Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reasons to love Jack, Cora, and Luke

There are many but these are reasons from this week!


- Jack loves, loves our weekly library trip and had read 4 full books, including a chapter book, within hours of getting home.  Jacob bought him a clip on light for his bunk bed so he doesn't kill his eyes with his late night reading.

- We are working on responsibility right now and after a complete fail on Monday morning being ready for his carpool ride, Jack rocked it on Tuesday, bounding into our room at 6:30am fully dressed and with his bed already made.  He even had put his socks by the stairs.

- In the Waldorf Kindergarten, each child has a symbol that labels their chair, drawing book, cubby, etc.  I saw Cora's symbol was a purple flower but I didn't recognize the flower.  When we were in the grocery store, I asked Cora if she could point out her flower. She said, "Oh I asked Ms. Heidi the name, my symbol is a Never Forget Me" :) :)  We've said the correct name several times but it's not sticking.  To Cora, the flower is still a "Never Forget Me."

- Tonight, in an impromptu sports session on the porch, Cora said "I'm the Saints!" then proceeded to grab a baseball bat, hit a wiffle ball as if it was a golf ball, and then yelled "Goal!"

- Luke now grabs my legs and lays his head on my legs or in my lap.  :) :)  His hugs are the best.

- Luke's bedtime routine continues to be the highlight of my day. He's so sweet, so cute, and so entirely into every element of the routine from commanding "Yight!" for me to turn on the lamp to "Door!" to make sure the door is shut, "book!" until we've read all 3 of his books, and "Dat" and pointing to exactly where he wants to sit/be or what he needs.  He cracks me up.

- When I was putting Luke down tonight, we hear a crash and Cora wailing downstairs.  Luke stops nursing and says "Tota!" So we went down to check on her together.  I love to see his awareness and empathy developing.

I love these three.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Jack Landry, 1st Grader

We are very proud of our quickly growing biggest boy.  We can't believe we have a child who is old enough to be missing his two front teeth and who is in the first grade!

1st day of 1st Grade assignment: bring in your favorite book - yes, this is a 1980's edition, thanks Uncle Chris!

Of course in this Kindergarten pic, he now looks so young to me!

4.5 - Waldorf Kindergarten Year

3.5 - Waldorf Nursery Year Two

2.5 - Waldorf Nursery Year One

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cora - growing up!

My memory is that Cora's back to school pictures from last year were similar to this year's - that she hadn't changed that much.  Well a quick look back tells me I'm wrong!  Here's the evidence!
4 years - August 2016 - LONG legs!

LONG hair!
3 years - August 2015 - look at that sweet baby chub!
Add caption
2 years - August 2014
Those curls!
14 months - August 2013

Monday, August 15, 2016

17 Months!

Our gentle baby is easing us into the toddler stage. There are moments now where I see the little kid that is emerging but still many more moments where he remains our snuggly baby.

There are lots of cute and fun things to share about Luke this month!

- He loves to go outside and will be by the door with his shoes at the mention of the word. He likes to swing, be pushed around in the little fire truck or on his "bike" and he's figuring out how to get up our slide. He loves the ducks still and walks over yelling "Ey Duh!" and now insists on helping carry and dump their scraps.
Vigorous pushing from brother Jack

- He loves Ms. Larita his infant teacher who spends part of her day in his new toddler room.  Stop the presses but this mama's boy actually cried to leave Ms. Larita one day recently and REACHED OUT OF MY ARMS TO GO BACK TO HER. My pride was hurt but for Ms. Larita, who has so abundantly loved my baby, I can take it! We are in the ridiculously sweet situation of a 4 child classroom with 2 rotating teachers who are awesome. I know Luke loves having a space where everything is age appropriate and fun and not a constant whir of "no", "not that", "No, Luke", "No!" like our house can sometimes feel!

Big boy off to school
- He still loves his mama's milk now referred to as "mah mih" which is his quicker way of saying mama milk but which also cutely sounds like he's personalizing his supply.

Celebrating with Tante Sara at her shower, the only boy allowed!
- He still loves to sleep and is that rare toddler still happily taking two daily naps at 17 months.

- His blankie. We had 3 versions but somehow lost one. That leaves one home blankie and one school blankie. This has obvious challenges.When Luke got a 24 hour stomach bug and threw up all over his blankie we tried to offer replacements and he just gave us these quiet and insistent head shakes. He wasn't a happy camper until reunited with clean blankie several hours later.

What's New and Notable
- Luke says "Mine!" loudly. My hypothesis is not that he picked this up from anyone else but that he divined the necessary word to compete in his world. Jack and Cora often take things from him (usually because they are trying to keep him safe) but he's learning to speak up. Since he's still our baby, we still find the "mine" shrieks cute.

- Lots of new words: "down," "knock-knock," "hot!" (which he says both for food and the weather), "boy", "no," "more", and "all done!"  The last two he both signs and says loudly, along with "wawa!" to help keep us informed of where he's at in his mealtime.  He calls himself "babble" for baby and that's one of those babyisms that we promote and say right back to him.  For Jack, I remember we said "nummy" for "another" bc we thought it sounded so cute when he said it. And we still call oatmeal "yum-yum" around here.

- Jacob worked hard to teach Luke "I love you." This past weekend Luke called out "I lub-ew" unprompted as I was walking out of his room. Heart melting moment for mommy :) He also blows kisses when you prompt him to say goodbye.

Daddy Attack or Attack Daddy?
- Luke is a head shaker. Whenever there is something suggested he doesn't like, he just vigorously and (usually) silently shakes his head. It's really cute!  I actually was mimicking him to Jacob and pulled something in my neck that hurt for days...
The day Luke broke a plate, drew with a green marker on his face, and tracked poop around when his diaper malfunctioned :)

For some reason, we weren't even mad at him :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

If ever there were a time to talk politics...

You've heard the saying there are certain things you just don't bring up with family and friends. Politics is on that list. But if there was ever a time where frank talk was needed and subjects addressed head on, I'd say that time was now!

Of course we each have the right to our own opinion. But just because our opinions differ, I'm not sure that means we should just ignore important subjects. As grown-ups, we should be confident enough to listen to opposing views and mature enough to do so politely.

And I think we have an obligation to share our thinking when it matters. And who we elect for our next President matters a lot. As a parent of three precious, innocent, young lives, I feel great responsibility.

So I'm talking politics, friends!

I watched some of the Republican National Convention last week and saw Donald Trump accept his nomination. And it scared me. Rather than proposing any way forward, I heard only scare tactics and verbal attacks. And I have been horrified and dismayed to read and watch his comments about all kinds of people over the last year. This is not a man who should lead our country. A vote for Donald Trump would be a vote for a more hateful America and who wants that? I know our children don't deserve that.

Last night I watched the opening night of the Democratic National Convention and heard Michelle Obama speak.

I get that there are lots of awesome people who could never have imagined voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and now aren't quite sure what to do.

If you are undecided or conflicted about how you will vote in November, please watch Michelle Obama's heartfelt speech as a mother and as someone who gets the responsibility of the office of President.

It's an excellent use of 15 minutes!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

16 Months: World traveler and all that

So, without asking our permission, Luke is now 16 months! Judging by his happy demeanor, I'd say he has loved this last month of life.

The month started with lazy days at home together.  This gave him lots of time to nap in his own bed where he continues to prove himself to be a child who loves sleep! He still takes twice daily naps usually lasting a total of 4 hours or more and sleeps a solid 11+ hours at night!

Then there was the New York City trip!

Luke and I flew to NYC and met up with my mom who watched him while I attended the Teacher's College Summer Reading Institute. The conference was great as was the special dynamic of time with my mom and time with my baby. We all enjoyed each other's company. *Luke did show us that he's not always a perfect sleeper as he would just stand and grin at us from his pack n play until we eventually turned out all lights and the TV around 9:30 each night. So much for staying up to watch a movie!

  • Luke and I then admirably handled parting from each other on the street in NYC as he drove away (unbuckled, sitting in my mom's lap) in a taxi to the airport. My anxiety levels decreased each time I heard he'd safely made it to the next destination. My mom further proved herself an amazing grandma as she donned the Ergo and took Luke on the taxi, two flights, a long layover, and an hour drive home. Go Grammy! And Go Luke as he's proven to be a much easier flying companion than his big sister Cora!
  • Luke then got to experience life as both the only child AND the only grandchild staying with my parents for 3 days while the big kids, Jacob, and I enjoyed a weekend vacation in NYC and while Luke's cousins were also out of town. Every third child/fourth grandchild should get to experience being solo at some point!  My parent's awesome one floor house and huge suburban yard tipped Luke over from half walker-half crawler into full time walker. There have been Owen babies toddling around that house for nearly 60 years at this point!
  • Then there were a few days of pure chaos when 5 grandkids descended on my parents' house, ages ranging from 5 weeks to 6 years. Luke got to meet baby Owen who, at 14 months younger, will undoubtedly be Luke's great friend one day.  This was a super helpful experiment because my baby sister is getting married in September in Wyoming and we all realized we are going to need an on call babysitter if the adults want to actually be able to have a conversation!
Luke and Owen
Grammy with all her grandkids minus Luke who was napping
I flew home alone with 3 kids!  All went smoothly except that unplanned 2 hours sitting on the runway bc of weather!

Luke then returned to his home, his crib, and his ducks and is very happy to be here. Now that he's a full time walker he's really discovering our outside space. When I say "Luke, do you want to put on your shoes and go outside" I can expect to find him standing by the door with shoes or "zuh" in hand.

There have been so many sweet moments of the month. The best has been Luke's habit of laying his head on my shoulder multiple times during the day - not just when he's tired. It's his way of reconnecting with me and I LOVE IT!

We still have our nightly routine of saying good night and touching special things in his room and he's back to letting me lay him down and blowing me a kiss as I leave. Jacob and I've talked about weaning him from his before bed feeding just so Jacob can get in on this sweet routine.

He's still nursing 4 times most days, but I can see how we'll be at 3 feedings soon. I consider these the glory days of nursing. It's easy, convenient, and the sweetest point of connection between the two of us.

Luke is officially the third Landry lover of books (or I guess the fifth). We read three books any time I'm putting him down for nap or nighttime and he'd be happy to read more. A lot of his language development has solidified through the things he sees in his favorite books. Our favorite new words:
  • animal sounds!  He can do a duck, dog, cat, cow, sheep, bee, snake, and lion.  And he's the world's gentlest lion, such a sweet little snarl.
  • "how" for house, "eh" for egg (both in a book and the ones we retrieve daily from the chicken coop), "Papa" for Big Papa (who after his visit Luke will now name when he sees his picture), "tar" for the star on his favorite blankets, which he drags around after him :)
And Luke conquered his fear of elevators.  Yes, apparently it's possible for babies to have such fears because Luke always got very anxious, squirmy, and whiny when we'd ride the elevator at the doctor's office, but after our New York week, he would point to the hotel room door at the mention of getting to ride the elevator, excited to try it again.

His appetite is also much better this month and he's been trying new dishes: lasagna, red beans and rice, okra, and cream of wheat while still randomly holding out on some foods (no peaches, canteloupe, pineapple, or much meat as of late.)

This whole family is so thankful for such a sweet and gentle child to love and experience all the first with!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sibling Rivalry


I am DETERMINED to figure out some good strategies for dealing with the siblings at war sibling rivalry in our house right now! As best as I can remember, Jack and Cora seemed to turn on each other around the time Luke was born.That may be oversimplifying things but I remember checking out the book Siblings Without Rivalry last May... and I can read some awful sweet posts about Jack & Cora pre-Luke.

The Good Old Days
A third child arrives, the older two subconsciously decide they must take down their fellow-child sibling because the baby is too cute to compete with? Do they sense there is only enough air/space/love in the family for two?

What does sibling rivalry look like at the Landry household?

- Pictures from Jack always addressed to "Mommy, Daddy and Luke"
- A frantic fight (often with tears) about whose turn it is to sit next to Luke at meals; it doesn't seem to matter that we offered a "fair" rotating schedule, it is always a moment of high drama. We hear things like "But that's NOT FAIR. Now Cora gets to sit by him two times today and I only get to sit by him once!"
- Me: "Who wants to go wake up Luke?" No immediate response. "I do," says Cora. "I do!" shouts Jack and two children come barreling by me trying to get there first. Screams heard from the child who does not make it first.
- Cora walks up and slaps Jack. Disbelief and tears from Jack.
- Jack is playing a card game and Cora purposefully walks across his cards. Righteous anger from Jack.
- Cora (who sits in the seat by the van door): "Let me get out first Jack." Jack rips his seat belt off and bolts to the door half landing on her lap. Screams; tears.

I thought it was bad a month ago but we were on such a roller coaster that I felt sure once we were all on summer vacation and life slowed down that the ample servings of attention they'd each receive would cure all our ills.

Ha. Ha.

What actually happened was that we were all home together for many, many hours. What this meant was that all the above instances had about 500 more minutes of opportunity to happen in new and inventive ways.

Our strand of sibling rivalry evidently is NOT a result of a lack of attention. I have spent a ton of quality time with these guys in the last month and the rivalry has only gained steam.

And while I know Luke's entry into the family is somehow related, he also sleeps for as many as 7 of Jack and Cora's 13 waking hours. There is a ton of time when it's just the two of them splitting mine or Jacob's attention.

I know this is normal. I also think it has a lot to do with their ages and learning how to play well with someone 2.5 years older/younger than you.

But I still NEED to figure out how to mollify the angst because it's stressing ME out!!

So what is my plan?

I borrowed the book Siblings Without Rivalry again and have been carrying it around for two months unopened. I need to read it.

I remember from the first time I read this book that the parent has to extricate herself from the bickering, blaming, negotiating, leaving the kids to sort things out on their own as often as possible. I swear I'm trying but I need to figure out a way to do this more effectively.

I've started drawing a "kindness column" each day (8 or 9 empty boxes that lead to a more excitedly drawn box). Jack and Cora are both intrigued and don't even care that there is no clear reward. I've been noticing the acts of kindness I do see. Today they got to color in 3 boxes. Here were those good moments:

  • On our walk today, Jack patiently helped Cora walk around a dead bird when I'd given up on her and had walked away :)  
  • When Cora stopped to empty her shoe in the middle of an (empty) intersection, I look up to find that Jack has stopped and has his hand held out to the empty street in a stop signal to ward off any oncoming traffic :)
  • Cora sweetly ran off to get Luke a new blanket and quietly shut his door before his nap. :)
My Goal: Lessen the yelling and bickering (which is stressful on us all), help them see the fun and enjoyable qualities in the other, cement in their minds that our family is a team.

Goal: More of this!

I'll report back!