Monday, March 08, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Hayden!

What can I say about my sweet Hayden?

He is still such a combination of young and mature. He has a well developed sense of adolescent indignation, yet retains so much of his small child demeanor. His emotions are strong, yet often he keeps his deeper thoughts to himself. He loves school, and is definitely enjoying kindergarten. An academic environment is exactly what he thrives in, while still striving to overcome some of his challenges when he gets frustrated on the playground. Each night when we ask how his day was, he will give us a detailed description of whatever extra activity was scheduled that day- P.E., Art, Music, etc... He has inherited my love of reading, and devours books. He loves being in the school library, and the librarian knows him well. His reading level is around 3rd grade, and although I don't know how they would classify his math skills, it is definitely well beyond kindergarten. He gets extra homework in the evenings that is more challenging than what was covered in class. He easily identifies numerical patterns, and arithmetic simply comes naturally to him. In his class, he enjoys challenging work, but loses focus when the lessons are easy for him. However, his teacher mentioned that when he is given the responsibility to help another student, he does great. He takes a lot of pride in learning and seems to be coming around to the fact that as smart as he is, there is so much more to know. On the playground, he enjoys playing with his friends and his social and emotional development seem to be right at kindergarten level.

Outside of school, he loves being involved in baseball or going for bike rides. He is always full of energy, yet is content to lie on his bed reading a book, or snuggling up to Logan to read them both a story. Despite his tendency to be reserved with his emotions, he is quite affectionate. Together, it is common to see the boys holding hands, or put their arms around one another. Of course, sometimes that physical closeness erupts into wrestling, pushing, hitting, etc... but mostly they just love being together. Hayden often tries to teach Logan things, whether Logan is interested in learning them or not. We hear Hayden using his "teacher voice" to get Logan to spell something or repeat things. Usually Logan is pretty good-natured about it, but certainly feels comfortable speaking up in protest when he doesn't feel like playing along. When I see Hayden interact with his peers, he is clearly such a big kid now. There is a maturity in him that stands out in contrast to past months, reminding me how independent he is. He seems to have toughened up a bit, no longer getting as upset by minor bumps and bruises, able to play harder with his friends. On our recent trip to Lake Tahoe, I was thrilled to see him fearlessly go down a giant inner tube track by himself, without hesitation, grinning and laughing all the way down. He was impatient with my need to take a picture as he hiked back up, since he was so eager to ride again. He has developed a much stronger sense of adventure, where before his sense of daring was shadowed by his cautious nature. Yet, he is certainly not a reckless kid.

Each night we have pre-bedtime stories. These days, it is usually Hayden reading to us. He seems to take great pride in this, enjoying picking out the story, or graciously asking Logan what he wants to hear. Hayden loves to snuggle at night, and have a little chat at bedtime. Although I know this is partially stalling off sleep, it also seems to be the time of day when his thoughts are flowing, and he feels most comfortable sharing what is on his mind. He will review the day or simply tell me I am the best mommy in the world. He truly has a sweet nature and loves his family.

His birthday celebration was quite modest this year, as our time and energy seem to be at a premium. We kept it very small this year, and out of the house. When we told him he could invite just 5 friends, he enthusiastically gave us a list of 5, without complaining that he wanted more. He has always been so appreciative of the small and big things, without any grand expectations for birthdays. Getting him to answer the question "What would you like for your birthday" is nearly impossible, and he just doesn't seem to think about the potential for gifts. Yesterday we invited just a few of his friends to Farrell's for lunch and time to play on bumper boats and mini-golf. It was so fun to see him playing and interacting with his classmates. They all piled into the booth like puppies, despite the restaurant reserving a long booth with lots of space for us. He was so excited to get to play some arcade games and see all that was in store for him. As each guest arrived, he was ecstatic to see them, and include them in what he was doing. The player piano was a big hit, with all the kids in a bunch at the piano rather than at the table. Pizza brought them back in, and icecream brought them back again. When the staff sounded the birthday siren and brought out the big drum to sing to him, he was clearly at a loss. He stood there politely as they sang, but looked very overwhelmed. This is quite typical of him when we celebrate in a restaurant of any kind. He must have taken on my discomfort of public celebration. (Frankly, he did better than the next kid, who couldn't bear to even turn around to look at the group of people singing to him! ) Hayden more enjoyed when we sang the regular Happy Birthday song to him, and didn't even get upset when one of the younger siblings mistakenly starting blowing out his candles. He just kind of gave her an indulgent look, then blew out the rest. Later, when they went on the bumper boats, I was laughing to see him object so strongly to being squirted, yet opening fire with his squirt gun on everyone he could. He was absolutely soaked when he got off the ride, yet chose to get right back on with the other kids. His girlfriend from school was there, and the two of them played mini-golf together. They have such a fun dynamic, laughing and sparring all at once, without ever seeming in any way contentious. There was no sense of competition to win the game, although they each fiercely defended their alternating turn to go first. When he opened her handmade birthday card and gift later last night, he went and hung to card up on his bulletin board in his room.

This morning I greeted my sleepy birthday boy before I left for work. Although he was happy to be reminded that he is now six, he seemed much more interested in some hugs and snuggles. I will bring cupcakes to school for him, then we are having some family over for dinner tonight. It seems amazing that six years have passed in this journey of parenthood. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a sweet, complicated boy. He is such a joy to to have around. Today I wish him a fantastic 6th birthday, and for each tomorrow thereafter, I hope he always knows how to find his happiness in the world.

1 comment:

Aunt Daisy said...

Hi marlo,
Sheila here - I just wanted to say hi and that I miss seeing updates about you on your blog. I think you are a great storyteller and enjoy checking in on your blog once in a while! I hope all is well with you and your family and that you are just super busy! I made our blog private a while back, so if you are interested in it, send me (orDonald) an email!