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Almost-seven

dramabeard
Self-bearded, blade-of-grass-chewing almost-seven-year-old, Berkeley, CA.

Today is the last day he’s six. He gets more complex and mysterious by the year. So mysterious that I can’t even write about it.

 

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He enjoys being a boy

This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.

moustachioed My son is smack-dab in the middle of his sixth year, entering what child development folks call “middle childhood.” A number of physical, cognitive, and social milestones mark this time: by this point, kids can dress themselves, catch balls, follow a beat, begin to show independence from family.  They start the swing from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” and grow to be able to describe their thoughts and feelings in greater depth.

We’re extremely fortunate that so far, our boy has been more healthy than not, thanks to the vaccinations and medical care we’ve been able to provide him. When he has become sick, we’ve seen him through to well again.  So our milestones are sweet, interesting, fun ones, and he seems to be arriving at them more or less on time.

I’m guessing on that, of course, because we tend to make sense of our kids using yardsticks of our own fashioning, derived from our read of our kids (“Do they seem happy?” “Do they seem at ease in their worlds?”). If we’re worried, we becalm ourselves with the rhetorical exercise practiced by so many parents before us. “Do we really think they will be engaging in ____ [insert worrisome behavior] by the time they’re ______ [insert age comfortingly far enough in the distance]?” So far, so totally okay.

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Weekend bonus shot, 05.12.13

happytruckcleaningboy
Happy truck washer, Berkeley, CA.

This time I convinced him to get outside the vehicle as I washed it (last time: he stayed inside and listened to a Sondheim musical).  He had that huge spray nozzle thingie in his hands for a mere moment, and he instantly understood why Baba has so dadgum much fun washing the vehicles. And he was danged good at it, too.

I tried to convince him that going on a dump run was about as much fun, maybe more. “Huge piles of garbage, taller than that building there!” I said. “Ginormous tractors just pushing the garbage in a huge pile! So much flying dust they have to spray a mist of water down on the pile every so often! Can you think of anything more fun than that?”

As it happens, he could. Spraying the nozzle thingie with soap and water all over the side of the truck. I’m going to keep working on him about the dump run.

 

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Weekend bonus shot, 04.28.13

smilingboy
Farmer’s marketeer, Berkeley, CA.

 

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Face as canvas

paintboy2
Body crayon-faced boy on swing, Berkeley, CA.

Courtesy his sister, who knows whereof she colors all over someone’s face, based on personal experimentation.  I can’t say what in the Sam Hill they were aiming for here. One version was a dog, I remember that. But it kind of took off from “dog” and headed in more of a “Dali” direction.

Feeling a bit less verbal here, a bit more photographic. For perhaps evident reasons. World’s a bit spinny lately.

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A cookie story in four parts

cookieboy1

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Lost in a book

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At the library, Berkeley, CA.

My boy is reading now and, true to little sibling form, he is doing everything humanly possible to keep up with his big sister.  Devil–and reason–take the hindmost.

He won’t quite torture himself with the erudite works she plows through, fortunately (Camus, Kafka, Sartre, Dostoyevsky). (OK, I exaggerate, but really, she scares me.)

He does keep picking up and chomping into books which his school would probably call “just wrong” books.  As opposed to the “just right” books they suggest. You know, stuff whose vocabulary you understand at least half of.  But I’m not snatching the “just wrong” books from his hands yet. It’s still such a thrill for him to have joined the party, and I can’t bear to tell him–ever in front of his sister–that he might actually enjoy a little lighter fare.  We’ll get to that soon enough.

Yesterday, at the library, he brought over a Roald Dahl book for my inspection (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator) and said, “This is funny-looking!” I had to say, “Yes, that would be because it’s in French.”

He looked at me, blinked for a moment, and returned it to the shelf.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (“just wrong,” but not that far off, and at least in English) is what he chose to keep his imagination spinning.  And spin it did.

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Now Some of Us Are Six

skipping6yrold

On his sixth birthday, Berkeley, CA.

He skipped the entire distance from midway through the school yard and down the street to our trusty steed. That crown’s his teacher’s handiwork, bless those amazing, amazing people.

Much afoot of late. Same day this chap turned six, his grandfather, whose name he bears from the middle on out, took a spill and wound up back in the ER at the local hospital, whence he had not a few days before exited, post-minor stroke.  That same night, yrs truly promptly fell ill with The Influenza, which is only juuuuust beginning to saunter off, stage left.  Accursed thing. Pops is more or less stable now, “salad speech” pretty much a head-scratching artifact of the past.  Though the memory, shaky to begin with, is notably diminished and diminishing. Cheery spirit still intact, lard love him.

And the boy? He’s wearing six very, very well. Qoth A. A. Milne, back in 1927, when his grandfather had just turned six:

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever;
So I think I’ll be six now
for ever and ever.

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