Nine

Silas is officially nine. Halfway to eighteen. I’ve been parenting for nine years. That seems like an eternity and also no time at all.

It’s been an interesting year. I’m seeing Silas becoming more and more of a big kid. Emotional self-regulation is getting better (assuming he’s slept enough, another victim of the family curse). He’s learning to do things I was starting to really wonder about ever happening, like swimming and brushing his own hair.

Generally, Silas is just easier and more fun to be with than he used to be.

Silas has gotten much better at collaborating in his creative games with friends. He is learning to hold his work more loosely and make space for other people’s ideas. He’s generous with praise, even with his sister–I love how he’ll look at a drawing she’s done and say, “Wow, Petra, that is gorgeous.” He’s always telling other people about how smart and tough she is. When he tells me about games or stories he’s created with friends, he never fails to give people credit for their ideas. He’s great at “Yes, AND.”

I adore how open he is to befriending anyone. He counts both girls and boys among his close companions. Last spring, he was telling me about an elaborate game he was creating with his friend Margot. She was about two-and-a-half at the time.

I said, “Do you mean Kaia?” (her older sister, much closer to Silas in age).

He looked at me blankly. “No. I mean Margot. She’s a really cool kid.”

I love that he doesn’t make distinctions between kids of different ages, that his close friends range from three to nearly twelve, and he’s often the person who helps everyone find a way to play together.

After attending Furious Flower Camp, Silas said he wanted to learn to play the ukulele, like one of his counselors. So that was his big birthday gift from us. He and I are learning together, watching youtube videos, messing with chords. It’s a good instrument to start with. He’s a social kid, and the instruments in the guitar family lend themselves to being part of an informal group. I can completely imagine him being the guy who shows up at the bonfire with a guitar, at the center of everything, but not quite the center of attention.

Silas wants to be a writer when he grows up, and that’s exciting as well. His writing is stunningly good for his age. I know I’m his mother and therefore biased, but I didn’t write half that well until at least middle school. He has variety in sentence structure, smooth exposition, excellent vocabulary. His plots can be a bit convoluted or have long, extraneous digressions, but he is starting to understand editing–everything I’ve read of his until just the past few months was basically first drafts. Everyone’s first drafts have plot holes and weird digressions, don’t they?

He’s also decided he wants to start a Kutelope podcast. More on that to come, but…How cool is that? He loves podcasts and he thinks, “I could probably do that!” So he does. I’m working on teaching him about editing audio and structuring a show. He’s interviewing all his friends who play Kutelopes. He even wrote a theme song (It starts: “It’s not a cantaloupe with wings / It’s not an antelope that sings…”).

It’s not all fun and games around here. We still have meltdowns and frustration. We still have fussing and delaying on school work and chores. He interrupts people constantly (I’ve started making him apologize with, “I’m sorry for interrupting you. I understand that that reinforces the patriarchy.” Donations to his future therapy fund are always welcome.). He is generally too loud and messy and clumsy. But…getting better?

But generally, we’re having a good time. I’m liking nine, so far.

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