Happy Fourteenth Birthday, Lewie!


Our "Little Lewie" officially turned 14 yesterday, on Aug. 11th.  

Each year I make the same comments about how quickly time flies or how much Lewie has grown, but this year, in particular, at age 13, Lewie has, by far, done the most growing.  Here are two pictures from last summer to this summer for comparison.

          Summer 2021

          Summer 2022

The differences are not that subtle; Lewie grew four more inches, his voice has gotten deeper, and he officially wears men's clothing.  His facial features are changing, too--meaning he looks more like an adolescent than a "young boy."  

Emotions also come with the territory of growing, and Lewie will be the first one to say it was a tough year.  For one, this was his first official year in middle school since he was home every day last year during COVID.  It was also the first year that he admitted to sometimes feeling sad, confused, sleepy, or just out of sorts.  "Yes, Lewie. Join the club," I announced during one of our walks, "Welcome to the world of puberty and hormones!"  I wanted to tell him things will get better, that one day he will wake up not feeling tired, or that one day, he'll get back that same confidence he used to have before he started comparing himself to others...  Yes, if I had to rate adolescence, I would give it one star only.  On the contrary, childhood deserves a five-star rating in my book.

Nonetheless, while hormones have seized control of Lewie's mind and body, they can't break his spirit.  He is still the same wonderful "kid" we know and love with a kindhearted soul, an innovative drive, and a passion for all things tech.  There are many reasons for us to "celebrate" his 13th going into 14th year, and here are just a few of them:

1)  He made Student of the Month twice!
Lewie is a very sweet and polite kid; he's also very intuitive when it comes to others' feelings. Last year, Lewie earned "Student of the Month" twice, making him one of the only students in the entire school to earn this award twice in the same year.  He has good friends, and one of them, is the other student in his school (a year ahead of him) that also received "Student of the Month" twice.  

2)  He is talented and passionate when it comes to Tech and Innovation.
Since age 5, Lewie has demonstrated a passion for technology.  Trains were his first love, followed by Minecraft, which is still a favorite.  He started attending ID Tech camp (about one week per year) to learn how to code, but then his curiosity drove him to teach himself how to use all kinds of programs and software for coding, video editing, graphic design, etc.  I'm constantly amazed by all the new "projects" he embarks on just for the fun of experimenting and learning something new.  

In his STEM class this year, Lewie quickly moved to the head of the class and was given more advanced projects to work on by himself.  For example, he was allowed to tinker with a STEM learning tool called LEGO Education SPIKE Prime, which combines "LEGO building elements, easy-to-use hardware, and an intuitive drag-and-drop coding language."  Each week, he had a new project he completed--from creating a gizmo that acts like a clock counting hours, minutes, and seconds to another gadget that could be used to help color blind people (adaptive technology) identify colors.  The part that was so extraordinary is that Lewie would come up with these ideas and learn how to code them on his own--he didn't follow a single manual nor are there manuals for these particular "inventions."

The letter "B" tells the person that the color the camera on the computer is recognizing is Blue.

Lewie's teacher was so impressed with his skills that she told him she would like him to help her "team teach" his eighth grade class this year; she also invited us to come to the classroom to see his projects.  (As you can see, we gladly accepted the offer!)

This summer, Lewie was able to return to ID Tech Camp in person, so he chose a one-week course in 3D Modeling and Printing.  Every day, he learned how to use the open-source printing software called Blender to make his own figures (like a fidget spinner).  On one day, in particular, the staff had all the students model their own plastic boats, so they could compete in a boat race. FUN!

3.  He's an authentically happy and silly kid!!  (He's also starting to get a bit more adventurous!)
Every year I do a post about "Lewie-isms," and this year, I have a few more to add to the list.  Lewie certainly has a strong vocabulary these days.  (When he starts to talk about coding and software, it's almost as if he's speaking a second language.)  Still, he does mispronounce a word or two here or there, and sometimes, he just comes up with his own words...which usually makes us die laughing.  Here are our two favorites from this year:

reclounge chair (n.) - a recliner (combines the word recliner with lounge)

growth sprout (n.) - a growth spurt

When Lewie's hormones aren't getting in the way, he likes to joke around and tease us.  He's always coming up with clever things to do or say, and he loves shows/movies that are either funny, sci-fi, or use lots of special effects.  Examples of shows/movies that he loved this year are Napolean Dynamite, Multiverse of Madness (Marvel), Thor Love and Thunder (Marvel), Back to the Future, The Matrix, "Lost in Space,""Stranger Things," and lots of Jim Gaffigan specials. 

This year, he was also super excited to go on our trip to Utah, which is a pretty notable change from last year when he would have preferred to have a "staycation" instead of going to Washington and Oregon.  On our trip, he actually relished trying new things like playing the ukelele, sandboarding, and sleeping overnight in a tee-pee and an Airstream trailer.  (I will be posting about this trip soon.)  Having him enjoy this vacation and calling it "the best trip ever" warmed my heart--giving me the validation I needed to know that all of our trips to our National Parks have not been in vain.

When I first gave birth to Lewie, I asked my mom what HER favorite age was when she was watching me grow up.  She simply replied, "All of them."

I dismissed her remark.  "What a 'mom' thing to say," I mumbled.  Surely she was just saying that because that's what moms are supposed to say....right along with "I love you just the way you are."

Well, I think back on my mom's comment now, and I understand it.  Surely I loved the baby years, the toddler years, and the "little boy" years.  However, I'm growing to love the "tween" and now "teen" years, too.  Sure, Lewie needs me less, wants to be around friends more, and is starting to become more independent... but he's also growing into his own person, which means the parent role is evolving to a partial-friend role, too.  We laugh, share secrets, tease each other, teach each other, and love each other immensely.    What a wonderful journey...challenging...but AMAZING.


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