Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Evan at 38 months

38 months

Evan is especially enjoying his bike these days. He's not much for braking though. Mercifully, he's gotten by with very few injuries thanks in large part to Matt's vigilance. (By contrast, Tobin brakes and checks in with the rest of us every 100 feet or so.)

braking is overrated.

Evan's mostly a champ at using the potty and has fully transitioned to letting us know when he has to go. He's even dispensed with using a potty seat and does his serious potty business sitting backwards, often calling us in to join him in admiring what he's, um, deposited. Of course, we humor him because truthfully, it's a lot better seeing that there than finding it in a diaper. Next up: sleeping without pull-ups; we've just been waiting for the box to run out.

drawing at daddy's work

Evan is talking more than ever and we are increasingly understanding him better too. He still doesn't enunciate terribly well but his doctor assured us that's normal for his age and since his hearing checked out fine, there's no reason to fret about his speech. (She also pointed out that Tobin was a precocious speaker.) He's particularly engaged while reading books, asking lots of questions on every page. In everyday life, he asks really thoughtful things like the other day when he saw I had a band-aid on my finger after I cut myself with a kitchen knife. He inquired, "Did that hurt you, Mom? Did it make you sad?"

coolin' on a train

While antagonizing his big brother remains high on his daily agenda, Evan is also playing very cooperatively with Tobin too. They enjoy racing Matchbox cars and pretending with superhero figurines. One of my favorite imaginary conversations between Spider-Man and Green Goblin Evan narrated went something like this:
"Green Goblin, you go to doctor? Go see Dr. Z [our pediatrician]?"
"No, Spider-Man, I throw pumpkin at you!"
Evan also informed me that Iron Man is "silly" while Spider-Man is "scary." Most days, Evan takes his nap with either a car or a superhero. And he still sleeps in his crib. We've offered for him to sleep with Tobin now, like he did while we traveled this summer, but he still insists on sleeping in "my bed." I suppose sleeping with your brother, like braking, is overrated.


Thus far Evan's reaction to Tobin's "new school" has been one of curiosity. Each day when he comes home, Evan asks excitedly, "Tobin, you went to school today?" He's asked me a few times during the days if Tobin's still at school. He also notes when we pass by the nearby church preschool that was Tobin's "old school." The other day he asked, "Where's Evan's school?" I explained that Evan's school was at home with Mama and Lauren. This seemed to suffice and he'll occasionally ask, "I go to Evan's home school?" I affirm and offer something "educational" like drawing or reading, to which he replies, "No, I play with Spider-Man." Perhaps I need to pick up a superhero coloring book soon. For now, I am indeed enjoying having him home with me, loving his curiosity, enthusiasm and even his antics--all the things that make him uniquely my baby boy.

bird watcher

Monday, August 27, 2012

First grader!

good-bye hug

Tobin is ending today much like any other: he's reading a book on the couch before heading off to bed. There's a slight variation to this little routine. He's reading to Mimi, who is about halfway through her week-long visit. I think that's symbolic for the day. Tobin went to school as if it were the most routine thing in the world. He woke, ate breakfast, played with Evan, got dressed, brushed his teeth, grabbed his lunch box and backpack, rode with me in the van to school, found his classroom and hugged me good bye. He handled it as if it were ordinary, but there was also the extraordinary part: a new grade at a new school with a new teacher with new friends and a new schedule. As mama, I focus on the momentous aspects of this day but I surmise that all the new things were a much bigger deal to me than they were to him.

ready for first grade

We're lucky to have Mimi visiting because she stayed home with Evan and Lauren, allowing me to take Tobin to school, where instead of just dropping him off in the car line, I felt unencumbered enough to park and walk him up to his classroom. I was carrying a large grocery bag full of classroom supplies, so there was a practical reason for doing so in addition to my desire to make sure he knew exactly where he was going and that he was in fact as ready and excited as he seemed to be. He confidently figured out where to put his lunch box, found his cubby and joined some other classmates doing puzzles in the science center of his classroom. I took a moment to ask his teacher about the pick-up procedure in the afternoon and took a couple pictures. I hugged Tobin good bye. Then I took another picture. And then I said something like, "Have a great day. I love you, and I'm going now." At which point, he came over and gave me another hug--perhaps, reassuring me that it was in fact going to be a very good day.

big boy, big school

Our day at home was very pleasant, especially with Mimi around. The babies took their usual naps and snacks and meals. The only thing was that I kept watching the clock and couldn't help noting that it was a long time until 3:30 when we would pick Tobin up from school. I think that will take some getting used to. It feels odd to have him gone all day. Even he noted that when he got home and I offered him a snack, he almost asked me for a sandwich because he was used to getting home in time for lunch.

lunch box drop

Mimi and I, and later Matt, peppered him with questions. He told us there were 21 kids in his class but one of them was absent. He then listed about ten names of his classmates. His favorite part of his day, other than recess, was gym, where he "basically just ran around a lot and exercised but not with equipment." His least favorite part of the day was writing workshop when he had to sit down and write how he felt about his new school ("I felt excited.") because he thought it was the one time in the day when he didn't really get to choose his activity. His class got to walk around and explore the school. He doesn't sit at a desk but on a spot on a circular carpet, much like he did in Kindergarten. He reported it was tough to tell who the second and third graders were in his class, except for this one kid who was really tall; he must have been in third grade. He got to visit the water fountain and knew where the bathrooms were but he doesn't think he used the restroom all day! His first order of business upon arriving home was changing clothes from the polo shirt and khakis I picked out for him into a T-shirt and shorts. After a snack and chatting with Matt, who arrived home shortly after us, he played table tennis on the Wii with his brother.

jumping in

So I'm struck at the end of this milestone of a day about how mostly pleasant and comfortable it felt, especially for Tobin. When Matt tucked him in to bed tonight, he said something like, "Dad, I love my new school. And I really love my bed--or maybe just these covers." Sleep well, our big first grader. (Full set of pictures here.)

 ready for a great day!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tobin at 75 months

75 months

Consider this little post prelude to an even bigger event in Tobin's life: he starts first grade on Monday! I'm admittedly anxious about it, because it will be a bigger transition than from pre-K to Kindergarten since he's changing schools and he'll be away from home all day (9am-3:30pm). Tobin is helping me out a lot by being so excited and positive about it. I know he'll be fine.

Speaking of schools, we got a wonderful surprise last week when we found out Tobin got into our first-choice magnet school. Apparently, the school had a few spots open over the summer when some enrolled families moved away, so there was a secondary lottery and we lucked out with Tobin's name being selected from the available pool of students. The school is Montessori so he'll be in a class of about 20 students, ranging from first to third grade. We got to meet his teacher and visit his classroom last night. He enjoyed exploring the different hands-on activities, especially at the science and math centers, while I chatted with his teacher and a few parents. I actually had to encourage him to wrap up his play time as he was busy right up until the 7pm close of the open house.

silly T

Another adventure for Tobin lately has been visiting a new church with me. It's actually the church where he attended pre-K and Kindergarten, so there are a number of familiar faces. On just our second week there, Tobin was ready to go up to the front for the children's sermon and even chose to attend children's church instead of staying with me in the worship service. He's even reminded me that next week we should try to not sleep so late (We all slept past 8am this past Sunday! That never happens!) so that he can go to Sunday School at 10am. I wouldn't be surprised if he asks me to set an alarm.

Our big boy is as curious and confident as ever, and I look forward to sharing about the start of school next week.

on top of the world

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lauren at 14 months

14 months

Lauren has spent the last half of her fourteenth month settling back into familiar routines after the end of our five-week family odyssey, which I will at some point get to writing something about. It's been a mostly happy transition, apart from just a handful of tearful bedtimes and nap times at the beginning. I'm thankful for both of us that she quickly remembered that, no, she didn't need to wake up three times or more a night and that she could put herself back to sleep without Mama's milk. I'm very proud of her for being such a big girl and figuring it out so quickly. She's sleeping from 8pm to 7am and taking her two naps very sweetly these days.

her eyes...

I imagine that her frequent nighttime nursing over our time away from home helped her maintain her robust weight as she's still above 90th percentile, weighing 25 lbs. 15 oz. at the doctor last week. Her length measured about the same as at twelve months so she's slipped to 25-50th percentile. But her beautiful head remains above 95th percentile. Like her brothers, her gross motor skills are developing on the later side. She's still a month or so from walking I'd guess, but she's cruising very well and likes to stand independently. The thing is, standing is very exciting, and she claps and giggles and falls over fairly quickly. The other day she did take two little steps for Matt so we feel it's just a matter of time before she puts it all together.

look what i found!

In addition to nursing about four times a day, Lauren is enjoying fruits, cheese and yogurt as well as family favorites like "red pasta" (penne with marinara), black beans and rice, pizza and macaroni and cheese. She's eating these with her third and fourth teeth (the top two) just now breaking through. I'm hoping the addition of these teeth will expand her food curiosity--perhaps for chicken?--but I feel good about how we're moving away from purees and sharing food at our family meals.

Lauren regularly says "hi," "bye," "Daddy," "Mama," "baby," and "ball." There's a lot of other things she says mostly with "da-da-da" and "na-na-na," while pointing and gesturing to show what she wants. The other morning, when greeted by her big brother, I swear she said "Evan." The way Evan's eyes lit up made me think he thought so too.

trying to figure it out

"Busy" is the best description for Lauren's current stage. She's curious about everything and wants to be involved in almost any activity. When her brothers and dad leave to go ride bikes without us, she yells and cries at being left behind, even if it's with me. She really doesn't like it when anybody leaves her, even if it's Daddy taking Evan to use the potty while we're eating at a restaurant. She's doing her best to keep tabs on and keep up with all of us and making us feel very loved all the while. Indeed it's special to see our baby returning the adoration we can't help but shower on her.