Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday, Monkey!

Happy Birthday, Monkey!  I've been meaning to make this nickname change on the blog here, and what better time than your birthday.  You've grown out of that baby name "Yaks" (Yak attack, brainiac!), and since we still call you "Monkey" as a nickname, we'll officially swap it for now.  

Oh, you are such a special boy!  I love you so much.  When we were talking about birthday plans, they were pretty simple:  balloons, streamers, pizza and a movie where we are all together.  You are the happiest when we are just ALL together and doing the same thing, be it eating or a game or watching a movie.  It's something you really value, and I can tell you feel really secure and happy when we make an effort to do that.  

The other day you were thinking about growing up and going to college.  You asked if you HAD to go away to college, and I said "no".  You were so relieved!  Financially we were hoping you'd pick either BYU or BYU-I, but you said, "Well, if it's close enough that I can drive home every night, then I'll go there."  haha!  You love being home, and have never even been interested in a sleep-over, even with cousins.  That's okay.  I'll keep you with me as long as I can. :)  

You are quick to say "I love you, Mom" and you still let me give you hugs.  You are helpful and perceptive - you notice things that need to be done, and you do them.  You can tell when I'm frustrated or struggling with something and always offer to help, or you just default to "let's pick up the house", which is ALWAYS a helpful idea!  

You are a good friend.  Today I visited your class to teach an art lesson, and I noticed that the teacher seats you (intentionally) next to a boy with Autism.  This boy often gets frustrated if he makes mistakes, and melts down into tears or gets angry.  I eavesdropped as I heard you step in and help him get the right art materials and demonstrate the technique so he wouldn't get frustrated.  You were so gentle and kind,  and your timing was perfect (I think you've had lots of practice with Diddles as your sister).  When I asked you about him after school you simply said, "Sometimes he has a hard time, but he did really well today!"  You don't judge or criticize kids who struggle or are different than you.  It made me so proud!

Taking Turns reading aloud to the class with Mrs. Casanova

Francisco's Birthday Party

Speaking of praise, I learned something new about this year in how you like to be praised!  Your wonderful teacher, Mrs. Casanova had the students all fill out questionnaires of a "Forced-Choice Reinforcement Menu".  The students imagine that they just worked hard on an assignment and they think they did a super job.  Then they choose between two choices of what they would most like to happen. Examples of choices include:  "A bag of chips, be free to do what you like, be first to finish your work, classmates pick you to be on your team"  The categories fall under Adult Approval, Competitive Approval, Peer Approval, Independent Rewards, and Consumable Rewards.  Your answers fell under "Competitive Approval", so you answered things like, "Be first to finish your work, Have your paper put on the bulletin board,  Have only your paper shown to the class, Be the only one who can answer a question."  It was surprising, but interesting!  Mrs. Casanova says you are competitive in the BEST way, and always push yourself to do better, without trouncing on others' feelings.  She said you are a great debater, and always have great comments in discussions.  

You've really been enjoying Scouts and speaking of competitive approval, you have enjoyed earning arrow points and pins and passing off scout requirements with Dad.  You love camping and Geocaching and going on outdoor adventures!  For your birthday this year you got a REAL grappling hook and a pulley, and can't wait to try it out.  Dad thinks of the coolest gifts!

It's been wonderful to see you get to know the Holy Ghost this year and how He works in your life.  Last month Dad wanted to show you kids some clips of Jurassic Park.  You didn't feel comfortable watching it, and told Dad so.  After assuring you it would be fine, Dad realized that your Spirit is sensitive, and perhaps he should be listening more to YOU, and following your lead.  He turned off the show.  We were both so proud of you for speaking up and standing up for what is right.  I hope you always do that!  You've been picking up a lot from our family scripture study, and often have some great insights into what we've been reading.  Your prayers are meaningful and I love to hear them!

You are a patient brother with your strong-willed sisters.  You hold your own, but I want to make sure you know you are loved and don't get lost in the middle.  I know you'd love a pet - probably a dog would suit you best.  I can just see you loving a dog of your very own.  In the meantime, you do your fair share of button-pushing, teasing and tattling, but you love your sisters, and they love you.  It's awesome as a mom to witness it.    

1. What is your favorite color? blue and grey
2. What is your favorite toy? Legos
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Lego Atlantis
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? nachos
6. What is your favorite outfit? just day clothes
7. What is your favorite game? Quirkle
8. What is your favorite snack? Cheese-its
9. What is your favorite animal? Komodo Dragon
10. What is your favorite song?  After the Storm
11. What is your favorite book? Lightening Thief
12. Who is your best friend? Peter
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside ? Pretend to go on adventures
15. What is your favorite drink? Orange Soda
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Nothing
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Bacon
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Bacon Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? an Author

I love that you still let me take these birthday photos!  Thank you!!

My sweetest boy - we love you so much!  Happy Birthday, Monkey!  


Nick Johnson said...

His default when you're frustrated..."lets clean the house!" Oh my gosh, that melted my heart!!! What a sweet, darling boy! Love you, Benny

Nick Johnson said...

Oh and in his birthday pictures, he totally looks like Peter!