To My Aiden on his 6th Birthday

Dear Aiden,

You’re 6 now! How is it that at 6 years old it feels like you’ve become such a grown up boy? I feel like moving into Grade 1 is such a momentous occasion, even more so than Kindergarten. It has a number associated with it. It is about more than just playing. Suddenly, you are on a path that will propel you all-too-quickly forward to Grade 12. 

You can see how much you’ve changed since you were five, my boy, and how much you have learned and how much you have pushed yourself! 

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You have tackled some major fears and anxieties and overcome them, so proud of your own bravery at challenging those fears. Not only did you learn how to swim, but it became one of your most favourite activities. You learned to love our boat and to love swimming from the dock on Keats. Even as those times have challenged us, I have watched you become aware of your own self in these moments and feel that knowing yourself, at your age, is such a gift!

You skate, you play (and now love) soccer, you are part of a swim club. You learned how to ride trails (and bike ramps) with no fear. You love Lego and Star Wars and Pokemon (you really love Pokemon). You can turn any building material into a ship, particularly MagnaTiles. You learned to read (more than just a few words here and there) and now devour chapter books in a handful of days and constantly need to be reminded to stop reading and go to sleep!

You have lots of friends to greet and be greeted by, and have your solid best friends that will always be by your side. You always have a compliment for others. You are the first one to notice something nice about someone else and always make a note to say so. It’s a beautiful trait of yours that, whether it shines my way or not, makes me so proud of you. 

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Your smile can light up a room. Your excitement infects those around you. Your courage inspires me. And each and every day, I’m thankful as you walk groggily to my side for your cuddles, together starting our day with love and ending it each night with a song, a kiss and an ‘I love you.’ 

Be courageous, my love. Be open. Continue to notice the little things in the world that are beautiful. And tell us about them. Devour as many books as you want. Love the world and all it has to offer. Learn about it. Explore it. And know, wherever life takes you, I’ll be by your side. 

Love, 
Mommy 

A Special Mother’s Day

Today I was invited to Aiden’s class for a special Mother’s Day tea. We were treated to a song (“Inch by Inch”), a poem, some treats plus some beautiful gifts. Each child created a piece of art about what they love about us (that I sing to Aiden at night), spoken to the whole group, a booklet with our portrait and favourite things, some jam they each made, plus a necklace they created in pottery class. It was so beautiful! I totally cried while Aiden sang.

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Every time I see Aiden perform I totally tear up. He used to hate it, and he almost never sings at home, despite the fact that he LOVES his music class at school. I don’t think he likes being on the spot! The only time I hear him singing is if I’m in the other room or if he’s falling asleep at night. Today, he stood right in front of me and proudly belted out the song! Such a beautiful boy. I was so proud!

 

I totally cried #mothersday

A video posted by Arieanna Schweber (@arieanna) onMay 8, 2015 at 10:32am PDT

Growing Up Too Quickly

There are moments when you realize your child is growing up. For me, one of those moments came yesterday when Aiden pitched in to help create my mom’s Christmas village. Rather than haphazardly putting up buildings and accessories, he put thought into the placement of each piece in relation to the rest. 

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And then, on the way home, he flew Santa’s sleigh full of presents. Still my little boy. But growing so quickly.

Joining Soccer in Kindergarten: Some Thoughts

This September, Aiden started with the North Vancouver Football Club, which is our local soccer organization. I have always been against “organized” sport before age 5, since I think play really is the most important thing. Up until now, Aiden has dabbled in sport through a Summer sport ball program (which he loved), gymnastics at Flicka (which he loved), and swimming (which he doesn’t love). 

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I think swimming is an essential program until a child knows how to swim, though we have come to the conclusion that private classes may be better for Aiden. That aside, I wanted him involved in another physical sport of some kind, to keep up the importance of physical activity. We do walk to and from school almost every day, but establishing a love of fitness is important to me. 

I had originally thought of registering Aiden in Flicka again, but I think now that Damien is older, we can no longer exclude him from these things… in part because it’s difficult to schedule a weekend activity where only one participates. The classes for both boys at Flicka didn’t line up this year. So, at the time I was weighing the options, Aiden expressed an interest in joining soccer and I jumped on it. It was late to register, but I went for it. 

The North Vancouver Football Club divides teams up by age and location, so I figured we would be ok having 1 weekly practice and 1 weekly game somewhere close by. It turns out, our “local” practice is near Grouse Mountain right at dinner time, so our practice day is a little hectic, schedule wise. The Seymour catchment actually practices down the street from us… had we known, that would have been perfect. And our “local” game is at Norgate at the worst time of day for Aiden – 12:30, when he really needs downtime.  

So, soccer for us has been a little challenging. At times, Aiden has done nothing more than cry during a game or ask to sit out. The Saturday game day alternates between 2 games or skills and a mini game. Aiden responds very well to the skills and to the skill-portion of his practices, but he tunes out when it comes to games. He has no interest in the competitive nature of the games and the child excited about soccer quickly turns into a child moping around the field.

We have toyed with the idea of letting Aiden drop out of soccer, but I have tried to teach him the importance of “team” and of supporting his team, even during times he doesn’t feel like he’s having fun. There are times when he has a lot of fun, and he loves his teammates, so it’s a real challenge. 

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During the year so far, Aiden’s skills have improved quite a lot. He has a lot more control over the ball and is learning how to support the other members of his team. One of the reasons I jumped on putting him in soccer was that many kids start at this age and develop their base skills. If he had expressed an interest in soccer in 2 years, he would have been so much further behind the kids who started at his age. This way, if he wants to step back for a year, I feel like he has a base of skills to fall back on if the interest ever arises again. But perhaps his interest will continue to pick up, we’ll have to see!

Should I have spoken with Aiden about what joining soccer really meant? Yes. Should I have looked at other options to let him play soccer? Perhaps. 

What are your opinions on early introduction to team sport?

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A Week of Art

Aiden and best-bud Zayden are currently obsessed with art. Every morning and every afternoon they are at the table pulling out markers and stencils and papers and scissors and other materials hard at work on their creations. I don’t quite know where this art attack came from. But it began with a leaf:

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The boys picked leaves on the way home, deciding first to paint them, then to use glitter glue instead. They used a lot of glitter glue (note to self: buy more glitter glue), but their creations were beautiful. Following that, they have been doing full-page creations all this week. Covering every part of the page with colour (especially blue skies – the poor blue markers!). This is very unusual for Aiden, who likes to create art but rarely colours it in. 

These creations are taking hours to complete, page after page. Their usual play time has been completely abandoned in favour of art. And only art. 

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