Sunday, March 11, 2012

This week Z turned eleven. I have to say, I'm really enjoying this age (something I haven't been able to say in many years.) Z is starting to come into himself, he seems a little happier and is making a concerted effort to be helpful and pleasant to be around. Z has always been a very sweet boy, but sometimes that sweetness was hard for people to see through his quirks. I'm hoping that this is going to be a small reprieve before we head into the teen years. He continues to be on the lanky side, at somewhere around 4'10" and 75 pounds. His eyes are still a brilliant shade of blue but recently I realized that my little tow-headed boy has somehow turned into a brunette.

Z's passion continues to be science and electricity. I'll be very surprised if these don't turn out to be life-long passions for him. He's recently begun to show some interest in planting things, something my brown thumb can do very little to help him with. Every day he checks on the potato and onion he has planted on the side of the house. He also continues to show a strong interest in art, his preferred mediums being building structures out of recycled materials and technical drawings done only in pencil, never in pen. He also enjoys math, so much so that he spends a fair amount of time making up math problems or having me write down Algebra problems to solve.

Z still loves reading, though this year I have gotten to expand his interests to include science fiction. In the past he has always preferred technical manuals and science books. He devoured many of my old college text books. This year I've gotten him to give some of Miguel's and my science fiction a try and as I knew he would, he loves it. At the moment one of the ten or so books he's in the process of reading is one of my very favorites, Ender's Game. Z has always reminded me of Ender, so I'm thrilled I finally get to share it with him. I'm really enjoying reading things in tandem with him (usually I try to read a book right before him though, so he doesn't let any spoilers slip) and then discussing our thoughts with each other.

Z's sense of humor is also developing. He has always striven to be funny, which has actually challenged his attempts to make friends because often his endeavors to be funny were interpreted by others as being mean. Now he is beginning to understand both wit and sarcasm. And of course he still loves his puns. Witty things come out of his mouth often enough that I no longer do double takes. I'm loving my new wittier kid.

Given the opportunity to discuss anything, Z would prefer to lecture on one of the many science topics he knows, talk about one of the web sites he has made (though they as of yet are mostly devoid of content) or the language he has invented, Tolmlots. His language is heavily based on the English language; a speaker of Tolmlots takes off the first and last letter of a word and then reverses all of the letters in the word, sticks the two together and makes a new word. For instance, the word "can" becomes "anac." It is not a language I am fluent in.

Z is much cuddlier than I would have expected him to be at this age. I know at his age I didn't hug and love on my family the way that Z does because I was much too worried about being cool. Z has very little interest in being cool yet. Who knows, it might not ever be an interest of his. His disinterest in fitting in is one of the things I admire about him the most, yet I think his life would be a lot easier if he did try to find common interests and try to blend in with his peers. He says he prefers adult company but I know that he is missing out on things not hanging out with kids his own age. There are adventures that an eleven-year-old can only have with someone his age.

Z is not without his challenges, but I really do enjoy spending time with him. He still gets easily overwhelmed but it's just a little less than it used to be, and that's a step in the right direction. I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops and grows this year.

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