Sunday, March 10, 2013

Prince's fifth year

Tomorrow in the very early morning, Prince turns 5. Visually, it's clear he's growing up and turning into a real Big Boy. I've been trying to remember all the ways he has changed and grown this year. He has made tremendous progress in a lot of ways. [Warning: all the bragging of a Christmas newsletter approaching:]

He is learning to accept responsibility. He knows when Zainab is coming and that he will put away the silverware after she cleans it. He has learned how to clean his room on occasion.

He is learning to talk about more topics than what he is immediately interested in. He gives eye contact more regularly. He follows subtle prompts to ask follow up questions. He gives unprompted compliments. He can hold conversations with his peers that have nothing to do with Mario.

Prince is much more affectionate and is comfortable expressing that affection in appropriate ways. I've been blogging about that this last month and how much I enjoy it.

He is a much more flexible eater, something that has been on my wish list for 3.5 years. He still has favorite foods -- his latest favorite are "animal noodles": pasta in animal shapes, and cream cheese sandwiches -- but there's a decent variety of fruits and vegetables he will eat happily and he can usually have a couple bites of what we're having with minimal complaint. It was a year ago that he discovered pancakes and for his birthday party yesterday he really wanted pancakes. He looked at me very doubtfully this morning when I tried to remind him that he likes banana bread; once he tasted the double-chocolate banana bread I baked today that's practically a banana brownie he was thoroughly hooked.

His underwear stays clean more days than not, a magnificent change [pun almost intended] from when the school had to change him 1-3 times daily. We no longer have to remind him hourly to check either - he takes care of it himself first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and well into the night.

Speaking of schooling,
  • Last year he could count to 100 while his class learned to count to 20. This year he has counted up to 1000 manually, down to -10, and can do either in Roman numerals. He is learning to count by twos, fives, and tens; to tell time; and is practicing adding two-digit numbers.
  • Last year he knew his letters and could identify some words. Now he's reading at least a verse of scripture every day and can read most early children's books out loud.
  • He has discovered science. Among the things he wants to do tomorrow to celebrate his birthday is have Joy take him outside to gather odds and ends and test to see if they float. In the tub today he was showing me how his legs float if he puts enough water in the tub, explaining that he is a scientist.
  • (As very much of an aside, we've got him speaking American English again - his Nigerianisms have dropped off.)

Last year he had a timeout at least 3 times a day and 8 was a really bad day. I remember wondering what a day with no timeouts would even be like -- the day before he accomplished his first one. Now 3 is a really bad day and he often goes multiple days without a timeout.

He has started to teach us the gospel, taking a Family Home Evening lesson monthly. [Left, he prepares to teach us about the feeding of the five thousand.]

He displays sportsmanship. Over the summer he lied and argued if he lost. Yesterday he lost a game and didn't have even the smallest fit, even though he was clearly disappointed.

Oddly enough, somewhere along the way he forgot how to smile for the camera. His posed smile is much more demure and reveals less of the exuberant boy we love.

He has not only learned how to mostly dress himself for church, but has learned that he has learned how to. The distinction is that I no longer have to remind him that he has buttoned buttons before: he can do it himself and he is confident he can.

I worry a lot less about if Princess is safe playing with him. There are occasional slips, but ... (how do I phrase this right?) his track record shows he's safer than he looks. :?D

The school taught him how to "swim" late last year - mostly to be comfortable in the water. His comfort level has grown greatly. The last time we were at the pool, he slipped, splashed a bit until he could get his footing, and wanted to keep on playing without needing to cling to either of us.

He's learning to throw a ball with some accuracy.

He's learning the self-control to walk through the house instead of running everywhere.

Good job, Prince. I love you. I'm proud to be your father. I can't wait to see what the next year holds.