Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Kids

All you suckers that had your kids close to together, I no longer envy you. Having your third with a 3 and 6 year old makes it SO much easier. Here’s a typical day for me:

Thanks to steady training, the boys know that they are to stay in their rooms when they wake up until gotten. They sleep in anyway, and then start playing, usually quite loudly and often destructively, but they play happily for a good long time until I wander in. Since Hollyn was born, that’s often not until 10am, but the boys don’t mind. When I go in, I give them a laundry basket of clothes to put away which they do within a matter of minutes, plus putting away the toys they’d gotten out that morning. They then come downstairs and Brennan gets them both breakfast. After breakfast when Brennan invariably asks to watch a movie or play a video game, I have him empty the dishwasher first. Brennan needs that incentive, but Asher LOVES emptying the dishwasher. He’ll do it voluntarily any time I suggest it. In the mean time during all this, I’ve been able to care for Hollyn and even pump without having to actually DO anything for the boys. Asher puts himself down at naptime. Yes! Brennan puts himself down for bedtime. Both boys can do their own bedtime prep, including brushing their teeth. And my favorite… recently we showed Brennan how to put Asher’s bedtime diaper on him, so now I don’t even have to do that!!!! Asher enjoys doing other jobs, including vacuuming – he’s claimed our stick-vac as his own and insists on pulling it out anytime I’m using the regular vacuum – and pulling the clean clothes out of the dryer into a laundry basket. The other day we pulled the stool up to the sink and he helped me load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. I love this age when they enjoy jobs Smile. But the point is, the kids are both so very self-sufficient now. It makes taking the time for a new baby so much easier and I’m not drowning in stress trying to meet the needs of a bunch of little kids like I would be if they were all littler.


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Last night because Asher had napped until 5:30 he was allowed to stay up later than Brennan. When Brian got home from Band, the three of us pulled out Yahtzee and played a game. I had SO much fun having that Asher-time (the kid is a HOOT to hang out with), and was impressed to learn some things about him. I had no idea Asher would pick up reading the dice so well. He recognized 1, 2, 3, and 4 on sight, or maybe counting in his head really fast, and for 5 and 6 he could count the dots. After the game Asher was writing on the back of the paper. Lately he’s wanted to write words so I’ve spelled them for him and sometimes described how to write the letter. Last night he wrote DAD and I was super impressed with how well he can write the letters. He did a mean S the other day, and last night wrote a great H, just because it’s his favorite. Asher also enjoys drawing the sun and is starting to draw people.

Also about Asher… he thinks age is an optional thing. He’s whatever age he decides to be. For example, when he wants to go to school like Brennan, he’ll tell me that he’s five now. Like, just now, he decided to become five, so it came to pass. He’ll often claim to be 4 when someone asks how old he is, but most of the time he’s sure he’s 3 and a half, which is not even true for another couple of months. That one though, there’s no convincing him otherwise. After all, Asher knows much better than we do, right? On Mother’s Day after the primary kids sang for us, Asher said “I want to go up and sing too.” I told him he’d have to wait until he was in primary, and he replied, VERY loudly, “but I’m bigger, I’m 3 and a half!”

Yesterday I was asking Asher about a bruise on his shin, wondering where he’d gotten it. He replied that he’d gotten it at the Dr’s office. I told him he hadn’t even been to the Dr in a long time. He sighed, as if I’m so naïve, and said, “First I was born, then I went to the Dr’s office, and he gave me this, then I came home.” I laughed and told him again that he hadn’t been to the Dr’s in a long time. He sighed again. “O.k. First I was born, then I went for a birthday party and I got this [bruise], then I came home.” Why a birthday party? Because Asher claims EVERYTHING is his that he received for his birthday. TV remotes, food, mail, other people’s things, everything. “I got this for my birthday.” It’s very cute.

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Brennan is doing well in school. They’re studying animals right now, so his classroom has chicks ready to hatch next week, and fish, and water and land snails. It’s been very fun for all the kids. Brennan likes to tell me about past study topics like wood and fabric. I’m pretty sure he knows more about those two latter than I do. He’s been having a good time playing with his friends outside as the days get longer (although not necessarily drier). The other day I looked out our upstairs window and there was the neighborhood boys group (ages 5-6) and each kid was in a different costume. There was a firefighter, Supermario, someone in a suit coat and fedora hat, Spiderman, an Astronaut among others. I just love watching these neighbor kids playing together and meshing their imaginations.

Brennan continues taking gymnastics. He’s pretty good at the actual events, particularly the balance beam and bars. The one hurdle for him is paying attention. He has SO much energy. While his teachers explain and instruct, he’s bouncing and dancing and wiggling. He tries to do everything really fast. During warmups, he rushes through trying to be first to touch the wall or whatever. My hope with putting him in gymnastics was that he would learn to think more about correct form. Brennan is a toe-walker so I thought not only would he be good at that aspect of gymnastics, he might also learn to walk regularly by thinking about how he’s walking. I know it hasn’t been very long (started in January), but it’s a little disappointing to not see any progress there. I’m not sure how long to give him, particularly since he’s wishy-washy in his desire to even do gymnastics at all. It’s frustrating for me to watch him not paying attention. I know he’s no different than other little boys with his wiggling and boundless energy, but this particular class has no other boys in it, so he stands out compared to the calmness of the girls he’s with. Brian and I were talking about the way Brennan treats each thing as a race and think he may be well (or at least better) suited for soccer. I’m not generally a believer of getting your kids into sports really early, but there are certain traits I would like Brennan to learn (like the focusing and doing something correctly-not just quickly-) that I think are learned well through certain sports or activities. It’s so hard to know what will work best for you child.

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Hollyn will be 1 month old tomorrow. Man time is flying. At the grocery store the other day as people were cooing over her, I actually felt sad to answer that she was 4 weeks old. It was so much more fun to answer “2 weeks”. In just a couple more weeks no one will comment about how small she is or how young. No one will gush over her at all – or not as much at least. She’ll be just another baby instead of a sweet newborn. And not just for the attention of others, I will miss her cute newborn faces and tiny newborn feet. I love to play with her feet right now – they are just SO darling. She’s got these skinny newborn legs still too. I’m really sad to think about how quickly it’s all going to change.

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I’ve learned something with Hollyn. It’s never too early to start sleep training. Maybe it’s her personality since she was always a good sleeper, but I’ve realized how capable she is of putting herself to sleep. She already stopped falling asleep while eating a while ago. Usually when that happens it gets sort of rough. You have to take the time to help your little one fall asleep. With Hollyn, it was getting harder and harder. Or at least taking longer and longer. She doesn’t cry a lot, but I would be spending all that time trying to get her to sleep with other demands being made of me. Finally I started just setting her down in her bed, supposedly for a minute. If she would start to cry, (and she doesn’t always – sometimes she just dozes off) she would be asleep by the time I was just about to pick her up. Things have been progressing fast. Say she naps for an hour and a half, then wakes up and cries. In the past, and with the boys, I would sigh and go and get him/her. Now, I think “I’ll give it a couple minutes and see what happens”. After a couple minutes of crying she goes back to sleep. Even though an hour and a half is a decent sized nap. After a week or so of this, Hollyn is almost never asleep when I put her down. If she’s been awake for 45min to an hour, I just bundle her up and lay her down on her bed. Sometimes with a pacifier, not always. When she starts to cry a couple minutes later, I wait for a minute and just when I start to think it’s not going to work, she’s out like a light. I’m pretty excited because we seem to be in a position to skip the whole “cry it out” sleep training. When she cries, now, it’s literally for a minute or two tops. Hopefully we’re bypassing the 30-60 minutes of crying to sleep that often happens later on. Incidentally, I love what I’m using for her bed. It’s this glider swing and how I wish with all my heart that I’d had this with the boys. You can carry it with your baby in it, it can rock any direction. So far we’ve just kept it in our room sitting on a chest, but the incline is perfect and Hollyn sleeps really well in it. I bought mine off craigslist to replace our swing which was a fine one, but I wanted something taking up less space and portable. If you can find one somewhere, I highly recommend it. I see a bunch of other small swings that look similar. I can’t vouch for them, but I can say that the bassinet was not a hit with the boys, even when I used towels to prop them up. Seats that are already inclined seem to work better for baby.

2 comments:

Kelly said...

Amen and Amen.

Hannah was five and Brynne was three the spring Logan was born. It definitely helps. When I had bad morning sickness with him, Hannah would make toast for herself and Brynne any time they were hungry, or grab some fruit. They basically took care of themselves for three months - actually for more, because that was my most physically demanding pregnancy. I spent a lot of time on the couch because my body just HURT.

You sound chipper in this post. I'm glad!

And I'm jealous. You are figuring out with number three what I couldn't seem to grasp until natty. Well, maybe that was meant to be. With Logan I was over-anxious. With Kenna I was so excited to have a baby again after five years that I jumped any time she even thought about crying. With Natalie...well...I was busy. So if she fussed in bed she fussed (and usually fell back to sleep). And she has by FAR been the easiest kid to put to bed. She learned early to put herself to sleep.

Our trick for her - when she was tiny we kept one particular stuffed animal in her crib. By six months she was strongly attached and to this day insists on sleeping with "lamby". About 8 months ago we added another lovey as a back-up, just in case. She sleeps directly on her lamby and it is so cute. She goes right down and lets me tuck her in. It's amazing! My one and only to do that.

It sounds like Brennan has an awesome kindergarten teacher. That is so nice. Just the kind of experience every kindergartener should have.

As for his jumpies at gymnastics...don't know what to say. Some kids have a harder time focusing and some have to be totally interested. I don't think they can learn discipline through an activity that they don't love. One activity that teaches discipline is karate, but I would wait until he's older. Soccer might be fun. I'm with you about the sports - but sometimes certain children require a temporary bending of the rules. ;-)

Bonnie-Jean: Our Army Life said...

You're a good mother, and your children are amazing. It's so fun to read about your family. :)