Happy Birthday, Sylvan: You’re 6 1/2!

Posted by julie on Monday, 12 March 2012, 13:26

Dear Sylvan,

Six months ago, you wouldn’t read books; you couldn’t write thank you notes; you were a neophyte martial artist; and you’d played soccer a mere handful of times.

Now, I catch you reading books. Sometimes, you read to Elena. Those are gratifying for you, because you understand all the vocabulary and can sight-read all the words. On car trips, you sometimes read Harry Potter to yourself—just one or two pages, because you recognize how relatively slowly you move along and that you can’t understand the more complex vocabulary through context. It’s okay; I love the time I spend reading Harry Potter books to you. I’ll be sad when you’d rather read alone.

Know what's funny when your 3 1/2 and 6 1/2? Scatological jokes.

Do I have something on my head?

And speaking of car trips, your Dad and I recently talked about kids being plugged into movies and video games during car trips. You were playing Train Maze on my iPod, and Elena was watching a princess movie on Daddy’s phone at the time. It was marvelously quiet in the car, and we had the opportunity to have a grown-up conversation. It was nice.

Yet our conversation consisted of how happy we were that we’d waited until the last hour of our 6-hour trip (2 1/2 hours to the east side of the mountains, then 3 1/2 hours back two days later) to say yes to electronic media for entertainment. And don’t be mistaken: both of your parents really enjoy watching movies, and one of us likes to play video games and even sees educational value in them.

But, earlier that afternoon, to entertain yourself—and us—you’d developed a game to play with us. You had a brochure for a natural history-oriented destination. You selected words from the document, then asked us to guess the word, giving hints such as, “It has an A-R in it.” “Arkansas,” I’d guess. “Lard,” your Dad would say. You even kindly tried to handicap your father when he started advancing in the standings. We laughed a lot. That game wouldn’t have happened if you’d been playing Angry Birds all afternoon.

Long-suffering Sylvan

It's a sand clown, of course.

I can’t believe how much your handwriting has improved in the last few months. Your class wrote thank you letters to Dance Africa, because we performed at your school a few weeks ago. As I flipped through the letters, some decorated with colorful drawings, I stopped at yours because the handwriting was so neat and small. Only then did I realize that it was yours. Wow.

I rarely watch your karate classes, but I caught the end of one as I was picking you up last week. All of the students were running through katas, practicing for your belt ceremony later this week. You breezily announced, “Kiso Kata Number 1,” then performed the kata’s movements in order, unfalteringly.

When I pick you up from Edison on Wednesdays and Thursdays, we skirt a game of soccer on the asphalt just outside the cafeteria. Every day, a 1st- or 2nd-grade boy says, “Bye, Sylvan!” I asked you the other day how they all know you. (Kindergarteners, because of their shortened days, have relatively few opportunities for interaction with older kids.) “I play soccer with them every morning at recess,” you responded. It was definitely one of those moments for me of recognizing the breadth of your life outside of our family.

I love you, Luke Skywalker.

Love,
Yoda

My tooth is falling out at breakfast! I'm so scary!

One Response to “Happy Birthday, Sylvan: You’re 6 1/2!”

  1. Mel says:

    Scatological jokes are funny at any age. Happy 6.5, Sylvan.

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