Saturday, April 8, 2017

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

You are taking a nap right now.  Naps are rare gems these days.  This morning we went with Oma and Opa to Mrs. Heather's strawberry patch.  You took to picking strawberries like a pro.  You became very picky too - you would turn the strawberry over and around, make sure it didn't have any green, no bird bites or too aged before you would consider picking the berry.  "I'm a farm boy now, because I'm picking strawberries" - the smile was there, even with your serious endeavors.

It was fun, but also educational.  As we were leaving, Mommy asked you, "Do strawberries grow on tall bushes or plants near the ground?"  You replied, "Low, low to the ground!"  I had another question for you, "How does a strawberry start off?"  You explained, "As a small white flower."

We went to Cracker Barrel soon after because you said you were thirsty and starving.  We managed to talk you into a cooked carrot.  You finished the entire piece.  You know that carrots are good for your eyes.

The other day, you said something to me from another room.  I walked into the room where you were and said, "Gregory, if you're going to talk to Mommy, you need to come into the room where I am, because Mommy doesn't have good hearing."  You looked at me for a second, "Okay, Mommy.... I have a question for you.... What vegetable is good for hearing?"  Oh son, you make me laugh and oh, I wish there was a veggie for hearing!

One evening, you walked into my craft area with an arm full of toys, "Mommy, I'm going to be a Scientist, an Inventor and a Spy.  This is my spy stuff.  I need to find a box for all my spy stuff."  Included in your arms was the camera Oma and Opa bought for you one Christmas.  You picked up a flat cardboard piece and took off with the tape.  I was curious, but didn't follow.  Within minutes, you came back with the sides taped up and a box made from a flat piece.  I was impressed.  You said, "Now, I have my box for my spy stuff!'

A few days later, you put two toys together.  You said, "This is a stamp."  It looked like one too.  You "stamped" my hand and said, "Shhhh, it's an invisible stamp.  It's a spy stamp.  The stamp turns into a watch that only you can see."  You walked away, then came back, "But don't tell anyone about it!"

You pick up on so much and you use words appropriately.  Such as.... you were getting out of the car with Oma and Opa.  It's a game between you and Opa on who gets to the house door first.  You whispered to Oma, "Distract Opa so I can get to the door first!"  Oma was surprised with your words and laughed too.  And yes, she followed your instructions.

My friend, Kim, said, "Aleta, Gregory is smart.  He is a mature four year old, probably because he is around adults most of the time."  This is true.  We don't use baby words and never have with you.  You will ask us, "What does (word) mean?"  If you don't know what we are saying, you want to understand.  I love that you do this.  It also makes us have to think about our definitions too.

Though you are primarily around adults, school is wonderful for your social skills.  Plus, Oma has some wonderful children on her street - EJ and Anthony and a new boy you just met, Carsen.  (You call him, "New Carsen" because you also have a classmate Carsen that you are good friends with.)  You aren't shy with children, even kids you don't know.

We also try to have as many play dates with your classmates as possible, from going to birthday parties, to meeting at the parks and this past week... we went to a Butterfly Release.  It was beautiful and sad, for those of us who understood the meaning - the children who died too soon.  Everyone was given a butterfly in a triangle envelope, with the instructions to only hold the tip.  You did as told, then you said, "I can hear my butterfly."

You held the envelope to my ear so I could hear too.  After a little bit, you sat down and looked sad. I asked what was wrong and you shared, "I'm sad.  I don't want to give up the butterfly.  I want to keep it as a pet."  I sat down with you and explained, "Butterflies are meant to fly.  How would you feel if someone caged you?  You love to run.  Would you want to be caged where you couldn't run?"  You said, "OK, we can let the butterfly fly away."  Soon after, Nathan and his mommy arrived.  You took off running together.  It was cute to see you play, then come back to watch the butterflies released.

A few weeks ago your school hosted a trike-a-thon to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital.  You resisted learning how to ride your trike.  It's a heavy duty good trike that Daddy bought for you when you were one.  You didn't want to learn, because you said it was too hard to push the pedals.

When you saw the picture of a boy with no hair, you asked me what was wrong with him.  (It was a poster for the St. Jude's Hospital fund raiser.)  Mommy explained that the trike-a-thon was to help children who were in the hospital for a long time and sometimes had to take medicine that made them lose their hair.  You said, "I want to ride my trike to help the kids in the hospital."  My eyes got a little teary.

You were good with your word.  We took your trike out to Oma's street where there's a church parking lot.  It was a little tough going at first, but once you got the hang of it,  you started going really fast.  You said, "I'm not giving up!"  And at school... for the trike-a-thon, you road your trike and did a beautiful job.  You came home, gave me a hug and whispered, "I helped those children at the hospital today, Mommy."  Thank you, sweet boy, for having a beautiful heart, loving and sharing and pushing past your fear to help those in need.  This is what your wonderful school, St. Augustine's, has blossomed in you.

This year you are advancing in so many ways.  Mrs. Becky, your teacher, said, "When he first came to us, he didn't differentiate at all."  We truly didn't know if you were going to be left or right handed. You will still use your right hand from time to time, but we are seeing the left hand being slightly more dominant.  Mrs. Becky advised that not having the differentiation early on is a natural time delay on handing writing skills.

We are working with you on writing your name at home.  When you want to do something, go to the park, outside to play, go to the strawberry patch, etc - first you have to write your name three times.  We practice the letters individually and then your name.  Today, you did such a good job, we high-5'd after each letter.  You smiled so much!  I was happy to see you enjoying writing.

We are fortunate, not only for the school that you attend, with a watchful teacher, but also with Oma and her teacher family.  Oma might be retired, but teachers don't lose touch.  I'm friends with some of Oma's teacher friends on Facebook and when I asked for ideas on handwriting - not only did friends respond, but Oma's teacher family did as well, both in posts and private messages with some very helpful ideas and support.  What an incredible blessing!

Mommy bought a fun book about planets.   Your class studied planets last week and you brought home a fun project that shows the earth going around the sun and the moon going around the earth.  You said, "The earth orbits around the sun."  I asked you, "Is the sun a planet or a star?"  You said, "A star!"  When I asked you what's the biggest planet, you knew it was Jupiter.  And when Mommy asked you, "What is the planet that looks like Mommy's favorite color?"  You thought for a minute and said, "Mars, but you like Saturn more, because of the rings.  Mommy, did you know the rings are made out of rocks?"  Smart boy!

Next year, you will go to St. Augustine's.  In some way, I feel that we, as parents, let you down, because you were accepted into St. Martin's.  But even with financial assistance, we didn't know if we could budget for it.  After considering the options, we decided that it would be best if you stayed at St. Augustine's for the last year there and we would budget ourselves for St. Martin's for the following year.  It will be more difficult for you to get into St. Martin's on the kindergarten level.  If you don't get accepted the following year, it will make me sad.

St. Augustine's is a wonderful school and you are learning a lot, progressing in so many beautiful ways.  We are happy with the decision and hopeful with your future at St. Martin's as well as our ability to budget for the school.  If not St. Martin's, then we will research more for where you will go.

In the meantime, you have Easter parties, Easter egg hunts, family gatherings, swimming lessons, tee-ball games, reading programs and plenty of art projects and handwriting lessons to fill up your summer.

Your life is well-rounded and your character is developing in a loving way.  You are confident enough to be contradictory, but you are also learning how to be respectful.  You are rough and tumble with the older kids and children your age, yet you don't mind doing baby talk, silly goofy, with the little ones.

When we asked you if you would help your cousin, TJ, learn how to use the potty, you said, "Sure!  Just pull down your pants, stand next to the potty and pee!"  You make us laugh.  Always loving smiles, quick with hugs and eager to learn.  We want the most for you, sweet son.

Love Always,
Mommy




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