31 Dec An Open Letter to My Sweet Six-Year-Old
I know this letter is coming in three weeks late. Your birth month is always a busy one with lots of reunions and Christmas parties happening. I’ve been writing in snippets because I haven’t had the chance to do everything in one go. But my goal is to finish this before December ends. c”,)
Your annual recap is actually one of the things I look forward to every time you celebrate birthday. c”,) I love recounting how much you’ve grown including your new milestones, interests, quips, and yes, even your challenges. You had a fantastic fifth year, sweetheart! So many things happened I don’t even know where to start! Hahaha! c”,) I decided to put headers this time so it would be easy for you to read. c”,)
You are now in Kindergarten!
Let me congratulate you first for officially being in Kindergarten! Yay! c”,) We enrolled with a homeschool provider and started our school year last January. We opted to do year-long homeschooling instead of the usual June to March. We have short homeschool hours like one or two hours a day. c”,)
I teach you when you’re at your best—after breakfast or after your nap. Our daily staples are reading and playtime (i.e. basketball and games on the fly). That one to two hours I was referring to (spread out the whole day) is spent on sit-down learning and a few worksheets. It could be 30 minutes at a time. Very flexible. We decided to go for compact and quality (with retention) rather than long and boring. c”,)
Besides, with your active nature and still relatively short attention span, I don’t expect you to sit still for a long time. c”,) We’re wrapping up our school year in a couple of weeks and then we’re starting first grade this January! Time flies really fast! Your formal moving up will happen sometime in March or April. But since we homeschool the whole year, our school year starts at the beginning of each year. c”,)
You also named our homeschool HSG OWLS. We were watching the UAAP Cheerdance Competition one time and you saw me rooting for the UST Tigers and daddy cheering for the UP Maroons. You said that your school was HSG Owls and HSG meant Homeschool of the Guerreros. c”,) I decided to make a logo for our homeschool to honor the name you gave! I am going to ask your daddy to design another logo for a basketball jersey with HSG Owls. c”,)
I appreciate that you like homeschooling so much you want me to experience it, too! Haha! You would put on the Teacher Timmy hat and give me exercises to do. Not only that, you would check it and write compliments the same way I do. I love being your student, Timmy! c”,)
You finally said goodbye to nappies.
I thought that day would never come. You have long been potty trained for pee but poop is another story. Finally, on January 2016, you conquered your irrational, inexplicable fear of the toilet seat! After lots of prayers, patience, and a little help from your personal healthcare companion Baymax, you finally did it! We’re so proud of you! It might be a small feat for other people but for our family it was a big deal. c”,)
You are such a sweetheart.
You may be shy by nature, Timmy, but you sure are expressive of your love to us. c”,) You are a true romantic just like daddy! You like writing love notes on your white board and doodle sketch. You also love drawing a garden for me. c”,) The way you put smileys on almost everything is very charming! Years from now when you court my future daughter-in-law, I know you will write handwritten letters to her. c”,)
You also text us a lot when we’re away. c”,) Eventually, you started texting your grandparents and aunts, too! You would tell us that you love and miss us. You would thank me every night for the butterfly kisses and I would thank you for the ticklish fishy kisses. We would try to out-love each other, exchanging varying degrees of who loves the other more. I would sing I Love you Forever to you and you would sing it back with modified lyrics in the end, “As long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be.” Awwww.
When I was sick, you would always check on me and ask, “How are you feeling?” You would do the same for your dad. Whenever you would hear him cough you would shout wherever you are, “Are you okay, daddy?” You would also pray for my Lupus to be healed every night. So thoughtful. c”,)
You filled our house with laughter with your #Timmyisms.
Oh, darling. You sure know how to make us laugh! It’s like you’re getting funnier each year! Haha! I would share your quips on Facebook so I won’t forget them. You always like to join in adult conversations, chiming in with whatever little knowledge you have.
There was one time you heard me sing “Let’s get physical, physical” (just that first line repeatedly) while you were doing some exercise moves and then you sang “Let’s get emotional, emotional.” Hahaha! You also love using a person’s age as a leverage for everything. For example, you would say, “Daddy, can fix the ring because he’s 43 years old.” Haha!
Your #Timmyisms range from funny to insightful. Here are some of them:
You have a knack for spotting words within words and using its opposites.
You did this so many times I just had to list down everything because it was too funny and entertaining! For example, I would say “Do you like pulvoron?” You would reply, “How about Pushvoron?” Haha! In one of our story books there was a tiny picture of George Washington and then you said, “How about George Dryington?” Haha! But wait there’s more!
You made beautiful artwork!
You love making art, Timmy. Red is always your default color. It is the first paint or pen that runs out because you use it a lot. c”,) Friday is our art day! You painted all sorts of things—sunset, duck, cross, and tried some artist-inspired ones (e.g. Monet and Eric Carle).
You enjoy color mixing activities whether it’s using droppers or your fingers. Herve Tullet’s Mix It Up book is one of your favorites. We also did our first family art this year! Yay! Hopefully we’ll be able to create more next year. You also created an artwork for a magazine which will be published on February. How cool is that? c”,)
You fell in love with rabbits.
When we went to a petting zoo, you were so amazed with the bunnies! You stayed there for a long time and didn’t want to leave. The rabbits even fell asleep because you stroked them too long! Haha! You even wanted to sleep that night holding the flyer of the petting zoo because it had the picture of the bunnies. I discouraged you from doing so because the paper would only get crumpled. You opted to put it at the foot of the bed. c”,)
The next day, I printed and laminated your photo with the bunnies, and made a rabbit lapbook so you can keep something sturdy close by. We are planning to get you one when we move soon and of course, when you’re ready. c”,)
You got your first pet.
We didn’t intend to get you one but you were given a school of fish during our homeschool coop’s field trip at Bioresearch’s Lost Eden. c”,) They were generous enough to give to everyone! We got you a small fish tank and placed your little swimmers there. You named them Luke Cage (after the comic book character; gold), Sharon Cuneta (lola ninang mentioned her name once and you got fond of it; silver), Phil Johnson (the actor who voiced Gideon Gray from Zootopia; gold), and Kelvin de Lara (after your favorite Tito and Tita; black). c”,)
You also lost a pet for the first time. Well, Phil Johnson died the same day we got him. I think he got stressed from the trip going home. You weren’t affected with that. But when Kelvin de Lara died you cried. It was so heartbreaking to see you grieve for a pet you really cared for.
At first, you were not crying at all. I even took a video of you giving KDL a send-off message to fish heaven. You told him, “Don’t be afraid of God when you see Him.” But when you finally said “I hope to see you swim again.” You cried! Oh dear, I’m getting teary-eyed now just remembering that scene. Huhu.
But in typical Timmy style, you still had something funny to say afterwards. After your dad flushed KDL in the toilet, you went in to check only to discover that it floated right back up! You said, “Oh, hey Kelvin! You’re still here! I’m going to poop on you!” Hahaha!
Right now, you enjoy feeding the last two standing. c”,) Small responsibilities lead to big ones. You’re doing a great job on this one, buddy! Don’t worry, the rabbit is still on the table. You’re pretty much preoccupied with your fish now. We’ll have to ask you about the bunny again and then your dad and I will talk about the best time to give it to you. c”,)
You love wearing your superhero costumes even on ordinary days.
Pretend play is still a hit in our household. From the different voices we use for your stuffed toys and book characters to wearing costumes even if it’s not Halloween, you love exploring your imagination. You make me appreciate how fun it is to be a child! Your dad and I would often look at each other, smile, and say, “Ang sarap maging bata.” c”,)
I enjoy watching you imitate The Flash’s speedster run and do Spider-Man’s trademark pose. c”,) Your costumes have become ordinary casual clothes for going out! Haha! I’m so grateful that being a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom allows me to be part of your imaginary world every single day. c”,)
You lovingly disturb us during our work time.
Whether it’s asking daddy to play basketball with you while he’s in the middle of a busy shift or putting a blanket on my face, you find different ways to make working from home interesting! Hahaha! You are a welcome distraction, Timmy. c”,) I’m cherishing it now because I know that your independent stage will come real soon. The quote, “the days are long but the years are short” is so true. So yes, disturb away! c”,)
Your basketball skills are greatly improving.
My son, you have absolutely no idea how much work you put into your basketball game. For you, it’s all fun! I’ve never seen any 5-year-old work on his shots more than three times a day! You have even developed muscles on your arms and legs because of too much running and shooting! c”,)
This year, you have officially outgrown Timezone’s pop-a-shot. Whenever you use it, you move back really far to make it more challenging. You have also outgrown your 5-year-old ring which is over five feet high. You want to try higher rings and step up your game.
Your dad still needs to work on developing your passing skills. He actually told me a couple of days ago that you and I will team up soon against him so you can practice passing the ball to another person. As much as you like LeBron you’re very much like Kobe now. Haha! So yes, you need to balance the scoring and assisting to improve. c”,)
It’s good to get the basketball qualities of both guys but you know what I’d love to see someday? That you’ll have the humility of your namesake, Tim Duncan. c”,) It was a delight to see you watching his jersey retirement two weeks ago. Timmy watching Timmy was like a scene made in basketball heaven.
Your love for basketball has also become my carrot and stick. It can be your reward for doing well in homeschool or any chore I ask you to do (extra shooting minutes) or a withdrawn privilege for bad behavior. I’ve discovered that “no gadget time” doesn’t affect you as much as “no basketball time.” Darling, we can’t skip or shorten our already short homeschool to give way to shootaround, okay? There’s a time for everything. Balance, my dear, balance. c”,)
You went to all sorts of places.
We went to comic cons, as always. That’s what I get for having two boys in our house. c”,) That and tons of basketball. Don’t worry, I love them, too! You loved looking at huge action figures and playing with mascots. Conventions like these often have big spaces which meant lots of running around for you!
There was even a play area in one of the comic cons we attended and it was a huge treat for me because it meant you could go and play with other kids while I sit down and relax. Haha! As always, you ended up sleeping on my chest after a long day of walking and playing.
You also enjoyed Kidzoona. After trying some role playing, running, and slides, you would always go back to where the balls are and find a hole or space where you can shoot. You did the same in the play area of Exploreum where most of the time we played with balls and tried to shoot from afar. You really take basketball with you wherever you go, huh? c”,)
We also went to Ogalala World where you enjoyed choosing (and smelling!) your own Crayola crayons. It was a treat for someone like you who loves colors! c”,)
You have become more sociable than ever
One of the best compliments I’ve heard someone tell you over Christmas was how much you’ve grown in your socialization skills. You confidently greeted my aunt, whom you never really talked to during previous reunions, and responded well to her questions! c”,)
You played a lot with our friends’ kids especially our neighbor’s, initiated interaction with other children you see in the restaurants or malls, and even ask for assistance in bookstores. You have obviously grown to love your homeschool coop Team L4 friends. Every month you have a favorite friend you would always look for. c”,)
Your development is an affirmation of our decision to homeschool. We didn’t rush you nor push you to be with other kids when you weren’t ready yet. Your confidence was built at home. Now, you can go and play with others without prodding! Sure you’re still shy because that’s how you’re wired just like your dad. But you are doing much better than he was when he was your age. Go ahead, ask him. c”,)
You love astronomy.
I guess obsessed is the word I should use. Haha! It all started with the moon and the Solar System. When we were learning about it, the Supermoon appeared in the sky two weeks later. We waited for it and you came out ready with your moon calendar and imaginary telescope. We didn’t see it that big from our area but it was really bright! For weeks, you would thank God daily for allowing you to see the Supermoon. Too cute!
During your birthday week, Jesus allowed you to appreciate His creation even more. We were able to go to a free telescope moon viewing! What a treat it was for you! The moment you saw the moon up close you said, “WOW! It’s so big!” It was such a delight to see. c”,)
So for your birthday, we went to Science and Discovery Center at SM Mall of Asia. c”,) You enjoyed exploring all things science there. You did some weather forecasting with daddy, played on the lever with me, and more! To take advantage of your interest in astronomy, that will be your science curriculum next school year! Can’t wait!
For the Planetarium show, it was your first time to watch in an auditorium similar to a cinema. The only difference was the ceiling was the screen. You’re still afraid of the dark and you tried really hard not to cry. However, there were still tears and muffled sobs when the show was on going.
We haven’t brought you to the movie house yet. I mean you can’t even finish an entire movie sitting down in our home. We also know that you still panic in total darkness. If anything, that experience showed us that you’re still not ready for the cinema. No worries, Timmy. You’ll get there just like everybody else. c”,)
You still like to read and write.
Read aloud time is one of my favorite activities with you. You are currently on a Berenstain Bears season and slowly transitioning to chapter books. c”,) We take turns reading the parts of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Sister Bear, and Brother Bear. It’s really fun! You love our Five in a Row books especially when we rowed Ferdinand the Bull, Madeline, and How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. c”,)
Shel Silverstein and Sue Hendra were added to your list of favorite authors. c”,) We even have an original Missing Piece song! Haha! Oh, and you still love Veggie Tales, Mo Willems, and Dr. Seuss books (we had a Dr. Seuss month!) Recently, you added your My First Little Big Book of Space in your bedtime reading. Haha!
You also have a very nice handwriting for a 5-year-old, which only shows when you do it at your own initiative or when you like what you’re writing. Your worksheet handwriting isn’t as good. Haha! But you know what? I’m cool with that! c”,)
It’s actually nice that your handwriting reflects how you feel. When you love the topic, you write well. No matter how short or long it is. When it bores you, it shows in your penmanship, too. I have learned not to complain and instead encourage you to just write. You always come around anyway. c”,) Simply put, you love writing on your own not when you’re forced. Haha!
Your love for numbers has evolved.
I really don’t know where you got it but you love anything with numbers. Haha! You showed it through your drawings of clocks, speedometers, weighing scale, calendars, and plate numbers. c”,) Math is one of your favorite subjects. We use NBA scores to practice addition and subtraction.
You correct me whenever I give wrong answers. Hahaha! But seriously, how can you ask me on the spot the answer to 135-98? Good thing you’re dad is always there to save the day. c”,) As your mommy teacher, I really need to step up my game and be good at mental math! Whew!
We had health struggles.
I included myself here because when I got hospitalized this year, you had major separation anxiety. You weren’t able to sleep well for two days and on the third day, we finally decided to let you sleep in the hospital with me (with doctor’s clearance, of course). We would talk on Skype and you would cry and say, “I want you to be well. I want you to go here.” It was really heartbreaking. The day you slept in the hospital you had a 3-hour nap and a 10-hour sleep!
You had bouts with asthma but your most recent one (just two weeks ago) was the worst. We had to take you to the ER for intensive nebulization. Good thing you responded well and we were sent home. By God’s grace, you are all good now. Know that mommy and daddy will always be here for you and we’ll do our best to take care of you.
BIG HIGH FIVE!
You really made the most out of your fifth year, Timmy! I praise and thank God for allowing me to witness your growth every single day. The quote you wrote below for your sixth birthday was from the Berenstain Bears book Too Much Birthday. c”,) And I couldn’t agree more with Papa Bear, go enjoy being six the whole year! Learn, play, and explore as much as you can. We will be here to guide, encourage, teach, train you, and pray for you.
I love you so much, sweetheart! Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for the hugs and kisses. Thank you for forgiving Mommy’s shortcomings. I know we have disagreements and you don’t like being disciplined. Nobody does. But know that we discipline you out of love. It’s a learning process. c”,)
I still have a lot of things to learn, too, when it comes to parenting. Please be patient with me as well. It’s also my first time to be a mom. Every year is a new territory for me. Did you know that it will also be my first time to parent a six-year-old? I just got done with a five-year-old! Haha! So yes, let’s grow together. c”,)
Thank you for the immeasurable joy bring to our family, Timmy. c”,) Your dad and I will always be grateful to the Lord for the privilege He has given us to be your parents. To be given another 365 days to be with you is such a big blessing. By His grace alone, we hope and pray that we will be good stewards of your life. Have a spectacular sixth year, sweetheart! Happy birthday, darling! I love you forever. c”,)