You are now 11 years old, and have been for almost three months. It's time for me to write an update on what you are like as an 11-year-old, and the answer is... you're awesome. :)
Your 11th year wasn't a typical one. It started with the pandemic shutting things down just as we were planning your 10th birthday party, and so your requested sleepover with some of your friends never happened. Fast forward to a year later, and things are basically still the same. We still aren't really doing indoor playdates with friends (although I think they'll be starting soon), you're still doing virtual school at home, and extracurricular activities are restricted to those that you can do outside (of which there aren't many that you like). You still haven't had your birthday sleepover.
In all honesty though, you've handled the pandemic shut down well. You already preferred to often be home, in the quiet, reading a book or working on something on the computer, so the shut down just allowed you to do more of that. You've missed seeing many of your friends, but are happy to play online with them and love when we have outdoor playdates. You've really appreciated doing school on the computer and not being required to go into the school building.
You are still our more quiet child in social situations, but I don't know that I'd say you seem as shy as you used to. Over the last year, it's like your shyness has developed into a quiet observance of situations. If you have a friend you know and there's an activity you enjoy, you'll join in. If you don't have a friend or you don't like the activity, you'll just sit to the side, usually without emotion. You carry a book with you almost everywhere you go and will just lose yourself in a story if you have nothing else to do.
You still absolutely love to read and oftentimes go through one or two middle grade novels per day. (Yes, that is up to ~600 pages per day, depending on the day.) Our current method of obtaining books is that I go to the library about once a week, scoop piles of books off the shelves for you, bring them home, and you work your way through about 2/3 of them (you don't always love my choices). You still strongly prefer fantasy novels, but I've been pushing you into some sci-fi and mystery as I feel like I'm running out of fantasy choices.
You love taking apart electronics and learning about how they work, and you also love building and designing. Science fascinates you and you know a ton of scientific facts. We'll often find you watching science YouTube videos during your available screen time. You've been learning computer programming in Scratch, HTML, and other programming languages for fun and you like to write complicated programs that do all kinds of fun things. You also started teaching yourself linear algebra this spring by watching YouTube videos. Basically, your brain amazes me.
You also love doing non-educational/productive things with your screen time. You still love playing Minecraft and your level of expertise in the game kind of blows my mind. You are also a fantastic Mario Kart driver on the Switch. We have a hard time coming close to beating you in our family Grand Prix races.
Outside of the science/math/electronic side of things, you also write beautiful expressive poetry when you're feeling emotional or sad or you're given a writing assignment for school. The structure of poetry seems to come naturally to you; in fact, you once wrote a full song's worth of rhyming lyrics for Greyden's rock band in about 15 minutes. (I think it would have taken me hours.)
You are also still playing piano and have really been improving. We no longer make you play in recitals due to the stress they were causing to both you and us and your teacher, but we do continue to make you do lessons even when you put up a fight. Practicing and getting through difficult sections of songs can be a bit of a struggle (with tears and threats of quitting), but the outcome from the struggle always seems so worth it. The songs you choose and the way you play them is absolutely beautiful. Emotion just pours out of you when you play, and it's not uncommon for you to go to the piano when you are upset and let it all out on the keys.
Since you've never much enjoyed sports, this year we allowed you to quit both soccer and swim team. However, we do require that you still go along with us to the activities and also find other ways to exercise. We haven't started going back to the ninja warrior gym yet due to the pandemic, but we do hope to get you back into it as soon as we feel the time is right.
You still aren't a fan of school, although you've been grateful to do it from home this year with the ability to shut off your camera when you don't want others' eyes on you. You still get easily frustrated and caught up in self-defeating emotions when dealing with overwhelming assignments. And sometimes your struggles with anxiety and depression get much more intense and bleed over into our home lives. This past year has been very up and down in this regard, so you've been seeing your therapist every 2-3 weeks and we've been working with your teachers to find the best way to help you get through school.
You are still a rule-follower, cautious, and avoid most risks. When others want to do something that may backfire or cause injury, you will stubbornly say, "NOPE." When your daddy or I do see you doing something that seems dangerous or risky, we actually trust you with it, because we know that you will only do things if you are confident that you can succeed.
You love your family and close friends and seem to cherish time with both (which your dad and I will appreciate as long as we can get it!). You definitely show a hidden side of yourself when around people you're comfortable with (and if you're in the right mood), and you'll become super chatty and confident and start cracking jokes or throwing out sarcastic remarks. It's fun to see, and we don't always know when that side of you is going to show up.
You had a growth spurt over the last year and jumped from 24th percentile to 38th percentile, which is super exciting! It's been amazing to see how you've grown and changed over the last year. Your body structure and your mannerisms are looking more and more like a teenager instead of a young child. Your face is maturing, your hair is getting darker, and your voice is getting lower. You still prefer to keep your hair long and prefer to not wear your glasses if they're not necessary. You've lost a bagillion teeth in the last year, to the point where we weren't sure there were any baby teeth left. You recently pulled out another tooth while we were at the pool, and when your dad and I heard about it, our mutual reaction was to ask, "Was it a baby tooth or an adult tooth??" (Yes, we were very slightly concerned that you'd gotten in such a habit of pulling teeth out that you were now pulling out the ones you actually needed to keep.)
You and Greyden are still great friends and interact and play together super well. Of course you occasionally get upset with one another or yell at each other, and lately there has been more and more shoving and attempts to show physical dominance over the other. But all in all, you get along great. It still shocks me, since you seem to have so few interest in common and are basically complete opposite personalities, but somehow you make it work. And I will take it. :)
Alright I think that's it buddy. We're so proud of you and love you so much.
Mommy (and Daddy)
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