Dear Connor: Year Nine-and-a-Half

I wouldn’t normally post a Dear Connor letter for your half-birthday… but I didn’t post one for your ninth birthday, and 2020 was definitely NOT a normal year, so I don’t want to just skip it.

I suspect that someday, when you’re older and you look back on being eight years old, Second Grade will seem like a big blur of video games and remote schooling, with the occasional, “Wait, that happened when I was eight, too?”

Photo: Connor and Grammy playing a card game in Florida

I can remember pretty clearly being eight and nine years old, and it’s weird thinking about how I perceived myself when I was your age, versus how I see you now. You have a lot of the same curiosity and know-it-all attitude as I did, but you’re way crazier and more outgoing.

In the fall, you took a test that qualified you for the gifted program at school. You said that the 90 minutes of testing was a “nightmare,” which amused the teacher who was administering the test. It was a standard, old-school Scantron multiple choice test… but you’re used to tests on the computer, and you’re NOT used to testing for a couple of hours straight.

Now that you’re in GATE, you wish you weren’t, and you want to quit. You see it as busywork that takes you away from the things you’d rather be doing, like being social with your classmates. Luckily, once you qualify, you’re never disqualified; even if we decide that the enrichment activities in the elementary grades aren’t for you, you’ll still be able to enroll in the accelerated classes later on — and that’s really what matters to me. I wish they offered accelerated classes in the elementary grades, like I had at your age, but the program is what it is.

You have a very defined hierarchy of Things You’d Rather Be Doing. Most of those involve television or video games. Eating is pretty far down the list, but riding bikes with Dad used to be on the list (until you wore out your training wheels).

Reading for pleasure is something you only do when you have no other options: before bed, or during your scheduled reading time in the afternoon. This is completely foreign to me, as I read voraciously when I was as a kid — to be fair, though, I did love going to my best friend’s house to play Atari, and I would have done more gaming if I’d had my own console.

I know I tell you this a lot, but I’m really proud of you. You’ve stuck with karate for 2½ years. You always want to make people laugh. You’re secure in who you are.

You’re still only 9½, of course, so you still have a lot of growing and maturing to do… but you’re pretty awesome, all things considered.

Wesley and Connor

Spin Hook Kick!

Parents haven’t been allowed into the dojo during the pandemic; if we want to watch class, we watch over Facebook Live. Luckily, the camera was at just the right angle and Connor stood in the right line for me to screen-capture his spin hook kick today.

Lazer Pointer Thersday

Connor told me last night that he wanted to make this shirt in the morning; I gave him the OK, with the caveat that most of his markers are washable.

When I came downstairs this morning, I had completely forgotten about our shirt conversation — until I saw him wearing his creation. (I didn’t have the heart to mention his spelling errors after he’d already made the shirt). He managed to find a black marker that wasn’t washable, but he could only find a red washable one, “so be very careful when you wash this. Maybe put it on delicate.” I attempted to heat-set his t-shirt art by ironing it, so hopefully it doesn’t bleed too much during the course of the day.

I’ve been wanting to play around with screen printing for a while now… Hmm.

I still have no idea where he got the idea for Laser Pointer Thursday.

That’s My Boy

It’s a typical Sunday morning: Connor’s in the La-Z-Boy, playing on his tablet — sounds like Angry Birds at the moment — and I’m sitting on the couch, taking care of random stuff on my laptop while doing laundry.

“Mom! Wanna watch these piggies go into orbit?”

Connor jumps out of the recliner and beelines for the couch, bumping the “vintage” coffee table with the wobbly leg, sloshing some coffee out of my cup.

We both freeze and stare at the coffee puddle for a moment. It’s not bad — just a splash. I smirk at him.

“As soon as you grab some paper towels!”

He tosses his tablet back into the chair and runs into the kitchen. I pick up my sewing notebook, which now has a quarter-sized coffee stain on the current page. No biggie. What little coffee has pooled on the page drips off as Connor returns with a few paper towels.

We blot up the spill. Nothing’s ruined, no one’s mad, no worries. I tell Connor I’ll take care of throwing the wet paper towels away in a minute, and he goes back to the chair to get his tablet.

“Hey, Mom,” he deadpans as he walks back to sit next to me, “wanna watch your coffee go into orbit?”