My sweet sweet Nate,
You turned 6 years old on March first and are a strong, smart, sweet and sassy, Spanish-speaking six-year-old. The past six years have gone much too fast. For all the lamentations of the terrible twos, the tantrumy threes, the feisty fours, the effing fives and now, the sassy sixes… we are loving every, single, second. In my annual tradition, this letter is meant to capture and preserve just a little bit of six-year-old Nate.
Over the past six months, you’ve settled into life at the “mountain house” with little angst and a solid Kindergarten fan club. Every morning when I drop you off at Maestra Irion’s class, you’re greeted by a spirited, schoolmate swarm: Kai, Jackson, Eddie and Cruz. Kai is your best buddy and very outgoing. He was recently apprehended by the police during a solo stunt asking strangers for money in the park behind his house. Jackson is all smiles and hugs. He’s group bodyguard. Eddie invited you to his birthday party where he had a pool, cupcakes, a trampoline, and a car-racing ramp… and firmly established his position as sovereign of Little Boy Paradise. And Cruz is cool. How could you not be with a name like Cruz and surfer hair?
Speaking of cool, a few weeks ago, you woke-up one morning and decided you were going to take a spin without training wheels. And you did. You rode all the way to the beach that day like it was no big deal. You got a big bike for your birthday and a Pokémon wallet and a Pokémon hat and you were happy as a Clamperl… of course that’s a reference to the Clam Pokémon. I didn’t even know there was a Clam Pokémon but of course you do… You dig Minecraft and Legos and Super Mario and Star Wars and forbidden curses. Tonight I asked you what you want to achieve most in the world and you said “Infiniti Pokémon.” Your laughter while playing Pie Face is deliriously euphoric.
And when it comes to laughter, nothing is funnier to you than potty talk. You’re a connoisseur. And now in both English and Spanish. Only six months and you’ve achieved fluency in your primary language in your tertiary language… impressive. You’ve completely embraced your Spanish-speaking self and are reading like a champ, recently winning an award for being a “Super Lector” (Super Reader). You’ve conquered Level C. Maestra Irion tells me you have a natural talent for language and that maybe you got it from me… maybe you did? I’m sure I’d like to think so. You’re constantly asking me things in Spanish and counting and singing and requesting “Mas cereal por favor.” Last night you initiated the construction of an entire Lego boat for at least an hour and a half, completely in Spanish. It was the perfect exercise for shapes and colors and positions, and was fascinating to watch your little gears turn.
While we’re on the topic of gears turning, baseball is in full swing and you are the model little leaguer. You are excited and attentive and have a swing that even I can tell is good. You want to play catch all the time and you never resist practice. Last week you made two catches and two outs at first base. You were last to bat and hit a real doozy. Luckily you didn’t notice that the last batter gets to run all the bases. You were so proud of your home run. I’m sure it would have been a homer regardless.
And while we’re talking home runs… sometime between June and December you learned how to swim. For real. Not just instructor-led swimming, but you’re now playing in the deep end and doing cannonballs. Just this past June you wouldn’t leave the steps. Seriously. Land Rover is long gone and now you beg to go swimming.
Beyond swimming, your survival skills continue to include a diet primarily consisting of oranges, fruit twists and Honey Nut Cheerios. You ordered ribs and chocolate cake for your birthday, but your favorites are hamburgers and chocolate fondue. You still use your clothes as napkins and perch on your chair like a bird, or a monkey, or a frog. Your outfit of choice is matching fluorescent athleisure wear. Your teacher tells Daddy, “Nate nunca frio.” You appear to be impervious to cold.
And despite the cold, your two grown-up bottom front teeth never chatter. You like picture books and science and math and are on the fence about being a fireman or a policeman when you grow-up. You’re responsibly contemplating the risks and dangers of death by robbers or fire. Oh, and you also want to be an artist.
You are artistically inclined toward creating special nicknames for everyone. You’re still Jakey’s most loyal sidekick and you call him Jake Jake. Dad is Dada. I’m Mamacita, which the urban dictionary defines as a “really hot babe.” I have no objections.
And speaking of babes, you’ve recently stopped talking and singing about the fictitious “Mrs. Doonay.” We don’t know where she came from and now, she’s seems to have gone about her merry way. You’ve grown-out of Mrs. Doonay, but you still love your baybit, and crawl into my lap at the breakfast table, and want to ‘nuggle every night.
I love you Baby Nake, exactly the way you are. Every little sweet and sassy bit of you. We are so proud of you and are doing our best to savor every single second.