Monthly Miles Memo #92

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:00 pm

Dear Miles,

You’re a second-grader now, which is still technically a “little kid” in school organization terms, but your dad and I agree that it was at about your current age when we started forming a lot of concrete memories.  We remember our teachers, our school friends, losing teeth, all the things you’re dealing with now.

You got the second grade teacher you really hoped you’d get—Mr. Turnquist, aka “Mr. T.”  He has a reputation for being great with kids like you, kids who benefit from a little mental stretching and opportunities to try new approaches.  I hope he challenges you and lets you run a little wild (figuratively).  You like school and like to succeed, and I want you to get more comfortable moving beyond what you already do well. You’ve gotten excited about Khan Academy, a website that offers video tutorials and interactive tasks to teach a variety of skills.  You’re kind of stuck on the easiest levels, though, which you can always ace.

This is a theme throughout several aspects of your life.  You still only eat about six different foods (pasta, with or without tomato sauce; waffles/pancakes; cornbread; assorted fruits; Wheat Thins; Honey Nut Cheerios).  I guess you eat a few other things, but it almost seems like a phobia.  I don’t think it’s logical.  You know that the worst possible outcome of trying a new food is having an unpleasant sensation in your mouth for two seconds, which is really not a very big risk.  Yet for some reason, you just can’t make yourself do it.  I don’t fight you on it very much, because I want you to remember family mealtimes as a pleasant experience, not a battleground.  It still bums me out, though, because culinary culture is such an important part of life.

Photo by Gary Clarke

You get so upset about things so easily.  The other day, I was reading Tobin a book, and you wanted to listen too.  You crowded up against Tobin, which got him upset.  I wanted you guys to work it out on your own, so I suggested that one of you could come sit on the other side of me where there was more room.  I told you I’d count to ten, and if you guys hadn’t sorted it out by the time I got to ten, I wasn’t going to read the story.  You got up and moved to the other side, and just as I was praising you for finding a peaceful solution, you got up in a huff and stormed away, saying you didn’t want to hear the story anyway.  What are you going to be like when you’re a moody teenager, praytell?

There are plenty of good moments, too.  You’re still a wonderful big brother to Callum, and most of the time to Tobin as well.  You love to tell stories about the funny things Callum does, like when he scootched his way under your bed when we had our backs turned.  You’re a reading whiz, and now that you’ve read just about every Calvin & Hobbes collection the library has to offer, you’ve gotten excited about Fox Trot too.  Probably twenty-five percent of the conversations you have start with “In Encyclopedia Brown…,” “In Calvin & Hobbes…,” or “In Fox Trot….”  I’m glad you enjoy reading so much, but honestly, I’d rather hear about what you did in school.  I suggested that for every anecdote you tell from a book, you should follow up with telling us something about your own life.  You didn’t like that idea.

You’ve gotten very accomplished at bike riding.  You still prefer to stay within certain boundaries on the path behind our house, but you can accelerate, brake, and turn with no problem.  I’m sure you’d be perfectly competent at going longer distances over less familiar area, but you don’t seem to want to try that.  The good news is that I never worry about you doing anything reckless and endangering yourself.  Self-preservation is a good trait in reasonable doses.

Photo by Denny

You were part of a parade for the first time not too long ago, for the Albia Restoration Days.  You rode on a float commandeered by one of the myriad Beary aunts or uncles, and you had fun throwing candy to observers and wearing sparkly accouterments.  It’s fun to have so many family members on your dad’s side.  There are always cousins running around, and it helps you learn to have fun and get along with people who don’t always share your perspective.

Photo by Denny

Two big things in your world right now are Super Mario Brothers-related.  First, you finally completed a long and challenging piano piece, the Super Mario Brothers themesong.  You’ve been slogging away at that for months, a chunk at a time, and now you’ve learned the whole thing.  I’m so proud of how you persevered despite it not being easy right away.  Second, you got a Wii-U game that you’ve been waiting on for over a year:  Super Mario Maker.  It’s a game I would have loved as a kid:  you get to design custom levels in various Super Mario styles and then play them.  You and your dad and Tobin have been doing a lot of that this weekend.  You had been counting down the days on the calendar you made in school last year, and I bet it’s going to be pretty hard to wait until the weekends (or Wii-kends, as we call them) to play.  I haven’t tried it yet, because I never have two hands free, but I want to some time.  I’d also really like to play some of the levels you invented.  You have an interesting brain, and I bet it’s coming up with some great stuff.

Photo by Denny

Have fun as your second grade year progresses, Mr. Miles.  I hope you have good memories of these days.




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