Monday, April 17, 2017

Benjamin: 7 years old

One super cool cutie (and Eric isn't so bad, either)
A post to celebrate Benjamin's 7th birthday.  Over this past year, I do think I have watched the boys' personalities emerge even more.  Benjamin is smart as can be. He can do his homework in 30 seconds, and remembers things I didn't know he'd even heard.  He loves to read (he came home from school today and told me he had forgotten to eat his snack because he had his nose "buried in a book"). Now that he is such a competent reader, he says he doesn't want to be read to anymore.  I miss our moments of sitting together, engaged in a book we both love.

While before I have always described Benjamin as easy-going, he has hit more obstacles this year. His first grade class isn't the same amazing group that he had in kindergarten, and while we had heard that his teacher is one of the best, she seems somewhat lackluster.  The year started with mixed reports- Benjamin hated school, hated homework, and had no friends (his reports); and that he was having trouble sitting still and paying attention (his teacher's reports).  At our most recent conference, we were told that he has matured over the year, and is better at paying attention, but he still doesn't love school the way that I wish he would.  He says he is "bored," and I do wonder if he finds the slow pace of his class frustrating. We decided that we will get him tested to see if he qualifies for the gifted & talented program.  Socially he doesn't seem as adept as his brother, or some other 1st graders.  It all seems age-appropriate, but his social skills are not as advanced as his academic skills.
Benjamin doing his 2 lines in the 1st grade musical.
Benjamin loves to draw and write.  I think he is a pretty good artist, and love what he comes up with while he is just hanging out (it usually involves a dragon and a battle of some kind).  He has written some pretty funny notes to us, especially when he is forced into quiet time in the afternoon while Asher naps.
Benjamin's hostage note
Practicing writing some of the new words he is learning at school
He is still my most adventurous eater, and will try sophisticated foods with more frequency than his siblings, but he occasionally will decide that he just doesn't like something before he even tries it.  His favorite food is probably Japanese- he likes cucumber sushi and yaki udon with chicken and vegetables.  He likes meat over vegetables, and fruit over vegetables, and is always happy to eat pasta.
Benjamin with Blankie as a hat. He is like an orangutan with his blanket.
Benjamin likes to play with Legos, but not so much to build them. He likes to collect Pokemon cards, but is known to make many a poor trade and he seems to get swindled often. He still has a particular attachment to his blue blanket (Blankie), which is now almost gray. Unlike his brother and sister, he is not competitive.  Of the three, his most likely to be on his own, whether it is reading or playing on the iPad.  He loves the iPad, and it is a constant battle to keep him off of it and engaged with the rest of life. When presented with the option to go somewhere or do something, he will ask to stay home, in the hopes of spending more time on the iPad. Eric is more inclined to let him play on it than I am, but I often lose track of who is where and doing what, so it happens under my watch all the time, too.

Benjamin does seem to have some anxiety around strange/new situations.  After one visit to the planetarium (where he declared it "too loud"), he would panic anytime we would talk about going back. The planetarium is really not that loud, but it seemed like he was somewhat troubled by the existential concepts presented. There have been other situations where he begins to panic and doesn't want to try something new, but often enjoys himself once he gives it a try.

Benjamin is often the odd one out among the siblings- Asher and Charlotte are more likely to play and engage with each other than they are with him. Most of the time this doesn't seem to bother him, but occasionally Charlotte will push him away or be hurtful, and then he comes to me with tears in his eyes. Although he often seems unaffected by what goes on around him, he does seem to be a sensitive person, and is more aware than I usually give him credit for.
After his haircut at the barber shop. I can't get his hair to look nearly as nice. 
I love him like crazy- he still has the sweetest little face, and sometimes, when he frowns a certain way, I can see him exactly as he was as a newborn. I am thrilled and astonished by how bright he is, even if it means we have conversations I'm not ready to have, or I have to shush him when he tries to tell Asher what "the F word" is (Asher said, "is it fart? It's fart, right?").  He still climbs into bed with us in the morning to be snuggled and kissed. Despite the growth and the changes and the new complications 1st grade has brought, he is still my sweet and lovable boy.

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