Sunday, May 3, 2020

Krewson Lee at 10 Years Old

Dear Krew Krew (as we affectionately call you these days),

You are 10 years old! I just can't believe you are now double digits. The past decade has flown by and has been so enriched by having you in our lives.

You are still our quiet, subdued, introspective, contemplative, creative, highly sensitive, and emotional child. Boy do we love you.

We've seen you mature so much over the last year, both physically and mentally. You are now participating in activities that challenge your body, like ninja warrior and bike riding with tricks, and you are getting so much stronger when it comes to handling frustration, fear, and other difficult emotions. You are sometimes even willing to step outside your comfort zone without much persuasion, which is something we've never experienced with you before. It's been so amazing to watch.

You are still on the smaller side (24th percentile for height as of last week) but fit in well for your grade. You continue to wear your hair long and would probably let it grow past your shoulders if we let you. You got glasses last summer when your eyes worsened and you finally admitted you couldn't see the board at school. You will only wear the glasses at school, when watching TV, and sometimes when playing the piano. Otherwise you prefer to leave them off. You have not lost any teeth since last year, but one of your molars is loose (which is freaking you out).

Early last summer you experienced a scary 3-week illness that exactly matched the (mis?)diagnosed mono that you had the previous fall. You underwent various blood draws and tests, and we took you to a UNC pediatric infectious disease specialist and also an urgent ophthalmologist appointment when you said your eyesight had turned fuzzy. We never did figure out what was wrong with you. You met many symptoms for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, but the markers didn't exactly match up and your body started to heal before the doctors were able to reach any sort of conclusion. It was an incredibly scary time. You were having daily rhythmic fevers that reached 104, severe fatigue, lack of appetite (you lost 5 or 6 lbs which is a lot on your little body), a rash on your face, pain in your ankles and knees and wrist, and fuzzy vision. I am so incredibly grateful that the illness has not returned. If it does, we have the number for the infectious disease specialist and we are supposed to go straight to him instead of wading through the pediatrician and referral process. Hopefully that never happens! Due to having the sickness twice in the same school year, you missed 29 days of second grade. However, your teacher was incredibly supportive and helped us get you through it without issue.

Right now we are the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we're not leaving the house, but before this all started you were actively enjoying weekly ninja warrior classes at the nearby gym and you had begun attending a weekly computer programming club at the local coffee shop. You were also very much into riding your bike, which fortunately is an activity that we've been able to continue during the pandemic. Lately you've been learning to do tricks on the bike, which has resulted in a few wipeouts (including a pretty scary one that resulted in a lot of deep scrapes and you nearly passing out), but you always get back on and that's so impressive.

You have stopped playing on soccer teams, but you still join in with your brother and friends for practices for fun and exercise. Last summer you did swim team and we were hoping you'd do it again this year, but we're not sure if there will be a season due to COVID. Actually, we don't even know if the pool will open this year, but your mommy sure hopes so.

School is going well for you most of the time now. The schoolwork is not hard for you, but dealing with the emotions of the day sometimes still is. You especially struggle when something doesn't immediately make sense to you, you feel a lot of pressure, or you feel like a lot of people are looking at you. You were having a really hard time last spring, and so we had you attend therapy for about six months. Amazingly, by fall you had seemed to outgrow the need for it (which was so exciting), and you haven't needed to go back since. You recently began attending AIG classes which started triggering some anxiety relapses, but overall you are doing so much better.

You are such a creative kid. You will spend hours designing and building things. You have a bin in the garage full of old electronics which you combine with items around the house to build contraptions. Oftentimes if you're nowhere in the house, I'll find you in the garage, cutting or drilling or putting things together. You still build with Legos quite a bit, usually designing things on your own rather than following instructions. You also build on the computer. You've been getting more and more into coding and have created computer codes that do all kinds of awesome things on the screen. You've built an entire dormitory in a Roblox game which is now 3 or 4 stories high and has all kinds of crazy features in each room. You are also creative with drawing and coloring, both using paper and pencils or markers and also using paint features on the computer screen for school. It really blows me away. I am not creative at all. I'm good at copying things, but I'm not talented at coming up with ideas. You are absolutely full of new ideas, all the time.

You are still very cautious and an extreme rule follower. It is incredibly uncommon for you to do anything risky or that might not be allowed. Something happened recently and you accidentally damaged something, and you came to us crying because you were so disappointed in yourself and also expected to get in trouble. Instead, your daddy and I told you that we were proud of you for taking a risk. I think you thought we were nuts.

You still avoid large groups of people but absolutely love your closest friends, and you reveal your goofy, sarcastic, jokester side when you're with them or with family you feel comfortable with. I'd even say you get a little hyper-crazy at times. You keep us all on our toes. :)

You are still learning piano, although we've let you sit out of the last couple piano recitals because they are so stressful to you. However, you love to express yourself through playing the piano when you're feeling emotional. In fact, you've even written some songs, which you go and play when you need a release. Again, not something I could ever do. I don't know how you do it. And I love watching you when you're in your element. I've been known to stand to the side and watch you play with tears in my eyes. You feel the music so deeply.

You have been a great big brother to Greyden, and you guys are still the best of friends. I am especially grateful for this right now during the pandemic, when you mostly only have each other to play with. You two spend almost all day every day together. You do step away from Greyden sometimes to read a book in your favorite corner chair or in your bed, because you do need much more quiet time than he does.

Speaking of books, you are still an incredibly enthusiastic reader. You read literally hundreds of books a year. You usually read a full novel every day and a half or so, but sometimes it's even more quickly than that. You like to read multiple books at a time unless one really sucks you in, and then you focus only on it (and usually finish it in half a day). I have a hard time keeping up with you, and when the library was open we were stopping by once or twice a week. Fortunately, we managed to collect a large pile for you from the library before the pandemic shut everything down. You've been working your way through that and have also been reading a ton of digital books on your iPad through an account the school provided you with. Your favorite genre is still fantasy and it's sometimes hard to get you to venture outside of it.

Alright buddy, I think that's about it for now. We are so proud of you and feel so blessed to call you our son.

Love, Mommy (and Daddy)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Krewson Lee: 10-Year-Old Interview

Krew turned 10 years old on March 5th! Yay!!

Below is his 10-year-old interview so you can see what he's like as he crosses into the age of double digits. I did this interview with him a couple weeks ago, but with the pandemic going on it's taking me a while to get it uploaded. :)

Past years' interviews are below, too, if you'd like to compare and see how he's changed. :)

We love you Krew!!

Age 10:

Age 9:

Age 8:

Age 7:

Age 6:

Age 5:

Age 4:

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Greyden Roy at 7 Years Old

Hey there, our 7-year-old Greyden Roy! Also affectionately known as Grey, Grey Grey, and Roy Boy. But you prefer just "Greyden". :)

You are such a fun kid. I love 7-year-old you. You make us laugh so often. Last year I described you this way, and it still matches you to a T: "happy, joyful, goofy, excited, outgoing, determined, social, and energetic. You always look forward to every day, finding something in it that you expect to be fun or exciting. Every night during prayers you say, 'Dear God, thank you for today and thank you that it was so much fun...and please let us have a fun day tomorrow.' You cry easily when you have expectations and they aren't met, but you get over it quickly and are grinning again before long. Really, nothing keeps you down; you are always making lemonade out of lemons." That is still you, buddy. Our little lemonade maker.

You think basically everyone you know is your friend, no matter who they are. You crave socialization and will follow us and talk nonstop if we don't find something to distract you. Even with a tv show or game in front of you, half the time you'll still be talking to anyone within earshot, narrating what you're seeing on the screen.

If you're not talking, then you are often singing. You turn much of life into a song. Whether playing with a toy, coloring, cleaning, or just sitting around (or even on the toilet), you're often singing about something. Sometimes you sing a song you know, sometimes you just make something up. The overall reality though is that there is almost always noise coming out of your mouth. (As I type this, in fact, you are singing a new verse you made up for "Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo". And today I was on the phone with your daddy while you were near me and Daddy said, "What is that sound??" And I said, "Oh, that? That's Greyden singing." Daddy said, "What is he singing??" and I said, "I have no idea.")

Shockingly, this characteristic of yours to be always making noise has not carried over into school. In fact your teacher says you do great with staying quiet and following instructions. This surprises me, but I'm very glad. :) You actually truly enjoy going to school, and you're doing well in all your subjects. In fact, as I write this, you are on trackout and yet you are at the table doing some optional worksheets from school for fun. You still say that recess and PE are your favorite parts of school, but you seem to enjoy the challenge of learning and schoolwork as well.

You are still right around average for height, weight, and BMI. Your eyes usually still look brown but can appear hazel if the light hits them right. Your hair continues to shift from light brown in the winter to blonde in the summer, then back again. You are a full-fledged lefty and also prefer to use your left foot to kick. You lost your two middle bottom teeth over the last year and just recently lost your first top tooth, which has really changed your smile. I took your 7-year-old pictures for this blog post before you lost it, though, so you won't see the gap in these pictures. :)

You have switched from singing in Glee Club to doing individual voice lessons, which you love. You still are reluctant to sing in front of people, which is a bit of a bummer, but I've been told that you'll develop confidence for it over time. You also are still doing piano lessons and are moving along pretty quickly with those. Soccer is your favorite extra-curricular activity and I'm pretty sure you'd go to a practice every night if it were an option. You played up in the U10 league this past fall season and did really well, even scoring quite a few goals. It's so fun to watch you grow in confidence and skill.

But it's not just soccer. You are obsessed with all sports - watching them, playing them, practicing them. You frequently kick a ball around the house or have a football in your arms. And you know basically every team in football and will look up game schedules and scores on a regular basis. You play soccer in the spring and fall, basketball in the winter, and do swim team in the summer. And in any sport you're playing, whether on a team or in the backyard with a friend, you give it your all. Because, apparently, sports are very important!

Your favorite toys and activities right now are Pokemon cards and (again) sports, with some Bey Blades, Hot Wheels, and Nerf guns thrown in. You still love the iPad, Wii, and X-box. Lately we've been playing Super Mario Bros on the Wii together as a family, and you and Krew think it's great.

You are still a distractible little guy, although it's not as bad as it used to be. For example, we no longer find you in the bathroom with your hands under running water because you forgot you were washing them. And you now manage to focus enough when eating lunch at school that you usually (but not always) get to eat your dessert before you run out of time. But you definitely have some "SQUIRREL!" Syndrome tendencies. We still have to remind you to keep eating at the dinner table at home or to keep doing a chore if we've asked you to do something for us. I think sports are about the only activity where there's not a chance you'll be pulled away. Somehow, this distractibility hasn't been an issue at school so far. You seem to save it all for home. :)

You and Krew are really getting along pretty well right now, and we are so thankful. You two will play and play, with only occasional fights or disagreements. The only thing I've noticed is that you've started getting a little more rude and mouthy with each other, telling each other when you think what the other has done is wrong. But otherwise I'm incredibly grateful for your relationship right now and how healthy and complementary it seems to be.

We changed GI doctors shortly after I wrote your 6-year-old blog post last year. At that time, you had been having EoE symptoms for about 9 months and we couldn't get them to stop. Under guidance of the new GI doctor, we changed your medication, doubled your dose, and did 9 months of waiting and two endoscopies before we finally got you healed. At your last scope the end of August this year, your esophagus finally looked good and you were symptom-free. We were sooooooooo relieved!! Afterward we decided to reintroduce rice, so you've been eating that for the last two months and you've loved it. You have another scope in two weeks (your 14th one), on December 4th, to find out if the rice appears to be an EoE trigger for you. We are praying that it is not, because it has made your diet so much easier to be able to eat it. If you are able to continue eating rice, then your list of food restrictions will be dwindled down to gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, beef, pork, and green beans. (That probably sounds like a long list to many people, but compared to where we started, it's fairly short!) As for your cyclic vomiting syndrome, I don't think you've had any episodes since I wrote your 6-year-old blog post, which is also so wonderful! Over a year episode-free - wow.

Just over the past month or so, I've noticed you've finally stopped coming out of your room every night after we put you to bed. Prior to that, it was still a nightly occurrence. Sometimes you'd come out even two or three times. I'm really not sure what's happened or what the difference is. We did not set down any new rules or give you extra discipline. Maybe it's something you've just grown out of? Maybe we've been getting you to bed so late lately that you actually fall asleep when you lay down. (You typically don't fall asleep until at least 10pm, and you've had a lot of bedtimes between 9pm and 10pm lately.) Or maybe it's just a phase and your nightly reemergences will start up again soon. :)

And, speaking of bedtime, you still do the same thing you were doing last year when I wrote your 6-year-old blog post. You always hug me tight around the neck, wait for me to kiss your cheek, then turn your little face and put a kiss in the center of my cheek. Every. Single. Night. It always floods my heart with warmth and happiness.

Alright Roy Boy, I think that's all for now. We sure do love you!!

Mommy (and Daddy)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Greyden Roy: 7-Year-Old Interview

Our Greyden Roy is now 7 years old as of July 28th!! (I seriously can't believe he's this old.)

We had the usual multiple mini birthday celebrations with various family and friends, and he was thrilled to receive some great gifts including an abundance of Pokemon cards and related items. I'm planning to do his 7-year-old photo shoot this weekend and will post those pics and a detailed update on him once I get the pics edited. :)

For now, below is his 7-year-old interview. And because I always think it's fun to compare, I've posted his past years' videos below, also. :)


Monday, June 3, 2019

Krewson Lee at 9 Years Old

Dearest Krewson Lee,

We are now well into your year of being 9 years old! You turned 9 nearly three months ago, but I am learning to be ok with getting these yearly updates completed months after your birthdays. I figure, at least I'm actually doing them at all, right? :)

We sure love you, buddy. You bring such depth and feelings to our lives. You continue to be our introverted, sensitive, and introspective child. You react to everything around you with emotion and as a result remind us of the deeper parts of life.

You continue to be smaller for your age (19th percentile for height this year). You still have your longish blonde hair (which you are very attached to) and gray-blue eyes. At your wellness doc visit this year, your eyesight was not as perfect as it's always been, but the doctor said you can probably wait another year before needing glasses. (You did not like this news about future glasses one iota.) You've lost eight teeth so far and I'm relieved that they're coming in pretty straight (although with a large adorable gap between the front two).

Your absolute favorite pastime (other than screen time, which I'm pretty sure is every kid's favorite) is reading. You read, read, read, read. Your current obsession is middle-grade fantasy. It is not uncommon for you to read an entire novel or more in a single day (especially on the weekends or when tracked out of school). You go through series so quickly that we've resorted to going to the library and walking up and down the middle grade aisles to find new books for you, because I've run out of recommendations from others.

Another favorite activity is ninja warrior obstacle climbing and jumping, so we may get you involved with that more in the fall at a local ninja warrior gym. Your daddy built you and your brother a small ninja-warrior-type gym in your playroom for Christmas this year, and you two have had a blast in there. Right now you are being kept busy with soccer and swim team. Despite having a decent amount of natural ability, soccer is not your favorite due to the unpredictability of whether you're about to get a kick to the shins or a ball to the face. Therefore, you don't do a whole lot of actual playing on the field. However, you keep requesting to do soccer because you love seeing your friends on the team. You seem ok with swim team (and actually are a very good swimmer!) as long as the water or air are not too cold. If you feel cold then you become quickly discouraged.

You are still taking piano lessons, although the daily practicing at home is a frequent point of tension between you and me. You do NOT like making mistakes, and making mistakes is part of learning to play. So we frequently hit stand offs during our practice sessions after you've struggled with a certain piece of music. You will say that it is too hard and you cannot do it, and then you will refuse to play again despite all my prodding and encouragement. On the other hand, if you decide you like a certain piece of music, you will go to the piano and play for 30 minutes straight all on your own, frequently adding to the music with your own improvisations. The way you seem to "feel" the music as you're playing has brought tears to my eyes as I've watched you. I hope we can continue to get through practicing and lessons so that you can continue to have music as an outlet in the future.

Your favorite school subject seems to be science. You love learning about the world and have hundreds of facts memorized, which you'll share whenever the opportunity arises. You do well in all your school subjects, but you really do not like writing. You also get frustrated in math because you can get the right answers but cannot always understand the ways the teachers want you to get to the answer (unfortunately that's Common Core for ya).

You still love building and designing, and you make frequent Lego creations or other creations out of supplies you find around the house. You also love taking apart electronics and figuring out how they work. You have a large bin in the garage full of electronic parts that you play around with on a regular basis.

You are still cautious, careful, and responsible, always following the rules and watching out for your safety and the safety of everyone around you. If something seems unsafe, you will basically refuse to do it.

You are still very emotional and can switch from hyper-joyful to devastated crying in a split second. You feel everything so incredibly deeply, and anxiety and frequent bouts of depression have become a regular part of your life. After implementing diet changes last spring, we saw incredible improvements, but the last few months have been a struggle again. You are also incredibly hard on yourself and very upset whenever you feel that you've done something wrong or are incapable of doing something the way you think is best. So we are doing all we can to help you at home, and you've also begun seeing a new talk/play therapist. You've only had a few session so far, but I am feeling hopeful because you seem a little more relaxed and a bit more able to handle yourself after each session.

Although you are most commonly quiet and subdued, you also have a very goofy, wisecracking, sarcastic side that can surprise people. You love to crack jokes and make people laugh, but you save that side of yourself for those you feel safest with. When that side of you does come out, you can even get a little bit hyper-crazy.

You don't like crowds or being the center of attention, but you absolutely love your close friends and are happiest with you're with them. You are also incredibly dedicated to your family and become broken-hearted when one of us is away from home for very long. Although I don't know you'd say so, I think your brother is your best friend. You boys get along amazingly well for how different you are from one another, and you can sometimes play all day long without even a little fight. You do have your squabbles and disagreements, but for the most part you support each other and love each other very well.

We are so thankful for you, buddy! We love you so much. Until next year. :)