Thursday, May 25, 2017

Now we are six: In the Age of Childhood

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.

— A.A. Milne

My little Alrik turned 6. I wrote when Mikko turned this age that 6 always feels firmly in Childhood Age to me, part of an iconic and golden period.

And here we are, with number two moving into it.

Alrik is such a sprite of a child. He was the baby who was born peacefully and precipitously at home, in our first unassisted homebirth, and he was smaller enough than Mikko that my first thought on his emerging was, Oh, no, where's the rest of him? I guess I worried maybe his legs had broken off inside.

But, no, he was just somewhat petite, and he grew more elfin by the day, our skinny, wiry little boy with round Disney eyes and energy for days. Always dancing, always running, always talking.

"Can I say something?" is his catchphrase. And then he does.

He introduces me to his imaginary friends and asks me to join him in Minecraft World, which is a realm he made up that adapts to any sort of creative play. Sometimes he's fighting zombies. Sometimes he's a samurai. Sometimes he's a human who turns into a cat when he brushes against you. He tells me what to do to participate adequately.

For his birthday, he made a fancy request: that we drive across town to the McDonald's that has a playspace. That was doable. As we got ready to head out the door, I made him a sticker: "Birthday Boy! 6," it declared. He loved it.

For one thing, he's now reached the age (sigh) where it's bothering him that people mistake him for a girl. We've had a lot of talks lately about how all clothes and all colors are for all people, that he's the boss of his own hair, and that there's nothing wrong with being a girl or a boy and that his identity is up to him, and we've supported him in standing up to anyone who refuses to believe him when he corrects misgendering. So the sticker was something of a shortcut for him in that it identified him clearly not just as a birthday-celebrating 6-year-old but as a boy, proof to point to if such were needed.

Off we drove to the distant and hallowed McDonald's, and Alrik spent the entire time assiduously avoiding eating while he rocketed through the tunnels with several fast friends he'd made in the first instant.

When the other kids filtered out over the next hours (yes, that's how long our kids take to eat a meal), Alrik got a good idea into his head. He would go into the main restaurant and tell people it was his birthday. He seemed surprised but not annoyed that I insisted on accompanying him, and Karsten joined us.

And so that's what Alrik did: He went from table to table and introduced himself. He told people it was his birthday and he'd turned 6 and answered any follow-up questions about cake and presents with aplomb. He charmed two elderly gentlemen, two employees on break, and a young man who fortuitously for Alrik had just removed his earbuds. They were all sweet and chatty with him and seemed impressed by his initiative. Give that kid some cookies to sell!

Note: Karsten made an adorable sidekick, randomly waving and inserting "Happy birthday!" into the conversation. I tried to stay back and let Alrik direct his own plans.

I think that gives a little picture into what living with the delightful Alrik is like. May he continue to be confident in his own voice.

Happy birthday, dear 6-year-old!



Related Posts with Thumbnails