If I were a spider, I would weave a web in the corner of your bedroom doorway that read, "Some Kid."
It's been a very full several months. First of all, you started the first grade! It seems to be going well so far. At back-to-school night your teacher described you to me as being "very sweet," but recently you told me that sometimes Mrs. Bush has you stay inside during recess for a few minutes to take some time to remember not to chase people, so perhaps her tune has changed somewhat. From the sounds of it, all of the friends you have made at school so far are girls. I worry about you at school all day, with your wiggles and inability to focus on something not of your choosing, I worry that you lick your hands and arms (a weird thing you do at home sometimes) in front of the other kids-- but you generally seem happy when you come off the bus, so I try not to worry too much. And! You've been learning to read. Quite expressively, I might add.
First day of school!
At the bus stop with Case and Abby and Logan and Kienzle and a kid I don't recognize.
You've been spending quite a bit of creative time in the kitchen lately. Grandma sent us home with a large bowlful of tart pie cherries and you made several interesting concoctions using them. There was a cherry cake that was actually quite good. A couple of nights ago you decided you wanted to invent your own kind of cookies. They ended up being like flat little biscuit things that you topped with syrup, honey, and assorted leftover candies, including mini peanut butter cups, M&Ms, and suckers. Last week you threw together a smoothie....it contained six strawberries, a pear, a peach, a handful of grapes, half a bottle of lime juice, and two crushed-up heart-shaped suckers. I added a little sugar and it was rather delicious, in its own unique way. One evening I was whipping up some waffle batter and then you insisted on taking over the waffle making. It was so nice to kick back and read while someone else cooked dinner! And the waffles were delicious. (Though they were probably not, as you kept asking hopefully, the best waffles that have ever been made ever.)
Along that vein, I'm considering buying stock in baking soda and vinegar, as you have been expending prodigious amounts on creating exciting chemical reactions in the kitchen.
Supervising your cousin Luke at the playground.
Recently you've become interested in money. Briar has a cache of candy in her bedroom that she'll sell to you when you've found or earned some money. Occasionally you'll tell me that you sure wish you had an "allowment" but, alas, your parents are cruel and force you to work for your money. Inspired by Briar's candy setup and perhaps desiring to earn a quicker buck, you recently created a store in your bedroom. I think you imagined that everyone we knew would immediately come to our house and purchase things from your store. When your only customer during your first day was me (I bought a jar lid to which you had glued googly eyes of various sizes), your interest sadly waned. But this weekend you did ten chores in a single day, a feat that required much hard work and dedication and earned you an entire dollar to call your own.
On Mondays you ride the bus to Auntie Collette's house, where Liam gets to spend the whole day. I come to pick you up shortly after you've arrived, but you've made it a tradition that we not leave the property until the three of us have spent some quality time jumping on the trampoline. For you, it's a magical combination: Mommy's attention, the sunshine, the smell of the fresh green grass, the exercise-induced endorphin rush, the laughter. You are always euphoric while we jump, and almost inevitably end up declaring, "Mommy, I love you! We have so much fun!"
Here you are, proudly showing off what might possibly be the world's longest Duplos train.
You maintain a fierce distrust for dogs alongside an equally fierce sense that cats are the source of all animal goodness. Whenever there is a dog around, you try to climb me like a tree, sure that even the sweet cowering dog has savage intent and will surely devour your flesh if given the chance. But moments later, watching Grandma and Grandpa's cat calmly lick his paws, you'll ask, "Mommy? Why are cats so good?" or "Mommy? Why do cats like everyone?" We can't have a cat of our own, due to Daddy's allergies, but you love to play with the neighbor's kittens, who sometimes come to visit. Liam, who doesn't quite understand the importance of being gentle with animals, almost perished at your hand one day when you caught him treating a kitty roughly.
You have been very excited about Halloween coming up. For a while you entertained a grandiose notion about setting up buttons on the front step that, if stepped on, would trigger a baking soda/vinegar reaction inside nearby jack-o-lanterns, providing a very spooky welcome to all the people who will surely attend our thrilling and heavily decorated Halloween party.
One night after Liam was in bed, you and I sat in a chair and talked. You told me that the way Daddy smells varies with his emotions, and asked many questions about many things, including tornadoes, space travel, asteroids, and aurora borealis. You are so curious about the world and have so many good questions. I wish I could answer more of them more completely, but I try as often as I can to follow up on your interests with books from the library.
Speaking of books from the library! You've gotten old enough for chapter books! So far we have read The Mouse and the Motorcycle and its sequel, Runaway Ralph, The Story of Dr. Doolittle, The Magic Finger, George's Marvelous Medicine, and the first Spiderwick Chronicles book. So fun! I love me some good chapter books! And you seem to, too.
Here you are drafting plans for a building so large it can house five countries. It will have its own army and police force. The world's current tallest building is just a dot next to this monstrosity.
Last Saturday you and I rode our bikes to the city park. It's about a mile from our house but you stuck it out like a trooper. I was impressed at your endurance. Now if I can just persuade you that you can ride without training wheels....
On Friday you and Grandma were discussing your mutual love for purple. I didn't hear the exact conversation, but I imagine that at some point Grandma said something like, "You know, Tessa loves purple too!" And then, as a whimsical add-on, "Maybe sometime the three of us should have a Purple Party!" But what you heard was, "The three of us are going to have a Purple Party-- tomorrow-- for sure!" And you readily agreed.
So on Saturday you woke up early and informed me that you had a very busy day ahead. First of all, you had to make a rubber band gun. Secondly, you had a Purple Party to attend. Thirdly, Grandpa might want to have a party about his favorite color too, so you would probably be engaged in color-themed parties for the remainder of the day. You were not pleased when I informed you that you had to attend your Primary Program practice before any of that could occur. After whining about it for a while, to no avail, you grabbed your camera and made an audio recording of your part. "Here, Mommy," you said, handing me the camera. "Liam can take this and just put it by the microphone when it's my turn."
Well, the day turned out to be a bit disappointing for you. I made you go to the practice anyway. You were mad that I wouldn't hold your hand and stare at you while you made your rubber band gun, so you abandoned the project. Grandma, not realizing that she had made a concrete date with you, had other plans. No one would drive you to King's to spend your money on candy. Woe, woe, woe.
But. The dreadful day came to an end. And on Monday Grandma picked up both you and Tessa and took you to her house for a Purple Party. Together you made and drank purple smoothies in purple cups. You read Harold and the Purple Crayon and the purple page in Hailstones and Halibut Bones. Grandma gave you each a purple gift (a Nerf toy for you, fingernail polish for Tessa). You each made a purple poster (see below). You, inspired by Harold, drew a purple river on a long roll of paper and Tessa made purple play dough. For dinner Grandma fed you purple potatoes and purple cabbage and purple grapes on purple plates (there was chicken, too, but I don't think it was purple.) You came home positively aglow and informed me that you wished the purple party could have lasted forever.
Your poster says that purple is:
The best best best
Lava coming out of a Volcano
Goes everywhere and everwhere
(Grandma wrote the words for you, but you told her what to write.)
A few weeks ago, Grandma and Grandpa invited us to come visit them at their weekend camping place at Stoddard Creek. So you, Liam, and I drove there in the morning and spent the day playing. We had a picnic in the woods and Grandpa took the three of us on a hike (and attempted fishing trip, but there were no fish!) along a stream and along the way we built a shelter out of sticks and branches. You hoped that if anyone got lost in the woods they could stay in our shelter and suggested we leave some of our granola bars to that end. You were very mature and hiked without too much begging to be carried. Grandpa was also impressed at how easily and independently you forded the stream when we had to cross it.
I tell you this often, but I'll tell you again: you are so fortunate to have so many people nearby who love you and care about you.
You thought that posing with your arm around this bag of Marshmallow Mateys was pretty hilarious. I would like to point out that you are fully clothed in 4 out of 5 pictures in this post. For us, that's pretty good.
You listen and pay attention when your dad and I try to teach you about making good choices. You confessed to me one day that you had lied about making a mess to avoid picking it up and told me that you were sorry and would try not to lie again. While discussing a current event in which someone had tried to kill a group of people for disagreeing with them, you very sincerely explained that they should have just talked about it and allowed each other to think differently. One afternoon I found you in the bathroom cleaning the food processor bowl with toilet paper and hand soap. You explained to me that you were "repenting" for making a big mess when you tried to make chocolate milk in it.
After her visit, B (Daddy's mommy) described you a little in one of her weekly emails to the family. Here are some of the things she said about you:
"I've heard about children who ask questions almost non-stop, but I'd never met one till I'd met Soren." [editor's note: this from a woman who raised 11 children!]
"I read quite a few books to the boys (they love books!) and one day, as I was reading with one boy on either side of me, Soren looked up and said, 'Did I ever tell you that I really like Grandmas?' and my heart melted."
"Another day we went to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Rachel, Soren, Liam, Ivy, and I, all in the same car. I can't remember who was in back with the boys - Rachel or Ivy - but at one point the air was split by an unearthly shrieking. I mean, I'd never heard anything remotely like this. I was driving and it scared the daylights out of me, and it went on and on. Come to find out, Soren had a bloody nose, but based on just the noise, well, you couldn't imagine any torture that would cause that kind of scream. At least, I can't. It was phenomenal, and when it was all over Rachel casually told me that compared to previous bloody noses, he handled that one quite well!!!! I hope and pray that that little boy never suffers a serious injury; his reaction would be traumatic for those around him."
Well, anyway, Soren. This is Mommy speaking again. I sure love you. Every day you amuse and horrify, delight and chagrin. There are so many interesting things that you do and say and think. I wish I could record every moment. I am pleased that you are my son and pleased at the ways you continue to grow and develop. I think you're just great.