Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brain dump

Time marches on. I guess a quarterly update is a big improvement over my recent rate of blog entries. Our trio of rascals is quite a handful. They are a tightknit bunch, even at these young ages. I thought I'd dump an update out of my brain. Took so long, very little editing is going to happen. :)

Hayden (nearly 7 years old)-
Hayden is having a wonderful 1st grade year. He adores his teacher and is thriving in her class. He loves the academic challenges of having a homework packet that covers the whole week and the control he can exercise over how much to complete each day, the timed "math skills" quizzes he takes each week, and her phenominal positive reinforcement/reward system that prevades every aspect of her class on and individual and team basis.

When on the playground, his favorite sport is tetherball, alternated (on a very specific schedule he created) with kickball. We get long, detailed explanations of the rules and finer points of tetherball. Hayden is eagerly awaiting the magical day Logan enters 1st grade, thereby earning access to the Big Yard and ready to have the Secrets of Tetherball revealed like ancient wisdom passed down by older brothers. He is also playing baseball in the Pinto division again.  We are so proud of the consistent improvement he makes by applying his attention and practice to the game. Another favorite pastime continues to be having his nose buried in a book. It's not uncommon for him to find time over the weekend to relax on his bed with a new story for an hour or so. We make sure Logan respects that time, despite his constant need for interaction.

Hayden is a good big brother to Logan, with all the bickering that comes with siblings close in age. However, he is absolutely wonderful with Sutton. He is so caring and fun with that baby, it's hard to believe he isn't even 7 years old yet. He shows a high level of responsibility for the baby, very rarely showing any sign of impatience. I've often heard people talk about the bond between the oldest and youngest and we will definitely have to be mindful the keep Logan feeling enmeshed in this dynamic. Hayden continues to be very sweet and flattering, often telling me I'm "The Best Mommy in the Whole World."

One thing that is new this year is a sense of self consciousness and fear of being teased. Kids his age already do that and he makes much effort to avoid it. It breaks my heart to think of him being teased, yet I know it is one of life's harder lessons. It doesn't seem to happen particularly often, and we try to talk to him and give him tools to handle typical playground smack.

Logan (5 1/2 years old)-
Logan loves being in kindergarten. He has made so many new friends and shown a huge leap in maturity in just the last few months. He catches on to academic concepts quickly, and his penmanship was held up as an example of how nicely a boy can write. He also talks CONSTANTLY in class and it is difficult to get him to stay on task. When it comes to doing his homework, it is no different. Just getting a pencil and sitting down is a project, and we are working on a sticker chart/reward system to get this in line. We are starting to see some improvement as he realizes the benefits of making the right choices, but it is an uphill battle. Despite our belief in strict discipline, we don't want him feeling bad all the time, so are  trying make sure to frequently "catch him being good" and praise, praise, praise!

He remains such a great helper, seeking out ways to participate in household chores with me. He still needs so much physical affection and snuggling and is a very sensitive soul. Lately, when he hurts himself, he immediately gets mad that nobody cares about him, but doesn't actually give us a chance to ask if he is ok. This has been a tough year on him and we see it come out in different ways. Until about a week ago, he was still coming into bed with me a couple times a week to snuggle.

He is very protective of Sutton, loves to play with him, but more likely to get a little annoyed. Logan remains an early riser, which I suspect will never change. So long as he learns not to wake the neighborhood, or even our house, we will be very happy. Despite rising so early, he wakes up chipper as can be, singing and dancing, an irrepressible ray of singing sunshine. He is also playing baseball in the Shetland division. We've seen great strides from him already this season with him really improving his skills. Once he focuses, he does great. Although the boys both chose baseball over soccer, I sometimes feel like soccer would be better. All that time sitting in the dugout or on the field gets boring for a little kid!

Sutton (9 months)- Adorable. He is absolutely adorable. Sutton continues to be more charming everyday. He has a way of singling someone out, then engaging them in laughter and fun noises. Whether it is me or Fillip chasing him around the kitchen counter yelling "Peek a Boo!" around each bend, or cracking up at his brothers' antics in the car, he is truly a little bundle of pure joy. He cruises all over the place, briefly letting go to move to something else, or sitting down in a controlled balanced movement. He walks with a pushtoy, much to his delight. He will even walk with us holding just one hand. Because he fell backward and bumped his head the first couple times he stood independently, he is very cautious about that. Fine by me as I don't need my 9 month old walking! Playing in his brothers' room is  a favorite pastime. There's all kinds of interesting stuff in there! Pushing little cars around is fun, but nothing compares to obtaining a real phone or television remote. If he sees one nearby, he will do everything in his power to reach it, straining, stretching, going on tiptoes...whatever he can to get it. It's very funny to watch such a tiny person with so much determination.

Last month he gave up his late night meal and now goes to bed around the same time as the other boys. This makes bedtime a bit hectic, but frees up the evening. He still takes 2-3 naps each day, with the longest one being in the late morning if we are home. If we are out, he rarely sleeps even if it means staying up all day long. He has to be pretty zonked to sleep in public, and it is usually just a powernap. He flirts endlessly with the other parents at school pickup and has a reputation for his beaming smiles and sparkling blue eyes. He is an excellent eater, having never refused anything until yesterday. Peas were definitely not acceptable. That was clear. Today I saw him clapping, but he still doesn't do it on cue. He does know where everyone's noses are, although when that game began, he thought any nose was the one on Fillip's face. Where's Logan's nose? He'd look for Fillip. That's been straightened out, but I can't seem to teach him his own nose.

For awhile now he has really enjoyed storytime. About 3 months ago, we were on the couch and his Goodnight Moon book was behind me. He crawled up me and grabbed it from over my shoulder. Then he handed it to me and settled back down into my lap, clearly "asking" for a story. He listened to the entire book. I said to Fillip "Did he just ask for a story." Fillip- "Um...yeah. I think he did." He still loves that book, and gets a big grin as soon as he hears the first couple lines. He loves to turn the pages and look at the book every which way. Often, he will sit on the couch when I read to the others, but usually gets restless and disruptive after a few minutes.

Yesterday he discovered the kitchen trashcans. Today he discovered how to open the oven warming drawer. Yikes. He is into everything! No teeth yet, which is fine by this nursing mommy. Once he gets tired, he likes to snuggle in our arms for a few minutes before going to sleep. I think Fillip puts him to sleep before putting him in his crib. I put him down awake, and he falls asleep pretty quickly. However, last weekend while in Lake Tahoe, I put him down for his nap and he tricked me. He cried for a few minutes, then quieted down as usual. When I went in awhile later, he was just sitting quietly playing with a toy! He adores his brothers more than anyone, and giggles endlessly at their silliness. When they are at school, Doris the Dog is a weak substitute, although today they were playing tug-o-war with her rope toy. It was unbelievably cute.

Doris- Oh yeah. We got a dog. Not my brightest idea, but it does make me more secure when Fillip isn't home. She is very sweet, is learning some manners, very trainable, and a total pain in my ass. But..did I mention she is sweet? So, at least she's got that goin' for her. She's a 2 year old pound puppy with great potential.

Mary Kay- I'm still plugging along with my Mary Kay business. Finding a work/parent/wife balance is extremely challenging. Time management even more so. However, when I find the time to put into it, the rewards are immediate and I truly enjoy it. I'm working toward earning my first free car this summer, with Directorship shortly after that. Free facial anyone? Seriously...anyone? :)

General- In the last few months  we enjoyed Chanukah with family and friends, celebrated New Year's at home with some ridiculously sticky silly string, made it through 3 long weeks of Winter Break, and took a trip to Lake Tahoe.

Nobody is going to call me a Domestic Diva, but our family does run better with me home. Being gone 12 hours a day would never work for us at this point. Fillip is working endless hours and our brood needs me here. Despite getting back 60 hours a week from Corporate America, I find myself with no spare time. My priorties are so different now, and a highlight of my day was the amazing results achieved from my new steam mop. Silly, but this family is lucky they weren't eating supper off my environmentally friendly sanitized floors!

Seems like I am running out to pick up the kids after I just dropped them off. Not unique, I know and I am NOT complaining. But, I am tired and still looking to hit a groove of running a family, running our house, and running a business while simultaneously getting the dog out of my way and enjoying the blessings of each day. All in all, I feel extremely lucky for all that I have.

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