Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spotlight on Luke @ 4 yrs. 7 mos.

Months ago, I posted a Spotlight on Luke.  I meant to make this a monthly thing for each of the kids on their birth date each month, but… Well, it just didn’t happen.

However, as I look at baby Jack today, I flashback 4 years and 7 months ago, to when we Luke arrived, and I am amazed at all the change, growth, challenges and celebrations he has brought to our lives since.  Thus, today, I spotlight our now “big boy”, who I am ever thankful for...  (Daddy, by the way, has also been moved to write about Luke of late as can be see in his post over at out family blog – Wonder and Will.  A good read!)
So how is Luke at 4 years and 7 months today?  Always busy!  Granted, he is not in constant physical motion as he seemed to be at one point.  Occasionally, his body stops now.  But his mind rarely does.  A thinker, an investigator, an explorer… Luke is full of curiosity and discovery.

And how has he been doing at our Rule of 7?

Well, if you ask Luke about how he has been loving God, he will say, “I haven’t been loving God.”  This would break my heart completely (and admittedly disturbs me), if his actions did not speak differently.  For, yes, Luke protests going to Mass, often tells me he said his morning prayers in his head “already” and, at times, refuses to join us in verbal grace before meals.  But, he also demonstrates interest in both learning about and practicing his faith.  He thoroughly enjoys (and even requests) Bible songs, prayers and stories at Morning Circle time, and he sometimes includes his own versions of these in his dramatic play times.  So, hope remains:  Our little man evidences love of God even if he obstinately refuses to speak of it lately.
And we all know loving God involves loving others.  If you ask Luke about loving others lately, he is single-minded about it.  There seems to be only one "other" for Luke many days of late as he proclaims, “I love Jack… by kissing him and holding his hand.”  Luke does, indeed, do both of these things often.  He also quickly responds anytime he hears Jack whimper or cry.  Immediately, he tells me Jack needs to eat and fetches our brest friend even before I can move to get it.  He also sings Jack lullabies, often tells him, “It’s okay” and showers him with affectionLuke’s sense of compassion and empathy seems to have grown tenfold since baby brother arrived on the scene.  Now, if only it would transfer to sister, who he continues to both love and torment in equal portions – defending her at playgrounds, playing with her sweetly at times at home and cuddling with her at bedtime, just as often as he yells at her, strikes out at her or tells her to “go away!”  Thankfully, with much guidance, Luke is beginning to control himself better when Nina antagonizes him back, becoming less likely to strike, hit, pinch or – yikes – bite Nina when she verbally or physically goes after him.  Neither Luke nor Nina is perfect on this account, but Luke definitely shows increments towards improvement.  Ah, siblings – love ‘em and lead them to learn how to love each other better!
And how does our big boy love playing? Of course, sometimes with Nina, sometimes with Mommy or Daddy, sometimes with friends and, just as often, alone.  With toys, with rocks and twigs, with just about anything...
Lately, Luke's favorite things to play with outside seems to be – odd as it may seem – clothespins and weeds.  Yes, while he regularly engages in play with bubbles, chalk, our outdoor play kitchen, the sprinkler, etc., when left completely to his own devices, Luke seems to gravitate toward whatever clothespins are not on the line, grabbing handfuls, going over to the weeds in the rocks and intently clipping one clothespin onto each weed.  When I asked him once recently to tell me about what he was doing, he quickly responded, with a look that said, “Duh, Mom!”, “playing dinosaurs.”  I should have known!   For our big boy continues to explore his long held passion for dinosaurs.

Indeed, inside over the past couple weeks, his favorite playthings seem to be dinosaur figurines, Little People figures and Mega Bloks.  Luke spends long periods constructing walls, castles, homes, volcanoes – you name it – with the blocks to enact all variety of dinosaur dramas in.  Just the other morning, he strung a long lace with wooden beads to add to one of these structures and started balancing little dinos across it, saying it was a log to help them cross the "scariest beyond”.  How fun it is to watch Luke’s skills and imagination come together like this.  It is truly a treat when we take the time to let him lead play – or simply observe him at play.
Likewise, it is a pleasure to share in Luke’s love of learning.  Two topics he has been exploring over the past two weeks are dragonflies and baby care.  The dragonfly exploration began one day when he spotted a dragonfly in our flower garden and decided he should catch it.  Various Luke-led strategies ensued, as well as countless questions and observations.  Since then, Luke has had us read him volume after volume of dragonfly books from the library, has observed different colored dragonflies in our yard, has traced dragonfly puzzle pieces and drawn them eating pray, has burned energy and attended to SPD needs acting out dragonfly dramas and activities with my lead, ...  Dragonflies, in Luke’s world, seem to be running a close second to dinosaurs.  And, thus, Mommy and Daddy are learning things they never knew before about the creatures.
Practical baby care is a big topic for Luke, too.  Sometimes, he initiates learning.  At other times, his behavior and Mommy and Daddy’s responses to it, mandate baby safety and care lessons.  Either way, Luke seems to know that hands should be washed before touching babies, that babies cry to tell us they are hungry or have another need, that bouncy seats must be moved gently, that you need to support baby's head when holding him… Daily, we learn and practice different baby care and safety things.  And, Luke cannot wait to help with baby tubby time!
So, it follows that Luke loves working when it involves little brother.  In fact, we can get him to do most things in the name of jack's safety and needs (for now at least).  But, just as often, Luke is reluctant to truly do anything he perceives as “work”.  To this end, he often replies, “I am too tired,” when it is time for ten minute clean ups or chores.  (This makes us laugh since Luke still frequently proclaims that he “never sleeps” and cannot shut his eyes.)  So, getting Luke to help clean up toy messes etc. can be a challenge and requires several strategies, such as tongs and double high fives.  He willingly helps set the table when we eat on the porch though and happily attends to the true “work” of childhood consistently – that is, play, exploration and developing skills.

With all the play, work and learning, Luke definitely loves movement each day.  Although he has yet to truly master tricycling and jumping, he is improving at both, and he certainly gets plenty of exercise both with focused "heavy work" -- including vestibular and proprioceptive activities -- and simply playing freely as a curious 4+ year old boy!
And, finally, what about loving beauty?  As you can imagine, Luke loves the beauty of all things natural – the vivid colors of dragonflies, the bursting blooms of flowers, the trails of periwinkles at the beach...  He also devours non-fiction books, asking us to read ones that seem far above his level, to include his recent favorite A Dragon in the Sky.  And, he loves fiction and fables, too, such as Peter Pan and the Tortoise and the Hare.  (How many times can one child listen to a Peter Pan CD by request before bed?!)  Plus, he is attempting anew, upon his request, the challenging task of learning to read, making his way through Bob Books in hopes of earning a free book at Borders.  And, he has a growing interest in photography -- sneaking our camera whenever he can to take photos of his perspective of the world!  Plus, not that I think computer games and DVD’s are things of beauty, but, if you ask our bib boy, Luke is sure to tell you that Starfall, and Land Before Time are true treasures.  He begs for these “treats” regularly.
And that’s our Luke of late – filled with wonder, curiosity, investigations and constant explorations, but is also increasingly still and engaged at times (which, praise God, offers me a few more daily moments of quiet respite.)
Some days Luke is quite challenging for us to deal with – as he is willful and lacks the ability (at times) and desire (at other times) to listen and act well.  But, these times are fewer and further between.  Without doubt, our big boy is also showing more maturity, cooperation and desire to live with peace and happiness.  What a privilege it is to try to train him up in the way he should go!

We are truly thankful for our little man.  What are you thankful for today?  Link up at Spiritually Unequal Marriage to share.


Unknown said...

I really love this post. Thank you for sharing about your handsome, well rounded, honest little guy.

Denise said...

May God continually bless dear Luke.

Michelle said...

God certainly has blessed you with a great little guy! I too am so thankful for my two little ones.

Dana said...

Beautiful post... so neat to learn more about your little Luke!

Karen said...

I enjoyed reading about your son...what a sweet little blessing....

Mylene said...

You have a genuine gift there :)

Happy Thankful Thursday and Thanks for the visit!


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