Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Piece of Squash and the Cookie

My favorite nights are ones where dinner feels intentional and not rushed. We take turns talking about our days and windows open into our kids' "hidden" lives.

Tonight Luke even graduated from his usual response listing who he hung out with at school ("Play Toya, play Tu-ton, Play Eya")  and said "Played Outside." :)

Dinner was grilled squash wraps and squash steadily disappeared from Jack and Cora's plates but notably moved off the wrap and to the side of Luke's high chair. We had baked cookies so I optimistically brought 5 over to the table. We've been working on getting Luke to realize that he must eat healthy foods before having a treat, but Luke is not one to be talked into a behavior he's already chosen against.

Jack doesn't like to see his brother miss out so before I knew what was happening, Jack had moved one of the two squashes off Luke's plate telling Luke that he just had to eat one squash.

"Okay, that's fine I guess," says I....

Pretty soon, Jack has ripped the squash three more times until there is a tiny piece of globby squash on Luke's plate. Luke is insistently shaking his head and reaching for the cookie. Since he first was in a high chair at 7 months, Luke has been known for swiping off offending foods and he quickly had that squash bite on the floor. No worries! Jack had more subdivided bites to offer.

We all are eating our cookies at this point and Luke is now in tears, still reaching for "his". Jacob decides this kid is ready for bed and gets up to take him upstairs. Jack tries loading a bite of squash onto his own cookie to see if this will work for Luke.

NOOOO!!  The cries continue.

As Jacob unbuckles Luke from his seat, Jack impulsively takes his own cookie and pops it into Luke's mouth. Jacob and I both didn't see that one coming and before we could react, Luke instinctively covers his mouth with both hands somehow knowing that cookie might not get to stay in his mouth for long. Jack looked like he knew he was about to be in big trouble.

And then the moment was just perfect and I applaud Jacob for his long range, not reactive, parenting with project approach. (Read what we are reading.) Jacob said, "Jack, that shows that you have empathy which means that you have a kind heart. You didn't want Luke not to have a cookie and so you were willing to share your own. You have to understand that we were not giving Luke a cookie because we wanted to teach him a lesson about eating his dinner. "

At this point Jack has tears in his eyes !! so Jacob says "We're not mad at you.  It's hard for us to have to teach you guys lessons sometimes too."  (At this point Jacob has tears in his eyes too.)

This beautiful moment then moves to Jack saying, "Can I go listen to my story now?"  Because frameable parenting moments are like an old VHS that suddenly jumps to some old recording right as the music is swelling in the middle of a pivotal scene :)

I had to ignore the dishes and the overtired baby who is getting a bath upstairs and capture this sweet little Wednesday night moment. I love this little family of mine :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Baby :)

We are reveling in Luke's birthday week. It started with his Big Papa, Grammy, Aunt Kristen, and cousins Billy and Baby O(wen) coming to visit this weekend. Sunday was birthday party day with MeeMaw and Team Carlisle (4 friends all in one family!).
At Storyland
Luke was super excited about his cake with "booberries" and kept sneaking blueberries pre-cake time. The best part of the party was sitting out on the cold porch with Luke (who knew it would be cold in NOLA on March 12th) and enjoying our cake together. I made a Copycat Whole Foods Chantilly Cake and convinced 3 Whole 30 eaters to cheat and try the end result!

And now, today, our youngest child is 2. Deep breaths. Down hormones!

Jack and Cora decorated a birthday chair for Luke and each picked out an old toy to gift Luke.

Luke celebrated with a doctor's appointment and a birthday party at school.  We arranged for his love interest, Cate, to attend, along with Cora. Because we are all zinging off the chantilly cake leftovers, I made healthy banana muffins instead of cake but I don't think the little friends minded.

Birthdays are exhausting!

And how else does one celebrate a 2 year old's birthday? He loves pizza and the park, so that was our evening plan. We were reminded, yet again, how not relaxing it is to go to a restaurant with all of our kids. The park was a much better fit.

Our 2 year old thinks nothing is too hard for him now!

2 year old updates:
- The hitting is still happening!  The last two park outings have resulted in hitting other kids. But Sunday at Urban South, Luke came up to me and said "people sharing" and then walked over and started giving toys to another child. And he is doing better with being willing to say that he's sorry if he hits. One step forward, one step back!

- He's amusing us with a new I Love You routine. At some point, Luke started saying "I love you apple!" which may have been his version of Cora/Jack's "I love you infinity." One night Jacob kept saying back to him "No, I love you apple" to which Luke replied "I love you orange!"  This totally sums up Luke - he's a witty guy who knows how to be funny.  Now our "I love yous" sound like:

Luke: "I love you apple"
Jacob: "I love you banana"
Luke: "I love you orange"
Jacob: "I love you pineapple"
Luke....."I LOVE YOU APPLE" (he runs out of fruits and since he has no other word to offer, his best effort at winning the exchange is to raise his voice)

Luke rubs deodorant all over his "botty" every day. Oh Luke.
LUKE - you entertain us and amaze us and have softened our lives these last two years!

You make all of us smile and I hope you loved your birthday :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Luke's 23 for 23

1. I've written monthly paper or online diaries for Jack, Cora, and Luke up to the point they turned 2.  Which is next month for this little guy...

Valentine Descriptors
2. We love a lot of what Luke says.  Some of our favorites: "What DEWing Da-DEE?"
3. "I see it" and "Raight Dere!" (his most southern sounding phrase)
4. "I love you," "I love you more" and "I love you most" are how we amp up the I love you exchange.
5. Luke likes the sound of the word NO coming out of his mouth.  This is demonstrated by how he stretches this word into multi-syllables: NNNo!  NeeOH!
6. Luke reminded us this month that he's nearing his second birthday as he's become a hitter. For a while, I was the only lucky one getting slapped, but then it extended to the rest of the family and now to innocent bystanders.
7. Luke is so much fun to read with. One of his favorites now is God's Dream by Desmond Tutu.  What a beautiful book.  I love how into it both he and Cora are.  He obviously understands how people feel sad. He just hasn't connected that to hitting yet...

8. One of his first non-board book favorites is Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. I love growing into a book. There is so much going on in these stories but right now we are just noticing what's on the page. Luke likes to look for "tall, tall cranes."

9. The "tall, tall crane" interest came from driving a lot on Tchoupitoulas. He also likes the "big bidge" and also likes the "little bidge" on Jeff Davis.
10. Sometimes from the back seat, he randomly shouts out "Not Dat Way!"  ??
11. When you ask him where Daddy is, he usually say "burdy" or "Daddy burdy time.  Lukey burdy time?"
12. Books, books, and more books. We have "reading parties" which just is an extended books time where I both read to the kids and we read our own books to ourselves (talk about an aha moment!) Luke was invited to his first reading party this month though he's a bit of a distraction as he pretty much just wants you to read to him. He will accept Cora or Jack reading to him.

13. He's grown 4 inches in 4 months! We thought he was our more average height child but that may be changing.
14. His appetite is strong! This may have something to do with the growth spurt. He can out-eat Cora for sure.
15. He likes wearing his "sandal shoes" now that it's practically summer here.He inherited two matching pairs of size 6.5 brown sandals - one from Jack and one from cousin Billy.
16. He's increasingly opinionated. He's more of his own person each day.
17. Since it's taken me two weeks to write this blog, I'm getting more and more evidence about our hitting problem.  I got publicly slapped several times at a birthday party and then Luke hit two other kids at the park this morning. I think we are being consistent - we work toward making him show gentle hands toward the offended person and have him say that he's sorry. If it's egregious or if he's not willing to make amends we plop him in a time out spot with his back facing the rest of the room/group. He's usually willing to apologize (though there have been a few times where he just yells NO! and hits (usually me) again) but so far we haven't seen any change in behavior...
18. He HATES being reprimanded and usually bursts into tears so we know he doesn't enjoy being chastised but he's obviously very interested in exploring his power which right now is the power of the fist.
19. I ordered Hands are Not For Hitting today.
20. And now for some pictures.  Luke's 2nd Mardi Gras
We live on the best corner! Personal viewing stand at the Valence St. Baptist Church

Again, perfect corner! Luke loved his play spot and even napped!

Still a thumb sucker! He's way more chill than Cora was at this age! She was a crazy MG toddler!

21. Both of these boys are growing!
Cal (and also Theo) at 1; Luke at almost 2
22. I know my snuggly baby days with Luke are limited so I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Krewe d'Etat parade with a sleeping baby in my lap!

23. I asked Luke how old he was going to be on his birthday and he said "Too much!"  No joke! That about sums it up!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

22 for 22

22 Observations at 22 Months

1. This was the month of "I-uh-won't-to."  Translation "I don't want to."  Used liberally.  Tante Sara, you're in trouble.
2. Luke's karaoke sessions have changed from solely Twinkle Twinkle to "ABCDEFG" and Row Row Your Boat.
3. We now have 3 children with opinions in the car. Jack and Cora are serious about listening to "their story" (a book on CD) and now Luke yells "Listen-Song!" and "1moresongmommy" at every pause. Thankfully it doesn't matter what type of song.
4. Luke has learned how to yell. He saw a bowl of apple slices in the car that I had brought for Jack's after school snack and even though I repeatedly explained that they weren't for him he repeatedly yelled, "ONE...AP...PLE...MOM...MY!"
5. It is so interesting to see his personality emerge and to try to guess where it will lead us.  The Jack and Cora we know today definitely were showing up at this age (him: intense and focused interests and her: wide swings of emotions).  Luke is still very cute and very sweet a lot but he is also opinionated, independent, and determined as well.
6. Our new nighttime routine consists of him sitting in his little toddler armchair and me leaning my back against it and reading our 3 nightly books.  I ask "Do you want to read in Mommy chair or Yu-Yu chair?"  and he always says "Yu-yu chair"
7. We often call him Yu-Yu which is the shortened-by-Luke version of our other nickname for him: Looty-loo.
8. He can now tell me about his day.  "Luke, what did you do at school today?"  Luke: "Play Toya."  "Play Momica"  "Play Tuten" - this is Toya his teacher, Monica the center director, and Houston his main classmate.
9. Luke's class continues to be tiny with Houston, about 6 months older than Luke and "Charm Baby" as Luke calls her who seems like just a baby at 13 months.  Everyone at the center knows Luke and I'm so lucky to have such a caring extended family there.
10. Luke's current favorite books are: My World (I've fallen in love with this lesser known Margaret Wise Brown book), Mama's Milk, and Karen Katz lift-the-flap books.
11. I'm still proudly nursing a toddler and while I get how it could seem odd if you've never done it, you also don't know what you are missing. Nursing a young baby is such a labor of love and blood, sweat, and tears at times. Nursing a toddler is such a beautiful chapter. For a few minutes, a few times a day, we both slow down. He calms down and gets re-centered. I calm down (thank you oxytocin) and get to connect with my baby in my arms. Luke has been tickled to death by the book Mama's Milk, one that was in my LLL library. On the cover there is a mama cat nursing her kittens and Luke says "Kitty cat drink mama milk" and laughs :) Then he usually says "Lukey drink mama milk." I highly recommend the book - anything to normalize breastfeeding!
12. Luke now says "Big poopy" when he poops. If it's super uncomfortable he'll also say "Change!" but otherwise he hates having his diaper changed.
13.  He's peed on the potty 3 times, more than a month ago. We have a little potty in the bathroom but aren't pushing it.
14. His appetite is huge and we've discovered a love for pasta and noodle dishes.
15. He still swipes his plate/bowl off his high chair when he's done, so we have to be quick. Oatmeal, pasta, ice cream, none of these things are fun when they splatter.
16. One method for coming downstairs we named "hiney scoot" and now Luke frequently is heard descending the stairs saying "Hiney-SCOOT" with a cute little squeak.
17. He just started calling Jacob Daddy-Waddy though it sounds more like "DAH-dee-WAH-dee"
18. He got to turn forward in his carseat and we're all happier!
19. Jack now sometimes gets Luke out of his crib in the morning and so we sometimes get visited by Luke rather than having to get out of bed to go get him. So far this is only positive.
20. Luke loves Cora's friend Cate :)  A lightbulb went off that Luke might always be a fan of Cora's friends :)
21. Luke says tons of words but you have to work to distinguish some of them. I love a baby voice and totally encourage baby speak!
22. We love this blonder-each day baby!
Good job Mommy, you took just 2 pictures this month :(

Friday, December 30, 2016

21 observations at 21 months

1: Most often heard from Luke this month "I do!  I do!"
2: Still an avid reader and delighted in his new book Planes Go from Santa
3: Loves to do puzzles and will happily sit, dump, complete, repeat!
4: Is super into songs, is a cute little dancer, and has turned our nursing sessions into Karaoke sessions, stopping to request "Tinkle, Tinkle" multiple times
5: Can sing the words to "Tinkle Tinkle" Little Star
6: Other favorite songs: Oh Christmas Tree and We Wish You a Merry Christmas - these songs were heard A LOT during our 7 hour Christmas drive to North Alabama
7: His eczema is responding well to Cerave (steroid free) cream and I'm grateful for the recommendation!
8: He was 27 lbs at his 21 month visit, 3 POUNDS(!) less than Jack was at that age but 3 ounces more than Cora
9: He still sucks his thumb and loves him some blankie - his teachers call him Linus

10: He loves doggies and "meows" and benefits from the fact that his aunts have dogs
11: Jacob has been heard saying "I just don't want him to grow up" and we both continue to get doses of peace in our life from this sweet baby and we are so grateful for his presence in our family.

12: Jack and Cora were generous gift givers to him for Christmas. Cora made him pictures and bought him a fruit bar with her own money. Jack built his name out of LEGOs and wrapped up some of his old toys.

13: Luke got a new chair from Grammy/Big Papa for Christmas and an ukulele from MeeMaw that were both big hits
Jack and Luke reading in Luke's new armchair
14: Luke didn't express much interest in present opening. He opted to nap during Christmas at MeeMaws and on Christmas morning.
15: He still loves and needs sleep and I feel like I deprived him of some needed sleep over break but after one day of him napping 10-1 and then being awake while Cora/Jack rested, I said "this does not a restful holiday break make :)"
16: He's too young to sit through church which he showed us on both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services. Three kids in church is hard y'all!
17: We love talking to him. He has the sweetest way of responding "Yeah" when you ask him questions and he also likes to direct you by saying "Dat Way". We still think everything he says is adorable. He's an antidote to older children :)
18: But he's no angel. He's eaten a blue stamp, unrolled toilet paper, unspurled floss, dumped copious amounts of crayons, poured out our jar of cloves (multiple times) and other exciting exploits this last month.

19: He's learning a lot in his small little class and can "count" to 20 and "say" his ABCs with some skipping. The best part of it is his sweet little baby voice :)
20: He loves to play outside and to draw/paint.

21: He's blond, blue eyed, and oh-so soft and we all love him very much :)

Annual Celebration in the Oaks visit

Independent: climbs the rope barrier to find a comfortable spot under the lights

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Lucky # 7

Wow. This growing up bit is some real crazy stuff! I tried a little exercise this week of looking at Jack and trying to connect his big boy self to my memories of his brand new baby self or the little guy I see in the pictures on my wall. It was hard if not impossible.

First, let me document that Jack's 7th birthday had some definite mood swings, grumpiness, and rude behavior. How charming. He'd been planning for days to stay up until 8:38 p.m., his official moment of birth. Well by 8:33 p.m., I was torn between wanting to yell him up to bed "right now!" and not wanting any part of sending my birthday boy to bed in tears. We held out and the day ended well. In fact, I was snuggling with him and Cora in a twin bed (something we are definitely past as we could hardly fit) and Jack whispered in my ear "I love you.  I'm sorry I was kinda rude today." Bells chimed! My sweet boy! It all ended so well! But the happy ending was brief as the rudeness was back the next morning. 

How do I describe Jack at 7?

He's our earliest riser. 

He almost always enters our room in the morning with a book in hand.  He usually also has his clothes in hand as he knows the routine and can be counted on to follow it. He may grumble, but he's our rule follower child. 

Those clothes will NOT have any buttons on them or else he will be stomping in and full on snarling at us. "I hate buttons.  I will NOT wear buttons" are things we've heard often. On his "rage" list at school buttons was near the top.

Buttons can be negotiated for Sundays and very special occasions only
He asks to have the biggest bowl of oatmeal in the morning and is always open to eating more. I think he'd probably always be eating if we didn't set limits.

That's not an exaggeration. When out of close supervision + under lenient rules at his birthday play date, he ate somewhere between 7-9 satsumas + 2 grilled cheeses + dessert.

He's a hard working first grader known for his passion for a topic. He loves to read and is very independent according to his teacher, happy to follow his own interests. He loves getting to work on an iPad at school and likes to share work with us through the SeeSaw app.

At Big Papa and Grammy's house, he discovered the newspaper.
Numbers come easily to him and he gets great practice at adding during his solo football games in the driveway. He is always up to go outside and play two teams in his head, running back and forward, intercepting, passing, kicking field goals and bursting inside to update me on the score.

He's a football aficionado and has an impressive knack for recounting stats. He loves to watch full football games on the weekend but he doesn't like to cheer for the home team. Meaning he cheers for whoever the Saints are playing.

He's always interested in having me or Jacob play with him. First born. Soccer, chess, Monopoly, or football? Want to play? *For the record, I have designated Jacob as the chess player. I prefer driveway soccer and Monopoly.
I made him baseball figures for his birthday present.
In the car, Jack loves to have headphones on and be listening to a book on CD. Recent favorites have been Mary Poppins, Bunnicula!, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and Peter Pan.

We have an orange tree in bloom. Could life be any better for Jack?

It is World War Jack &Cora. We have resorted to a sticker chart to try to draw attention to the need to be both more agreeable and more kind to our sibling. In week 1, Jack earned 17 stickers for being agreeable....and 1 for being kind to Cora. Cora was right there with him: 14 for being agreeable and 1 for being kind to Jack. That about sums things up.
A reading detente
Jack is a voracious reader. He goes through several chapter books a week and starts and ends his days reading. He's read the full Magic Tree House and A to Z Mystery series and many Jake Maddox sports books. He worked through the first 9 chapters of Harry Potter before putting that very difficult book aside for now. He's reading his third Who Was/Is... biography and I sense a new series match. He still loves to have a Reading Party (ending the day with a pile of books in our bed and the chance to both read and be read to.)

He's been a major confessor to me this fall. There was a period where I felt like his priest as he seemed to feel the need to share every thought he'd had and nudge he'd given throughout the day. A friend helped remind me how special this was and I do love how close we are and how much he trusts me.

Medically, his heart is great and he's overall a healthy guy. His struggle these past 2 years has been his sinuses. We are switching to a new ENT to see if we can figure out a way to clear up his constant congestion.

Jack is smart, sensitive, curious, focused, passionate, energetic, and hopefully will still be willing to be my baby for quite a while longer.

Luke is lucky to have Jack as his big brother.
I hope # 7 gives you the luckiest, happiest year yet buddy.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Luke is 20 Months!

It's a crazy week, but I've got to capture my baby boy at his latest milestone.

  • This was the month of "Noooo!" and of a child learning to stand his ground in the world. I actually saw my sweet baby shove another child when he thought his snack was about to be infringed upon. Luke knows when he does wrong and gets quite distraught if he gets yelled out (full on tears!). He knows we expect him to show "gentle hands" if he uses rough hands with any of us. He's usually willing to make amends unless he's so broken hearted by our reprimand that he must be scooped up and loved. Ah, the life of the baby :)
What?  I can do no wrong, right?
  • He's such an avid reader! I'm so proud to be batting 3 for 3 with fostering a love of reading in my kids. I think Luke has quite sophisticated tastes for a 20 month old and knows characters' names (his favorite right now is "Low-y-low" which is Lowly Worm, a Richard Scarry character. He selects his own books before bed and even though we read 3 he always wants "wuh moh". I pick books for him at the library and so we have a revolving and impressive amount of board books that stay scattered around his room.

  • He loves to be outside. He's all over the driveway and yard, saying hi to the ducks/chickens, pushing his cars around, dragging a shovel or a rake, and just being cute. He comes in very dirty!

  • He loves "babbles" which is what he calls babies and I know he's going to love spending time with his baby cousin Owen over Thanksgiving. He also loves Cora's friends - he likes to repeat their names and he likes to join in their play.
  • Even though Ms. Larita is no longer his main classroom teacher, she is still his love and he must start his day by going into her classroom and getting a hug. He also knows the street where his school is located and when we pass it, he calls out "E-ya!" which is what he calls her.
  • He loves "pe-pah" and "pe-pul" (pizza and pretzels) and still loves fruits, especially apples and bananas. He still starts and ends his day with "mah-mil" and usually nurses one other time each day.
We're currently spending 9 days together on a big road trip to South Carolina and I'm enjoying the leisure time watching this cute little guy continue to explore his world.

Purple and Gold Day

Looking so cute at my Tata's wedding

He's like a real kid now :)

We achieved Princess Leia and her brother Luke Skywalker!  Jack abandoned his initial plans to be Kylo Ren and was a very proud LSU football player.