Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Oliver!

I'm pretty sure I say the same thing every year, but, this year, I am just so amazed and proud of how much our little guy is growing up. What most important is that he's turning out to be a really good kid.

Oliver started preschool at the end of August. It was a little rough on him at first. He's spent his entire life being with his mom, having a clear routine, and knowing exactly what each day would bring. He was a pretty difficult baby, and I think routine was the best thing for him for a long time. I'm glad he's an older kid when it comes to school cut-offs because I don't think he would have been ready to start preschool until after he was about 4-and-a-half. Even so, it wasn't easy. When things didn't go his way, he just crumbled to the ground and basically pouted. He was mad! The teachers had to give him a special quiet corner that he could go to and just be angry. He verbalizes his feelings well, and he'd tell them exactly what he was feeling and why. They'd ask him if he was ready to go back and join the class, and he'd say, "Not yet." It's going smoothly now, and he no longer needs his corner. Preschool is becoming his routine, and he loves to go! He loves the opening question of the day, he enjoys all of the learning centers, and he has made a number of friends. One of our neighbor's sons is in Oliver's class, and Oliver just adores him.

Over the past few months, Oliver has gotten really into art. He draws so many things--really anything that's made an impression on him. He often comes home from school and draws a picture about his day. One day, they dropped Mentos into a bottle of pop and watched it foam up and shoot out of the bottle! His drawing of that was pretty spectacular. His teacher tells me he will go to the easel after the question of the day and create his own graph and color in what everyone's answers were. Personally, as a biased mother, I think his artwork is just so amazing and detailed, especially considering this is something he really just started to do a few months ago. There's one thing that he hasn't developed, though, probably due to lack of experience before now: he holds his pen like a toddler would, by grabbing it with his whole hand.

He takes after me in that he loves numbers. He's always asking about numbers, can count over 100, and likes to add by the hundreds. He asks, "Mom, why is 100 plus 100, 200?" He draws number lines, and he likes addition problems with multiple numbers, like 2 + 2 + 2 = __. He draws out little items to represent each number and then adds them up to get to the correct answer. Seriously, it sounds like I must be a crazy parent who drills my child on this stuff, but I swear it's just something he's picked up on his own. Like clocks, he also likes clocks! He loves it when I tell him what time something is going to happen, and then he'll watch the clock and tell me how many times the hands have to go around for it to be the right time.

As for reading, he loves books but isn't reading on his own yet. He enjoys trying to write. He draws pictures and labels them. He sounds out words and often gets them right or at least gets the consonants right. He can sound out some word when he's reading, too, but he doesn't sit down and read a whole sentence.

He's taking an interest in some pop culture stuff. He loves The Lego Movie. It's not like he's seen a lot of movies in his lifetime. In fact, I think he's only seen The Lego Movie and Toy Story. But he's totally obsessed with Emmett, Lord Business, and Good Cop/Bad Cop from the movie. He's also taken an interest in playing video games with Andrew. He loves Zelda, but his new favorite is a 2-player Lego Movie computer game.

Oliver builds Legos on his own, too. Like his drawings, his Lego creations get really creative. He builds characters from the movie using regular pieces, but they get elaborate. His focus on detail just astounds us sometimes. He'll give characters their "overpriced coffee" like in the movie. He uses little mugs for Lord Business's hat and makes sure they're turned the correct way. He won't use the wrong color pants. He likes everything just so!

We didn't get him in sports this year. I tried to sign him up for soccer, but registration closed before we closed on our house. I'm going to try this spring! Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, he did take an evening swim class with Andrew in the summer.

He's really a sweet kid. He loves to cuddle. He's asking hundreds of questions every day. He loves attention and being taught new things. He talks about other people's feelings and what makes them sad or happy. I'm just so proud of him! But I can't believe he's 5. Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!

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