Scotland turned five on Monday. It was a much anticipated birthday and he’s thrilled to finally have joined the bulk of his friends at this magical age. We had a simple family celebration on Monday with his dinner request of balsamic glazed salmon and mashed potatoes, grape juice, fruit salad, and chocolate chip cookies. We opened presents: the new illustrated Harry Potter book, a taekwondo comic book, k’nex, and sparring gear. (He received his sparring gear last week, and hardly took it off for a few days!) We then headed out to watch “The Good Dinosaur” at the $4 theater in town. I decorated his door and filled his room with balloons the night before. And Tom bought him a helium balloon on his way home from work. (Which was one of Anders favorite gifts, though Scotland was excited, it hasn’t gotten near the hype of Anders balloon a month ago.) This Saturday we’re having eight of his friends over for a chill “building party.” We’ll see how that goes! He’s excited, so hopefully it lives up to his hopes!
I love sitting down and writing these milestone posts because its very therapeutic for me. It helps me reflect on sweet memories, positive characteristics, and funny moments. Too often in the spiral of life, I find myself overwhelmed by Scotland’s weaknesses and shortcomings. I get so fixated on his “issues” that its all I see, and I start to loose sight of the sweet, thoughtful, kind boy he is. I start treating him differently as a result, and of course, that only exacerbates the problem. The past two weeks have been rough in that way. So I’m grateful, tonight, to get to focus on all the things I love about Scotland.
A few weeks ago we were at my parents, and as we were preparing to leave my Mom asked Scotland if he would like to come stay with her for a week after the baby is born. He looked at her seriously and said sincerely, “Oh, I can’t. I’ll have to stay and help with the baby.” We’ve talked very openly about the demands and hardships of having a new baby in the house. As well as excited over the delights and sweetness that is forthcoming. Scotland, talks often about our baby, asks questions, and offers help. Early this week I was moving Anders in his very heavy carseat and pulled something in my groin and let out a yelp and made a pained face. Scotland witnessed the whole thing, and started to cry as he asked “Mom, are you okay?!” I was really touched by his empathy, as well as surprised by how scared it had made him to see me in pain. Too often, I don’t take into account how aware and observant he is. He sees. He knows. (I think I need to learn to be a more discreet!)
One of the big things Scotland has started doing this year is Taekwondo. He started in the fall, and has made great progress. A few weeks ago, Scotland had a stellar class. He was focused, driven and strong. His teachers were impressed- and he was singled out a few times to demonstrate various skills. My heart swelled with pride. It was a new side of him that I hadn’t seen manifest itself in quite that way before. I haven’t seen him be quite that “on” since, but it showed me, and his teachers, his potential. He’s gotten a lot more individual attention since, and they’ve been holding him to a higher level of expectation. I flip flop between over-zealous crazy intense mother, to “you’re great no matter what” cheerleader. But I love watching Scotland at taekwondo, and get so much satisfaction out his develop. One of his signature moves, is his roundhouse kick. He also loves sparring, and has an impressive walking block. The memorization of sequences is hard for him. We had a bit of a run around with his school, but after a lot of negotiation on my part, we now have him in an excellent, challenging class. (That’s a post in and of itself!)
Scotland is a very social boy, and LOVES doing things with friends. He has grown very close to his buddy Noah. Noah’s mom Caroline is one of my best friends, they live down the street and the two boys do taekwondo together. (Noah is the curly-haired boy in the picture above.) For a while the two of them were very competitive, and driving them to TKD made me crazy because they would one-upeach other the whole time. But they’ve gotten through that, and now they are sweet, supportive, buddies. It makes me happy to see what a kind friend Scotland can be.
We took the pedals and training wheels off of Scotland’s bike, and he has got the balancing down. Now we just need to wait for some more good weather, to put the pedals back on and watch him take off. He’s pretty gutsy on his bike- which totally freaks me out!
Scotland always looks forward to his mornings at preschool. He’s part of a Mom-taught coop preschool with five other kids. Four of us moms rotate teaching and the other two are in charge of weekly outings. We have teaching days Mondays and Wednesdays with outings on Friday. Scotland prefers to know everything, and isn’t teachable by nature. He absorbs silently and then happily imparts his knowledge later on. “Did you know XYZ!” (He’s always very bummed if I do. Often asking “How do you know that?! Since I didn’t attend preschool with him!) He loves free-play time the best- always thrilling at the opportunity to play super heroes with his buds.
Scotland is on chapter 65 in his “Reading Book” and as a result, is reading full sentences, and 5-6 sentence stories. When he applies himself he can fly through an entire story with little difficulty, but it’s hard work, and more often than not, he’s not thrilled to sit down and focus. It’s one of the more challenging parts of my mothering day. Despite his resistance, he takes great pride in his skills, and was all too keen to show off to his friend when she was over- reading her a book. He’s started to spell a bit, but rarely tries to read things outside of our reading book time.
We’ve been terribly inconsistent, but we’re trying to have a 15 minute piano lesson twice a week. Usually we only have it once. Scotland resists being taught, but he is slowly picking things up. He played the first half of “twinkle twinkle” by himself last week, which caused us both great excitement. While we haven’t been great about regular lessons, he has started to just sit up and play more, which I love.
Scotland’s designs for a catapult. He then went on to build a functioning catapult out of tongue-depressors, mini cups, and tape.
Scotland continues to be obsessed with Legos. He can spend hours creating things. I’ve been intrigued by his creative process. He’ll have periods where he builds the most extraordinary machines, and then he’ll seem to draw a blank and revert to much more simplistic designs. I wish there was a LEGO club I could get him involved with. (They’re all for older kids.) because he gets so much inspiration from building with others.
My choco-holic son. (He’s started to sneak snacks, and has attempted to make his own desserts of late.)
A more current interest is audiobooks. We bought him a CD player for his room for Christmas, and introduced him to them. He went wild for them. For a while, I was worried I’d have to limit his usage, because he would just hole up in his room and listen and build legos forever, refusing to come out for story time, piano, even meals. So far he’s loved the Magic Tree House books and Ms. Piggle Wiggle books. And is enjoying “A Little Princess,” right now. It’s funny because he likes to listen while he build LEGOS, and because it’s pretty loud when he digs through his LEGO bin- he blasts his books. So for weeks Ms. Piggle Wiggle was resounding throughout the whole house! One Saturday the boys and I were building LEGOS together, we’d chit chatted a bit but were mostly quiet, intently building when Scotland asked, “Would you like to listen to my audiobook?” I told him, I was okay not to, since I’d already heard Ms. Piggle Wiggle several times. He paused for a second and replied matter-of-factly. “Well, I’m going to, because I like it.” He happily conceded to listen to “Magic Tree House” instead, and suggested we listened to a chapter he had been too scared to listen to while he was alone in his room. He wouldn’t be scared now, he assured me, since I was there with him. I was impressed at how he navigated through the tracks, finding just the chapter he wanted- he clearly had the book pretty well memorized.
He loves books and always has huge piles of them littering his room that he takes in to look at during quiet time or bedtime. I think he would listen to book endless if I’d just keep reading. I always read him four picture books before quiet time, and Tom usually read him a chapter from a chapter book before bed, and then tells him a “Pick story” (where Scotland picks out the characters and can insert suggestions as the story goes along.)
He continues to adore picking wildflowers. He’s been SOOO thrilled that the dandelions are popping back up, and brought back a beautiful little nosegay with a variety of flowers and foliages on our last walk. He was super eager to plant peas in our garden and the begonia tuber I bought him.
Practicing how to care for a baby in FHE- Scotland was all ears!
Birthday cake and candles at Grandma’s house
Scotland can be both the sweetest brother, and a total punk. I wish I knew the trick to switching him into his sweet brother mode, because there is nothing more endearing than hearing him and Anders giggling and chatting as they play together; and nothing more aggravating than hearing Anders screaming and crying over and over again as Scotland takes stuff from him, pushes him, calls him names, etc. After having two children I can’t imagine ever only having one. The sibling relationship is so special, and seeing the way both boys learn and influence each other is one of my favorite things. Anders is a very warm, social, affectionate child with a ready smile and a quick hello. Scotland has picked up on how much attention he gets from this and had started to adapt more of those characteristic himself.
Riding bikes at Grandma’s
I was delighted to see when we visited my parents’ last that Scotland was much more interested and involved in the farm work. In the past he hasn’t had much interest in feeding the horses, gathering the eggs, walking the dog, etc. But this time he was much more eager and would go out everyday, despite the chill.
Scotland adores his father. It’s been hard on him that Tom has been working so much the last few months. And I don’t think I give him enough credit for how much it effects him.
Scotland loves to sing, usually his own songs, though he’s started to sing snippets of Primary songs and his piano songs. It’s a regular occurrence to hear him belting out some dramatic tune while playing toys.
He is quick to correct inaccuracies, copying me in commonly saying “Actually . . .” (This doesn’t always go over so well. (This is just one example of how Scotland’s behavior has shed light on my own poor habits or injustices.) He is very health conscience and will often coach his friends on how they should eat. Informing them of the health of the apple peel, or how they should eat the crust. While he isn’t as phenomenal an eater as he once was. I would say in general he’s still a very good eater compared to most kids his age.
For a while it was always a fight to get him to wear socks. Finally one day we were out running errands and despite him telling me he was wearing socks, when we were half way through our JoAnn’s list he started crying that his foot hurt. Removal of his rain boots revealed a blister. I asked him why he thought he had gotten a blister. He thought for a moment and then admitted that it was because he wasn’t wearing socks. This was actually rather proud parenting moment for me. I didn’t do my typical and “piggy-back” on the consequence by laying on one of my own- even though his screaming about the blister made this difficult. But rather helped him work through ways to avoid blisters in the future- wearing socks, and then kindly helped him with a bandaid- and a pair of socks that were fortunately in the car. Now he always wears socks. It was a definite testimonial to the power of utilizing natural consequences.