Will is 4.37 years old.
Will brought home from school a picture he drew of 4 people. I asked him who the largest person in the picture was. “Ellen” he said. Then I asked him who the next largest person was, who has no face. “Me” he said. Then I ask him who the 3rd and very small person was. “Some kid” he says. Then I ask him who the 4th person is. “The kid’s friend.”
I haven’t stopped laughing since he told me all this. I can take from this that a) his sister rules his universe and b) neither Mommy or Daddy play much of a role in his mental life. And, apparently, random people can wander into drawings the same way they wander into photos.
Will is very sensitive to the pain and distress of others. An example, in his own words: “If Ellie says “Go away, Robin” I will go to Robin and give her a hug and tell Ellie not to say those things because it could hurt Robin’s feelings. And I will kiss Robin so she doesn’t have those bad feelings.” - That's what a sensitive darling my son is. And what a tyrant my daughter is. Robin is the nursery room attendant at church.
“Mommy, the airplane goes tinkle way up in the air.” I have to explain again that only things that are alive go tinkle. Which results in “Mommy, what’s alive?” Thank goodness for Barney supplying the answer - things that eat and grow. I could've gotten existential about it, but chose not to. I can only bear the blank look from Will so often.
I drop him off at school each morning. One morning, something made me stop to watch him through the window, and I saw him take his boots out of his bag. And no one helped him and it took him a hundred years to complete. My heart broke – I imagine mothers screaming all over the world – why won't someone help my child? I know it is part of the school's mission to help them attain independence and self sufficiency in certain things (like removing boots from his bag) and I agree with their mission. But it doesn't stop my heart from breaking with tenderness and a desire to protect and help him.
“enjury” is code for “energy”. “Grandpa, will you wrestle with me when you have more enjury?” “I'm out of enjury.”
He's taken to issuing dire warning about what could “easily” happen. One example of hundreds: “If you tip backwards you could easily fall down.” The disaster could always “easily” happen.
Me: “Monkey, please don't stare at the sun.”
Will: “Don’t worry, Mommy, the clouds are good to me.”
He has become very interested in trying to sound words out. He also will spend an hour straight saying and writing numbers up to 20 on his drawing board. Its such amazing practice for him and entirely self-motivated. He must ask or state what letter starts or ends a word 50 times a day. I'm guessing he'll be reading soon, and if not, it won't be for lack of interest or trying. He is beginning to understand rhyming in a conscious manner – he can always provide a rhymed word in the context of a book if he doesn't stop to think about it. But if you ask him to come up with something that rhymes XYZ, he couldn't do it until some successes recently.
He and Ellen both love a show on PBS called “Word World” - Ellen even sings the theme song “Let's a build a word, let's build it, lets build it NOW!” - which is really fueling his interest in letters and words.
He and just finished another set of 7 swimming classes. He is ready to be on his own in a class now. I'll be in the bleachers and very close but … what a milestone! I'm so proud of him.
He is using the bathroom entirely independently now, aside from the occasional help wiping. He can dress and undress himself on his own, and can brush his teeth and wash his face alone. I still double check his teeth and comb his hair, but I do that to manage my own obsessions and not because he can't.
I made the mistake of telling him about a business trip I was going on – he was very sad before and during my absence. I don't like the idea of not telling him I'm going, because what if he develops a complex about whether or not Mommy will be home? On the other hand, he just does SO much better if he doesn't know I'm going to leave and Steve can just tell him after I've left that “Mommy is at work. She will be home in xxx days.”
I finally got him his first real (ie professional) haircut. It looks great. Its very short and it makes his eyes look huge. His eyes are already big and bright and amazing, but the haircut just shows them off.
Ellen is 2.23 years old.
Ellen's development is so fast I can't barely keep up. I started this list in early January, and the following is the progression over only a month and a half:
“So big, too big, too strong…” to refer to anything she can't reach or pick up.
“Gedda-Gedda” which means “together, together” She uses this to request that we play a game where she performs a movement and wants us to copy her (raising hands up high, twirling, etc).
“Cock a doo-doo!” Self explanatory. You can actually HEAR the exclamation mark in her voice and see it on her face.
“Lah-bew, dweems” is “I love you / sweet dreams”. She blows kisses and leaves the room.
“Hep-lou” is “help you?” which she says when she really means “help me!”
Loves singing for Steve and I. Puts her hands in the air and basically screams out songs like “Twinkle, twinkle.” This makes her brother crazy with irritation.
“Jump! Kan-goo” Jump like a kangaroo. Ellen jumps very well for her age – she is pretty coordinated.
“Excuse me” after sneezing.
“Grrr-ATE” (from Little Einsteins)
Some of these I've already recorded, but they are from the past few weeks. Isn't it amazing how her vocabulary and pronunciation have evolved in such a short time?
" P. N. O. T. - that spells 'milk'! "
" Oh, maaaan! "
" Where are the stickers? Hmmm (finger tapping on her lips) - Wait! (holding up her pointer finger) I have a clue! "
" Oh, goodness! (hands on cheeks) Where is the big dragon? I don't know. Dragon! Where are you? " -
(wagging her finger at me) " No pooping in the tub, Mommy "
Me: “Ellen, where are your socks?” Ellen: “Hmmm,” (finger tapping lip) “that's strange.”
She knows colors but is selective about telling us about them. Its as if she doesn't want to be quizzed and won't answer if she thinks we are trying to test her. She knows her shapes.
She also can count objects up to 3. She can count higher but she loses track if she is trying to actually count something vs just reciting the numbers in the correct order.
She talks long and vehemently about what she sees on TV (Caillou and Little Einstein, etc.) Not always intelligible but we can generally figure out what story line she is discussing and expand the conversation from there.
I'm loving her imagination – she pretending to eat and shares imaginary food. She carries and kisses dollies and stuffed animals.
She has been drawing with crayons and a pen since early February and really enjoys it. She's right handed, and Will is left handed.
She definitely has more hair now. Its still of the mullet variety (short on top and longer in the back), but we're making progress. Her little body delights me. She has these gorgeous dimples – she's tall and lean and beautiful.
One of my favorite things about Ellen is how she hugs – its a complete hug – arms and legs completely around you and her head on your shoulder/neck. Its the most satisfying hug to receive – it makes me think, “This is how a hug is SUPPOSED to feel.”
I have been frustrated at times with how hard it is to read to her (she wants to skip ahead or turn the pages before I'm done, which Will never did at her age), but I finally figured out and Steve confirmed that this works for him – you can read a sentence or two from a page, but if you ask her to tell you about the pictures, then she is very inquisitive and patient and interactive. She will sit through some books but in general, she wants to discuss them while being read to. This shouldn't surprise me since that's her personality in a nutshell.
The other night I pointed to objects in a book and asked her what they were. “Binoculars” she said (correct); “Megaphone” she said (correct); “Balls” she said (incorrect, they were pom-poms, but the look she gave me was classic - “Duh, Mom, ask me something harder.”
She can waddle “like a penguin” with her arms down by her sides and straight legged steps. Its hilarious.
She will lean sideways when she hears something, cup her hand to her ear and say, “What does that sound like?”
She actually bows now if we say, "Good job!" or clap.
Although it kills me, she regulary describes family pictures (in books or on toys, not actual photos) as "Daddy, Grandma, Hammie, and Ellen." Where is your mother?!?! I want to shout. She doesn't even SEE her Grandma regularly. I'm actually not upset about it, really - I'm just intrigued by how her mind works. Still, she could thow me a bone.