Sunday, August 16, 2015

joyful moments with our almost 4-year old

Our almost 4 year old is very lively and leaves me craving sleep more than I ever have in my entire life until his point. He keeps us laughing, running and having long conversations. He has this incredible ear-to-ear grin that just makes me smile in return! J really loves going to Busch Gardens with Jonathan, and his recent favorite ride is the sky-flyer thing, like a ski lift over the whole park. 

He is having round 5 of 'separation anxiety'. At this point, it's totally manipulation on his part, hoping to keep me around longer. He was fine until I went back to work on July 6th. Now, he screams and throws a tantrum each day I leave, regardless of who is staying to take care of him. The other day, I asked what would help him to be brave when I leave for work. When he was scared to go to bed a year ago, we wrote out a Bible verse on the wall and prayed it each night. So, he told me that he wanted a piece of paper on the wall to say, "Be brave. Mommy will come back. Don't throw a tantrum".  I wrote out a verse to go with it and serve as encouragement and point him towards God:

"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you". Isaiah 66:13. 

Reading is still a huge part of our day. We always read 2 stories before nap and 2 before bed. Our recent favorites are the whole Berenstein Bears series, How I Became a Pirate and Spiderman. We also discovered the Elephant and Pig books by Mo Willems....hysterical and great for early readers if you have one of those in your home!

Summer has been a great time for the pool, water table, ice cream, sprinkler, the beach and popsicles! We haven't made it to the pool as much as I would like to, but when we have a chance to go, Jackson loves the water! With a life jacket on, he can independently kick his way around the pool. He also loves to put my glasses on and hold his breath under water! We thought it would be an amazing summer to capitalize on his interest in the water and sign him up for swim lessons at ODU. However, the only week that worked was the same week he had camp at LUMP. I had to wake him up on Monday afternoon for the swim lesson. He got in the water, did two laps of kicking and then protested until I took him home. We did not go back :( Oh well, there are plenty of chances for me to teach him how to swim!
Water table fun with a friend down the street.

When J was a baby, i never went into his room after he was already asleep. Why mess with a good thing? Now,  however, he will often turn on his bedside lamp and read or play in bed after we tuck him in. When I head up to bed (not long after he does!), I'll creep in quietly to tuck him in and turn off the light. It's the most beautiful feeling to watch my son sleeping peacefully. 
J's best friends are  the compound kids and we continue to enjoy our group dinners together!

Hannah Anderson, author of Made for More, came to speak at a church event last May. She talked about how we all have value, simply because we are made by and in the image of God. Part of her talk was about work and caring for creation and how we can teach out kiddos about the beauty of creation. When asked how to practically do this for kids, she gave the example that each afternoon she instructs her children to "Cultivate the space you have been given (aka you bedroom) and be a good steward of what God has given you". I've been using that language with Jackson to assist with maintaining his bedroom in a state that looks less like a tornado of cars, books and stuffed animals hit! Last week, we were out walking to our car in a parking lot and Jackson bent down to pick up a (clean-looking) bag that was apparently trash. JB asked him what he was doing and J said, "Being a good steward".

Saturday of last week we had an amazing day. The green light was downstairs waiting to be fixed (hmmm, who could have broken it?) but J stayed quietly in his room until I came to get him at 6:10am. He ran a few early-morning errands with me for Jonathan's birthday and then played nicely with friends. Although he did not sleep during nap time, he played quietly, which is a perfectly fine alternative.  When I went to get him, he'd set out a picnic and camping on the floor of his room. So, we played make-believe for a while before I got super tired! Always a boy who loves rules and structure, he said, "Mom, when I am sleeping you are awake and when I am awake you can be sleeping. But, moms never sleep!" He has no idea how true he is.  We lay around having tickle wars and giggling until my face hurt from laughing. It was one of those moments of parenting that I hope I remember forever, especially in the hard time.

J is an outstanding brother. He looks out for Rachel's safety, helping me to keep her away from outlets and the stairs. He shares his food with her, gives her huge hugs and sings to her when she is fussy. He talks in this super high pitch voice and says, "Oh Rachie! Oh cutie! I love you! Oh sweetie."  We love you too, big guy. 

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