Here is Asher at 6 years old:
In the past few months, I have started to feel like Asher has an inner life that I know nothing about. His needs, thoughts, desires are no longer simple and straight forward. I can't solve everything with a hug and a kiss. Sometimes, at night, he gets quiet and seems sad- he says he feels sad but can't explain why. One night he cried hysterically and refused to sleep with his beloved Charles Broccoli, and asked me to give it away so that he could "do something nice." Every time I assured him he was ok to have Broccoli, he would throw Broccoli out of bed. Oh my goodness. And this morning, I got to the bottom of the lunch problem- for weeks he has been taking barely any food to school with him, and he keeps saying, "Don't put food in there, I'm not going to eat it." While at home, he eats 3-4 things at lunch time, so this strikes me as odd. Today, he finally told me that at lunch, he chooses to sit at the "Teacher Table" so that he isn't near anyone with fruit in their lunch, but that sometimes the teachers he sits with eat fruit for a snack, and then he feels so sick that he can't eat his lunch. I have no idea how long this has been going on, but it broke my heart!
Needless to say, his fruit phobia is still going strong. I have become resigned to his not eating a well-rounded diet, and that is ok. He does enjoy a full range of vegetables, and gets excited at broccoli, string beans, and carrots. After refusing string cheese for a long period of time, he now eats Polly-O as a snack. He likes hummus and beans. His favorite foods, though, are all carbs- cereal, crackers, bread, bagels, noodles. And desserts. We have had many discussions about nutrition and eating "real" food to grow strong and have energy, and at time he is amenable to my recommendations.
We have discovered that Asher has a strength in math and numbers. He loves doing math and will do the optional extra work his teacher sends home for fun. He is very quick to pick up and understand what he is looking at. His reading has not progressed as quickly- he doesn't seem to have the patience to read words that aren't instantly familiar to him, and he will look at a word, use the first letter, and make up the rest of the word (yesterday, the word "cure" became "ca-cha-chee," which 1) isn't a word and 2) doesn't have any of the same sounds in it after the initial c).
At school, Asher seems to be doing well. We never hear anything bad from his teacher (we never hear anything at all from his teacher, but that's another story), and he is happy to leave for school in the morning. The morning after spring break, he was dressed with his coat and shoes on 40 minutes before it was time to leave! He seems to have made some friends, although there was drama when a few other friends were invited to a birthday party and he wasn't. He does all his work well in class, and is proud to show it to us when he comes home. He loves to draw and color, and can really engage in an arts & crafts project.
At home, Asher can be a sweet and kind big brother. He and Charlotte seem to have a special relationship, and he really looks out for her. But, he can also be a little trouble maker- somehow he has ended up with a $5 bill in his bank, but no one has ever given him one. I can only assume it came from a grown-up's wallet! He is a charmer and knows how to work the Mommy System- things like he will take our initial, low offer for dessert, but then ask for a 2nd dessert while everyone else is eating- and even though I know I am getting swindled, I let him have it.
Of the 3 kids, Asher is the only one I can rely on to do what I ask. He will help with laundry and table-setting, but also get himself dressed every morning without complaint, get his shoes and coat on the first time I ask, and is also the only one who cleans up toys! The other day we sent the boys down to the basement to clean up and I heard Asher say, "I'm the only one cleaning up down here! Benjamin is lying on the floor and moaning that he is too tired to help!" Asher is always quick to come with us on an errand or help out with a task.
He has a kind heart, and often thinks of ways to help other people. After our visit to DC, where we saw many homeless people, Asher asked if there was a way for us to bring a homeless person home with us, and we could make sure he had food and a warm place to live. I was struck by his concern- and told him that it would be a little complicated to bring someone home from DC, but that we could certainly find other ways to help out people who might be homeless or hungry.
Asher loves being outside. He will play in the backyard, play at the playground across the street (especially a game called Gaga, which he loves), ride his bike, ride his scooter, or run. He is solid and strong. He has natural athletic grace and seems good at every sport he tries, even if he doesn't like doing them. When he did gymnastics, he could really move his body well on the bars and the rings. He is a super fast runner- and has a long, smooth stride. Should he ever decide to pick a sport and stick with it, he will probably excel!
Even though he is 6, he is still my snuggle bear. He will settle in on my lap and just relax. I still love the feeling of his warm, solid body next to mine, and the sound of his soft breathing. We have snuggled every day of his life (except when I am away on vacation!), and I realize that my snuggle days are finite. 6 years of snuggling, and 6 years from now, no way he will be doing it anymore. He is growing up into this big boy right in front of my eyes.