At the first of the year, Soren had three almost-brothers, Anthony, 5, Marc ,4, and Peter, 2. Zoe had to let go of her heretofore unchallenged control of Soren's environment and Soren learned about knights and sword fighting. He also learned how much fun it is to have other little people around.
Zoe and Soren stopped caring for the other boys in June and we had a fun summer all to ourselves. Aside from lots of playing and outdoor exploring, Soren (along with Zoe) went on his first camping trip with Sierra (a friend) and her mother, Mary. Soren and Sierra ran through the Arthurian forest like two little sprites with bare feet. Soren still talks about the mosquitos and sleeping in a tent.
In September, Soren started preschool at Oxford Street Day Care. He loves it! He hates it when he has to miss preschool when he is sick. We were worried about the various unpleasant things children pick up at preschool, but thanks to Soren's excellent teacher and a remarkable group of kids in his class, we have few complaints.
Soon after Soren started school, Paka outfitted his new bike with a child's seat. I wondered about the wisdom of the idea that first day--I waved farewell to Andrew and Soren and then listened as Soren screamed until they were out of earshot. But, Soren stopped screaming after a couple of blocks and said, "This is fun!" Soren is now dissapointed if I have to drive him or take him on the bus.
Soren seems to have inherited his father's
self-control and his mother's emotional sensitivity. While this may prove
trying for him at times, I can't think of a better combination of thier
traits. Christmas 1999 illuminated this profoundly. Christmas morning
he brimmed with excitement and enthusiasm, but there was no rush to get
from one present to the next. I'm still amazed at how he savored each gift,
playing with it and enjoying it before moving on to the next.
Soren continues to amaze us with his capacity for loving and remembering music (okay, most kids this age are lovers of music). On Thursday we attended an interesting Cambridge tradition, The Christmas Revels. The focus of the program was Renaissance Italy. The music was therefore a little different than what Soren hears regularly and many of the lyrics were in Italian. The next afternoon, while playing at the table, Soren started singing, "Suona, suona la compana." After a few minutes I realized it was a song from the night before. He not only remebered the melody, but the words, too! We are fairly avid music listeners and Soren asks us what instruments are playing, who made the music, what the piece is called. It is difficult to listen to the classical station, because he asks so many questions that we don't know the answers to. As for his willingness to perform, he still won't go up with the Primary for Church programs, but in a Sacrament meeting last month, Soren loudly sang all four verses of Praise to the Lord. The whole congregation was singing, but our recently split ward is very small and Soren stole the show.
Andrew's particular gloat is that Soren has
memorized various lines from the Beastie Boys, such as:
"I don't mean to brag,
I don't mean to boast,
but I'm intercontinental
when I eat french toast!"
During this Christmas season he has also enjoyed having learned several verses to the carol I Saw Three Ships.
Soren also loves addition and often makes us use all our fingers to do ever larger addition problems. This is tremendous fun, and Andrew is fantastic at encouraging math games.
Our once cautious little poso is now the intrepid preschooler. He is making up for lost time by climbing to the top of things like dressers and cupboards and jumping off. Thank goodness he still bounces.
We have not pushed him into writing, but he's recently just decided to figure out how to do it, so he now writes his name and recognizes several written words and has begun to write letters and "words" just for the fun of it.
He, of course, loves to be read to, and Zoe
takes particular pride in the fact that he loved having C.S. Lewis' The
Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe read to him. We are moving on to other
more advanced "chapter" books (not to the exclusion of the normal Dr. Seuss
variety though, of course).
May 18, 1999
While walking on a crowded path Soren philosophically, albeit loudly, asks, "Mutti when will you get a penis? Will you get one when you're three like me?"
May 23, 1999
In one breath Soren says, "Mutti, I love you. Paka, I'm hungry."
(To Zoe's great delight.)
"[Mutti], Sometimes you are mean, so I can't wear my tennis shoes, and sometimes you are nice, you let me wear my tennis shoes.
July 26, 1999
Soren: "Paka, I'm not old."
Paka: "You're not?"
Soren: "No, I'm new."
November 16, 1999
While Soren waits for his snack, Zoe hears him sigh loudly. She surreptitiously turns and sees that he has dramatically rested his face in his hands. Zoe waits to see what happens. Soren repeats sigh and dramatic hand placement. Zoe: "Poso, what are you thinking about?" Soren: "I would be a good big brother."
November 16, 1999
In the morning, on the way to school, Andrew tells Soren, "We've ordered snow pants for you to wear, so that your legs won't get cold on the bike." Soren seems less-than-pleased about this. On the way home from school, Andrew repeats the same statement. Again, Soren seems somewhat troubled. Andrew asks, "Soren, you don't want snowpants to keep you warm?" Soren: "No, snowpants won't keep me warm. I want sunpants to keep me warm!"