Friday, June 23, 2017

Boy Updates: Jack at 7.5 and Luke at 2 and a Quarter

It is so cool to be raising two little boys. This idea never really entered my mind growing up in a family with an older brother and two younger sisters and having mainly aunts. Sisters was what I knew and I didn't have an immediate example of what brothers were like.

Now I do! At the moment, I have a BIG boy who we affectionately call our Labrador because his size, energy levels, and coordination resemble a big and friendly puppy :) And I have my baby boy who still has that soft, squishy baby quality that I cannot snuggle enough! There is a 5+ year age gap between them so I'm not seeing them so much as brothers than as a big kid who is awfully sweet and gentle with his littlest sibling. Luke, for his part, adores both Jack and Cora.

So what's Jack like at 7.5?

  • Avid, avid reader - most mornings Luke's cries wake me and I'll go to his room and see that Jack's light is already on and he's reading in his bed. He had met two summer reading goals by the end of May and has set a personal goal to double/triple, etc. the 2017-page NOLA library goal.  He's at 5,000+ at the moment. 
  • He's persistently persistent.  Case in point: he read the first three Harry Potter books this spring and then immediately wanted to read the 4th. I checked my Commonsensemedia resource and it says there is a definite darker shift in the 4th book. (I've not read the series.) So I said no that he'd need to wait until he was older. About an hour later he asked again. And the next day and the next day and the next day. And then he started negotiating. And he's darn good at that! So pretty soon I had agreed that if he reread the first three then we could start the fourth one together. I wasn't sure if he'd fully comprehended the first three so I thought it would be a good test. In the end he amended his original negotiation to swap out two other books for HP1 and 2 and then he read those books and HP3 in one week. So now it's June and he's reading the 4th book. While I'd love to read all the time, I can't, which means he's reading the 4th one to himself and I'm occasionally checking in with "Is it scary yet?"  #mediocreparenting
  • Back to the avid reading, amidst HP4 chapters, he's read about 30 other books this week. His new favorite spot is to read on the porch. The only downside to all of this reading is that he's less interested in snuggling up for a read aloud book BUT he does enjoy a "reading party" (which means that we are all reading in one space), so that for sure is a win.
  • He is loving baseball season. At age 7, he's not entirely coordinated but he's super into the rules of the game and he's very motivated to practice. Oftentimes, he is throwing a ball against the fence in the driveway. He had the best night of his life when he got to go to an 8:30 game and, due to a shortage of players, got to play catcher AND 3rd base. That child held his glove up and caught a line drive to third earning himself the game ball. He was positively beaming the rest of the night :)
  • Just like a Labrador, he loves to wrestle and race and, when not reading, is happiest to be running around in open spaces.
  • He spends a lot of time on his bike in our driveway or playing sports games in our driveway. He'd always be up for a play date, so if you're reading this and have a 5-9 year old, give me a call!
  • He thrives in structure and has fully embraced the Camp Landry schedule. When I got lax on day 5 of Camp Landry, he stepped in and wrote the schedule for us.

  • He is a great patient and rocked some sinus surgery in early June. After a year of trying every suggestion and ruling out a bunch of things, we opted to have his ENT widen his sinuses and remove his adenoids to hopefully stop the persistent sinus infections that are his norm.  

and baby Luke at 2 years 3 months?
  • He's still so snuggly!  He calls snuggles "nuggles" and asks for them....sigh.
  • He's still drinking "mama milk" but now just 2 times a day which he's adjusted to. I weaned Cora at 2 years 6 months...
  • He had a potty breakthrough this weekend. We've been stressing how he CANNOT pee or poop in his swimsuit and at the pool he said, "pee pee coming!!!" so I walked him to some grass and took off his diaper. I then told him to make the pee pee come out to which he looked down and said "Pee pee come out!" Which was hilarious as nothing happened. Then he actually peed! And then 30 minutes later the whole scenario repeated itself and he peed again. Milestone! (Followed by a week of no more milestones!)
  • He's a destructive force. He dumps things out, swipes things off tables, and if he's mad, he'll throw things as a way of showing you've hurt his feelings. He has (and always has had) a really bad habit of dumping his plate on the floor when he's done. This week he dumped out a bowl of chili. This landed him straight in his crib which just broke his heart. He definitely knows when he's done something wrong and usually will tearfully say "I torry!" and rub your face gently. You can't stay mad at him for long!
We have a sensory bin and what started as such a sweet activity ended up in a HUGE MESS - Luke!!!!
  • He loves to read just as much as Jack and Cora. He's sitting through longer and longer stories and I think he's so smart (and of course I'm not biased.) Jack really wanted Luke to participate in the summer reading challenge too, so I'm managing Luke's log for him which brings to light how many books he asks for in a day.

  • I thought Luke would love Vacation Bible School this year. As a 2 year old, he was going to get to pop into some actual classes rather than just stay in the nursery. He had been loving hearing the "Bible Tool Songs" but I underestimated his attachment to me. I was the director/emcee and anytime he would see me, he'd start sobbing and couldn't be consoled. So I had a little shadow much of the week. This was especially cute the day he wore a super hero cape and I had a little caped figure flying after me every time I changed locations. This worked fine and he did participate some and rocked out on the dance moves!

  • Luke and I have a game where I'll say "I'm looking around for my favorite Looty-loo and then I'll dramatically look around before finding him right in front of me and say "There he is!" At which point, he'll say "I looking round..favrite Mommy....Dere is!" Here he is looking for me in the trash can :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cora at FIVE

The night before Cora's birthday I decided I needed to savor my last night with 4 year old Cora and carry her to pee (we always walk her to the potty before we go to bed) and nearly threw my back out doing so because somehow my kids are all getting really, really big!!

Cora is still filling up rooms with her sunshine and energy and causing seismic tremors with her lows.  Jacob is constantly saying "she's a piece of work" and generally means this as a compliment!  She's such an exuberant, insightful, emotionally charged, beautiful little girl and we are frequently left stunned by her strong being.

These days, Cora is most likely to be found coloring and/or listening to an audio book on CD.  She can entertain herself for long stretches artfully coloring symmetrical pictures.  You might also find her with lots of small, not-typically-found-together items playing an imaginative game by herself.  In those moments, it's likely that she's got 2-5 pieces of costume wear on and oftentimes a headband worn 1970's style around her head, not at all holding her hair back.

One benefit of being the middle child is that you have a playmate both above and below you.  In the rare moments when Jack and Cora are able to put aside their differences, they can band together to ride bikes in the driveway and play super hero games.  Or you might bump into Harry Potter and Harry Potter's sister also named "Harry" (Cora's idea).  More often, Cora and Luke are running around, laughing or Luke is a prop in Cora's play (and loving every minute of it he is.)

Cora is social and fun to be around.  She has deep relationships, most especially with her former classmate Milo.  They met at age 2 and were tight little buddies the two years they were in class together.  They weren't in school together the last year but have kept their parents motivated to get them together because every time they play it's for happy, independent hours of imagination.  Cora also has made some other good friends through Waldorf this year and will get to move into the role of Mother Hen next year as she becomes a Sunflower (the second year of Waldorf Kindergarten).  Many of her classmates will be younger and her teacher noted how this will play to Cora's strengths.  She is patient and nurturing and also likes to lead in play, should work great!

Cora is our brown skinned, wild and curly haired, bright eyed child who can be so insightful and mature at times.  She operates best when well rested.  We achieved a major milestone this year as she now sleeps in either Jack's or her room and 90% of the time in a bed and not on the floor.  This ended a 1.5 year stretch of her moving to her "floor bed" in our room every night.  We try to get her to take 2 naps a week to keep her rested but that means signing on to an evening with a child who will still be awake when we go to bed.  This works pretty well though as she is independent and imaginative and is usually happy to play alone upstairs.

She still shatters like glass quite suddenly.  It oftentimes feels unexpected but definitely is more apt when she's tired or it's the afternoon of a no-nap day.  It's a jarring experience as she can be so upbeat one minute and literally a sobbing mess on the floor the next.  She can also get upset about the most irrational things.  She is the upbeat child in the backseat one minute and is kicking and screaming the next because we just affirmed the fact that her birthday was 5 weeks away.  Or the moment on her birthday when my happy, upbeat child all the sudden collapsed in the middle of the sidewalk because she didn't like that her birthday party was the next day and it was only family coming to her "birth day party" (something she had envisioned in her mind) that night.  I have a hard time in this type of moment because it is so irrational and out of the blue!!

Cora doesn't like to be told no and she can be easily offended.  But in true Cora style, she will also be completely happy 2 minutes later and doesn't show any sign of the storm clouds that just blew through.  She forgives and loves and definitely doesn't hold a grudge.

Not having her in our family would be like not having bright light.  It can overwhelm you at times but it makes everything so much more beautiful.  We are really lucky to be learning how to parent with this special girl.