Friday, September 29, 2017

Greyden Roy at 5 Years Old

Dear Greyden Roy,

You are five years old now!!

You turned five on July 28th. I really can't wrap my head around how old you are. I still think of you as young because you're our baby, but really, there's nothing little about you anymore.

You are a little above average height and about average for weight/BMI. Your eyes usually look brown but in certain lights can appear hazel. Your hair is still light brown in the winter and blonde in the summer. You still have your small red birthmark on the bridge of your nose, and over the last year you developed a brown vertical line in the nail of your left pinky finger, which the pediatrician told us was no concern but just another thing to make you special. We also discovered in the last year that your epiglottis pops up and is visible in your throat when you open your mouth, which is another rare genetic variant you have. Left-handed, two partially-webbed toes on each foot, birth mark, line in finger nail, visible epiglottis, EoE, cyclic vomiting are a wonderful bundle of rarity, our dear child. :)

This year you are attending transitional kindergarten at your preschool, and then you'll go to kindergarten next year. Given your late summer birthday, we thought it'd be good for you to have another year before starting. I think you probably could have handled kindergarten, but we figured that waiting another year wouldn't hurt. Plus, it gives us more time to get a better grasp on your EoE food restrictions before you have to handle them all on your own at school.

You are such a fun kid to have in our lives. You have a very sweet personality with a strong goofy side. Although often shy at first, once you feel comfortable in a situation, you can be a bit of a clown. You love babbling goofy sayings and making silly faces. You're pretty darn cute right now, which of course causes us to laugh at your antics and likely encourage them even more. You tend to be very loud when you are excited, but you're not as over-the-top loud all the time like you used to be. You still don't say your "R"s properly, and sometimes not your "L"s, which is something we're working on, and also sometimes causes confusion when you're talking to someone. ("Pray" and "play" sound the same, and someone once thought your name was "Gleyden.") You do have the ability to say these sounds, but they don't come naturally to you and can cause you to stumble over your words if you try to use them.

You've been learning to read a little on your own lately, which is exciting. Your favorite books to read are Mo Willems piggy and elephant books. You love to read them out loud with special voices for the characters, especially if your daddy or I join you and read one of the character's voices. You've also been practicing writing, and will sound out and write entire sentences if you're making a card for someone. The letters are always all capitalized and all the words are spelled incorrectly, which actually makes it all the more adorable when you are clearly trying so hard. You also have a decent understanding of numbers, a lot of which I think has happened from being around Krew, who loves math.

You love playing on the iPad, just like your older brother. Your favorite game right now is Pokemon Shuffle, which you've unfortunately gotten me addicted to as well. We like to play it together during our one-on-one time. You also have a new Lego Batman iPad game you love. Your favorite non-electronic toys are action figures and Bey Blades.  Every time we turn around, you are wanting to buy a new Bey Blade with your saved money, which we've had to put a limit on. You already have so many that it seems there's no way you use them all. You also still love doing puzzles and games, and you are an awesome Skip-Bo player which leads to lots of fun games for the two of us since I love that game as well.

You are very into sports and especially competition. Football is your favorite game to watch, and you love playing in a soccer league twice a year. You also did swim team last summer, with your main goal being to earn a rainbow ribbon (which you did). You are a devoted follower of certain sports teams (Notre Dame, Panthers, NC State), and your favorite shirts to wear are your corresponding team jerseys. You still like to turn everything into a competition, as you did a year ago. Who can do it quickest? Who can do it best? Sometimes we'll be competing with you and not even realize it. After doing something, you'll say, "Mommy, did I do that faster than you?" Or you'll be working to beat your personal best, and you'll finish something and say, "Mommy, did I do that my fastest ever?" Although still a bit clumsy compared to many of your friends, you are falling less and less. Nonetheless, you do still trip over your own feet and I frequently find myself warning, "Greyden, don't fall!" when you start running on the pavement.

Your ornery streak that we were experiencing last year has passed, and now you are more considerate and kind with your words. You still have slip-ups, but in general you don't do things to intentionally hurt others' feelings anymore. Also, you take discipline much more seriously now than you used to, and it doesn't take much for your daddy or I to correct you when you do something wrong. In fact, you are quick to break into tears over discipline now, although you get over your sadness very, very quickly.

You still sing very well for your age, and will belt out songs when you don't feel that there's any attention on you. In fact, you like to sing when you're doing almost everything, especially when you're on the toilet. We frequently hear you belting out songs from the bathroom, the most popular one over the last year being your own rendition of Gloria in Excelsis Deo. When people are watching, however, you tend to shut down and only sing quietly if at all. Your favorite songs over the last year have been the Moana soundtrack, the Trolls soundtrack, and most recently, the Newsies soundtrack.

Last year your 4's teachers determined that you are in fact left-handed, and so you've been learning to write with your left hand. However, if we ask you to write with your right hand, the handwriting looks pretty similar. You also still use your right hand for a lot of other things. So I guess you're more ambidextrous than anything.

You are more and more seeming to be incredibly distractable. It takes you FOREVER to do everything because you are always getting sidetracked or thinking about something else. For example, for almost every meal, we have to remind you to keep chewing and eating. You'll just sit/stand there with food in your mouth, watching the room or interacting with someone or something other than your dinner. You can take 20 minutes to go to the bathroom, because you just lounge on the toilet and space off. Just this morning, your daddy found you standing in the bathroom with your hands running under the faucet, doing nothing else, and when he came into the room it jolted you back to reality and then you realized you hadn't even put soap on your hands yet. We oftentimes have to remind you multiple times to finish getting dressed, or to finish putting away those toys you were cleaning up. Along with this, you seem to have lots of energy. You never stay fully in your chair at dinnertime and are usually sitting half-on, half-off, which oftentimes turns into you fully standing to the side. You just can't sit there. And you need very little sleep. Although the frequency is lessening, you still come out of your room at night and will be awake until 10pm sometimes.

Krew is still your best friend, which brings my heart so much joy. You two play together all the time and honestly fight pretty rarely. We are very strict about the way you treat each other and quickly reprimand any misbehavior or even a mean tone of voice, but I also think your personalities play into it quite a bit. Despite being polar opposites in many ways, you complement each other well. For example, when Krew is scared, you are unfazed and will support him (such as going upstairs and turning on the lights for him). And when you don't yet have the physical ability or maturity to do something, Krew will step in and help you.

You are an incredibly resilient and forgiving boy. You always give other kids the benefit of the doubt, and if someone hurts you, you always get over it quickly and never hold a grudge. You still handle your food restrictions like a champ, happily eating your replacement foods when you can't have what others are having. We reintroduced fish, yeast, cocoa, bananas, and sunflower oil to your diet over the spring/summer, and your follow-up endoscopy showed that you stayed healthy, so you've gotten to keep those foods in your diet. Right now we are trialing chicken, peanuts, and tree nuts, and you'll have another endoscopy on Oct 12th where we find out if you get to keep those foods as well. Other than your EoE diagnosis, you are a very healthy boy. You'd don't get many colds, you are growing and developing well, and you have plenty of energy. We are so thankful.

You love being around people and hate to be alone. Lately you've been asking either your daddy, Krew, or I to come be in the bathroom with you to talk while you're on the toilet. You are also still very touchy. You love to be touching someone and to give hugs and kisses. For a while you were opposed to hand-holding, I think because it seemed like a baby behavior to you. Then I told you that when we hold hands, it's like our hands are hugging, and that's why I love it. Ever since then, you've been holding my hand all the time when we're walking places together. It's incredibly sweet.

Alright Roy Boy, I think that's all for now. We are so grateful for you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Mommy (and Daddy)

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