five years in

Elliot turns five tomorrow. Tomorrow (or soon) I’ll post about the actual festivities and the very cool robot cake we made. For now, since I blog so much less about the kids these days, I want to capture a bit of what Elliot is like at four and 364 days.

He’s a different kid than he was two years ago. I used to feel like we had to walk on eggshells around him, waiting for the next bomb to go off. There are still bombs, but they are much less frequent and the aftermath isn’t nearly as traumatizing for me. I see him trying to gain control, using tools like drinking some water or holding on to his bopp. And I see myself walking towards him instead of storming away from him in anger. Often in the middle of his tears he’ll melt into my arms in a hug. And I can feel him physically calming down. And again, all this happens so much less frequently.

He’s still got his quirks. He refuses to wear anything but sweatpants or fleece pants, and shirts randomly seem be dropped and added to his small repertoire with no rhyme or reason (that I can figure out, anyway). But when there are “no pants that he likes” in his pants drawer I no longer anticipate a complete meltdown. Sometimes in these situations he’ll actually wear a pair of pants he doesn’t like, and other times we’ll grab something dirty from the laundry. I guess I’ve changed a bit, too.

A few weeks ago he started swimming lessons through daycare — the first time he’s done them on his own. A year ago I think it would have been a nightmare. Now, he’s loving them and apparently tries everything the instructor asks him to. I feel proud of him and I feel proud of Greg and I for trusting our gut and knowing when to push and when to let him be. We don’t always get it right, but I love that we pay attention to the boy that is Elliot.

He is a patient older brother, considering the physical abuse he gets from his sister. He loves teaching her things and his empathy when she’s feeling sad or has hurt herself is astounding. At the same time, he’s quick to tell her to “get out of my room, NOW”. I have witnessed a couple of moments recently where they’ve been doing something fun together that requires physical contact (like sitting in a sled together) and the look of pure joy on their faces is almost tear-enducing for me. I don’t know what their future holds in terms of their relationship, but I’m happy with the connection they have right now. Even with the abuse.

He makes us laugh almost daily. He has funny voices that he does and some of the phrases that come out of his mouth are priceless. Like this afternoon when he, Amy and Gran were playing in his room. After about 20 minutes he came downstairs by himself and announced to me “I’m done. Gran’s in charge now.”

He’s still a bear in the mornings and takes a good 20 minutes to wake up. The mornings go much better if he wakes up on his own and comes out of his room on his own time. Compare that to his sister who turns “on” in a matter of seconds. He has an amazing ability to know when he needs alone time, and will play quite happily in his room during these times.

My girlfriend’s daughter will be starting university in September of this year, the same time that Elliot is starting kindergarten. It makes me very aware of how fast the time flies, and how soon the preschool years will seem like ancient history. But that’s okay, because things just keep getting better as Elliot grows, explores and experiences the world.

I love him to bits and I hope he has a wonderful day tomorrow.

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