Thane turns 7

My almost 6 year old
My almost 7 year old
How I still think of my Thane
How I still think of my Thane

I find my youngest son an absolute delight. Thane is an extremely sweet child. (It’s funny how that can simultaneously be true with a phase that finds the word “poop” HILARIOUS.) He is incredibly affectionate and snuggly. I accused him the other morning of stealing my snuggle pills in order to become more snuggly. Showing that he’s internalized our attempts to instill a growth mindset, he replied, “I haven’t been taking snuggle pills, mom. I’ve just been practicing.” And so he has. I’m treasuring every moment that he leans that cheek on my shoulder.

Thane loves his medallion
Thane loves his medallion

It has been interesting to watch his early inclinations and gifts flower into more grown versions. For example, he can still put together a puzzle like a boss. But that intense focus and physical understanding have been turned to more abstract things. He’s approached Pokemon with a scientific mind to put Linneaus to shame. He’ll lay out his stacks of cards sorted by type, carefully reading each, and memorizing the (extensive) evolution paths. He can spend hours with them, quietly singing or talking to himself, and laying out his cards. I’ve been thinking how nice it would be if there were, say, Geography cards that made learning something useful as easy and engaging as it is to learn something that will be less helpful when he’s 30. But his learning skills are growing, regardless of subject.

Thane loves math. He’s probably better at mental addition and subtraction than I am. He doesn’t have multiplication tables memorized yet, but has good strategies for getting to the answer. He can do some division. He is in first grade. I have sought out some mathematical problem books that are age appropriate, but not things he’ll be spending the next three years learning. So far, he’s learned how to be gracious and appropriately attentive in a class where he’s already mastered the key material, and his teachers have done a good job of supporting his interests.

Possibly my favorite moment
Possibly my favorite moment

He also loves to read. This spring, he turned the page on his reading ability and started picking up chapter books. He then methodically worked his way through all 53 books in the Magic Treehouse series. Interestingly, it was REALLY IMPORTANT to him that they be read IN ORDER. Through his hard work and attention, he made sure that happened. Since he wrapped that up, he hasn’t really started another series. But I’ve discovered he will read more or less any book I leave next to his book at bedtime. Muahahah!

One thing I’m struggling with is that Thane, well, doesn’t prefer the name Thane. I intentionally gave both my boys names that were proper and normal. The names on their birth certificates are great names, but I love their nicknames. It’s hard to even call it a nickname when many people who know my sons don’t know their proper names (although I do trot them out when they’re in trouble…). But at school, Thane has opted to go by Nathan instead. Now, I love the name Nathan. It’s one of my favorites. And so far he hasn’t asked that I change what I call him. But I find myself sadder than I would have anticipated to think of NOT calling my sweet boy Thane, even while I remember that this is exactly what I thought about when I first laid a name on my child.

Thane at Soccer
Thane at Soccer

This year, Thane has played soccer. He’s pretty decent for his age group. He’s played goalie pretty well a few times. I’ve been impressed by his attention to his task, and his physical durability. The primary things he’s working on are a) not falling down all the time b) being aggressive on offense. He is still tall for his age – at the 91st percentile for 7 year old boys. He doesn’t seem to notice pain very much. The other day he took a playground swing to the face (leading to a doozy of a black eye!) and didn’t even cry.

I mean, I'd cry...
I mean, I’d cry…

Thane loves Pokemon, board games, books and his brother. (The two of them are thick as thieves.) He is self-contained, but so loving. He can be shy (which surprises me every time), and incredibly goofy. There are few things in this world I find sweeter and more precious than this beloved child of mine.

Gaming with his daddy
Gaming with his daddy

Twenty bookes, clad in black or red

It’s been a while since I last gave you an update about what my boys were doing. Now that they’re both out of the “monthly” mode (and heck, my BLOG is practically at a monthly update level. I can’t tell you how much I miss writing more frequently!) it’s more challenging to highlight their growth.

With Grey, the big news is how big and capable he’s getting. I suppose there are a thousand steps on the road towards self-sufficiency, but each one is thrilling to a parent. For example, Grey has successfully:
– Gotten out bowls for he and his brother
– Gotten out cereal
– Poured the cereal in the bowls (without spilling)
– Gotten the milk out of the fridge
– Poured the milk on the cereal (without spilling)
– Gotten out spoons
– Brought spoons and cereal bowls over to the living room where the boys break their fast
If I could teach him to put the milk BACK, and combined with his terrifyingly acute control of the television apparatus, I might finally be able to sleep in on Saturday mornings!

The greatest new development for Grey, though, is around books. He had a great day today. He graduated levels in swimming class, ably making his way around the pool with limited bouyantical aid. He tested for his next belt in aikido, competently demonstrating Kata-tori Kokyu-nage, among other techniques. So I decided, while obtaining the requisite present for a birthday party tomorrow, I’d get him a new book. I hesitated, among the scant options in Target. The picture books all seemed a little simple. He’s been doing a great job reading lately. So instead, I picked up a simple chapter book The Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark. As we headed to the airport to drop grandma off (Bye grandma!), Grey set aside his DS in order to read.

An hour ago, sitting at my feet as I blogged, he finished the book, face flush with enjoyment and pride. He had read the last several chapters to himself, only the pace of page-turning a clue that every single word was getting its due. He really read it. Himself. It was his first full chapter book. I have a sneaking hunch that it will not be his last. (Possibly because he went to his room, pulled out about three other books, and read his favorite parts of them.)

A real reader! I have a real reader! We can read together! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

I fondly remember when my brother (who, by the way, will be graduating from Princeton Seminary this spring. If anyone’s looking for a nice Presbyterian Minister, let me know) began to read. I remember the conversation we older ones had, jealously laying out the wonderful books he would be able to read for the first time.

Grey, reading a Scooby Doo coloring book. It’s Dr. Jekyl, by the way!

My youngest son has been no slouch in the “fun” department either. He loves books deeply. Unlike his brother, he’s willing to sometimes be in a different room than we’re in. I’ve seen him spend a good 45 minutes alone in his room, going through all his books. (Which usually leads to a several inch deep carpet of books in his room… the prices you pay!) Thane’s absolute favorite books in the entire world are the “How Do Dinosaurs…” series. This particularly excellent set of books doesn’t have generic, badly researched dinosaurs like so many of kiddo dino books do. Nor does it happily stop with the oligarchy of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus like the rest of them do. No, there’s some new ones in these books…. Comsognathus, Pachycephalusaurus, Tapejara. And Thane, although not yet potty trained, has complete mastery over this entire pantheon.

I think he likes to categorize things — to know the names and be able to identify things. Or maybe he just likes dinosaurs. He has finally mastered his letters and numbers. But I’ll be honest: I think he got the dinosaurs first.

As he plops his bottom down onto my lap, beloved “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You” in hand for the 9,234th time (demanding I identify each and every dinosaur on each and every page before reading the text – as if he doesn’t know), I admit that I’m caught between the desire for him to be an early reader too… and the desire to have many long year before me of “Mom, can you read this?”

Thane, reviewing his dinosaurs. Dilphosaurus, Protoceratops, Carnosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Apatosaurus….

A full set of pictures