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September 2016
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Alex is SEVEN!!

As this posts at September 12th at 9:20 UTC (2:20 AM Pacific, 5:20 AM Eastern), Alex will be exactly seven years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!!!

First of all, as is traditional, here is the birthday interview with Alex. Also as is traditional, he is fairly uncooperative. At least when talking to me. Once our dog Miley joins us, he talks to her a bit about the prospect of getting older. And yes, Alex is wearing my pants. The whole thing is about 12 minutes long. Sorry, I didn’t have time to edit at all this year, so it is straight off the phone. There isn’t any expectation that anyone but family will actually watch, and really, probably they won’t either. :-)

Now, my rundown of the last year’s goings on. As he gets older, I’m including less detail, and leaving out some things, as he’s starting to determine on his own what he wants to talk about online. But the main bits…

  • For Kindergarten Alex split the days. In the morning he would go to the Montessori where he had gone the previous couple of years. In the afternoons he would go to the local public elementary school. The idea was to give him time to get used to the public school before jumping in full time for 1st grade. I was dubious of this strategy at first, but I think it actually worked out well. Alex liked both schools, but by the end of the school year, he was clearly ready to move on and go to the elementary school full time.
  • Most of the time with these split days, Grandma Ruth would transport Alex from one school to the other in the middle of the day, and spend the afternoon with him after school. They would sometimes just play at her house or ours, but sometimes they would go on adventures to do various things together. Alex enjoyed this quite a bit.
  • Alex still plays Minecraft quite a lot, but his video game repertoire has increased. He has rediscovered Portal, Portal 2, and Portal 2 Community Test Chambers, all of which he had played when he was much younger, but now he is doing almost all of it himself, when he feels like it. His other favorites are Roblox, Terraria, and Castle Crashers. He also plays a bunch of other things though, and is willing to try new things.
  • He hasn’t watched a traditional TV show in many many months, and then only reluctantly. His media consumption is basically 100% YouTube. And 90% of that are his two favorites, Stampycat and DanTDM, rounded out by a smattering of other YouTubers.
  • Combining these two interests, at the end of February he launched his own YouTube channel (with a little help from Dad). You can find it at ALeXMXeLA.com. He spends hours each week producing content for the channel. His tagline is: “Elementary school by day, YouTube by Night.” Most of the videos are gaming videos, but he occasionally branches out and does content on plants, math, bikes, or other things he is interested in. He is slowly learning video editing skills to improve what he does. At the moment I am the bottleneck, as I am still watching them and pushing them out as I have time, which isn’t as often as I would like at the moment. As of this moment, there are 111 episodes on his channel…  but earlier tonight he finished recording the 270th episode. Doing the math, that means he is averaging making about 9.4 new videos each week but I am only posting 3.9 videos each week. Obviously something needs to change there… I am just way way horribly behind in getting them posted. Anyway, please go check it out, please watch his videos, and SUBSCRIBE. He has 25 subscribers right now, but has big plans for when he hits 100 subscribers!
  • Oh, he has a business card for his channel. If you don’t have one and want one, just let me know, I’ll get one to you.
  • Over the summer Alex went to a Taekwondo camp. He didn’t really seem to participate all that much, but he seemed to enjoy it and would come home talking about it. He also went to the YMCA for a couple weeks of the summer. He didn’t really like that at all. The Taekwondo camp usually had less than 10 kids. The Y probably had 50+. He was much happier with the smaller group. Within the first few days he had kids at the Taekwondo camp watching his videos and subscribing to his channel.
  • He loves his dog Miley and harasses her constantly. Most of the time she seems to appreciate it. If only he would be better at recognizing when she doesn’t…
  • He has plans to convert our house into some sort of store. I’m not sure exactly how that will work…
  • Before this year he was clearly reading, but also clearly did not really want to, and so would resist letting us know that he could read if he could avoid it. Sometime in the last year that snapped, and he started reminding us that he could read when we were silly enough to read something out loud to him. He still is not a particular fan of books (although he will read them with Grandma Ruth!), but he is reading things on screens constantly, as well as signs and instructions and the like. And he is no longer hiding it, but actually seems proud of it.
  • He is into coloring, not the kids kind, but the grown up coloring books that are all the rage now, with all sorts of detail and fancy patterns, using artist grade colored pencils of course. Pretty sure he thinks he is too good for crayons now. :-)
  • It has only been a few days, but he is a first grader now! That is just incredible. He’s at or above grade level in everything academically, although the social stuff is a bit of a struggle. That’ll be something to keep working on… but hey, I struggle with that to this day. :-)
  • He likes to help with gardening and plants and such.
  • He is growing fast. He is just huge. Well, I’m comparing to when he was two of course, but it seems like every time we turn around he is an inch or two taller. But I guess that comes with the territory of being seven. :-)
  • He makes up elaborate illustrated books telling stories about the family. Most of these have been “Mom and Amy Epic” and sequels to that. These follow Brandy and Amy as they go through adventures inside video games.

OK, as usual, I’m sure there is much more, but that is enough.

Happy birthday to Alex!