Eight! (and a week)

Silas’ birthday is the day after my mom’s, so we often celebrate both of them together. This year, Mom wanted us all to join her for “Twilight Polo” at Great Meadows, so she and Gary rented an Air B&B, and Alex, Tiara, and our family went and joined them there.

The polo was so very cool. I hadn’t ever seen anything like that before. The teams were tiered, so their skill level improved as the evening went on. We joked that the horses were playing a different sport than the riders, as sometimes a shot would look like it was definitely going in the goal, and then a horse would put its foot forward and the ball would bounce off of it. The horses were gorgeous! One cool thing is that polo is a co-ed sport. Not many sports have men and women on the same team, but polo does. In the second match, one of the teams was from Dubai, and one of their players was named Petra. Our Petra was very excited to see this beautiful, powerful woman riding a fast horse and sharing her name.

The weather was cold and drizzly, so we didn’t stay for the whole thing, but even that was fun. Being out a bit late and in the first real chill of the fall felt like an adventure. And all the fancy people opted not to come, so we got to sit in the $200 seats instead of the $5 lawn spots we paid for.

Mom, Lucy, and Petra in the $$$ seats

Fun fact: between the “chukkers” (time periods) of the match, they bring out this…uhm.. tractor zamboni.

The next morning, we sang “Happy Birthday” (and “Time Is Marching On”) to Silas. He blew out the candles on his pancakes and opened his gifts from everyone. I couldn’t help but reflect on the changes he’s been through in the past year and how they were reflected in the gifts people selected for him. He got lots of books this year–chapter books, even! He’s beginning to be able to read those. JC’s sister sent him some Choose Your Own Adventure books from the archives, since I mentioned that he was into those. Heather sent him a boxed set of the first 10 Captain Underpants books, among other things. I got him a bunch of LEGO-related books, and JC added to his Miyazaki collection. And that’s pretty much what he’s into–books and LEGOs. Any given day, that is most of what he’s doing.

That evening, we had “the Cutelopes”–Lillian, Elisabeth, James, Arthur, Esau, and Jude–over for dinner and cake. Silas had told me that all he wanted to do for his birthday was go to Riven Rock with the Cutelopes. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, so we had to switch it to our house. Everyone had a blast. The kids ran around inside and out, they ate, played, caroused, shouted, hugged. I normally get a little panicky when my house is overfull with loud people, but I felt nothing but joy at the presence of all of these wild things and their boisterous energy. I love how much these kids love each other. I love their parents. This whole little tribe fills my heart.

In some ways, I feel like not much time has passed since he turned 7. This stage of life is different from the massive shifts and changes of his earliest years. He still is growing and changing, but the shifts are less seismic. He’s getting better at the things he’s been able to do for a while, but he hasn’t had tremendous developments. He could read pretty well last year; he reads better this year. He was making up complex games last year; he’s making more complex games this year.

He also *totally* gets genre. How does he do this? It sounds like the name of a novel I desperately want to read.

Probably the biggest surprise for me in the past year was that Silas has fallen in love with acting. He’s always been shy about people looking at him. He can’t decide if he loves or hates to be the center of attention. But this year, he took a theater class which he LOVED. I can get him to do lots of academic things by pointing out how they are useful to an actor (“Why do I have to learn rhetoric?” “Ever hear of Shakespeare?”). And really, what isn’t useful to an actor?

He’s becoming more considerate, better at collaborating and listening to others. Let’s hope that trend continues.

I’m enjoying him being a big kid. We have great conversations and do fun things. He’s still got some little kid to him, though, and I think he gets to keep that a little longer because he doesn’t go to school and get it teased out of him–he and his homeschool buddies still hug each other all the time, and he can be not interested in something he’s outgrown without declaring that he hates it and it’s babyish, as many of his friends who go to school do.

This year, I’m hoping to expand his worldview and deepen his skills. And maybe get him to learn to swim.

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