Monday, January 12, 2015

To Max, my favorite seven-year-old

Well, Max, you're seven! And, you are such an amazing seven-year-old, it makes me glad you and I both survived your infant and toddler years, so we could live to appreciate this day! I have really seen you change a lot in the last year, and I'm thankful for and proud of all the ways you are learning and growing and maturing!

In our household, seven brings two very special things: getting to watch the Star Wars movies for the first time and learning how to do your own laundry. We spent the weekend watching the movies, which you were thrilled to finally get to see, since you've heard your older siblings reference them so often. Tomorrow, you will get your first laundry lesson and will be well on your way to becoming even more self-sufficient than you already are. (You have already been helping with sorting and putting away, but now you will have the opportunity to go through the whole process.)

Speaking of self-sufficiency, you made your own birthday cake this year (with a little help and supervision from me), and it was wonderful! You love to help cook meals and do so regularly. You also often volunteer to help with other things around the house, and, when asked to something you didn't volunteer for, you will usually do it these days without too much arguing or complaining. And, on your new year's review/resolutions page, you said one of the things you learned in 2014 was to "not fight." Dad and I can tell you are really learning to master your emotions, rather than being mastered by them. This is something that proves you are really growing up.

You are (and always have been) a great collector of things--rocks, shells, pieces of paper, boxes, bags, and a million other things that have true significance to you, but that, admittedly, leave me shaking my head with a lack of understanding. Your greatest treasure has long been your bottle collection. In fact, that was almost a deal-breaker for you with our RTW trip. When we first told you about the trip, you were thrilled, particularly in regard to the possibility of going to international festivals. (We don't know if you really even understood what a festival is, but somehow that word piqued your interest and you grinned from ear to ear on hearing it). But, when we told you that meant selling our house and getting rid of many of our possessions, you broke down in tears, unable to bear the thought of parting with your precious bottles. We finally convinced you that we wouldn't have to get rid of everything we own, and that if the bottles were that important to you, you could certainly keep them. That dried up the waterworks, and then, you were completely on-board. Later, Ruth helped you cull the expansive collection a bit, so that it would be a bit more manageable for eventually boxing up.

As far as the trip goes, you are really excited about it. You are particularly looking forward to seeing Stonehenge and some of the places you've learned about in History. You are always up for an adventure, so I know you will love every minute! You've been interested in putting together your bag and have really taken ownership of it and its contents. And, even though you are all about the thrill of adventure, you also take the parts seriously that need to be taken seriously. You listen carefully to our safety talks and pay close attention when we talk about the logistics of getting from point A to point B. Before we went to Canada last month, we set up a mock airport in the kitchen, so we could show all of you what it was like to go through security. You took the exercise very seriously, and that night prayed, "Lord, please help me to obey all the airport officers and not get in trouble."

You started losing your teeth about a month ago and have already lost three since then--one of which mysteriously disappeared from your mouth in the middle of the night last night. We are hoping you didn't swallow it and are thankful you didn't choke on it. Dad teased you this morning, saying not all seven-year-olds are tough enough to eat teeth for breakfast.

Your little body is just full of energy, which sometimes you truly seem unable to control. I often send you outside to run laps around the house, when I see that it is becoming difficult for you to rein in all that energy. This is not a punishment, as you absolutely love to run and recognize it as a need that you have. This is an exercise that keeps us both sane. Running was, once again, your favorite part of the flag football season, though you did actually enjoy the game in its own right a bit more this year than last year. You would really like to try soccer, which we hope you can experience while we are overseas. You are also very interested in learning how to play golf, which is a bit surprising, since it's kind of the anti-running sport. But, you've been interested in golf for a long time, and I think your desire is genuine.

Academically, you are doing an amazing job, especially since you've adopted your "no fighting" initiative! You are already partway through your 3rd grade Math book, even though, by age, you are only "supposed" to be in 1st grade. You pick up concepts quickly and can truly do anything you put your mind to. Your reading is wonderful, and you are reading a lot just for fun these days, in addition to your scheduled reading during the school day. You have recently been enjoying the Cam Jansen books. You do a great job at writing, and you often carry around a notebook on which to make lists or write little notes to people. Whenever we stay in a hotel, the first thing you do is find the notepad and start jotting down whatever comes to your mind. You are still very much enamored with robots, and you spent some time this summer watching a great many TED talks on that subject. You also thoroughly enjoyed the robot room at the science museum we visited in Tampa and stayed until they were literally closing the doors. Additionally, you have a very good grasp on basic Spanish and were thrilled to discover you understood some words on the radio recently. With your combination of brains and leadership qualities, I believe you will go far in life!

Max, I'm so proud to be your mom. You make the days at our house fun and interesting and special. I love your hugs and your snaggletoothed grins. I admire your passion for life and your many and varied abilities. You are, by far, my favorite seven-year-old! I love you so very much! Happy birthday!


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