I knew that five was going to be a big year for Liam. I knew that it would involve big milestones like starting school. But there are other things I didn't anticipate.
The first big event for Liam was graduating from pre-school. It was a big moment for him and he had looked forward to it for months. Why? Boredom. He was bored out of his mind by the end of pre-school and so ready to be done. So, after graduation he quit going and had a real summer vacation for the first time.
We did all kinds of things - swim lessons, play dates, museum trips, playing in the yard. He took day trips with his Granddad and played with the neighbor kids. I hope summers are always so much fun for him.
And then, in the middle of June, he said to me "Mommy, I want to play soccer."
Well. That came from nowhere. We'd been offering for a year or two and he kept telling us no. We didn't want to push and felt that it had to be his decision. Then, one day, he was interested. It turned out that he had to wait until fall to play but we promised him he could.
And so we became soccer parents and he learned about team sports.
A few days after proclaiming his need to play soccer, he told me he wanted to take lessons in karate. This was another activity that we'd offered him and he had turned us down. Again, we felt that if he was to enjoy it, it had to be his decision. Again, he just up and changed his mind.
I set about finding a school and we found Young Brothers Tae Kwon-Do. He fell in love with it from the very first class I took him to and he is racing through belt levels at a pace that it is hard to believe. Next week he takes his next belt test to earn his yellow belt. It is a fabulous outlet for his seemingly boundless energy.
At the end of summer, Liam started kindergarten - the biggest change to his life yet. He took it all in stride and settled into the routines of school. He loves it. He's excited to go to school every day, he loves his teacher, he has made friends, he comes home and tells me he had a good day every single day. Academically he is doing well, too. I hope he always retains his love of learning.
Liam didn't just expand his horizons in the metaphorical fashion this year, either. He did it in the physical way, too. My slow-growing, never-put-on-weight, barely-on-the-growth-charts kiddo finally grew! At the beginning of year five he was 36 lbs and 40 inches tall. He was skinny and small for his age. He'd been that way almost since the time he turned one. It just seemed to be who he was and as long as he was growing at all, our pediatrician wasn't worried. We were told that for a kid like Liam, gaining 2 pounds in a year was doing well.
As of now, Liam is 42 pounds and 43.5 inches tall. He has put on 6 pounds and 3.5 inches in a year's time - this is nearly miraculous growth for him. He is still small for his age and on the low end of the growth charts but he's finally starting to really sprout. You can't count his ribs from 30 paces anymore and from all the sit ups at TKD, he's beginning to develop a kiddie six-pack.
In all, Liam has gotten more independent in the last year and is beginning to spread his wings in the wider world. I hope he flies.