The way Soren pronounces the word "exist" makes it sound more like "resist." ("Mommy? Do foxes really resist? In real life?") This pronunciation is very fitting for a child who offers maximal resistance to much of his existence. For example, for about a week or so he began declaring, every morning, that he didn't want to go to preschool. He would cry, he would scream, he would flail, he would roll around on the floor like a penitent. I checked to make sure nothing was going on at school to make him feel bad about going (there wasn't), and told him he could sit alone in his room during the time he would have been at school. He did this for one day but still didn't want to go the next. So, for three mornings in a row, I wrestled my five-year-old child into his clothes and physically carried him to school.
What worries me is that Soren seems resistant to happiness. If he doesn't have something that he wants, he makes himself miserable begging for it. If he gets something he wants, he wants more of it. He doesn't want to sit on half of my lap while Liam sits on the other half....he wants the whole lap. He doesn't want one piece of candy, he wants two-- and he will throw away the one piece to protest not getting a second one. At the end of the day I'll ask him about things that made him happy and he usually can't think of things. Even when I offer ideas about things that might have made him happy during the day, he argues that the things weren't that good. We've been trying to teach him about being grateful for what he has and finding happiness in little things, but I think this is a lesson he'll have to grow into. I sure hope he grows into it.
Just recently Soren started asking me questions about whether Jesus and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all knew each other. Though dubious about the divinity of Jesus myself, I don't feel entirely comfortable with allowing my child to categorize holiday characters with religious figures. So on Easter Sunday I pulled him onto my lap and we had The Talk. "Soren," I asked, "Do you remember asking me about whether I thought Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny knew Jesus?" He nodded. "And then how today you asked me if Jesus really existed?" He nodded again. I then took a deep breath. "Well, I wanted to talk to you about that." "Okay." So I explained to him that while opinions varied regarding who this Jesus fellow was, exactly, it was pretty certain that a person named Jesus had once lived on the earth. I said that some people believed he was an important person who taught good things and that some people believed he was God's son. I told him that most of the people at church thought that he was God's son and that he was resurrected and still lives and cares about everyone on the earth. And then I told him that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were fun to talk about and pretend about, but that they didn't exist (or resist) in a real, physical way. It ripped me into about fifty pieces to do this, having believed in Santa Claus myself until I was about twelve, but Soren took it gamely. He asked me a few questions about where those Easter baskets and Christmas presents had come from and then asked if we could go have dinner.
A few days later he called me into the bathroom, where he was bathing. "Mommy? Do you remember those cookies I left out for Santa?" I nodded. "Did you eat those?" I nodded again. "That's what I fought," he said, and went back to playing with his bath toys.
Today he told me that he still believed that Santa was actually real. I told him I could be wrong, and he nodded enthusiastically. "I talked to Santa on the phone at Grandma's house," he informed me, "and he didn't sound at all wike you." "You make a valid point," I told him.
In other news in Soren's spiritual life, he continues to contemplate the Problem of Evil. ("Mommy? Why did Jesus make tornadoes? Why do people get killed by lions sometimes?") and he's been learning about how God sometimes says "no" in answer to prayers. I came in to his bedroom one morning to find him sitting frustratedly on his top bunk. "Mommy," he told me, "I prayed and prayed that Bucky [his beloved stuffed rabbit] would come to wife but he didn't. Why didn't it work?" On the other hand, he told me one night that the wind blowing outside his window was "freaking him out." I suggested he pray, which he did, and he was able to calm down and go to sleep.
Soren has spent the past couple of months obsessing about stars. We found several YouTube videos comparing the relative sizes of celestial objects and he was amazed by them. We watched them all repeatedly. As a result, he can name all of our solar system's planets in order of size and he can recognize several stars, too. He favorite, of course, is VY Canis Majoris, the largest known star in the universe. We also checked out several books from the library about the universe. One evening we were taking a stroll around the block and he pointed out a bright object in the night sky. "Mommy? Is that Canis Majoris?" "No, sweetie," I said. "I think it's Jupiter. Or maybe Venus." And then I asked, "Do you want to say the star light rhyme?" "Yes," he said, and began: "Venus or Jupiter light, Venus or Jupiter bright, first Venus or Jupiter I see tonight..."
He has told me that when he grows up he wants to be an astronomer and an inventor. (He has also said he wants to be everything that a man wants to be..a farmer, a construction worker, a scientist, and a rocket ship pilot, among other things.) He tells me that he will invent a machine so big it will be able to make new stars-- even new galaxies! He spends a lot of time describing the immense size of this machine.
Soren pronounces the word "downward," "downer," and the word "backwards," "backers."
Soren and Liam go downers.
Soren lounges with Bucky and the bunny pillow pet he asked me to make him.
Looking adorable between Grandma and Arielle at a birthday party.
He was so tired one afternoon he fell asleep on the floor and didn't move for a long time.
A fruit face he made as a snack.
He wanted me to take a picture of the water he turned aquamarine using food-colored shaving cream.
Putting together a letter to mail to a friend.
This is the church he built in his bedroom.
Soren took charge of decorating the house for Valentine's day this year. He made several hearts to hang around the house. We also made and decorated sugar cookies.
Soren is vigorous and strong-willed. He is passionate and sensitive. At his kindergarten screening, I was asked to use a list of adjectives to describe him. It went something like, "Intense, kind, stubborn, loud, curious, persistent, easily frustrated, explosive, enthusiastic. I hear that at school he is also cooperative, though I don't see much of that myself." He can be very draining but I love him desperately anyway. So glad he's my little boy.