At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll just say it again: I sure have loved experiencing age six with Trevor! It’s the most perfect balance of “common sense” and childhood wonder.
Here’s what I mean by “common sense”: I no longer need to watch him like a hawk (every second!) to make sure he’s not getting up on the counter to climb toward the knives, or playing too close to the staircase, or putting marbles in his mouth. He’s far less inclined to sudden trips and falls, and the public tantrum era is over and done. He’s no longer likely to spill his dinner all down the front of his shirt (and onto the rug), and he knows how to get his own cup of water when he’s thirsty.
And yet, he’s still in full possession of those magical qualities of non-judgment, complete open-mindedness, and innocence. He believes that anything is possible.
We went for a hike a few weeks ago and passed a woman carrying a very unique-looking hiking stick. Tru immediately struck up a conversation (he has no reservations!). She informed him that the sticks come in all shapes and sizes, even miniature-sized for leprechauns. Tru took this in with no doubt: of course there are leprechauns in the world and of course they need tiny hiking sticks!
When Chris has taken Trevor out somewhere and he arrives home again, Tru will run into the house calling out “Mama, Mama!” When I come to greet him, he’ll often run right into my arms for a hug. How much do I wish that that kind of a greeting could be a part of my life forever! What more could I ask in life?
Here are some of the sweetest qualities of Trevor at age six:
- He sometimes says things like, “Mama, I love you with my whole heart, and you mean everything to me.” This is an echo of the words I’ve said to him for so long, now repeated back to me.
- Sometimes, he’ll grab both my purse and his backpack and carry them down to the garage before school, in order to help me out!
- Or he’ll let Calvin outside when Cal paws at the back door.
- I have a song I love to sing to him (“Joy of My Life” by Chris Stapleton), and sometimes Tru will sing along with me when I play it.
- His hair still smells like sugar.
- He still likes to curl in my lap when we read a book before bed, or cuddle up with me on the couch when we watch TV.
That’s not to say life has been all sunshine, of course. Life is brutal, and so is parenthood! As I write this post, it’s the middle of November. We’re already one third of the way through Tru’s first grade year. I couldn’t process that Tru was old enough to start first grade, and now he’s barreling his way toward the end! The thing that no one warns you about with parenthood is that it definitely accelerates time (I would swear up and down that this is true!) and absolutely forces you to face your own mortality on an overwhelmingly frequent basis. I have to face this fact in a hundred tiny ways each day. For instance, Tru’s drawers and closet seem always disorganized and overflowing because he’s always outgrowing everything! He now wears a “little kids” size 1 shoe, so I’ve just had to purchase new sneakers for him. Gone are the cute little baby feet and the adorable tiny shoes! Tru’s feet actually look big these days – they’re not a whole lot smaller than my own! When I hang his clothes to dry, I’ll often flash back to being pregnant and hanging his freshly washed newborn clothes. How much his clothes have increased in size since then – it’s beyond belief! I held him on my hip to take some photos last month and had to put him down a minute later, since he’s now about 48 pounds. When I hold him now, I always think, “is this the last time?” It’s the constant experience of watching all that has been so sweet and precious just slip through my fingers … and disappear. All that I’ve loved …. dust in the wind.
Another struggle: the coughs and colds and viruses. It’s tough having a kid in school – truly cruel! I receive emails from the school about students who’ve been diagnosed with strep throat or lice or Covid; they notify us of everything. I’ve often felt that many parents of young kids never really had the option to feel afraid of Covid because … we felt bound to catch it! As I write this, our whole family has been sick for two full weeks. Chris and I had awful coughs. Tru had a fever for a night/morning and actually wanted to just lie on the couch for a morning (I can’t remember him ever doing such a thing, ever!) Today, Trevor woke up with an absolutely awful sounding cough. It really scared and worried me. He basically stepped out of one sickness and immediately into the next one, in other words. I wish I knew how to rescue him from all of it; I wish I could rescue myself too.
This is one of the most common facial expressions on Tru, and it’s because of his frequent runny noses! I don’t understand why children must be sick so often; I just know I cringe when I’m standing on the playground after school, hearing all of the coughs.
When you look at your child, you instantly know all that they deserve – perfect happiness, perfect wellbeing, a perfect world. And yet, the only thing that you can give to them is this world instead. A world rampant with violence, sickness, poverty, ecological destruction, and war. This is the world we have to give to our children, and every parent just has to face this fact. What I’ve observed in myself is that I tend to try to shelter/hide Tru from all of the “bad stuff.” I’m sure this must be instinctive in many parents. And yet, with each year that passes, Tru’s maturity and understanding grows, and more of the “real” world is automatically revealed to him. I can’t stop it. It causes intense anxiety in me. Anxiety and sadness. My instinct is to wrap him up inside the house, controlling every aspect of his existence, keeping him perfectly safe and protected. And yet I know that sheltering him won’t help him grow. Besides that, I’m keenly aware that I can’t control what will happen in the next minute, even when I’m locked inside my house!
Here are some of the special moments that happened this fall:
Tru had his first kiss this fall! We went to a special pumpkin decorating event at the golf club, and Tru started running around the room with the little girl at the table next to us. I believe she was four or five years old, very bright and articulate, and very sweet. They had a lot of fun together throughout the event, chasing each other and laughing. When I told Tru we had to leave, he suddenly gave her a big bear hug. This was surprising because he doesn’t give big hugs often. Next, he cradled her face in his hands, and gave her a kiss on the lips! It was such a sweet and funny thing because it was like a sudden inspiration that moved him. It seemed to come out of absolutely nowhere, and was completely adorable.
Tru’s Favorites Now
Here’s something Trevor really loves: being funny! I love how he brings out my silly and goofy side – he always makes me laugh! Tru like to watch The Snoopy Show on Apple TV, and he’ll just laugh out loud at the ridiculous antics of Snoopy. It’s so much fun to see Tru “get” a joke and watch his sense of humor develop! He also likes the Minions and has developed a habit of speaking nonsensical words and “Banana Language/Minionese.” Normally, when he pops out of bed at 6am each morning, he’ll leap into Chris’s and my bed and immediately begin speaking in a silly Minionese. He’ll say all kinds of things that make no sense whatsoever in a high-pitched baby voice; it always cracks me up. He often calls me “Sa-Mani,” which is his invented word for “Mama.” I love that I have a nickname! He’s always asking me to tell him a joke. And when he learns one, he’ll repeat it a hundred times.
One funny thing about Tru is that he shows absolutely zero interest in toys. I remember spending hours in my room playing with dolls as a little girl. Trevor is the polar opposite: he has never once gone alone into his room to play with toys! That’s shocking to me! He’s very active and very extroverted, and he’s just not interested in imaginative play or independent play. If he’s home, he wants me to play basketball with him. I can sometimes interest him in reading a Highlights magazine with me or working on an activity book (he likes mazes and hidden pictures).
He really prefers to be out and about, doing lots of activities. This fall, he’s done all of the following: golf (not just at the local club but also participating in a golf team and going to golf tournaments), outdoor soccer, and hockey. He loves golf and he’s a very good golfer. He’s especially good at putting. He participated in a total of six tournaments in late summer and fall, and he received three first-place gold medals. He was so proud! Unfortunately there’s a downfall. Tru feels very intense emotions when shots don’t go his way or others kids do well. He’ll often get extremely angry or break down into sobs if he’s not happy with his shot. I feel (and I think Chris also feels) completely helpless in those situations; nothing can be said or done to lift him out of those dark clouds. We just have to give him time and space to work through the emotional pain.
If he’s in relax-at-home mode, he chooses to play the “Golden Tee” golf game on the iPad or play golf and basketball on Chris’s old Nintendo Wii. He’ll sometimes sit and watch TV: in addition to The Snoopy Show, Tru likes the 2022 Pinocchio, Big Hero 6, and Air Bud.
Tru continues to be very dedicated to accumulating daily steps on his FitBit. He’s also remained interested in the idea of running races. He’s said several times that he wants to run a marathon. So Tru and I have started going to the track across from his school before we do drop-off in the morning. He usually starts asking to head over to the track at about 7:30am (drop-off begins at 8:10). So he’ll walk/jog/run about 4 or 5 laps around the track before school.
He continues to dislike most of the things I love, like dancing, dressing up, and shooting photos! When Trevor was younger, Chris would simply stand behind me and make up some silly words or faces to get Tru laughing for pictures. But Tru is more sophisticated now and won’t laugh at just anything anymore!
The majority of Tru’s photos now feature the fake or “forced” smile.
Considering his sense of humor, Tru prefers to just make ridiculous faces for photos.
He’s happier when we invent something unique and fun for photos. In this one, for example, he tried looking straight at the camera while jumping.
Trevor Enters the First Grade
Tru has loved his first grade year so far. He has two teachers in his classroom, Jane and Melissa. Following the Montessori method, he’ll now remain in the same class, with the same teachers, through third grade. His teachers are wonderful. They allow the kids to make a lot of their own decisions; Tru is able to decide when to eat and if he’d like to eat outside (during motor break) or inside the classroom. He’s able to choose a lot of his own work projects throughout the day. He looks forward to going to school in the morning, but he rarely tells me anything about school at the end of the day. I think he literally forgets the majority of each day as soon as it passes!
His classroom has a lot of animals, including bearded dragons and birds. He took a strong interest in the Monarch butterflies that they raised in the classroom and released. He also loves math. The one project he frequently tells me about is “number chains.” He’s already learned a lot of multiplication, even 9 times 8. I don’t think I learned that until 3rd or 4th grade! He sometimes asks questions about math that I already don’t easily know the answers to, such as, “what’s one million times one million?” I have a feeling I’ll never be the one he turns to for help with his math homework! He doesn’t have any homework yet, thank goodness. Jane explained it this way, “the children are already in school 7 hours each day, 5 days a week.” I completely agree with her – that’s more than enough school work, especially for children so little! I have such a great appreciation for his teachers. After living through the Covid shutdown, when I had no help whatsoever, and this past summer, when his camp counselors were carefree (i.e. careless) teenagers. I’ve just been so extremely grateful for experienced, thoughtful, conscientious adults who are willing to do this work for our kids, despite all of the current challenges in the world.
Now that Covid restrictions are lifted, we got to watch Tru do a presentation at school! His school features a traditional project right before Halloween called “Mystery History.” The children choose a historical figure and write a short essay describing that person’s life. The children dress up as their chosen historical figure and read their essays to the classroom of students and parents. Then everyone tries to guess – based on the costume and essay – the name of the historical figure. Tru decided to be Alan Shepard, who walked on the moon and was the first American in space. It was perfect for Tru because Shepard snuck a 6-iron onto the spacecraft and hit a golf ball on the moon! The story comined two of Trevor’s favorites: golf and outer space! Tru was confident when he read his report and he spoke loudly without pauses or stammers. I was so impressed. He got a big glimmer in his eye when several people guessed his person incorrectly and he realized he had stumped everyone!
Here’s something that snuck up on me without my even realizing it: Trevor says his “r’s” perfectly now! I guess it was such a slow progression that I never even noticed until it just hit me one day. I just suddenly realized, “wait … when did Tru learn how to pronounce the ‘r’ sound?” He still says “aminal” sometimes though, which I find adorable as ever. And he’ll say “you don’t matter if I play basketball outside, do you?” instead of “care.” When he gets frustrated or annoyed he’ll say, “aww geeeeeez.” That one melts me.
A Day In The Life
Here’s the rundown of a typical day with Tru at age 6. Typically, Chris is up around 5am and off to work. Tru pops up and out of bed by 6am, like clockwork. One day recently, he didn’t wake up until about 6:40. He was so angry he’d missed out on his early start to the day! He’ll cuddle with me in bed for a short time. Then he heads downstairs to drink some orange juice and watch TV (lately it’s been Pinocchio and Snoopy) or play Golden Tee on the iPad. After a while, he’ll get up and start shooting hoops in the playroom. I’ll make him some breakfast (Oreo or Twix yogurt, waffle, peanut-butter-chocolate-chip balls, or a Cliff bar) and pack his lunch. Then we head over to the track so Tru can run a few laps. I walk a few laps or sometimes lightly jog. The drop-off window is between 8:10 and 8:30. If Chris can’t pick him up, I head back out to pick up Tru for 3:10 release.
Normally, when Tru sees me, he breaks into a giant smile and comes running toward me. That’s a highlight, always: that big, bright smile, a gift just for me! I don’t enjoy the daily pick-up and drop-off routine and mostly dread standing around on the playground. But I love that moment when we first see each other though! He says a quick “hello” and then hands me his backpack so he can go play on the playground. The number one thing he loves to do at the playground is shoot bouncy balls into the curved/rounded monkey bars that make a sort of basket shape. In other words, he’s invented a basketball-type game out of playground equipment! He found a kindergartener, Ennis, who likes to play this game with him. Tru loves remaining at the playground for as long as there are any other children present, so we typically don’t leave until about 3:40 (sometimes even 4!)
Afterward, we head back to the house for a snack. Tru has activities some evenings: hockey and soccer practice. Some days, we go to the local mini golf course. Dinner continues to be a struggle, as always. Tru tends to whine about his food; he takes issue with pretty much everything but dessert. He’ll try to pick out every green herb speck from his cheese pizza, for example.
Now that he’s a bit older, Tru’s bedtime schedule feels a bit less like a chaotic battle and more like a comforting routine. He normally takes a longer shower so he can play with bath toys; this is the one time of day he really seems to get immersed in a world of imagination! Sometimes I’ll play music; we love to sing along with “Heat Waves” or “When You Wish Upon a Star.” He’s become very good at soaping up and shampooing his own hair. He brushes his own teeth in the shower because he makes an incredible mess at the sink (he’s still a bit too short for it). After putting on his pajamas, he likes to cuddle in his bed for a bedtime story. We’ve been loving Dr. Seuss lately. Two of our favorites are “Sleep Book” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because they’re both so hilarious and clever. I found a Storybook app on my phone, which offers short bedtime stories along with music and back rub guides. So Tru loves to select a story while I give him a back rub. That’s such a special part of the day where we get to connect! I’ve talked about how rapidly he’s growing, but his back and arms are still so tiny overall though! Sometimes Tru will ask me to lay beside him for a minute before he goes to sleep. This is his way of trying to push back his 8pm bedtime! He doesn’t like being in complete darkness, so we turn on his Minion nightlight and his light-up globe before we say goodnight.
I’ve taken so much joy in celebrating every season since Tru arrived. I never took the time to appreciate holidays and seasons before Trevor was born.
We went apple picking at a local farm and found lots of pumpkins for the front porch. Tru actually took several bites of an apple he picked! He had a loose front tooth and wanted the crunch of the apple to pull it out (it didn’t!) Tru had so much fun watching the homemade donuts being made inside the farm store. He stood at the glass window watching for at least ten minutes, asking me a million questions about the process!
We had a good time at a local corn maze that had lots of fun stuff for kids, like giant tube slides and an inflatable trampoline platform. Tru met another little boy the same age, and they became immediate best friends. They navigated the entire corn maze together, chit chatting the whole time! That’s one thing I love about Trevor: a complete stranger can become a best friend within a couple of minutes!
We did a nighttime jack-o-lantern walk. I love seeing all of the intricate and creative designs the artists come up with for the hundreds of pumpkins on display! We also went to a pumpkin carving event at the golf club.
We did several fall hikes as a family, which is always my favorite activity! And we spent a lot of time on the golf course. I love simply walking the course in October – the autumn colors are stunning and the course is typically so quiet at the end of the season!
As far as Halloween, Tru decided to continue his sports streak from last year and wear a basketball costume. Not a Celtics costume or anything, an actual basketball! He says golf is his favorite summer sport and basketball is his favorite winter sport. We also continued the tradition we set last year, where all the neighborhood kids meet up at the neighbor’s house (Emma and Cora). The kids ate pizza and played there for a while, then they all went trick-or-treating in a big group. I always love to see Tru have fun with his friends, we’re grateful to live in a neighborhood with so many kids running around!
Well, I’ve written a novel by now! I write these posts to hang onto precious moments for just a minute more. Parenthood is the toughest experience I’ve even known, and I’m forever grateful that Tru teaches me the meaning of unconditional love.