it feels like just yesterday you were turning 5 and getting big enough to go to elementary school in the fall, but now it’s hugo who is turning 5 soon and you who are getting ready to leave elementary school. how did that happen so fast? if you are nervous about the transition, you haven’t really shared it with us. it’s starting to sink in that you likely be the only one of your friends at the school we’ll be sending you to middle school, and i think you are not so excited about that, but you are also a little bit ready for the change – you like the idea of switching classrooms and having a locker and checking out what options and activities your new school might have. i am excited for you even as i am not sure i am ready.
your tenth year was really nice. you are unsurprisingly growing into a really interesting kid. you love reading books and talking about them, you like watching sports (mostly soccer) and talking about them, and you like playing games and talking about them. you are curious and excited about a lot of things and it’s really fun to hear all about the things that you are curious and excited about.
you still like graphic novels and will read almost any genre, from sport manga to historical fiction to fantasy or sci fi or animal or kids. you don’t see a difference between “girl” books and “boy” books, so you read a wide variety of stories and tales without prejudice. you are “back” into chapter books. if the library had unlimited graphic novels that you had never read, you might only read those, but the problem is that graphic novels are ultimately too short and you read them too quickly, and the pile is never large enough, so you find yourself “forced” to read novels too to scratch your reading itch. right now you are reading a series about warrior owls (sure) that you chanced upon at a stop during our road trip this summer because there was nothing else for you to read before bed and you’ve been reading it ever since. you still love the rick riordan books and papa and i are still reading them along with you. we’ve read the entire percy jackson series together and almost the entire red pyramid series (well *i* finished it anyway) and we’ve just finished magnus chase. and we are all anxiously awaiting the next book in the apollo series to come out. you would love if we read more of the same books as you but sometimes we like to read grownup books too 😉 still, talking about books we have all read together is really fun and i am glad we have these series.
we got the three of you a computer last year and you’ve discovered email this year. you spent a few months emailing with local and cross-country friends and that was really fun. your class was on the computer more during the spring of last school year, so i would get occasional emails from you with links to .gifs of cute kittens and it was always the best. and you are starting to learn how to use email usefully as well – this year you sent me embedded links of the games you wanted me to put on your birthday wishlist. it’s crazy how grownup these little things make you seem.
you still love the iPad, of course, and although i still screen all of the games i download for all of you, i can’t keep track of everything you play anymore. you do still love fifa and other soccer games and you and your brothers are back into some games you used to play on the iPad that you can now all play on the appletv. it’s still a thing about who is first and can i finish this during the weekends and breaks when everyone is taking a turn, but overall you are pretty good about sharing the time with your brothers and with friends on the rare occasion that they get screen time with you.
you love soccer, of course, and finally had a really good season this past fall. you and your teammates have been really good sports about your frequently dismal records in the past, so it was especially exciting for you to have a winning season this year. you continue to be a good teammate and a good sport – encouraging your team to play harder and being patient when they make mistakes. you also have some excellent soccer skillz and it’s fun to watch you play.
you are starting to want to watch more big kid movies and tv shows, so one thing we have done is started to let you go up a little bit later than your brothers so that you and i could watch a tv show (troll hunters, on netflix) that calum and hugo find too scary. after we finished that, we started playing a few adventure games on the iPad together and it’s been really nice having that time with you. on mama snuggle nights (when i take calum and hugo up to bed instead of papa), you and papa have been watching soccer games or highlights or other papa and august things.
you continue to be a pretty great big brother. you are snotty and a brat sometimes. impatient or too full of energy to not be able to resist making calum angry or teasing hugo, but overall you like your brothers and once you get over being forced to hang out with him, you always have a good time. you also play with them on your own, calum especially, although unkindly you often demand that calum play what you want to play (soccer or magic, often). but they both look up to you and like you and often want to do things with you, so it still most often works out for everyone in the end. although you do play board and card games well with calum, hugo is the worst at sitting still, so he often gets bored or tries to destroy whatever is happening, so your best games with hugo still often involve a ball or running and playing. to that end, your uncle got the three of you a slack line with all kinds of climbing tools on it, so your papa and i are excited to put that up later this spring for all of you.
we took a big trip this past summer and you really enjoyed the traveling. i wasn’t sure if you would be bored or if you would think things were cool but i think we managed a nice balance between seeing things in nature and doing kid-centric things and it was really fun to see you and your brothers enjoy looking at big trees and the ocean and big lakes and geysers and hiking and staying in new places. you and calum and hugo were excellent with all of the driving (and you all LOVED the posh-compared-to-our-car minivan), which really helped. and seeing you meet friends we hadn’t seen in ages was pretty great too. i didn’t know how it was all going to work out, but it turns out taking a big trip with all of you was a delight.
you enjoy school and you are becoming thoughtful in your work (we can even read it sometimes now). although you have to do homework this year as it will affect your transcript for the exam schools (which you think you would like to try to attend), it has also been more thoughtful in 5th grade and you don’t mind doing it as much. your teachers have commented more than once about how thoughtful you can be in class and how interesting your contributions are when you decide to participate. you are also sometimes very much a 5th grade boy who is not very excited about being excited about school.
your class is watching some news this year, partly to be more informed and partly as part of the curriculum for the year learning to be more critical thinkers, and you often have news bits that you want to share or ask questions about at dinner. it’s very cool to see you engaging in the world in this way, you often have very insightful comments to make about what you have learned.
you’re getting taller. your hair is getting longer. your feet and hands are still a little too big for your body. you haven’t started to hit puberty yet but all of that seems just over the horizon and it’s so crazy to believe that you’re about to get so much bigger and that you used to be so tiny.
you’re a sweet and thoughtful kid and we are lucky to have you. happy birthday!
mama and papa