Darwin Cheated For Another Year
The Boy Makes it to Six
Watching your child grow in front of you, day by day, is super-reality TV. You see those large changes, but don't have lines of demarcation between stages, one morphs into another. Some of the changes you see happen in front of your eyes; you put your child to bed and a different child wakes up the next morning. For good or for bad. Other changes come in a small series, or coughs and hiccups, that lead to this evolving (yeah, that's right, I said it...E-V-O-L-V-E) person. I keep expecting my child and I to begin arguing more. I have found that as with time, my child has made me a much calmer person than I ever was. I see more trading of ideas ("I don't want to do that") and budding diplomatic skills ("Why do I have to go to bed and you don't?"). He has no problem expressing his opinions of you, who you are and what you are doing to him and his life. I keep hoping that some day we can walk into the room, sit down and I don't have to keep my eye directly on him because of his penchance for wanting to stick a slimy finger in my ear when I am not watching him.
Tanis played soccer for the first time this last year. It was through the Juniper Swim and Fitness facility. It was...odd. They have a coach, they have practice, they don't play with the other kids, they play with you. There is no scrimmage nor games. The practices consist of the "coach" giving you a handout at the beginning and setting up work stations. You get a walk through on the drills and then Tally-Ho! You go forth and slay blades of grass. The difficulty is that I while I played 12 seasons of soccer, I hadn't done it for twenty years. Nor had I ever tried to coach or teach someone how to play soccer. Tanis was patient with me and we had more fun trying to steal the ball from one another than doing the actual drills. He has soccer-drill ADD. He runs through it two times; he is done. Time to steal the ball from dad. Towards the end of soccer we started having a lot of fun together, more than I thought I would, and he learned a bit of soccer. I won't say he was impressed with the sport, but as Americans, the rest of aren't either.
Tanis got to play a full-on team sport with T-Ball this last spring. It was a season filled with rain and wind. The way the early T-Ball games work is they either get three outs (which never happened, hell, they didn't even keep score) or every kid gets to bat once an inning. This gives that feeling to those of us who weren't raised in this pussified world that its not really playing if you aren't playing to win or lose. But the kids loved it. You could see a bit more competitiveness coming out in the oldest of the kids, but the rest of them could have cared less. And the best part was that without winning or losing even being a part of the equation they still talked smack like they were competing for the new reality TV show that's out to find the New Terrell Owens.
This is the area Tanis has really had a lot of fun with this year. He started by doing the little tumbler classes and within a few months moved to the next boys level. When he first started, he could barely hold onto the bars, attempt a somersault and all other things that require a bit of attention and detail. As well as physically growing and begining to forge an understanding of balance and small muscle control, he has discovered a real enthusiasm for the sport. He asked to go to more days a week and would like to do every night if we would let him. After he gets done with an hour of gymnastics he usually comes with me to the Inclimb Rock Gym.
Tanis loved going to his new school. Linda and I both had a bit of an easier time because he went to Pre-School all last year, but it was still hard to think that he is preparing for his upcoming education. This is our child we are talking about, not a kindergartener. I will admit, no matter how bad I got, I wasn't near as bad as the guy who jumped out of his car with a video camera AND a digital camera, getting all into the kids face like the papparazi on crack and then cohorting the director to get pictures of him, his kid and the kid's teacher. I mean, it was a like a memory moment frenzy.
Rode His Bike
Yep, that's right, uh-huh: veni, vidi, vici. We tried a new way of teaching to ride we got out of some magazine or other. Take the pedals off the bike, find a nice grassy slope and let them coast the bike down. If they crash, it's grassy! No big deal. Well, I can honestly say, it worked very well. After 2-3 months of trying, we got him to be able to ride to the park and back without ever having had training wheels. The other part was we put as much padding and armor on him that he could have been cast in any of the Mad Max movies, attended a GWAR concert or watched the Broncos kick the crap out of the Oakland Raiders from within the depths of the Black Hole.
He has had a full and happy year. Looking back on a year doesn't always feel like 365 days of getting out of bed, taking showers, driving too and from work and of the other mundane events we do every day. But when you examine those 365 days with acute scrutiny, it seems like a full year indeed. Ultimately, you hope for your child to be happy and healthy, the rest are details, trivialities, travesties and delights. For his part, he has made us both very proud parents (queue fake live-audience for a giant "Awwww..." and kick in sappy closing music).
Here are some of the other things Tanis has done this year: