Alex Update

December 19, 2014

I suppose it’s only fair to follow up Wednesday’s post with a quick update about what it’s like raising this guy.

Playing in the Fountain

Here’s a snapshot of Alex in the third grade.

  • I have a hard time getting him out of bed on school mornings. He burrows under the blankets and protests, “I’m sleepy!” Only when he says it, it sounds like, “I’m sweepy!” I’ve bought a Sonos for the kids’ room as an alarm clock and also a Philips Wake-Up Light to try to make the mornings easier.

  • It’s also gets harder every day to get him to eat breakfast. He’s tired and not that hungry. He and Patrick are opposites here. Patrick eats well at breakfast and picks at his dinner; Alex will skip breakfast if you let him but always eats well in the evening.

  • If anything, Alex wants to please authority a little too much. If he thinks you’re mad at him he breaks down.

  • Surprisingly, his enthusiasm for soccer hasn’t faded. When he was younger, after three or four weeks of any activity (soccer, skiing) he was done. We struggled to get him to do any more. Now we’re into something like week twelve of soccer and he’s still excited by every practice and game. His skill doesn’t match his enthusiasm… but hey, with me as a father, I’m surprised he’s even interested in playing a sport. Now he’s not one of those kids who, in his free time, dribbles a soccer ball to improve his skills. Alex’s motivation around soccer is social and not competitive. He plays to have fun with his friends, not to win.

  • Following up on that point — Alex is effortlessly social. He’s friends with everybody in his class. Again, with me as a father, this is a little surprising.

  • Our biggest frustration? Alex consistently does the bare minimum work for school. Sometimes even less than the bare minimum (like forgetting to fill out his reading log at all). This is a constant question from his teacher: “Alex, are you doing your best work?” I suppose, with me as a father, this isn’t surprising at all. I turned “the bare minimum” into an art form. I’m a little blasé about this; “concerned” but not “worried.” (I turned out OK!) But his laziness drives Molly bonkers. (And my laziness drives Molly bonkers, too.)

  • He still hasn’t turned into someone who reads for fun, and he’s still a picky eater. I hope both of these things change. I think my love of reading as a child helped compensate for my overall laziness because it helped me hone so many key mental skills. And eating good food helps make life fun. We’ll see if I eventually pass on these traits to the next generation.

And a follow-up to Wednesday: The thought of me returning Patrick’s Christmas gifts turned “stubborn and self-motivated” to our advantage. Patrick decided he wanted to earn his gifts back, and he’s been an angel the past two days. Maybe more of an archangel. He’s listening to us and his teachers the first time, he’s been cheerful, and he’s been doing things like cleaning up his bedroom and the living room without us even asking. (Now the question: What will he be like after Christmas?)