Since late September, we have:
* been attending a great preschool as well as a fantastic language and learning program (Jack)
* mostly adjusted to a new job in San Francisco (Hans)
* rode around the mountains for a weekend on a motorcycle rally (Hans)
* traveled to Baton Rouge for a family visit
* enjoyed a visit from my mom and sister
* stayed two nights in a Steep Ravine cabin e
ven though Hans had the stomach flu
* celebrated Jack's 5th birthday with a small party
* made it through holiday time off from school, which is always the hardest for Jack
* survived being sick -- all three of us at the same time, thankfully Jack was least sick
* made a day trip to the Sierra for Jack's first exposure to snow
* stayed in Yosemite Valley for two nights
* strapped on skis for the first tim
e and had a lesson (Jack)
It's all been really mostly ok. We've been stretching ourselves to do things which previously
felt impossible, such as traveling, one of us parents
going away for a few days, trying ne
w things which might be scary (snow, tubing, skiing, staying in unfamiliar places), and these new experiences have been difficult but also fun. We've discovered that Jack likes being around people (although not too many at one time), is able to follow directions and focus, and is increasingly willing to try new things. By the way, he loves to eat snow and the Little Mermaid is just too scary.
Jack has found ways to surprise us with unexpecte
d emotional growth. Out of the blue in mid-December he asked how Santa was going to get into our house on Christmas Eve. He had never "got" Santa before -- we actually though it was a quandary that we would never need to anguish over. He's interested now in holidays (and not just because of presents), the solstice, seasons, and days of the week. Minor growth, for sur
e, but to me it shows an increase in the awareness of his place in the world. He also comes home from school remembering activities and talking about books they read, absorbing his days rather than having them wash over him like a bank of fog.
But the biggest change is a sharp new interest in girls. He says boys are hard to make friends with, but he is in love with girls. His gaze is drawn to them everywhere, all kinds of girls of all ages, at playgrounds, in stores, on the street! His interactions with them are clumsy and awkward, but he is
at least displaying interest for the first time. He adores t
he single girl at school (b
oth programs are all male except for that one girl) and expresses love and caring for her. They play together well but her parents don't speak English and we don't speak Spanish, so we haven't been able to get the kids together for a playdate outside of school. We sent a note home with her for Jack's birthday party but maybe they couldn't read it. Oh well, will keep trying.
At home Jack is crazy for his Wii, which he got for his birthday. We work on his balance with the Wii Fit and he likes the exercise "games," since they add up his time spent exercising and he moves up a level with more work, something he really enjoys. When the weather is nice he goes biking with Hans on his new trail-a-bike (a present from Santa). Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk as well as inside on paper with crayons is still on the top of his activity list. We did several Lego kits together over the holiday break, and he was able to focus very well on those projects. Otherwise he still plays with his toys in a mostly unusual way; he tends to make up complicated games revolving around a current obsession, games that are difficult to follow and rather confusing. Hans has been working on expanding Jack's tolerance here, pushing for the games to make more sense while exploring social issues and feelings. We also (mostly successfully) play Uno, Blockus, Labryinth, checkers, and Scrabble. Jack's getting better about losing, but that's still a work in progress.
One of the great joys in the past few months has been reading together. Hans read him the Hobbit, and I'm working through Narnia. It's lovely to see Jack asking good questions about the stories and understanding sophisticated themes.
Off now to do some chores while Jack is at school. More blogging soon!