Goodness, it's funny how reticent I've been to respond to this thread. I'm so used to NOT talking about my sons' talents... too much, too loudly, and definitely not in front of strangers.
It's been a very good year. Here are a few brags:
Ever tingle all over when you get those glimpses of the adults your kids are shaping up to be and realize how much you're going to like them?
The biggest brag I have this year is realizing how kind, caring, and compassionate DS7 and DS3 are turning out to be. They are quick to give each other (and us) hugs and helping hands. They are the type of kids who sit and play with babies who are at the park with adults but no other kids to hang out with. When one of them is upset, my husband and I don't even have a chance to rush in to help these days - by the time we realize what's happening, one son is doling out hugs and doing silly things to make his brother feel better. They don't even let us pass by litter on our trail walks without picking it up (I carry an extra bag for these purposes, now!).
Our PG 7 y.o. son who can be anything he wants to be told his language teachers that, when he grows up, he wants to be: a Daddy. Our equally bright 3 y.o. son countered that, when he grows up, he wants to be: Mommy, because "Mommy is really cool, isn't she, Daddy?"
It's getting pretty late over here for me, so I'll just talk about my eldest son's academic/extracurricular brags on this post.
This year my DS7 (1st grader) has taken some amazing leaps:
- He blazed through 3-4 grade levels in math, and is now in Pre-algebra/Algebra I. Practicing for math competitions helped him re-discover his passion for the subject, and started requesting that we do math together before bedtime or before breakfast for fun.
- He has been reading at a college level for two years now. He has always enjoyed reading non-fiction adult reference books for pleasure. While he liked listening to higher-level fiction, he didn't really enjoy reading it for himself. UNTIL this year. I really like the conversations we are having because of topics brought up in these books. You can almost "see" him working on building his personal map and moral compass.
- He likes to practice spelling words as he sits, and he spells at an 11-12th grade level, though he is entirely self-taught. "Mom, I know how to spell these words because I read them in my books!"
- He has become quite the avid gardener, with his "organic raised beds" taking up more and more of our limited urban backyard space. ;)
- He has been a patient and loving caretaker of the new cat we adopted from the shelter, this year. They are inseparable.
- He participated in 6 competitions this year (math, science, and Chinese). He didn't win any of them this year, although he had a good showing in all of them. I am so proud of him because all the competitions were intended for older (sometimes much older) kids AND because he has struggled with an almost-paralyzing shyness in the past. So this is a BIG deal for him. I'm glad to see him making the effort to prepare himself for competition, and to step outside of his comfort zone to challenge himself. Those skills can only serve him well in life.
- His Chinese and Spanish teachers have praised him for how well he is doing in their classes and for his command of the language and his proficiency in other subjects (notably math and science). He can speak for 6+ hours in both of those languages, without switching back to English. He reads and writes above grade level for both languages, as well, including using traditional Chinese characters.
- He regularly beats adult competitors in games of strategy (chess, Settlers of Cataan, Dominion, etc.) and has a beautiful ability to remember all his moves - and yours. Even days later. I always wished I could do that...
- He graduated from swim school, this year, and can now perform all four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly stroke). Swimming does NOT come naturally to him, unlike most other things. I like that he stuck with it, and continued to give it his best until he accomplished his goal.
- He is a great little soccer player, and has had several games where he has been the MVP on his team of 6-7 year olds and has bested opposing teams of much older teenagers or adults.
- He is an amazing tennis player. He plays junior advanced tennis and is the youngest player in his group by 4-5 years, on average. If he continues to work hard and love the sport, his coaches think he could make a name for himself in tennis. I think so, too, if he wants it badly enough. It's like he "dances" as he plays and completely loses himself out there.
- We have had such lovely conversations, this year. For example, he told me that he "doesn't have a type" for a person that he'd like to marry, except that "she needed to be nice. If she's not, [he's] not interested."
When I shared with him that I have some sad memories that I revisit, as well as many happy ones, he told me: "Mama, all you need to do is just blink your eyes and let go of the sad."
He also said that "some people think that they're better than others because they have a lot of money, but that money doesn't make you rich." He said that "caring about others makes you rich, and spending time with the people, and animals, and doing the things you care about." He then topped it off by saying: "Mama, we're the richest people I know."
That's all for now. What a joy it is to share here! Thank you for sharing all that your wonderful kids and families are doing. It's an inspiration!