Caleb’s just turned 6! And he’s grown by leaps and bounds in the past year, from skills to perspectives, resilience to new focus.
1. Ditching the Wheels, Making a Splash
Caleb has been cycling on his 4-wheels bicycle since 3/4 years old. Just past his 5th birthday, he decided, rather nonchalantly, that he wanted to ditch the two training wheels and cycle on two wheels. He wobbled on his first attempt along the road outside our home. On his second try, a few minutes later, he steadied up and took off!
Next, he decided to try swimming without his swim-jacket. After a few kicks and splashes with Ben, he started diving into the pool swim-jacketless. That he had crossed these big milestones without cajoling or expectation made them that much sweeter to see.
A few months later, he started to bathe himself on a few occasions and then consistently clean up after himself after his big business.
It’s been a treat to watch him leap from one milestone to another, and wonder what he will do next.
2. Wielding lightsabers & Lego Force through the Dark Side
On 1st June last year, midway through 5 years old, Caleb had to grow up rather quickly when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As his full-time caregiver, I had to learn to let go of him for stretches of time as I went through surgery and chemotherapy. He also had new routines to get used to without me being his constant, like my dad taking over ferrying him to and from kindergarten.
Thanks to the combination of Star Wars and Lego, Caleb’s love of Star Wars turned him into an adapt master-builder which saw us through my wilderness period (aka the Dark Side) when I stayed home through stretches of time.
He built his way through 2000-piece Lego structures, from the Millenium Falcon to Tie Striker to A-Wing Fighter and various other spaceships whose names I cannot remember.
With God-sister Angel on their Monday playdates which my dearest friend Gail started during my chemotherapy months
3. Not my Hongpao!
A couple of days back, a good friend sent me a blog link for a friend’s 7-year old daughter Janelle who has a rare heart condition and is in need of a heart transplant. The cost of the surgery and health complications had led to ballooning expenses and they were trying to raise funds to cover cost.
Ben and I thought it would be a good life lesson to use to teach Caleb about helping others in need.
Yesterday morning, when I was still half-sleep, I heard Ben talking to Caleb, “Would you like to give $100 of your hongpao money to help Janelle? Papa and Mummy will give $500.”
“What? Not my hongpao money!” I heard Caleb protest before I fell back into sleep.
An hour later, over breakfast, Ben said, “Did you hear what he said?”
“Yah,” I muttered. “He doesn’t want to give his hongpao money.”
“No, he did,” Ben said. “He decided that we give $100 and he give his $600 hongpao money.”
My eyes opened wide and my heart swelled in a proud parent moment. He had gone from initially objecting to reflecting upon it and then deciding to give up his hongpao money on his own free will.
Later, that day, when he was building his Star Wars Lego set, a Christmas present from auntie Jing Siew, I gave him a cuddle and said, “Do you know why I am so proud of you?”
“Don’t know,” he said.
“You did something amazing this morning, remember?”
“Forgot already,” he said, focused on his Lego.
“Remember you gave something up?”
“Oh yah, that,” he said, “a lot of money.”
And that was that. A significant milestone crossed in his nonchalant way.
Help Fund Janelle’s VAD and heart transplant
Inside Out Kid #3: Mummy, You can take out your Pretend Hair at Home