Oh, the range of emotions that come with another birthday under our belts, especially when it comes to our first born because we are always entering uncharted territory parenting the oldest kid. In some ways it feels like Truman has been five ever since he started school in the fall but in other ways this birthday sort of snuck up on me. It felt both insignificant and monumental. He is so big and yet still so little, practically grown yet just getting started in life. But truly, March 1, 2010 doesn't seem like that long ago but it was still a different lifetime, too.
The biggest change for Truman in the past year has been starting Junior Kindergarten, which is every weekday from 8:20-10:55. In those daily two and a half hours he has learned so much that it sort of boggles my mind. His brain is like a sponge soaking up everything new in school and besides the fact that he is learning SO MUCH, the more important point for me is that he loves school. As in, he frequently announces in the mornings that 'I can't wait to go to school,' and seems genuinely excited every Sunday night when he says, 'I wonder what the new letter will be tomorrow?!' They focus on one letter per week for sounds, writing, concepts, etc, and he just adores the structure of his classroom. And his teacher---he might have a little crush on her and pretty much idolizes her in a way. Oh, I hope he keeps up this excitement about school for the next…..thirteen plus years?
Our walk to and from school is not met without hazardous weather conditions.
Things he has learned as a school boy: writing all of the letters much more legibly now, both upper and lower cases, writing numbers, writing words (!). He is drawing with more detail for his people and likes to tell a story with his pictures. The coolest new achievement is learning to read and this is something that has just started to happen in the past few weeks. I cannot tell you how proud we are of Truman as he sounds out words in books, words on signs, words in his world. He can read a few pages of a Spot the Dog book, and it's seriously the best watching his face light up as he figures out a word like, 'S-p-o-t and d-o-g'. He is constantly telling me things like, ''Time' starts with the letter 'T' like my name. And 'W' sounds like 'Wuh Wuh' not 'Duh Duh'. ' Truman loves to play the rhyming game when we say a word like 'at' and try to think of as many words that rhyme, or think of words that start with the same letter. But hearing him sound out words is more thrilling than I imagined it would be.
He loves math and constantly asks me things like 'nine is more than eight, right mommy?' They've been working on counting to 100 in school, using scales to show 'more and less', and he can solve simple math equations. Right now he is truly obsessed with telling us the time, usually just reading digital clocks in the van or my phone but he is also trying to figure out 'hand clocks.' 'It's four-oh-six, mommy. I mean four-zero-six. Why do people say 'oh' for 'zero'?' Good question, buddy!
Truman's teacher has said that our boy is a leader in the class, the other kids really like him, and he is happy and eager to learn. 'He is going places,' is what she told us at the last conference and my heart kind of wanted to burst right there. Because the academics will come with time, but the social aspect, learning to respect authority, follow the rules, interact in a group, and being a kind person are all parts of school (and life) that are SO important. And I think he pretty much has those core characteristics nailed down.
I've seen him act as a mediator in a group, like when two of his friends were fighting over the same stick after school (yes, really---such strife as a five year old). Truman calmly said, 'Guys, you take turns. First you can have it for five minutes, then you switch and let him have it for five minutes.' The best part is that the other boys did listen to Truman and stopped fighting, although I'm not sure they bothered to stay interested in the stick for five more minutes.
My only concern is that Truman is such a nice guy, he doesn't always stick up for himself enough. For instance, his little group of guy friends are basically bursting at the seams when they are finished with class. They are so over sitting still and focusing that they have a perplexing amount of energy to burn, so running around the playground after class is a must (even when it's 0 degrees outside). Sometimes the guys get rough and like to push, tackle, slap, throw snowballs, etc. before the moms can intervene. It's all fun and games and they aren't trying to be mean to each other, but sometimes the dudes take it too far and someone gets hurt. When it's Truman, my mama bear comes out and just wants T to say, 'Hey, that hurt, don't push me again...let's play something else instead.' But usually he doesn't want to upset his friends or hurt their feelings, so he lets more slide than I'd like. I hope he feels confident enough to stand up for himself, without getting picked on in the process, and I just don't want people to take advantage of his kind nature. Big kid issues like fitting into a group, bullying, self-confidence, peer pressure....oh boy, the weren't kidding when they said the bigger the kid the bigger the problems!
Other things Truman likes besides school: workbook mazes, memory matching games, Angry Birds, Skylanders, Ninja Turtles, playing soccer in our basement, running laps around our main level, and making his siblings laugh. Oh and 'potty talk' is really big right now. We try to keep the poop, pee, toilet, fart, and underwear talk at home and not at the dinner table but I'm not sure why it's so hilarious to push the envelope with this one. 'Don't poop in your pants, CC,' is followed by high-pitched squeals and laughter from his sister which is probably the whole point. Sometimes it gets to be really annoying to constantly hear things like, 'Don't fall over your pee! I just farted, you toilet head,' and other times it's just downright strange. I suppose it's normal after talking to other moms of 4-5 year olds, but still---the potty talk is out of control!
Indoor physical activity in the winter = just don't break a bone!
Truman loves his screen time but we really don't watch TV anymore since he prefers iPad or Xbox. If he eats breakfast, gets dressed, and brushes his teeth in the morning with time to spare he can get about 5 minutes of a show, usually picking Ninja Turtles or Ninjago. But otherwise, we don't turn on the TV and Tru adores his iPad games for his 1 hour of screen time after school/during CC's nap. Okay, sometimes 2 hours in the winter-survival-mode-months. The kid would play it for 8 in a row if I let him. He has all sorts of games on the iPad, mostly all Angry Birds stuff but also some educational ones like Starfall, letter tracing, and other phonics games. After his hour is up, he doesn't throw a fit anymore which is an improvement since last year:) We got Truman an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and Nate will play it with Truman on the weekends---they prefer Skylanders and he basically just got about 9 different Skylander dudes for his birthday. Was in total heaven and I have no idea what each little figurine can do, but apparently they are very cool. Besides the weekend Xboxing, we will sometimes do our Sesame Street game or Fruit Ninja during the week on my days home with the kids. I'm totally obsessed with Fruit Ninja, by the way. All for the physically active games that don't require a controller, when the Xbox Kinect can just sense your body and make the players move accordingly. See also: we seriously live in the future with this technology stuff.
Birthday morning: in heaven.
T is still our pickiest eater by far, but I think he's getting a little better with trying new foods and not gagging on something that has an unsuitable texture (for him). Most mornings I will make everyone smoothies, and Truman used to gag if his smoothie had any seeds in it. So it was basically just bananas, pineapple, mango and yogurt with juice. But now he will drink the ones I make with strawberries, raspberries, and even spinach with some ginger snuck in there. Success! He still prefers the classic 'kid-friendly' meals like chicken nuggets, cheese pizza, hot dogs, grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, and PBJ. He also loves deli turkey meat, apples, pears, bananas, yogurt, and any starchy carb under the sun. And sweets, duh, as he recently told me, 'I love sugar, mom.' WHO DOESN'T, child? Vegetables are few and far between around here for T but like I said in his four year interview, I don't get too worked up over food battles anymore. It will come with time, like it did for me over the years, and I simply don't have the energy to fight over food when doing dinners alone with three kids four nights out of the week. Someday Truman will eat salads and it will be glorious, but probably not until he is an adult;)
Such a great big brother. C and P are lucky to have him.
Even lacking vegetables, the kid is growing like a weed. I haven't even made his 5 year well-child appointment, but super-accurate measurements at home reveal that he is 48 pounds and 46 inches tall. I think he grew almost 3 inches in this past year and is now in little boys sizes, 6-7 for shirts and 5-6 for bottoms, size 12 shoe. I still miss the days of shopping for Tru in the toddler section because the big boys stuff is just so....grown up and skateboard-y or something.
On Truman's actual birthday, he went skiing for the very first time. Which was, of course, Nate's dream and every bit as magical as he could have hoped. Cecelia demanded to go along last minute, so Tony and Nate took both big kids to a ski hill 40 minutes away. I wasn't sure if Truman would be afraid, since just two years ago he didn't love to sled down bigger hills. But sure enough, he blew everyone away and LOVED it. He took a 90 minute lesson and then went down the bunny hills, pumping his fists when he reached the bottom. So basically he and Cecelia are already better skiers than I am;) He tells me he wants to go again and 'it wasn't hard, mommy.' Oh, I beg to differ, Tru!
He promptly passed out in the car on the way home, although it should be noted that he never naps anymore. Wakes up sometime before 6:55 when his clock turns yellow, but never comes out of his room until then. Also forces his sister to wait out the clock change even though she would likely be roaming the house if they didn't share a room, and thankfully she listens to Truman (most of the time). Bedtime is at 7:30pm and he usually can't make it through the entire routine before falling asleep. Anyway, he napped like this on his birthday. Oh, and he's in a booster seat now, too.
He requested yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles on his birthday, so I came through with that request and put a few of his Angry Bird game pieces on as toppers. We had pizza for dinner before this, his Yaya and Papa came over with more presents, and so he was not kidding when he said, 'This is the best birthday ever, mama.'
His party is this weekend, and maybe I will just add a few pictures of the chaos once it happens. Truman has requested that I make Angry Bird royal icing cookies and I hope I can pull them off. We decided to make this our first 'kids only, see ya later, parents' party and hopefully we don't regret that decision with 7-8 little people running our house for a bit.
I didn't want too much time to pass without mentioning that our Truman is five and he is pretty much awesome. We love this boy so much and can't wait to see what the next year brings, but we are still in disbelief that another year has passed. He's the sweetest and his answer to 'who is your best friend' in the five year interview below makes me want to cry. Never lose your innocence, your charisma, your zest for life, and your kind heart, buddy. We love you beyond words.
Truman's Five Year Interview from Julia H. on Vimeo.
Love, Your Mommy