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)