our boys! we love them so!! they are both so full of light, wonder, exuberance, love, and joy. as it turns out, ian and i create pretty spirited children. while they definitely exhaust us, they delight, entertain and teach us way more.
moses and gabriel are playing together more and more each day and that’s so wonderful to watch. mo loves to teach gabes things – the other day they were coming home from hyde park with dad and moses was saying, “that’s the difference between camels and humans, gabe. do you want me to teach you about dinosaurs now?” they sat snuggled up on the couch for a little while as moses chattered away and gabriel occasionally said an enthusiastic “yeah!” moses is often saying, “come on googoo,” beckoning his little brother to play a game or do a race with him. they bicker and hurt each other soooo often, but the playing together makes up for all of it.
there’s zero hesitation when one asks moses who his best friend is – it’s gabey! same is true vis versa. i hope they will always be buddies and i love watching their brotherhood and friendship deepen and grow.
moses @ three years, ten months old
he is so into tree climbing. this started when we first began sheltering in place due to covid-19. he is always on the lookout for a good climbing tree and has a batch in our garden that are his favourites. his skills have grown a lot over the past couple of months, and he’s pretty fearless (with just the right amount of caution). he loves collecting leaves or other interesting things outside, playing with rocks and sticks, and exploring down paths through the nature available via london’s parks.
he has become totally obsessed with crafts – he loves drawing, painting, cutting, pasting, stickers, poof balls, pipe cleaners, stamps … anything he can create with. he has developed his own signature style in the way he draws people – always with a circle on their bellies: either they’ve eaten a mango (his favourite food) or the “tree of life fruit” (drawing from his favourite story in the scriptures).
moses is enjoying learning to read and do simple maths. he misses nursery school, which closed due to the pandemic in mid-march. as we’ve done some simple “school” activities at home, he’s started getting really good at blending sounds to read words and i have consistently been amazed by his grasp on maths (he must be his dad’s son!). he still adores having books read to him and stories told to him, and is favourite thing to learn about is animals. his brain is always working it seems – it’s fun to watch him try to work things out in his head. he wants to know the logic in things and often helps ian and i see the logic or lack of logic in what we are saying or doing.
since the lockdown in london began, mo started doing quiet time for an hour every day while his brother is napping. i was shocked that he actually latched on to this and that he does a pretty good job staying in the living room playing independently for the entire hour. on his very first quiet time, he decided to draw a picture of two people. when i asked him to tell me about it, he said, “this is me walking with jesus,” which melted my heart. there have been some quiet time mishaps with scissors, paints, markers used all over his body, etc. but mostly he has done a great job considering he is such an active, social little boy who doesn’t really like to be alone. quiet time has been good for all of us.
moses loves primary at church. he especially enjoys singing time and we are so glad that our ward’s amazing singing leader makes a video for the kids to watch every sunday with church being closed for the time being. for sure mo’s favourite primary song is “nephi’s courage,” which he belts out multiple times a day.
he was on a little “frozen” kick for a while and was ecstatic when the easter bunny brought him elsa, anna, and olaf toys. both he and gabriel love the song “into the unknown.” after years of a very strict “no screen time except on planes and long car rides” family rule, the stay at home orders in london have allowed mo to enjoy somewhat regular “movie time,” much to his delight. there were a few weeks when he just wanted to watch “the grinch” over and over and over. (this was the first movie moses saw in a theatre, a year and a half ago, and that experience somehow just stuck him to it!)
moses was the first person ian and i told after we found out i was pregnant. his reaction was sooo awesome (i’m so glad we filmed it!) – he was so thrilled. we told him not to tell anyone else; it was our “family surprise.” he did an amazing job keeping this news to himself, especially considering how excited he was about it! his reaction when we told him there are two babies in there was also super awesome (and also filmed). he’s very interested in pregnancy and birth. his first question when we told him i was pregnant was, “can i feel the cord?” ha. when we told him we’d be having the babies in the hospital since it’s a little trickier to have twins at home, he was so disappointed that he couldn’t be around soon after birth. the other day he asked me if i could have another baby after the twins so that he could be around and feel the cord, haha!
along with tree climbing, one of mo’s favourite activities lately is swinging really high on the swing set in our garden. “biggest push ever, please,” he’ll beg.
moses has hit the “threenager” stage, yelling phrases like, “never talk to me again!” “you’re always messing up my life!” and “i know everything!” like all three year olds, he’s sorting through lots of emotions and new experiences and experiments with boundaries and control. luckily the randomly, sweetly given “i love you”s are way more frequent than the “i’m so mad at you”s!
at least a couple of times a day, moses asks me, “have i kept my underwear dry for four days?” we had a deal during potty training that he can have a (sugar-free, yay!) ice lolly anytime he reaches that milestone and he will not let it go no matter how far away he is from his diaper days.
one of moses’s gifts is a joy of giving to and celebrating others. he gets soooo excited about special days like others’ birthdays and mothers day, and so invested in the gifts he buys or creates and little acts that he can do to make others feel special. he has even dubbed certain days to be his stuffed animals’ birthdays and has gone all out making sure he has present for them and we are doing things that they want to do. he also just loves surprises of any sort – he asks me to not watch while he changes his clothes all by himself or gets all ready to go out all by himself (and if i happen to accidentally peek he is sooo sad the surprise is spoiled).
moses claims that he speaks three languages – english, norway language and oman language. often i have to ask him to please speak in english because i don’t speak norway language or oman language (both just his creative jibberish). when he doesn’t feel like totally switching to english, he just translates for me along the way 🙂
the most common corrective things i say to moses are: “can we talk about it kindly and calmly? kindly and calmly, mo,” “please stop yelling” (he just has a high decibel!), and “gentle with your brother, please!” he’s getting better at all of this. he is a very spirited young man.
some often used phrases for mo: “for sure,” “don’t worry guys,” “i will always love you.” and probably his most used word is: “why?” i love that he has so many questions and is so curious about the world. often he digs deep and it comes down to an answer like, “that’s just the way heavenly father and heavenly mother designed it, mo.” he also asks the question “which…?” constantly. “can you please eat your food, moses?” “which food?” “the food in front of you on your plate.” haha.
he’s in a bit of a destructive phase – he’s had to save up his pennies to pay ian and i back for some damaged things around the flat.
moses has a robust imagination, and a whole slew of imaginary animal friends (one of each of every animal in the entire world, apparently!). i love seeing his mind work in new creative ways as he imagines all kinds of different scenarios and plays along.
mo has been such a champ with the lockdown in london. he misses his friends, school, and his favourite playgrounds and play places in the city, but he honestly hasn’t complained about it all once. i’ve been impressed with his grasp on the concepts of germs and contagion and he is very good at giving others’ space when we are outside.
gabriel @ two years, one month old
gabes has this little gallop that he does when he is excited that is to-die-for cute. ian, moses and i all adore it. he just prances around so thrilled and happy.
little brother has developed verbally very differently from his big brother. he is still not speaking much, although he is coming out with new words each day (many of them only moses or i can understand, though … moses is the best at determining what gabriel is trying to say!). he’s just taking his time with speech, whereas mo was extremely verbal and clear from eighteen months. a lot of gabriel’s words are just the vowel sound in the middle of the word. he does communicate a lot, using a combination of words and gestures – he definitely finds ways to get his point across! it sometimes feels like a game of charades to get at what he’s trying to say – including that feeling of triumph on both sides when the guess is finally correct!
gabriel loves to run. he’s not a huge fan of being in the buggy and while riding in there he’ll often either repeatedly say, “walk!” or pump his right arm to sign “run.” when he does get out and run, he pumps one arm much more vigorously than the other, for some reason (i think it’s so cute). right before he turned two, gabey learned to scoot! he was so excited about borrowing his brother’s scooter every now and then, and then thrilled when he got his very own scooter for his birthday! he’s still very much working on his scooting skills, but he loves it! he’s a proper london kid now 🙂
he has started to sing along to songs, catching a word or two here or there. sometimes he will randomly sing “ah-ah-ah-ah” in the tune of the secret siren’s call in frozen two. that’s our cue to play that “into the unknown,” and he belts the chorus out (just in big ahhhs) when the time comes.
gabriel continues to be a hard-core lover of food. if i come into the living room with a plate of food for snacks or a meal he immediately drops anything he is playing with/working on and dashes to the table. he is seemingly constantly begging for a snack (“nah nah”). while he has gotten a bit picky in phases and also had a rough period of constantly throwing food, he’s a really good eater and will usually gobble up anything and everything. he likes to be told “elephant stories” while he eats, and he loves it when his daddy does “airplane” with his fork/spoon.
he likes doing things over and over. we talk about how he has “circuits.” in the park he will climb up on a log, walk along it and jump of the end over and over and over again. at a swimming pool place we went to right before the pandemic hit england, he honestly must have gone down the same little water slide over an hundred times. he also also recently gotten really into swinging on the swings in our garden – both on his own on his belly and with mama’s help sitting on his bum.
gabriel has been in a bit of a defiant streak. i’ll ask him to clean up a big mess he just deliberately made and he’ll just look at me straight in the face with his crazy hair sticking up and his huge blue eyes boring into me and say, matter-of-factly, “mmmm, no.” it’s so dang cute that it’s hard to not just grab him and kiss his sweet cheeks.
he wants to do most things himself these days. if i try to help him with something, he will thump his chest hard to say, “no, me!” and will say, “no mama!” he gets really upset when he can’t do certain things all by himself. the chest-thump is so signature gabriel – whenever someone else gets a snack or says a prayer or is told we are going somewhere, he makes sure he isn’t left out by patting himself until we acknowledge that he, too can have some/do one/come along. relatedly, he wants to do everything that moses does, so there are daily reminders that moses is bigger than him and there are some things he can’t do until he is as big as moses.
gabriel’s most used word is “yeah” (this was also his first word). he has about five different tones in which he says yeah – from a defeated submission to a very, very enthusiastic approval. i wish i had each one perfectly captured – it is so so cute.
this past month or so, gabriel has mastered the “flip trick” for getting his coat/jacket on. he is sooo proud of himself. (if you don’t know what i’m talking about, here’s a video.)
gabe has always been a really giggly and wiggly baby. this has not changed. he is especially giggly before bed. he gets into these total laughing fits that make us all so happy.
his freckles have just started to migrate to the other side of his face! he still has way more on one side than the other, but a couple have popped up on the previously-freckle-less-side. such a random little characteristic that i just love about our little angel gabriel.
one of my favourite things about england is that often there are teeny tiny daisies growing clusters in the grass. if gabriel spots these, he will no doubt go pick one or two and give them to me. it is the sweetest thing. (moses did this at gabe’s age too – they were both taught by their dad that their mom loves flowers 🙂 )
gabriel is a really sensitive soul. if he hears someone crying, he is genuinely really worried about them and wants to go help. and if he gets hurt, he’s very, very sad about it.
his hair continues to be very wild. we thought it we let it grow out a bit more weight would help it lay down flat more, but it’s just crazy still. gabriel has the best bedhead when he wakes in the morning or from a nap.
the first and only time gabe has put two words together is when he said to me the other day, “hold baby?” i told him he could definitely hold the babies when they come out 🙂 i’m not sure how much he grasps, but he talks about “baby” every day in different contexts. and when we are saying a prayer, he does not let the person praying forget to pray for the babies 🙂
lately gabriel has gotten really sad about going to bed. he’ll make his made-up sign for bed (cupping his hand by his cheek and leaning his head to one side” and say, “noooo!” and then just show heartbreak when we say it is, in fact, bedtime. he goes to sleep just fine after he’s in his crib, but i think he just doesn’t want to miss out on any fun!
he loves jesus. when we read scriptures in the morning or when he sees a picture of jesus or when we have church at home he just gets sooo happy and excited. he loves to pray. he always reminds us all to pray and always wants to be the one to say the prayer.
gabes likes to pick out his own clothes and he has very strong opinions. he struggles to remember that we don’t rip pages in books. when he wants our attention and we’re not giving it, he comes right into our laps, grabs our faces and turns them towards him. his “cheese” to smile for a picture includes his tongue sticking out a tiny bit. i cannot get him to smile when asked without sticking out his tongue a little. often when we are doing things around the flat, gabriel has disappeared and we find him sitting on the ground or on his brother’s bed just flipping quietly through books.
we love our wright brothers so, so much. and we are so excited to find out if there are more wright brothers coming, or one or two wright sisters!