Apr 24, 2010

The big boys

Sometimes I feel guilty that in the shuffle of a busy life with Lexi and Gavin, Tyler and Zachary take a back seat. They are self-sufficient in many ways, and are big enough to help with chores, do homework unassisted, and entertain themselves. I am working to give the big boys more attention and better quality time....and take more pictures of them!

Tyler is really a great kid. He is generally so kind and helpful, very affectionate, and sensitive to others' needs. While he loves to play with friends, he is also content to play a game, read a book, or watch a show on his own. I love that he is so good to quietly entertain himself after school while Gavin and Lexi are sleeping. Tyler has recently shown interest in making his own lunch, too. I certainly can't complain about that!

This week I was truly humbled to be Tyler's mother when he did literacy testing at school and scored at a mid-third-grade level on reading and comprehension. His kindergarten teacher had wonderful things to say about him. While I am a little intimidated at the challenge of parenting such a brilliant child, I am thrilled to see him succeed.

Tyler really does love to read. He is supposed to read 20 minutes a day after school. If I don't set a timer, he will get lost in a book and read for an hour or more. He will read Magic Treehouse, Cam Jansen, and Nate the Great books in one sitting. This week he tackled the 140-page Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and was delighted with the silly stories and funny words. He loves to retell the stories to me.

Tyler is still a very typical six-year-old in many ways, and he definitely suffers from Little Brother Syndrome. Fairness is extremely important; he is pretty sensitive to any injustice that might exist in his world. He thinks that he and Zach should be equals in every respect and gets frustrated when Zach is bigger or faster or more adept. Tyler's current way of expressing dissatisfaction with life is a shrill, piercing scream that probably frightens the neighbors. Or, as seen below, he will cry and pout about having to do something unsavory (in this case, clean up his Play-Doh mess) for a long, long time before actually doing it. This too shall pass.

Zachary is growing up so fast. He loves that he is almost as tall as his mother, and that pretty soon we will wear the same shoe size. Last week he lost one of his eye teeth (and incredibly, the Tooth Fairy remembered to bring him a dollar that very night). Zach has recently shown more interest in helping out with Lexi and Gavin. He gets Lexi up when she cries in the morning and plays with her after school. One of his frequent "jobs" is to play with Gavin in the back yard. Zach is a good big brother.

Zach is really enjoying his new cub scout pack in the Cordera Ward. It is much larger than the pack he left and he is making friends quickly. This week Zach participated in the flag ceremony at pack meeting. Since Garry took him and I stayed home with the other kids I didn't get to see Zach in action, but I heard from Garry and one of his scout leaders that he did a great job leading the ceremony.

About a month ago, Zach was really struggling with his behavior at school. I received bad reports from his teacher after a field trip and after several consecutive days in the classroom. While that was disappointing and frustrating, we were all quite relieved when a very simple daily accountability slip fixed the problem quickly and completely. Zach professes to hate school because it is dumb and boring. While we know he struggles to feel challenged, he doesn't usually do his best work to manifest his true ability. It's a constant struggle to help him reach his potential but not push him too hard.

If Zach had his way, he would spend all of his days like this:

Zachary LOVES video games. (I hate them, which poses a problem in our family.) He also loves his newly-acquired teddy bear, Zeek. Zach made Zeek at Build-a-Bear for a friend's birthday party last month, and now Zeek rarely leaves Zach's side. I think it's pretty cute to see Zach's attachment to this little friend, especially because until now he has never enjoyed stuffed animals. Zach may be growing up, but he's still a little boy at heart.
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