You started this year off at the tail end of 4, a big bundle of emotions. You had the desire to be a “big boy”, but hyper moments and raw energy kept getting in the way. As the year progressed I have watched the infant in you wane as the child in you waxes. The manic play and first time ever moments are giving way to the known, the refined the real – less blocks, more Legos. You no longer accept what I give you with enthusiasm, you seek out what you want with purpose.
This school year has been characterized by very specific play cycles that seem to illustrate your progress toward little boy hood. We started the year at the height of your dragon fixation. Autumn was all about dragons. I drew outline after outline for you. You filled in the colors with wild energy, spinning tales as you drew and describing the characteristics of each dragon the instant the thought came into your head.
By Thanksgiving you were close to the end of the dragon run, and laying the groundwork for the great “store room”. You became mildly obsessed with the book Friendship Valley by Wolo which features an escape from a forest fire and a re settlement in a fertile valley. Part of the story is that the creatures who re settle there create a store room and store food for the winter. The concept of the store room served for many an intense hour of construction play. You would build elaborate store room islands complete with boats, fairy guards and endless types of food. One of the staples of store room construction was your hoard of ornamental corn kernels. I loved the way we made restaurants and served corn kernels nestled in acorn caps to the fairies. And how we categorized and organized endless piles of wooden food, seeds from the garden and fairy stones. I thought that this play seemed sort of primal in a way, and felt naturally connected to the season. I don’t want to forget it as the primal you slips away and the conscious you emerges.
By January you had the store room out of your system and had moved on to “farm”. We came across an old mismatched set of farm and safari animals at a garage sale, along with more blocks to augment our supply. I would have thought very little of the animals, but to you they were gold. You set up elaborate farms with attached zoos. Every time you came to my house you set up a new farm and worked on it during you entire stay. Each type of animal had an appropriate environment structured for them. We spent a lot of time delivering food and making sure the animals were fed. Yellow blocks for the grass eaters, red blocks for the meat eaters, and blue blocks for the seafood eaters. My favorite little touch was “crazy chicken”. Crazy chicken was a particular rooster that would get loose and take joy rides in the green farm truck that delivered the hay. It happened several times day. A little foray into mania, a moment of wild abandon, a bit of the old you that was a welcomed diversion from the intense focus of the farm.
In February we moved to the new house. That week you started to draw. Hither to then your drawings had been abstracted with some sense of outline, but mostly blocks of color. As soon as we moved they became drawings. You were drawing your own dragons, hedge hogs, beavers, people, space events, and all of it with defined and recognizable form. This shift in drawing was profound, because with it your energy changed. As soon as you could really draw, everything in your life became more deliberate, considered and planned. No longer is your modus operandi to run about man handling things and people till you figure out what you want to do. You already know what you want to do. You have purpose and you operate against it. I am less in love with the new you, but I must say it is easier on me. I don’t have to figure out your craziness and help you cope. I am now able to follow along with some semblance of coherent understanding.
I find myself letting go of your infancy at an alarming rate. Every time you come back you are more and more grown up. Your words are calculated, you are aware of media and violence and you are fascinated by gaming. Part of you has changed, but I still see your marks of joy, your enthusiasm and your imagination. My role now is different, I find myself teaching less and sheparding more. I can’t stand in your way, I have to let you grow up into the man you are destined to be. I have to do this gracefully and compassionately – Wish me luck, but above all wish me patience!
Love + Mommy