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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Six Series

Finbar turned 6 on December 28.  I can't believe he is SIX. Gone are the preschool days and kiddie ways.  He is "elementary school aged".  Only fitting that I should recap and comment on the birthday festivities and his reaction to turning 6. All done in true quirky Finbar fashion.
Digital 6, Regular 6, Digital 6

3+3 = 6, even if it is written backwards

The day started with the amazing and amusing "Six Series".  When Finbar woke up on Dec. 28, he, unprompted in any way, proceeded to draw 6 works of art on the roll paper on his art easel. All were variations on the theme of "six".  My favorite was a drawing of 3 sixes in a row - a "digital six", a "regular six" and another "digital six".  The digital sixes were of course made with straight lines as you would see on a digital clock.  Digital numbers and clocks are a smaller obsession of Finbar's.  He loves to do math with the time ("in one more minute it will be 7:01, that's seven O one") and reverse the numbers when telling time ("it is now eight-O-seven...just kidding it's really seven-O-eight).    Another drawing was of  "3+3" (circled) = 6.  The threes were reverse written and so it took a few minutes to figure it out.  And a third which I really liked were a bunch of sixes drawn inside of one another - it looked like those spirals used to hypnotize people.  When he had finished he proudly called me over to announce that he had done a "six series" and took me through each one.What is so pleasing to me is that, if you have been reading this blog, you will know that art, writing and drawing have never been Finbar's forte. This is changing evidently with the introduction of the easel and inspiring subjects, such as turning 6, which prompt him to express himself.

And that is how his 6th birthday began, just a few hours before his long-in-the-planning birthday party started. Finbar in previous birthday years had little interest in inviting other children to his birthday party, much less remembering their names. After several years of strained birthday party planning on my part, and finally last year not even planning one for him (sadly, Finbar had not been invited to a single preschool birthday party as he had no friends), this year was nothing short of a birthday blast - a Zodo's bowling blast.  For once, Finbar seemed to have a clear idea of the NAMES of the kids he wanted to invite and the list of birthday party invitees was too long, or at least longer than my budget allowed. But then I thought of the puny cupcake party at the park I threw together for him last year at the last minute (at the urging of sympathetic mom friends) and decided the sky's the limit. My boy has FRIENDS (at least HE thinks they are his friends)! And he KNOWS THEIR NAMES.  And he has FAVORITE PEOPLE that he wants to bowl with ("G" and "K"). He even invited a BOY to go bowling with him a couple of weeks before his birthday and expressed excitement at inviting this boy , whom he had previously ignored for 3 years of playgroup dates and whose name he could never remember, to his party.  PROGRESS. SOCIAL PROGRESS FINALLY.

Finbar's cake topper looked like this
Most exciting for Finbar though, was the fact that he would get a real bowling pin from Zodo's for all his friends to sign, which they did.  A true souvenir of his first meaningful peer relationships and a significant social milestone for him.  And as such, I got really excited about planning the party.  Finbar decided that his cake should be a space theme. No problem.  I went on ebay and ordered a space shuttle edible icing cake topper that said "Happy 6th Birthday Captain Finbar".  I then scoured the internet for weeks searching for goody bag items such as space shuttle erasers, rocket ship pencils, and sticker solar systems.  I made some "outta sight" goody bags. By the time the event was over, 14 kids, plus Finbar's Irish second cousins and aunts/uncles and a handful of parents had bowled, eaten gluten free dairy free chocolate cake (no one knew that it was GF/DF made by yours truly) and I had in my enthusiasm purchased about $30 worth of arcade tokens to hand out to all the kiddos who were high on sugar and trinket collecting and enjoying the freedom of the bowling alley environment without parental supervision.  Finbar even felt comfortable enough to ask his friends to sing his Happy Birthday song a special way that he preferred, which they did. The kids had a blast and so did I.  Finney had only one momentary meltdown, a true record for him at a 3 hour group event.  I honestly don't know how I will top it next year.

That evening, a second GF/DF chocolate cake, this time topped with a figurine man bowling, was served up to close family at home.  Finbar took it all and stride and remained regulated for the most part. 

Turning 6 has flipped an unexpected light switch on in Finbar.  I guess in his black and white world, being six versus 5 is significant and now that he turned six, certain things should happen in his mind. I suppose I had been unknowingly reinforcing this in his head every time I said "When you turn 6, I will not help you get dressed anymore" or "when your turn six you will have to (fill in the blank)".     The importance of turning six to Finney was perhaps best demonstrated in his comment to his teacher upon returning to school, "Finally, I am no longer an ODD number, I am FINALLY an even number".   So suddenly he goes poop and wipes his butt in requested privacy.  Suddenly he makes his own pink lemonade, even getting a step stool to reach the cups he wants - "now that I am six I can make my own drinks".  Suddenly he is keen to dress himself (without argument) "because that is what you do when you are six".  And the list of things he will do now that he is six seems to grow every week.    Tonight for example, after a rough, hyperactive entrance to the pizza restaurant, Finbar sat at the table, quietly and without prompting colored the menu that they give kids, mostly coloring in the lines, played the games on the kids menu, watched the movie on the wide screen tv above when he was done with that, and calmly sat, waited for and then ate his entire meal.  He even accepted without argument that he could not have root beer.

 Whaaaaat???  If this is what the first few days of being six looks like, bring on the rest of this year! So long back-talking, tantrum throwing, angry, irritable, argumentative 5 yr old. Helllooooo Six Series :)


Rebecca Royce said...

I am so thrilled that his birthday party went so well!! I can't believe it has been six years since he was born. I remember just where I was when we heard! Happy Birthday to him and Happy 6s to you!

rjscott said...

Wow, that is awesome babe... i know so well the whole social problem with parties. Matt was never invited, he didnt have friends, he was *difficult* to handle, but we kind of got used to it and then i realised it was ME who was getting upset - matt never even wanted the friends in the first place, he has no desire for them.

He does however have a girl that he is very enamoured of, Katy King, who has blond hair in a pony tale. Bless. Of course he is 11 now, so i guess the male impulse to grab a girl (or a guy) has kicked in... god help us...

Happy 6's all round!

esorairam said...

Another great article!
It was a great party indeed, the kids had so much fun and the cake was delicious! I'm so glad for you and Finbar.
Happy Six Series!

finbarsmom said...

SIL, I KNOW, they are growing so FAST. Austin will be SIX this year!!
Mother of G, so glad you liked the gluten and dairy free cake and didn't know LOL! I must blog about the "grandkids" comment he made LOL.
RJscott, soooo nice to hear from parents of fringekids - I guess our boys are not so anti-social as to ingore the lure of a beautiful blond :) Whatever it takes I say!

Emily said...

This is great! I will def be starting to use the language "when u were 5 such and such was ok but now that you are six such and such" . How exciting! I have been seeing more flexibility in this new year too. Guess we shouldn't have worked so hard with him at 5 when all it took was turing 6 to get it sorted out...haha