Dec 20th – What the kids are up to. Today, the boy.
Dec 20th – What the kids are up to. Today, the boy.
For those friends who haven’t been able to spend much time with Batboy, he is tall, athletic, kind, and creative. He has a lot of energy, but it is tame-able. He uses his manners when he is reminded or just over-the-moon happy. He is very sensitive and does NOT like to talk about his emotions. He’ll talk ad nauseum about a project he wants to build, though. His future Batcave, which he will build right outside our kitchen window, is going to have EVERYTHING we will ever need, and we’ll never have to go to work again.
He is a problem solver. He loves to build things, run and climb, knows about a lot of construction vehicles. He only likes stories and TV shows that are not scary and have very little or no interpersonal conflict. They are all problem solving shows, some with magic, some with just unique solutions. He is definitely in his preschool-teen-years and will dramatically run away crying when things don’t go his way. The “Terrible Twos” was a breeze compared to this, but then, two wasn’t so bad for him. He’s not the “follow directions in a group” type. He’d almost always rather do things his own way.
When we left Batboy was excited for our big move but also sad to leave his friends. He had had an amazing year at our beloved Montessori preschool. He was doing basic math, starting to read and write, drawing rocket ship after rocket ship, and even learning to make them out of wood. He enjoyed all of his classmates, ran into school without looking back and was generally thriving. He was really crushing on Dana who worked in between the classroom and the office. He made her a wooden airplane. On nice days he rode his bike to school (with both training wheels) and really enjoyed it. He was so frustrated when it was raining too much or we were too late to bike.
He didn’t miss a beat when we got to the islands for the summer. He was thrilled to get to see his extended family and ran from cottage to cottage to boat to sauna finding people to play with and talk to. He found connection with everyone from his 1yo cousin to his 90 year-old great-great-aunt. It was amazing to see how he lit up being around everyone.
He also LOVES being outside. It was paradise for him to be able to wake up every morning and run outside and play with everything and nothing but room to run. Compared to our regular life we had almost no toys, and it almost never mattered. The only safety discussions we had were “If you are near the water, you must have a life vest” and “If you are in the grass, you need to wear boots and check for ticks later”. No traffic, no strangers, no city worries. He isn’t the type to wander off, so we didn’t worry about that. Batgirl will be the one with a strict radius rule and maybe some wildlife cameras to keep track of where she’s gone.
He learned to use a fishing pole, drive boats, watch the sky, and play in cold water (for a little while). He can spot different types of sea birds, berries in the forest, chanterelle mushrooms, jellyfish, fish, and trees. The tree identification was also a skill learned at his school. Monica and the trees of SE Portland were amazing with that. He loved to “help” people working and was following behind Cora’s uncle when he mowed, Cora’s cousin’s husband on all of his cottage improvement projects, and his grandfather as he chain-sawed firewood. He was reluctant to carry the wood to the house but he did! They were kind to be patient with him. It was so great to see him run and climb along the rocks with grace and joy. Nothing like a warm slab of granite to ground out any stresses you might carry.
Swimming was another mater, he wasn’t so keen on that. It was a cold summer, it took the grownups being brave, generally, to get in. That fact kept him VERY attached to his life vest. He had no interest in getting stranded in the cold water. Thus, I was rarely able to get photos of him without it! It sets a good tone for the younger cousins. He did go to an outdoor swimming class that was just about the most quintessential Scandinavian summer thing to do. Kids playing in a shallow bay next to red and yellow cottages with white trim, learning to put their heads under and swim. Older kids learning lifesaving techniques. When they weren’t in the water they played land games, Sharks and Minnows, Duck Duck Goose and the like. It was Batboy’s first experience with those kinds of games and it was fun but took some getting used to!
His Swedish is getting better, but he is also self-conscious about it now. He doesn’t like the things he does to be imperfect, so he gets shy. We know once preschool finally, finally starts it will go quickly, but I feel for him in the meantime. Fortunately our good neighbor friends speak English so he has some kids to romp around with. We’re all gaining it slower than we’d like, but we’re practicing patience.
He was introduced to Lego Batman over the summer. Last year was Peanuts, this has been the year of Batman. Space and rockets and space shuttles have stayed constant. Lego Batman is a fun version of Batman and he’s gotten us all excited about the Bat. Even Batgirl likes to steal his batman PJs and wear them. Roll up the sleeves and she can just manage.
Legos are his other love. He didn’t have many Legos over the summer (comparatively), so when the container arrived and we build him his Lego work station, he was over the moon. Technically under it because a giant moon is right over his work station! To make him a work station in a fairly small apartment, we took an IKEA pseudo-bunk bed and made the top part that was to be the upper bed a place for him to work with anything he doesn’t want his sister getting into. I must admit, this was a stroke of genius. We bleary-eyedly built it the night before the container arrived very late into the night, but it was amazing when complete and SO SO helpful. Now he sits up there for hours building. And calling out for help finding pieces. I am a fan of organizing, so his colors are separated, but so many small pieces and even my system isn’t specialized enough for quick finding. We don’t really have enough room to go Erik Rudin on the space. (That is an inside joke for a select very few… just envision a Lego room with A LOT of small boxes!) I do not like this part of Legos because it usually ends up being my job. I’m hoping as he gets used to having them there he comes down to do some other work too! And then school will happen and he’ll be mad to have to leave his Legos to go.
He’s definitely a homebody, both of our kids are. They are loving this “all together, all the time” time and would prefer we never leave each others’ company. Except that they really enjoy when they get one-on-one time with one of us, but the don’t remember that until it’s happening. He likes to play outside here, but it’s more complicated with winter clothes and being in the city. We’re all excited to get out of town again, whenever it can happen, and at the least, by next late-Spring, early-Summer. It helps to have the nature reserve so close, but nothing duplicates being able to run outside on a moment’s notice.
Felix is still biking when it isn’t too icy. He’s excited whenever we can plan time to go swimming (inside) and hopes to get into soccer soon. He really loves Cosmic Kids Yoga. It makes me crazy but I love watching him do it! He’s still working on his letters, writing, some math work and some creative work. A few penpals from school are helping but I do have to twist his arm a bit. I wish I was set up to do more of the Montessori work he was rocking. It’s hard to compete with Legos! It’s a work in progress! He’s learning the subway stops that are around our house and is SO SO SO excited for the snow whenever it comes. He loves being out in the nature reserve – and on the flip side, gets cranky and irritated whenever we drive into the inner part of Stockholm. It’s really cramping my city exploration but is great for getting out to the woods. So tomorrow, for the Solstice, we’re heading to the woods for an early sunset and nature appreciation moment. I think he’s going to love it.