I had my dates all mixed up for our crazy June activities and scheduled an early joint birthday celebration with a friend from our first homeschool coop. It was awesome though and having an entire day be about Pokémon with his friends was the best thing ever!
The cake was a bit of a flop this year, I had filled the center with Pokémon figurines and with the rush of everything didn't cut the layers right for the strawberry filling so as it defrosted it slowly 'melted' in shape. Kid like it anyhow but shortcuts don't pay!
As a parent it's rewarding to see them learn and grow, especially as they learn to make good choices for themselves. When we initially began homeschooling Bud was super excited about the amount of time he had for electronics. Getting him out to exercise or do other creative activities was such a chore and a daily battlefield. We reached a point where we decided to teach and model for him what a happy, healthy balanced life should look like and then gently nudge him to make similar choices rather then enforce it. It took patience and faith but he began to see how much more creative, happy and engaged he was when he limited his own game time. Whenever he kept his word and only watched one episode we could see him grow in his confidence and pleasure in life. We will discuss it with him on and off and it makes us smile as he honestly discusses the struggles he has with it and seeks our advice. It's a different relationship, more mature, than what we have with the others but it helps me catch a glimpse of him as an adult in the future and gives me joy in his growing independence.
He's taking swim team much more seriously this year, asking to do the extra lesson, working harder rather than just playing with friends at practices, asking to go to more meets, not just the home ones. The other boys have been great at encouraging him and his confidence in hard work is showing.
We also had some struggles with not taking shortcuts and being lazy in our work. This happened with his online math course, typing lessons, in our cooking lessons as well as in general chores around the house. With being in school, he got away with his own devised shortcuts and no one pushed him to do his best. It affected his confidence (without him knowing it) and there were many times thing had to be, "done right, or do it again". I love that now he really knows the difference and has a real pride in himself as he works at it. You can see it as he presents his cooked potatoes (all cut the right size and cooked through) or as he achieves a faster speed in typing. He likes our acknowledgement of his achievement but he doesn't need it as much as before because his work speaks for itself. It's a mark of a growing child into basic skills he needs in adulthood.
He has really grown to love and engage with his younger siblings which brings me so much happiness. He developed his own game with Bubby that always has the little man in giggles. Pumpkin adores him and mimics him in so many things, from Lego building, to puzzles and is willing to play any game Bud develops for her.
While we were out to dinner Kent and I were surprised to hear that his favorite sibling was Bug-love, especially since he is the least affectionate with her. We play a game called "Other Shoes" which simply means you put yourself into another person's position and seek to understand their feelings. We did this and without lecturing or saying anything more the following day found him giving the affection to Bug that she craves and seeks. There's a willingness to change gives me pride and hope for the wonderful young man I know he can be.
I love this boy, I love his enthusiasm and his creativity. He is so affectionate and when he feels that love reciprocated he is willing to do so much more. I'm grateful to be his mother. We are so different from each other but he has taught me another perspective on life that has made me more playful and creative. Happy birthday my firstborn! May you continue to grow, learn and find joy as you become the remarkable young man I see!