Are you kidding me? I have an EIGHT YEAR OLD SON? It blows my mind. Since you were about two or three, whenever you wanted to do something that I didn't want you to do, I would tell you "Connor, you may do that when you're eight". Because eight seemed near enough to not be forever, but far enough that I didn't have to deal with it in the near future. I actually thought, or at least hoped, that you might forget that eight year olds get special privileges in our house, but no such luck. You're quite aware that today, on your eighth birthday, you are finally old enough to chew gum. I'm cringing while typing that. Helen is all too aware of it as well, and she's willing to protest with you for the right to chew gum if I don't come through on my promise. That girl has her eye on the prize - even if it's still two years and two months away for her.
And that's not all. In a few weeks, we'll be home from our monster vacation, our new au pair will have arrived, and you will be starting the THIRD GRADE. Third grade is big in Arlington. It's when you get to play an instrument in band or orchestra. You have been leaning toward the flute for a while, although I still hold on to hopes of the cello. I don't say anything, of course, because I don't want you to rebel and I do want you to make this decision based on what you're interested in. But oh, to have a cello player in the house would be grand - at least if you learned to play the thing in tune. Maybe I can get you to consider saxophone?
Seven was a year full of reading everything you could get your hands on - especially if it had to do with Star Wars. You would sit and read character encyclopedias, cartoons that told the back stories of the movies, and a ton of random books that came from both the fiction and nonfiction sections of the library. How there can be nonfiction books on a made-up film, I have no idea. Occasionally, you would stun me with your Star Wars knowledge, and I think you were constantly stunned that I have absolutely no interest in Star Wars at all. Thankfully, Dad has at least some interest and agreed to watch some of the old films with you. This proved to be extremely useful to you because it enabeld you to figure out how to solve some random level in your Lego Star Wars xBox game - another thing you love.
But this vacation has been a great opportunity to also see that you still loves marble runs, castles, and trains. We've been on a lot of trains this past week. And you are so stinkin' excited to visit Hamleys Toy Store that I'm not sure you'll sleep tonight - which is a shame because you've been a champion sleeper on this trip. The secret? Wear you out!
Seven, and now eight, are still full of wonder. You think it's amazing that Stonehenge is still standing and that Shakespeare's Globe has been recreated. Yesterday, we went on a four mile hike through the country side and you didn't even ask to be carried. That's a big change.
Seven was a year of figuring out soccer, falling in love with baseball, and becoming rather coordinated. It's been a good combination.
You blew my mind away a few days ago when you started to recite a book we read on vacation...LAST YEAR. You and Helen argued a bit over a few words in the children's book, but mostly, the two of you agreed on the exact phrasing. What a strange thing.
Seven was a year of learning how to learn, which is tougher than it might seem. Things come very easy for you academically at school, so you don't have a lot of opportunities to learn how to learn. You did have the opportunity during summer diving, and you've also had the opportunity as you soak up all the history in England. I hope you keep this up and turn it up another notch in the coming year.
You still ask to be tucked in at night and you still wake up at 6:45 nearly every day. My favorite piece of artwork from the past year was a drawing you were asked to complete to describe a time of day. You had the clock read 06:00 and had a picture of you lying in bed with the caption "is it time to wake up yet?".
Seven turned out to be a pretty easy year (with a few rough spots, for sure). Eight is coming in with such happiness that I'm feeling pretty good about it.
Much love, Connor. It's been a pleasure to vacation with you - even if you do try and give bunny ears in every photograph I snap. Now...hopefully we'll get out of Hamleys without too much damage to my credit card this afternoon!