Monday, January 24, 2011

And now he's 5!

Alastair's 5th Birthday Extravaganza Weekend Celebration Holy KaPow was fun fun fun fun fun!

We woke up Saturday morning at the leisurely hour of 8:30, made delicious cinnamon graham waffles filled with butter, syrup, strawberries, and whipped cream, fixed up a whole mess o' bacon, and then set to the presents.

He got loads of Star Wars toys from the Galactic Heroes line, a bunch of Mater's Tall Tales (Cars Toon) stuff, NERF guns & swords, video games for the Wii & PS3, a new slot-car track, and a PlayMobil dragons & knights set that Amanda had given me years ago, but that I'd never opened.*

After we'd busted open all the loot and rocked out to some Lady Gaga for a while, we headed over to the Little Gym for his first class with 5 - 12 year-olds. A little different from his largely-unstructured classes of yore, he had trouble catching the rhythm of the class, but I think he'll have it down in no time. Plus, having a bit of angsty energy helped set him up for his...birthday party!!

After a quick lunch and a nice nap, we headed back to the Little Gym for his party. That he'd won on my birthday. Weird, right? Anyway... 1.5 hours of basically unrestricted free-play with 8 of his friends, Ukrop's cake (represent), and no major injuries! Parents were free to join the fun, but most just took the opportunity to watch the action. I raced several of the kids across the air-trak (it's just a big, long bouncy) and managed to lose every single time.

Then it was home for hot dogs (his bday dinner wish) and down to the Richmond Coliseum for Arena Racing. Seriously, you need to check this out. 2.5 hours of 1/2 scale stock cars on a postage-stamp banked indoor track. There are 4 adult races and 2 junior races (ages 9 - 13). It's a fantastic way to blow a few hours without breaking the bank, and it serves my ulterior purposes of getting him more interested in following in my lunacy.

Did I mention that he loved it? 'Cause it was a HUGE hit. But it was also a very late hit, ending at about 9:30pm. My little boy--my newly-minted 5 YEAR OLD--was so sleepy he nearly passed out reading Goodnight Moon.

He was so good all day, and so good all night. He thanked his friends for coming to his party, thanked everyone for his gifts, and even told me that he'd gotten enough gifts, in spite of my mandate that none of his friends were to bring anything for him. He's got a good heart, that boy.


*I realized later that effectively this was Amanda's gift to him. Kinda neat that even almost 2 years later, she's still able to reach out to him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On Being 4: A Retrospective

Today is the last day I get to squeeze and hug on a 4-year-old. And it makes me a little sad to realize how quickly my little guy is growing, but he's had a pretty good year, all in all.

3 was a rough year for Alastair--understandably so. His little world, already in upheaval since shortly after his 2nd birthday, took a major blow that no child should have to endure. When 2010 rolled around, I decided to make the year as much about Alastair as I could. And we did a lot of super awesome fun stuff.

We saw monster trucks and the circus, took the train to DC to explore the Smithsonian museums, went to the beach for a week. I took him to the track so that he could see race cars (he even got to camp in the trailer with me), bought him a balance bike that he quickly mastered AND a speedy little go-kart that will see much more (ab)use in 2011.

We went to the Fair and King's Dominion and Busch Gardens' Christmas Town, traipsed through Maymont Park and Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens regularly, got like 6 whole days of sledding (before I destroyed my back being an IDIOT), and kept up classes at the Little Gym all year.

There was preschool and playdates and sleep-overs and parties and all manner of mind-blowing awesomeness.

He got a playset built in the back yard--a big one with a rock wall, swings, and a sliding board (h/t to the Foleys).

And as the year was drawing to a close, he got to see the entire original Star Wars trilogy.

For all the little individual experiences, I came away with a little man who's excited about what being 5 could mean. He knows some things will be repeated: we already have tickets to the monster trucks & Kings Dominion season passes. But he also knows that new things await. He's excited about Kindergarten and seeing the remaining Star Wars films (he's seriously obsessed) and spending more time at his grandparents' new getaway home in the mountains.

Tomorrow he will be surrounded by friends and have way too much cake and stay up too late to watch small stock cars at Arena Racing. He will be super exhausted and overwhelmed with all his new toys and probably drive me just about batshit crazy with his fatigued ramblings. And it will be one of the best days ever. For as much as he might be excited about his birthday, I am absolutely ecstatic about our future adventures. I love my little man!

Happy 5th birthday, Alastair!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Monkey Make You Crazy

He's a clever one, that boy.

During his first semester of preschool, Alastair had at least two notes sent home about his behavior. None extolled his virtues...

Yesterday he got yet another note sent home, but instead of reporting him taking things or cutting up or even having to go sit in the hall, this one said he'd been exceptionally good all day, that I should be proud of him, and that I'm doing a great job as a parent.

He was SO excited when I got home, he gushed about his good note. The sitters also expressed their pride in him, and we talked about how good it is to be good all night.

Then I dropped him off at school this morning and got a little more info...

Apparently, just before school let out yesterday, his teacher told him he'd been very good. Sensing opportunity, he asked if she could send me a note about how good he'd been, since all of his previous notes had been negative. Seriously: he took the initiative to ask for written positive reinforcement. He's 4.

I'm not sure whether to be proud or terrified.