Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday, Tommy!

Tommy is 7 years old! 

For his birthday this year, we combined two of his most favorite things: San Francisco and science, and so we celebrated his birthday at The Exploratorium with his best friend. He had a really good time and it was the perfect day birthday outing. We were truly blessed that day!

This has been a year of growing pains for Tommy, both literally and figuratively. I just looked back at his 6 year old check-in and marveled at how much he changed in the past year! Yes, he grew a few inches. Went up a few shoe sizes. He complained of many leg pains throughout the year. But emotionally and mentally he also went through some major changes.

The normally happy and mellow boy turned into someone quite different starting around January. There were many fits. Many tears over very simple things. A quick temper. Always quickly frustrated. Behavior that made me wonder if my child had simply gone crazy, things he'd never done before and didn't fit his character. Lots of questioning about why exactly he had to do the things we asked. Lots of behaviors that made me honestly start to think he had one of the neurological disorders that seems to affect many boys these days. Or at the very least some kind of food allergy that was making my kid crazy. Something had to be wrong because this was not the kid that I knew. I spent many nights wondering what in the world happened to my kid. Was it something I did? Is this just who he is now? These were days of countless tears and prayers on my part.

And then, like a terrible storm ending, it all went away. Around August, he went back to his normal self. The change was so gradual, that I didn't even realize it until recently when a few people mentioned, "You know, I think Tommy has mellowed out a lot." And then it hit me: no more fits, no more crazy behavior. My old Tommy was back! It had waned so gradually I didn't even notice. It's been a few weeks since his birthday and he seems to be even still changing: he's a bit more responsible and more mature in a way that is hard to describe. I think he should have birthdays more often.

So here is Tommy today:

He is intensely curious. Finding out how things work and what they are all about is an impulse that he is learning to regulate. While six months ago his curiosity got him in big trouble several times, now he seems to know the boundaries of what he is able to do with his curiosity. He builds, he takes apart, he questions, all in a more mature way now. 

In school, he continues to do well in math, though it is also the thing that gives him the most frustration. He loves geography. He loves to read. His favorite books are the National Geographic series Weird But True, which is jam-packed full of facts about everything one can imagine: everything that is the biggest, smallest, fastest, heaviest, most expensive. His absolute favorite part of school is piano. He started taking lessons in March, and at first was lukewarm about it. Now he plays almost constantly throughout the day.

He longs for adventure and independence. We recently started having the boys make their own breakfast a few days a week and he loves being able to choose items for himself and have free reign over the kitchen. The other day he made scrambled eggs and toasted waffles completely on his own; he was so pleased with himself. We have been trying to find ways to give him more independence and let him roam as free as he possibly can while still being safe. He is so happy when we give him more little bits of freedom. 

I'm really enjoying my 7 year old. I'm excited to see how he grows during this next year. :)

Happy Birthday Donuts