Harry at Five!

Lately, Rob and I have been feeling like "Good God, we have raised children who only talk about bathroom humor and don't listen or follow directions."

And then we had Harry's first parent-teacher conference. As she started talking, I braced myself for it. The dreaded call-out on our failures as parents: He is a distraction in class. He ignores the teacher. He takes toys from other kids.

Because that's what we see at home. That is the behavior that drives us both crazy every bedtime, or every morning, when we must tell him 126 times to get dressed. "Use both hands to pull on your clothes, Harry!"

I took a deep breath and grimaced, waiting for the news.
"Harry is all about the other children," the teacher said.
Yes, we know. He becomes obsessed asking what are they doing, ignoring what he is doing.
"And of course, I'm sure he talks about Madeline," she said. (Name changed to protect identities.)
"Madeline has some trouble in class, and Harry is always holding her hand or trying to help her when she cries."
My child?!!! Rob and I are silent. For me, it is because I am choked up.
"He's a daydreamer, for sure," she said.
OK, that is my child. How I would love to be in his head sometimes.
It was my first time stepping outside my own view of Harry and seeing how he is operating out in the world without us. I guess sometimes he does hear us?

Little brother was so excited to be with the big kids at the class party!

Harry is definitely moving from the "little boy" stage to "boy" stage. One day, he came out to breakfast from his room, and it seemed as if he had grown inches overnight. Rob and I both commented on it. It was like "When did you become a teenager?"

At 5 years old, his interests are:
1) Superheroes, in this order -- Spiderman, Batman, Superman
2) Legos
3) The newly discovered world of computer games and wii fit. He will run in place for 20 minutes if I let him.
4) Playing elaborate "good guy-bad guy" games with his brother
5) Pushing the button to open the garage door (a novelty for us all!)
6) Making sure I know where I am going

He still dislikes: Candy, frosting, cake, getting his hands dirty, not knowing where we are going.

We saw him blush for the first time when we ran into two of his preschool teachers at Costco. The adults were all thrilled to see each other, but he stood silently there, like "OMG, what are they doing here?!" After they moved on, he buried his head in my legs and his cheeks were bright pink!

He still doesn't like to do art projects, or color. He would rather play, play, play! He is taking swim lessons, and has even put his head underwater after much coaxing. But he nearly drowns the sweet high school girls who are his instructors when they try to make him swim, as he obviously does not trust that they will not drown him. He takes gymnastics at school, and we can see the improvement in his coordination (Ugh. He inherited my lack thereof.) He just started back up with soccer, and the whole family is looking forward to the season, as Rob will have his first assistant coaching position! (He would only agree to do it after I convinced him that it was unrealistic to think our small town of 23,000 was filled with former pro soccer players who are now dads and out to crush his team. )

Harry is really a sweetheart, and tries hard to set a good example for his crazy little brother. He can read but insists that he can't. He will have me write out four to five pages of sentences that he reads out loud to me. But when I ask him to read from a book, he says "I can't read book sentences!" We catch him reading to himself when he thinks we're not looking, whispering the words.

In summary, he is such his own little person, I can't believe it!

Happy Birthday Harry!


Max the Stormtrooper

Max the Stormtrooper, center

My next post will be about Harry, who is turning five, really 15, in about five minutes. But right now, as I stare down at my sleeping baby Max, I am trying to block out the EPIC battle it took to get here.

Rob and I believe that Max was born a two-year-old. In temperament, that is. So now that he has fully embraced his two-year-old irrational madness, things have been amped up a notch for all of us. The good thing is that I feel like Rob and I are trying to recognize it more for the beautiful insanity it is. (Although Mommy and Daddy do still take timeouts when certain two-year-olds emerge from a timeout only to "CLUSH" --or "crush" as everyone else says it -- his brother's Lego police station just to show everyone that he is in charge.) We know Max will move on from this -- we hope -- and turn into a teenage boy who does not hug his mom (wah) or wear his every emotion on his sleeve. But now, his sleeve can be truly hilarious at times. He can be a complete maniac for a second, then run up, demand the biggest hug, grab Daddy's face in his hands and say "I love you." Sigh. Every OMG YOU LITTLE *&^^% is generally followed up by a "Sigh. You are the sweetest thing" within a few minutes. He's a master.