Three Bigger Littles

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baby hugsI’m in so much denial that my firstborn will be 5 in about 20 days. That means, gulp, in 2 months my youngest will be 2 and in 4 months my middle will be 4! There’s a mental hurdle for me about them being school-aged, as if that’s one foot out the door. Yes, that’s the whole point – to get healthy, functional adults out the door, but this is such a precious, treasured time, and I can’t soak up enough! I’d love to have 24-7 video footage of them, if it didn’t require immortalizing all my jerk-mom moments.

They are so stinking cute. And sweet. And all those other words of adoration. They each have self-prescribed  “chores” they like to do to be my big helpers. Ian loves to help cook, to spray windows, to vacuum and to put in new trash bags. Isaac loves to think up personal favors, like bringing me a drink, brushing my hair or bringing an extra toy to share. Elijah loves to hand me dishes out of the dish washer, run things to the trash, put laundry in the machine and push the buttons. All three are proficient with the Keurig coffee machine and the toaster, and each one loves to get a turn to brew the coffee or toast the waffles.

Ian has been busy thinking about his upcoming birthday, and what it will mean for his future. I asked him what new things he will be able to do when he is five, and he replied,”I will learn how to punch better, and I will be able to reach higher, and I will run faster.” He has been honing his negotiation skills and his art of persuasion. Last night, he was so excited to show his dad what he can do with sparring gear, that he said, “Dad, if you do not let me show this to you, I will be all crazy and will not be able to sleep all night!” He is also still exploring his science interests. For bedtime the other night, he wanted to “read” a science experiment book. Reading the ingredient list, I pondered aloud, “What is cold cream?” He said, in an all-knowing teenager way, “Mom, you just put cream in the refrigerator.” He explained to Isaac last night the difference between arteries and veins. Then he asked me how his legs control his heart. I said, “Actually, your brain controls your heart.” Never lacking in cleverness, he inquired, “Then, why when I run does my heart beat faster?”

Isaac is also getting quite clever. It’s that time of year, when I’m looking for any excuse to scoop up some toys and make them go away. I went upstairs to take a gander at the playroom, and found the expected lack of floor space. I got lost in thought for a moment. I wonder, if I left this room alone long enough, if it would reach its saturation point of messiness and start drifting back towards organized? I wonder what I can remove without them noticing. Then it hit me; Surely, it’s the perfect strategy for toy thinning: Let them destroy their room for a week or two, and donate everything left on the shelves and in the baskets. I’ll have to experiment with that one. It was too late for today. I was already starting my Public Service Announcement that Christmas is coming, and since we will be getting more toys, it’s time to think about what we don’t play with anymore, so we can donate some toys for other children to play with. Isaac immediately suggests, “How about we go to the store and buy the children some new toys?” Aw, snap. He defeated my plan and shamed my haughty soul in one fell swoop.

When he’s not narrating his life in song, he’s organizing and analyzing events, ideas and social constructs. He learns a “rule” then practices it, tries to enforce it on others, and tells me what he knows of it. We’ve gone through a big ordeal lately about spitting, as I’ve tried to get them to save it for the sink or outside, and away from people. Here’s another example of a conversation that took place across three rooms on two floors of our home:

Ian: Isaac! I need my transformer!
Isaac: I don’t want to bring it to you.
Ian: Isaac! I’m pooping! I need you to bring it to me!
Isaac: It’s not nice to say ‘poop’!
Me: He is pooping. It’s okay for him to talk about it. If it’s a joke, we save it for our family. If we are around other people, it would not be polite to say it.
Isaac: Oh, so if Ian doesn’t see somebody, he can say ‘poop’?
Me, left wondering, yet again, what loopholes the answer to that question will leave.

Another cute Isaac conversation:

Me: What is your favorite animal?
Isaac: Are Cheetos (yes, Cheetos) yellow?
Me: Yes.
Isaac: Do they run fast?
Me: Yes. They are the fastest land animal.
Isaac: Can they just walk slowly?
Me: Sure. They can even be very sneaky.
Isaac: Cheetos are my fwavorite.

Elijah is having a bit of a mental growth spurt. In the last week, he has been much more verbal and is combining more words into phrases. Probably the cutest one is his rendition of “Grandpa Jim”: Bapa Bim. My personal favorite is when he pauses to yell, “Mommy!” When I answer him, he sweetly says, “Iya do, (I love you)” and it melts my heart.

He’s been demonstrating his grasp of the concepts of “two” and “three”. For example, while nursing, he will stop to tell me, “Do moke (two milks).” I was munching some chocolate almonds and he ran up, requesting “amo.” I gave him one, and he held out his other hand. Not content with one almond in each hand, he transferred one almond to his other hand, shot out his empty hand, and said, “Free! Free!”

He’s been pretty focused on some animal encounters. He helped feed apples to a friend’s neighbor’s horses, and also saw a cat walk through our yard. Ever since then he’s talked a lot about them.

E: Eehaw bite? (Eehaw is horse, as in, you ride it and say “Yee haw!”)
Me: Yes, horses can bite.
E: Bite arm? Bite nose? Bite eye? Bite baby toe (holding his pinky toe)? Gared bite.
Me: You are scared a horse will bite you? You are safe. I won’t let a horse bite you.
E: Oh.

E, flashing ‘where sign’: Gat go?
Me: The cat went home.
E, holding palms out & tilting head: Home? Gong?
Me: Yes, the cat is all gone.
E: Gat bye bye? Car?
Me: No, the cat did not drive. The cat walked.
E: Oh. Gat bite?
Me: No, the cat will not bite you.
E: Eat fify? Bebe? Eat moke? Mommy?
Me: Yes, cats eat fish and baby cats drink mommy cat milk. (He saw nursing cats on a youtube video – he loves to watch animal videos)

While he was watching the kitten videos, he’d tilt his head way over and adoringly coo, “Aww! Bebe!” Then, in the most persuasive way ever, requested, “Meow (his other word for cat) me? Ah-hee (Ashley) gat me? Daddy gat me?” “You want someone to get you a cat?” “Uh, huh!” He nodded, emphatically.

He may be sweet on his mama, and love some cute animals, but he’s all boy. I had to crack up at one of his responses to a board book we were reading. It’s a book with one big picture on each page, along with the color and name of the item, such as “blue blueberry, blue ball, and black coat.” He was getting many of the object names correct, and then we turned to the page of gold coins, and his response was, “a-boon”. Of course, of course. Every proper pirate recognizes a gold doubloon when he sees it. What a tuffie. Right now he has snatched a couple of my hair scrunchies and is wearing them on his arms like bicep bands. He has a toy microphone and is rocking out in the living room, singing about “durdol”s (turtles), with a Queenesque chorus of “we wo, we wo – DOOT!” Must I really translate that?

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