is just a little behind his reading abilities, but still far beyond what would be expected at his age. His math abilities are average. Science and Social Sciences are probably average too. Gross motor skills are awesome and fine motor are probably right on track. He's able to reflect on his actions and does a pretty decent job with self-regulation, for the most part. I am slightly concerned about how influenced he can be by others, and hope that he'll behave appropriately (meaning with respect for others and with kindness). He's got a strong personality and is very sweet, but he also wants to fit in with the crowd, make people laugh, and get lots of attention.

A story: Back in April he and Sprout had been out drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. He had spent a long time working on the characters from P.J. Masks and Sprout, not really paying attention, drew over some of his work. He was so upset. He grabbed a white chalk and drew a big square around "his" area and went over to Sprout and said, "Sprout, do not draw in my area!" Later on I told him that I was impressed at how he handled the situation, knowing that he had been pretty upset. To which he says to me, "Self-Regulation, Mama." (He's also been known to coach me into taking a breath when I'm losing my temper with them.) Overall I'd say he's a pretty fantastic brother.

And on that note I am going to wrap this very overdue update up. I'm pretty sure this sweet child will be empathetic when he reads these later on and sees how behind I was. He keeps us on our toes and is such a great kid.