Dear Connor: Five-and-a-Half

I always write these in the second person — to you, Connor — with the intention of you reading them at some point in the future. Maybe when you’re old enough to understand what a blog is, or maybe when I assemble them into a print volume someday.

If I wanted to explain to you what a blog was, though, you could probably read most of this on your own right now, with not much help. (Although you’d get bored of reading so many words without pictures.)

You know about the internet a little. You know that we can buy things from the internet (Amazon), and you know that we can ask the internet questions (Google), and you know that I like to post pictures to Instagram, and that Pusheen the cat has an Instagram account. Someday, you’re going to need access to the internet for school, and your Dad and I are totally going to be those annoying parents who won’t let you have a Facebook page (or whatever the new hotness will be in the year 2020) and who will totally monitor your internet usage and your phone and everything.

But let’s not jump forward too fast. You’re already doing a good enough job of that.

Connor in a Blazer

You’ve been earning stars on a Good Behavior chart for the past several months, and that’s working to help you get your behaviors in line. On your first star chart, you’d earn a silver star for having a good bedtime (i.e. not yelling or throwing things), a gold star for not using your Golden Button to call me upstairs after lights out, and a couple others. You’re almost through your second star chart right now, where you earn a gold star for not using the Golden Button, a blue or silver star for keeping the bed dry overnight (you’re rocking that lately), a green star for helping with chores on Sunday, and — stretch goals — a red star for being super polite and following directions all day.

When you earn a whole row of stars (15 for this second chart), you can choose to get a $15 toy from Toys R Us or Amazon, or get a trip to the library, or go out to a special breakfast with me. You can also save up a second row to get a $25 toy or to go to Imagination Station — which you’ve done a couple of times.

Imagination Station

Thankfully, you seem to have grown out of your defiant phase, and you mostly stay on an even keel with your emotions. That’s not to say you don’t still get upset, but you don’t let it turn into a screamfest anymore. Actually, you’re quite reasonable — as much as a five-and-a-half year old can be — and you’re also developing a solid sense of empathy.

Quiet Time is still a thing, but we let you take your tablet (Kindle Fire) upstairs with you, to keep you occupied and still. If you didn’t have Quiet Time, you’d still have a bit of a meltdown in the evening, although it wouldn’t be the end of the world. There have actually been times when we’ve gone somewhere after lunch, like a birthday party, and you’ve specifically requested Quiet Time when we got home. Sure, it was probably more like you requesting Screen Time, but we’ll take it.

Speaking of screen time, you got a Nintendo DS for Christmas, and you love it. Your Dad and I have seen a significant improvement in your problem-solving, fine motor control, persistence and perseverance, and your anger management skills (although those still need work sometimes). Your favorite game is New Super Mario Bros, although you also like Sonic and Kirby and Super Princess Peach.

Which isn’t to say that gaming is all you do. You also love to draw and make things. You regularly bring us “books” that you’ve made at school, or contraptions made out of paper and washi tape, or cut-out characters that you play with for days. We have stacks of Jerry the Mouse, Mario, Luigi, and other characters all around our living room.

Connor with his Cardboard Cat

Next week, I go to drop off your kindergarten registration paperwork at the district Administration Building. That’s going to be a whole new adventure for all of us.

Your Dad and I are so proud of the little man you’re becoming. You have your off days (don’t we all), but you’re mostly kind and funny and intelligent and creative… even if you don’t always have your listening ears on.

We love you, Connor. Keep being you.

Harper's 5th Birthday

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