Dear Otis- 6 Years!

Dear Otis-

I feel like at the ripe old age of 6, we are already getting a glimpse into who you’ll be when you grow up. You are showing all the signs of being a very compassionate, empathetic friend to all who has many hobbies and a minor hoarding obsession. In all seriousness, I am loving watching you mature.

This year you dove into kindergarten. You absolutely loved school- from trading Pokémon cards on the bus, to PE and dance class, to swinging at recess, and all the classroom learning- you were a huge fan! We lucked out with a great group of neighborhood kids and families. Our bus stop gang and after school play dates were highlights of the week.

The switch to remote learning and full on quarantine had its challenges, but the homebody in you was secretly pleased. You somehow never get sick of our house and yard. Even after barely leaving for all these months, you claim you are never moving out. Just this past week you told grandma that you weren’t going to college because that would mean leaving mom, dad, and Lucy.

Physically you’ve become so much more confident and adventurous this year. You pump on the swings endlessly, climb huge granite rocks, and are super proud of your swimming skills. After months of lessons you are now limited to our hot(ish) tub and our creek. Can’t wait to get you to a pool or lake and see what you can do!! It also appears that kayaking may be your sport of choice. You had no problem steering and paddling solo in Lake Tahoe.

And mentally you completely blow us away. You love math. We play the bean bag toss and I’ll say “I had 50 and just got 20. How many . .” and before I can finish the question you’ll be like “70. Easy!” And your reading is the highlight of my day. I rush home from work and head straight to your bedroom so you can read me a book before bed. You are a great storyteller. You do voices and everything. My favorite is when you read a book about a parrot. Your parrot voice cracks me up. The coolest thing is that you are really proud of your academic accomplishments. You’ll say “mom, I didn’t even have to sound out a single word in that sentence!”

Socially you are here, there, and everywhere. You can ham and clown it up with the best of them. The goofball is strong in you.

You also feel things very deeply. At times this challenges your mom, like when you mourn the loss of a missing Pokémon card with the full 5 stages of grief. Most times, though, it is incredibly heartwarming like when you take care of your sister or want to bring a present to a sick friend. When Lucy got hurt and we thought we might need to go to the ER, you were nearly hyperventilating with worry for her. You were beside yourself with pride when you saw a video of your cousin swimming on his own. And you were intensely angry when you learned someone had insulted your teachers. You care about those you love and support them and stand up for them and that’s a quality in you that makes me so proud.

You are quite the hobbyist and when a new pastime enters your life, you go all in. Pokémon cards can be sorted, re-sorted and read for hours. And oh the rocks! They are everywhere and you and your dad love them. Thunder eggs, geodes, agate, tiger eye, amethyst . . . you find them, buy them, tumble them, crack them, polish them. You guys are even building your own rock buffer from scratch. This shouldn’t surprise me as you two are also working on a stop motion animation film with clay and needle felt figurines. Dad and Otis garage time is no joke!

You have become pretty helpful- carrying groceries in from the car, feeding the dog, pulling weeds. You will even make yourself a quesadilla all on your own. You like to brag about how you can handle spicy food. You like a little jalapeño in your salsa.

For your birthday you wanted a charcuterie platter and a metal detector. Done and done! In place of a party, we hosted 2 backyard bday play dates with those in our bubble. You made goody bags of exotic rocks for them that they had to find in a treasure box. You even got to have grandma and grandpa here for your 6th birthday. You declared it the best birthday ever and thanked dad and I for planning it.

Your dad and I still have a lot to teach you, but I am also finding that you teach me a lot. Today we had a COVID style drive by the elementary school to meet your 1st grade teacher. The two minute interaction we got to have with her (she’s great) left me a bit melancholy, but as we drove out of the parking lot you said, with enthusiasm, “well that was pretty awesome.” Wow! Your positivity is a daily inspiration. Love you lots Otis Taco!

Love, Mom