Peals of laughter rang out from the bottom bunk. “I’m so glad he wrote that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be laughing so hard right now,” Q gasped between fits of giggles.
I had just read, “Spin, Silkworm, spin, you great fat lazy brute. Faster, faster, or we’ll throw you to the sharks,” from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. The words struck Q as absolutely hilarious!
This blog post is really just for me. Life at 5 ½ just deserves to be captured. I want to be sure to remember these moments. Statements that make us laugh out loud. Statements that make us want to laugh out loud but necessitate that we turn away and compose ourselves before redirecting our little person like the dutiful parents we are. And ones that make us cringe and think, “Ouch! We sure hope we are doing something right.”
We were watching The Greatest Showman in the movie theater a few weeks ago. It wasn’t my first choice of a movie for Q, but we had just finished a week of teen camp, it was blazing hot, and we were desperate for an activity that involved sitting in cool air. Since most buildings in NZ are not air conditioned, the movie theater seemed to be the only obvious choice.
In the movie, Phillip Carlyle and Anne Wheeler sing a duet to trapeze choreography. As the song ends with Carlyle and Wheeler in a quiet embrace, Q exclaimed loud enough for all to hear, “I thought this movie was supposed to be about a circus.”
Well, yes, there is that…
But it wasn’t a total loss. Just a couple of scenes later, as P.T. Barnum is singing “From Now On,” Q quipped, “This guy is so creative. He thinks of a song for everything!”
I mean, the music was phenomenal, but the most entertaining part of watching the movie for us was viewing it through the eyes of the 5 ½ year old.
Honestly, Q was fascinated with the song-for-everything-style of the musical, which isn’t the least bit surprising since Q’s life is a musical of his own design. He has a song for everything. He has been great at rhyming since he could string words together, so making up songs is a natural progression.
Just a couple of weeks ago, he was assembling his wooden train tracks independently on the living room floor and singing to himself. The words were to the tune of ‘Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.’
“Q…. the P…… Graham (insert: first, middle and last name)
Had a very great brain
And if you ever saw it
You would say he knows everything.”
So, maybe we need to work on humility? At least we can celebrate the self-confidence.
At 5 ½, Q has no end of ideas and he’s constantly putting them into motion. He spent several mornings over the past few weeks turning a refrigerator box into a fire truck. He instructed Jaron where to cut and asked me to get his paint, but Q alone was responsible for creating, painting and attaching all the parts including, the lights, the grill, and the signs on the sides.
He can rally a group of adults (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles… you name it) to whatever cause strikes his fancy at the moment. Last week, he rallied his two uncles (including one who absolutely despises the cold) to begin fervently praying now that it will snow a lot when we’re in America on home assignment next winter (North American winter, that is). Never mind that it’s still a year away. The uncle who most despises the cold agreed to it with the condition that Q would help him build a snow fort. Q one-upped the request and has promised that they will build an igloo, saying, “I know how to build an igloo. I haven’t ever built one before, but I know how.”
Causes are Q’s thing. He’s an environmental activist in the making, obsessed with litter and pollution and helping us think constantly about ways to further reduce our waste. We don’t take a walk or bike ride without picking up trash. Q’s current goal is to be an FBI man who searches out people who pollute the earth.
Q started a brand-new school year today. While he thrives at school, he said he wasn’t looking forward to it. He has great friends and voluntarily helps the teachers on duty, but he claims he’d rather eat large and leisurely breakfasts, read lots and lots of books, pursue his latest passion, and go on adventures with his parents.
You know… the ice cream eating, playing at the beach type adventures. Not too many hiking adventures, mind you. Last week, we took a couple of days for holiday and took Q on two rather strenuous hikes within 48 hours of each other. We love hiking as a family, but the morning following the second hike, he rubbed his calves and said, “My legs just hurt right here. I thought it was because I was up so early in the morning before I normally get up, but I would surely be awake by now. It’s not even early.” When we explained how building muscles works, his scowl over the mild discomfort a couple of hikes caused was monumental. Oops! Parenting fail? Nah.
And, lest you’re concerned that he thinks a little too highly of his parents. Never fear. In the midst of a lengthy and detailed outline of one of Q’s new ideas, I attempted to provide direction for some of his thought processes. Not to be deterred, Q burst out angrily with, “Mommy! I am a genius at this, and you are tearing up my genius.” See comment about humility above.
After I turned to the window to regain my composure and stopped shaking from suppressed laughter, we revisited the often-discussed topic of listening and speaking respectfully to our parents.
Each night, after we’ve fished our family prayers and I’ve finished my story telling or reading and kissed the 5 ½ year old good night, it’s Jaron’s turn with a story. If it was up to Q, the story-telling routine would go on for hours. Q gives Jaron some suggestions for the super hero stories they’ve been making up of late. In the Graham household, the Hulk is afraid of big dogs. But best of all is that Thor likes to play practical jokes on Ironman by dropping his hammer on Ironman’s foot when Ironman is taking a nap. That one earns belly laughs every time.
And that, folks, is life at 5 ½.