We were supposed to send both kids to see their grandmas and grandpa this weekend, but the Kid was a little sick, so we sent Little Miss off on her own, instead. With our current school/activities/life situation, I often have little pockets of time alone with Little Miss, but I didn't realize quite how long it had been since I'd gotten the chance to hang out one-on-one with my man cub. It was well worth all the other things I didn't get done this weekend to have a good frolic day with him on Saturday afternoon.
He just turned seven last week, and I think it might be my favorite age so far. We have our share of backtalk and stubbornness and struggles, of course, but on the whole I'm madly in love with who he is right now.
I want to bottle up his curiosity. He knows more about dinosaurs than I ever have or will. He frequently corrects me about species of shark and whale. He knows every beast in the Star Wars cannon. (We had a birds-and-the-bees conversation at lunch Saturday afternoon about the mating rituals of hutts. It was, at once, the most charming and the weirdest thing I've ever discussed over a slab of pizza.)
There's so much zooming around in his head, and I'm waiting for his reading skills to take off like a little kid counting down the seconds to Christmas morning. Once he realizes he can get all of the facts by himself, we aren't going to be able to get him to leave the library for years.
I also love how his heart is expanding to care about the world. I have to keep dollars in my purse now for homeless people downtown, because I just can't say no to his sweet, "Can we give that person some money?" And he really surprised me this year--because, like his mama, one of his love languages is presents--when he asked if, for his birthday, we could "help the dinosaurs" in lieu of a gift from me and his dad. (Yes, we chuckled at the idea of "helping" extinct animals. And then we got him a membership to our local Natural History Museum.)
More selfishly, he's also now old enough to do about 80-90% of his own self-care, and also also old enough to understand the reasons he should perform said self-care without much, if any, explanation from me. I can tell him to get dressed without having to marshal ten bullet points about why we have to wear clothes outside the house in our society. We do not have daily philosophical debates about the difference between long-sleeves and short-sleeves. (Ahem...Little Miss.)
Spending that little bit of time with just him this weekend really made me realize how much he just does the things he's supposed to. (And honestly, made me feel a little guilty that I'm usually wrestling with his sister too much to praise him for it...a situation I am pledging to work on going forward.) But even though he can do a lot of the taking care of himself, he still likes a good snuggle. I fear that the window when both of those things are true will be small, so I'm soaking it in.
"Yes, yes, he's growing up," I hear you thinking, "But WHERE did you find these dinosaur sculptures?" Let me tell you!
Every year when I start thinking about the kids' birthday photos, I try to find a way to work in the things they're into at that particular time. This year, for the Kid, it had to be dinosaurs, so I googled and discovered this adorable sculpture park in Erie, Kansas. It was only a little out of our way to meet-up there to get Little Miss back from the grandparents, and--even though they technically weren't open--the caretaker was nice enough to let us in. If you're ever in Southeast Kansas, it's a highly entertaining spot to stop and stretch your legs.
Happy Birthday Man Cub! (I know I'm not supposed to call you that anymore, but, even when you're thirty, it's always going to be my favorite.) I'm so excited to watch you experience your magical year seven.