January 27, 2014

Dear Bennett, Month whatever

Dear Ben,

When I picked you up from preschool last week, your teacher came out and said, "Bennett has the kind of personality that allows him to be friends with everyone.  That will serve him very well in life."

I didn't get a chance to ask her more about what happened, because, well . . . your sister was in her car seat screaming (you know how that goes).  But I wonder if it had something to do with the new kid in your classroom. I wonder if you were your usual friendly self, and included him like you'd known him all his life.

I knew this about you before she told me, of course.  You are a friendly kid.  You don't really care if someone is different than you . . . you'll always find a way to have fun with them, with few exceptions.  If you judge people based on anything, it's usually on how they treat other people.  You're sensitive to the kid who gets picked on, and you're helpful toward the kid who needs help.  And while we've tried to instill that in you, it really does just come naturally for you.

On several occasions, I've seen you in situations with kids who are being excluded.  You don't feel sorry for them, or include them to be nice.  You invite them to play, simply because you think it would be more fun with them than it would be without them.

Something that I've told you and your brother is that you have to put up the "antennae" for the people who need you. When you feel lonely, use it as a reminder to look for the lonely people around you and befriend them.  When you feel left out, look for the kid who also feels left out and go play with him.  You don't struggle with this one bit.

I hope that as you get older, your kindness toward others will continue.  Eventually, you'll start to see the differences between people, but I hope that it doesn't ever change how you treat them.  I'm so proud of you.


January 15, 2014

At 2 years old, Claire . . .

  • is in the 85th percetile for weight and 98th for height.  In case you're wondering, those two percentiles have switched places since her last check up.  Her rolls are starting to disappear.
  • loves Smarties.  They're the treat for which she'll do anything you ask.  She pronounces them "Farties" which, of course, is a dream come true for the boys.  They'll do anything to get her to say it.  I'll admit that I have a hard time keeping a straight face when asking them to please stop.
  • still has very little hair.  It's definitely starting to come in, but she kind of looks like a very tall one-year-old.  It's still very important for us to dress her in pink.
  • loves tacos.  And taco bowls.  If you ask her what she wants for dinner, she will usually reply, "tacos."
  • doesn't have the desire to watch television that the boys did.  I realize that this should be a good thing, but sometimes, Mama just needs 20 minutes to get things done.  If I say, "Do you want to watch Mickey Mouse?" she'll get really excited, but if I'm not sitting right next to her, she will not sit and watch it.  She will be asking to do whatever I'm doing.
  • loves her Mama.  I cannot go anywhere without her following me.  Kyle does his best to distract her if I have to go down to my office, but I can hear her crying at the top of the stairs for a while after I go down.  When I go to the bathroom . . . she's right out side asking me what I'm doing.  If I have to run out to the car or the mailbox, she stands by the window to make sure she doesn't lose track of me.  I know this is only a stage and that someday I'll miss it, so I try to take advantage of it.
  • takes a good 30 minutes to warm up to new people.  Until then, she kind of scowls at them and seems kind of cranky.  So when we're out shopping, she is constantly scowling at people who smile at her and saying, "NO, NO" to people who try to talk to her.   The only exception is the people who don't pay attention to her.  If someone is waiting in line behind us and hasn't looked at her, or if the cashier doesn't acknowledge her, she'll ham it up to get their attention.  2 year old girls have weird social skills.
  • also loves her dad.  He can make her laugh and squeal like no one else.  When he comes in the door, she'll run to give him a hug and then run away real fast, hoping that he'll chase her.
  • really loves her brothers.  She has different relationships with both of them, but they're both special.  Ben is her playmate and partner in crime.  Jack is the one she goes to if she needs help or wants to cuddle.  If the boys are watching tv, or playing on their kindles, she likes to cozy up right next to them.
  • is a cuddler.  If I want to see her get excited or distract her from something, all I have to say is, "Do you want to cuddle in Mama's bed?"  She always wants blankets and has to be right up next to you.  If we're in bed and I ask, "What do you want to talk about?" she always responds, "Jesus."
  • repeats questions and facts over and over.  I remember this with the boys, but it definitely seems like she does it more.  For instance, she'll says, "Daddy at work?"  I'll respond, "Yes."  "Working in his office?"  "Yes."  "Be back soon?"  "Yes."  And we will repeat that conversation until she finds a new line of questioning.  It's even worse in the car.
  • has taken interest in her baby dolls.  She likes to rock them and put them to sleep.  She also likes to put them in time out.  Her favorite thing to do is to pull down the back of their diapers and say, "Oh no . . . stinky" and then pretend to change them.
  • will sing the Doxology, ABCs, O Come all Ye Faithful, Jesus Loves me, Away in A Manger, and more.  She loves to sing and dance, but gets shy if she realizes she has an audience.  There's nothing better than hearing her sing, "O Come all you faiful."