I'm taking a cue from my sister Shawni (she does this on her blog), and "spotlighting" one of my kids every month or so. I did some stuff on the twins a couple posts ago. Now it's Ashton's turn.
Ashton is one amazing kid. I just plain like this kid. He's full of fun ideas of things to do and good ideas about how to tackle any problem. He's totally fun to talk to about everything from current events to ideas for inventions he'd like to do someday to random facts he's discovered while doing research on the internet about things that pop into his head. He's got a great little sense of humor - he's well past the stage (that Eliza is now in) where kids want to tell you jokes all the time but none of their jokes really make sense and has even progressed beyond telling good jokes to a new level of humor where he notices and tells me about little ironies in life. He's got this great slow smile that crinkles up the corners of his eyes, then spreads to his mouth.
And it's not just me that likes Ashton so much - you should see him with his friends. They clearly adore him. We played the "compliment game" as part of a unit on "kindness and friendliness" (from Alexander's Amazing Adventures) that I'm doing for Ashton's class at school. Each kid had a chance to stand up and have their classmates share what they like about them. All the hands shot up in the air when it was Ashton's turn. "He's funny" "He's fun" "He's really nice to everyone" "He always lets everyone play" "He's really smart".... Nice moment as a mom to hear other people notice and appreciate some of the things you love about your child.
Some quick stories about Ashton:
The other day I flipped open my mobile phone and found that Ashton had made me a new screen design on the phone - a template with "I (heart) you" with a big red heart and a cute picture of Ashton in the middle of the heart. Made me smile big time - great to know that this non-demostrative child of mine wanted to share his love for me - and amazing to see yet another example of how Ashton can so quickly and expertly figure out anything technological.
Ashton presented at the district science fair the other day (he won 1st prize for 3rd grade for his mold project at his school). The night before, as I pretended to be a judge and asked him questions to help him prepare, I was so impressed at the way he explained things so clearly and confidently and loved how he threw in a little humor here and there. Today I was so proud of him as I sent him off with Jared to set up his display, all handsome and grown-up looking in his shirt and tie. When I showed up for the awards ceremony later that afternoon, he said he felt really good about his presentation (wish I could have seen it - no parents allowed) but he didn't win anything (would have been weird if he did since he and I threw his project together in just a couple days!). He totally cheered on his friend from another school who won first prize for 3rd grade for the district. He was such a good sport about the whole thing and just said "I wonder what Cole (his friend who won) will do with his $100 prize." Not jealous, just interested and glad for his friend.
And one more story:
As I was trying to quickly wrap up that "compliment game" in Ashton's class last week so the kids could head to lunch, one little girl said "wait - there are two people we haven't done yet!" I was a little confused - I was pretty sure I'd given every child a turn. The kids said "we haven't done you or Ms Berglund (their teacher)!" I assured them I was fine and Ms Berglund was busy testing a kid but several students jumped right in with compliments for me and it was so sweet of them.
After school that day, Ashton was on the computer (as always) and I told him it was time to get off and he insisted he had something important to finish. When I checked out what he was up to, I saw that had printed out a nice little stack of notes to give out to his classmates the next day. Here's what the notes looked like: (sorry - can't get it to turn, hopefully you can read sideways!)
He came up with the wording and did the typing and formatting 100% by himself. Pretty nice idea, huh? He gave out the notes the next day, wrapped up a box (leaving one end open) to put all the compliments in when the kids brought them back the following day, gathered everyone's completed notes and had kids quickly write down compliments if they didn't bring one from home, sealed up the end of the wrapped box and presented it to Ms Berglund. Ashton was so pleased with the whole project. And I'm sure Ms Berglund was too!
One of my most heartfelt desires as a mother is to raise children who are kind and thoughtful. Looks like Ashton's headed in the right direction!
So Ashton's quite a star. He's the perfect oldest child for our family and sets such great examples for his siblings - as well as his friends and his siblings' friends. He's got his flaws, sure (still struggling with focusing on getting things done but that'll come) - but to me, he's about as wonderful as they come. I love you Ashton! Thanks for being such a great son and brother and friend!