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Easter 2017

I kind of forgot that it’s a thing to buy Easter clothes.  So I didn’t.  But I did manage to put them all in jeans.  That’s gotta count for something, right?  Probably not.  Ain’t no shame in my game though.

Here are my boys though!

Easter2017

Ben: 10 months old!

Ben is 10 months old!  Such a delight!  He’s likely to be our last child and it’s bittersweet to experience some things for the last time.

His scrapbook page:

Benmonth10

A recent picture:

Ben10months

Different

Do you have a “different” child? Or just a child not quite like you? Or a child that you don’t really understand?
I’ve recently read “Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him” by Sally & Nathan Clarkson.
LOVED IT! We don’t have the same battles she & Nathan faced (ADHD, OCD, anxiety), but I found their story to be very encouraging – particularly as it relates to parenting the child we actually have, not the child we think we have or the child we thought we’d have.
We’re at the stage of parenting where personalities are starting to develop.  Where correction seems constant.  Where it’s a more than just “keeping the baby nourished and well slept”.
Some quotes I really enjoyed:
“If Nathan had grown up in a home where he was constantly put down and corrected, I think the oxygen of God’s love would have been strangled from his heart, which needed a wide berth of unconditional acceptance.”
“As a family, we told our other children, our message was clear: “If it is God’s will for Daddy and me to have Nathan as our child (for you with your issues), it is God’s will for you to have Nathan as your brother.  All of you are what make up the design of our family.”
“Because Nathan did need to be trained, some correction was unavoidable.  But when I put myself in Nathan’s shoes, I realized that my constant correction could easily be a source of frustration, insecurity, and anger in my already-fragile child.  That constant feeling of just not measuring up can build a lifelong legacy of insecurity and even despair.  Feeling like a disappointment on a regular basis can actually shape the brain patterns of a growing child.  Failure and helplessness can become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

April is a packed month for my family when it comes to birthdays.  2 of my kids have birthdays.  There’s a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law and 2 nieces.  And my sister is currently overdue for her 4th child.  May also has a lot – both of my in-laws, another niece, plus Mother’s Day.  April kind of kicks off birthday season!

BUT…this post is about Samuel.  Aka: Sammy.  He turned 2 yesterday!  We celebrated simply: just pizza, cake & ice cream, and presents at our house.  Jeff’s parents came into town to join us.

It’s hard to buy presents for a 2-year-old, especially when he has 2 older brothers and already has lots of toys.  We keep things simple for birthdays anyway, so he got some bath toys, a couple books, a bulldozer for the backyard and a movie-watching-blanket.  So far, the bulldozer is the favorite toy – well, at least for Stephen as he’s kind of hijacked it!

We’ll go to the doctor’s office in a couple of weeks and I’ll get his official height/weight stats, but he’s growing well!

Highlights of his life:

  • He loves watching his older brothers, trying to join in when he can.
  • He loves “helping” Baby Ben by trying to feed him (and eating his puffs instead), get him a blankie, or change his diaper.  He also likes to run to his room when he hears Ben awaken.  “Ake!  Ake! Ake!” he yells.
  • He’s been potty training for the last 6 weeks or so.  He’s doing great!
  • He does great at going to childcare when I go to Bible Study or MOPS. He grabs his little bag that has extra clothes/diapers in it and walks right in by himself, handing the bag to the teacher.
  • He’s finally learned to love baths!  This took a LONG time and he still dislikes them about half the time, but now, he does so much better!
  • He’s a major FOODIE.  It’s like I can’t feed him often enough.  Kid’s pretty darn thin, so I don’t know where he’s putting it.  But he always wants to be eating!  He starts whining for food as soon as he sees me start dinner.
  • He loves his blankie still.  Must have it to sleep.  Grabs it randomly to just hold.  It’s quite the treasured possession.
  • He shares a room with Finn and they do pretty well together.  Occasionally, they’ll play too long and I’ll have to break it up, but usually they do great together!

Sammy2Birthday

Hooray Benjamin!  You’re 9 months old today last week.  That officially means you’ve been OUT of my tummy for as long as you were in it!  You’re a joy and delight and a great addition to our family!

(And for the first time, I have a baby turning 9 months old, but I’m NOT pregnant with a sibling…feels a little strange!)

Your scrapbook page:

month9

A recent photo:

Ben_9Months

Finn turns 5 next month.  In our state, that means that they expect him to start Kindergarten in the Fall.  So they send you a letter reminding you of that and giving you your choices.  In the school district we live in, we have these choices:

  • His assigned school, which teaches a “Core” program.  It’s the only elementary school in the district that does this.
  • A Montessori-based Kindergarten, which has a tract that stays Montessori through Grade 8.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • An International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which is available all the way through high school.  This is at 1 elementary school in our district.
  • A normal/regular/standard school that the rest of the elementary schools use.
  • A private school (religious or otherwise)
  • Opting into another public school district
  • Homeschooling
  • Waiting a year til he’s 6 to decide.

Right now, we’re waiting a year to start Kindergarten.  For a variety of reasons, this is the right choice for him.

But, man, all the choices!  Let’s say I rule out other districts, private school and homeschooling (which we haven’t ruled out, but let’s just say) — that still gives me 4 educational options in 1 school district.  4!?!?  I’m appreciative of having choices, but geesh!

When my mom wanted to enroll me in Kindergarten, it was simple.  What’s your assigned school? That’s where you went – all the schools in that same district had the same curriculum.  Sure, you might prefer a different elementary school because you knew of the principal or the location was better, but there wasn’t a difference in how the material was taught.

Choices are good.  But they also cause analysis paralysis!

Someday I’m going to forget all kinds of things.  I hope I don’t forget these things.

  • Finn (age 4) sings song so proudly.  At the beginning of this school year, he hated singing time at both church (Awana) and preschool.  The teachers made him stand with the group, but he didn’t have to sing or do the movements.  When asked about it, he said it was “too loud”.  He’s slowly coming out of that, but even in the beginning of the year when he hated singing time, he was learning the songs. And he’d come home and just randomly start singing them.  It’s fun!
  • Finn also tells great stories about how things have come to be.  He’ll tell me all about something he’s built with blocks.  Always an elaborate story.
  • We were going to the movie theater the other day and I asked Finn about the rules.  His answers: “Don’t Hit.”  Okay.  “Stay in your seat.”  Okay.  “And if anyone gets on the roof of the van and they want to ride up there and they beat on the top of the roof like it’s a drum, we should tell them to get off.”  What!?!
  • When Stephen (age 3) falls or something and I ask him “Are you okay?”  He always answer “I’m okay.  I’m fine.”  He always says both phrases and in the cutest voice.  (He voice is still baby-ish.)
  • Sam (almost 2) is so observant.  Call it being Kid #3, but for months now, I only need to mention something and he’s all over it.  I can just casually say “I’m going to go get the mail” and he’ll bring me my shoes.  If the baby spits up and he sees that I don’t have a towel, he’ll go get me one – without me saying a word.
  • He’s also always watching his older brothers and mimicking them.  They start dancing – he will too.  If they sit down for lunch, he will too.  If they start running around all crazy – he will too.

But I do think the thing that I’ll miss the most is right after bathtime – especially when a kid has gained confidence in their new walking skills.  I think I’ll miss seeing little naked baby bottoms running down the hallway to their bedroom.  Is that weird?  It’s weird I know.  But seeing a kid who is just so tiny but fully capable of walking is fun. And seeing them run is even more fun.