i am so behind on blogging (again!) and have had this in my drafts folder for months. i’ve finally finished it! really hoping to get these updates on the kids written up more often (my last one was over a year ago!) – they are growing and changing so quickly! oh how i love these four babies of mine!!!
moses @ five years old
i am really proud of how moses has transitioned to a whole new life in utah, leaving behind all he’s ever known in london. at first, it was really really difficult for him – last summer was a hard time for our little mo. the other day i was chatting with him about his angst and struggle in those first few months and he said, “mom, i just didn’t know what utah was all about back then.” he’s learned a lot about what utah is all about by now 🙂 and he has grown into his new life. he was brave in going to a new school that was very different than his school in england – and in starting an entirely different daily routine since his hours at school were cut in half. he has learned new skills like swimming and karate and he has done a great job making new friends.
over the past year or so moses has been really into superheroes. when we go to the library he heads straight to the superhero section and pours over books about spiderman, iron man, black panther, batman, etc. he loves to watch episodes of pj masks when we are long roadtrips or when august has a therapy appointment. he’s very into imagining a battle against the bad guys and using different powers.
on a related note, moses is very interested in combat. for a long time, i really pushed back on any mention of fighting or weapons or etc. i thought it was crazy that any parent would buy their child a toy weapon! but mo started using his creativity to turn anything and everything into a weapon – sticks, household objects, toys, food, etc – haha. and i realised that i needed to lean in a little to and try to thoughtfully direct his evolutionary desire to fight and his innate aggression. now, when mo is telling me all about his imaginary battles with the bad guys (using his toy weapons) he almost always makes sure to tell me, “i tried talking to them about it first mom, and being kind, but i had to protect myself!” 🙂 he does know that (back to his superhero passion) kindness is the strongest and best super power.
moses has a sidekick, and it’s his kid brother gabriel. one of mo’s most oft spoken phrases is, “come on, gabe!” as he leads his little bro to some kind of creative activity he has schemed up. gabriel has started to hold his own ground a little more lately, but mostly he has been happy to be mo’s wing man. moses has sometimes also taken on the role of teacher to his brother – everything from drawing tutorials to karate lessons. those two boys bicker and fight like crazy (literally, i sometimes feel like i am totally going crazy), but they also love each other so much and are genuinely best friends.
mo continues to have a major sweet tooth. we have to really be careful to hide annnnny kind of treat in our house – it’s like he has radar to find sweets! there has been more than one morning where moses has been caught red-handed eating brown sugar directly out of the canister in my baking cupboard. he can get pretty sneaky and begging when it comes to sweets but he also is pretty good at regulating himself and listening to his body when he does have treats. he can be bribed to do basically anything with the promise of a candy reward, haha.
he continues to love doing art and making crafts. it has been so fun for him to have our craft room in our basement. he’s constantly coming up with some new way to use our craft supplies and/or random items to make something new – robot heads out of amazon boxes, life size self-portraits, “fireworks” made of markers and pipe cleaners, etc etc. he went through a book-making phase where he would staple some papers together and write and illustrate a little book, and each one was just so creative and delightful (including/especially the attempts at spelling new words). there’s always a creative idea or two in mo’s head – i love it.
moses’s interest in and skills with legos has continued to increase over the past year – he is quite the lego master these days. he is very proud that he can do lego sets marked for up to “9+” and he loves both following the instructions and making his own creations (i am often super impressed with his sense of symmetry and engineering!). he has some designated “lego shelves” in our basement and often will reorganise them by different categories.
mo has enjoyed kindergarten. he went to byu kindergarten (it’s a pretty cool setup with student teachers and teachers of teachers) and loved being across the street from his dad’s office. there have been a few struggles around respecting authority and around being bored (i think these are connected), and i’m a little disheartened that he hasn’t made much academic progress this year just because he basically repeated kindergarten (the kindergarten-equivalent starts at age four in england, and is full-day). but he has grown and learned a lot through play and different social experiences. i loved hearing about his days at kindergarten after pickup – he didn’t often share much about learning activities but was always happy to share about recess. a little crew of boys formed that loved to play “jungle police” at recess – apparently it’s a whole involved game with a hierarchy of leadership and rules and devised methods to get the bad guys / protect the jungle. moses says it was his idea but who knows the context around that, haha. i hope he can stay in touch with some of the great little buddies he made at kindergarten – his classmates are going to several different elementary schools next year. a funny little tidbit is that at the beginning of the year moses kept telling me about his “best friend” named omar. i didn’t know who omar was but moses just adored him. one day when i was asking about omar and wondering if mo wanted me to get in touch with his mom to set up a play date outside of school, mo said, “actually mom, his name isn’t omar. i don’t know what his name is!” hahah, i love that he just chose a random name to call his new friend by. as it turns out (i had to contact the school to get a list of all the boys’ first names in the class), “omar” is a darling little boy named isaac, and there have been lots of play dates 🙂
i love that moses will randomly whip out some long or kinda complicated word like “ridiculous” or “basically” or “enormous.” i also love that he will quite often randomly say, “mom? i love you.” and i really love it when he says “aye aye!” when i ask him to do something and then head straight to do it (sometimes with a salute) – not sure where that came from but i’ll take it! the talk from moses that i don’t love so much is all the potty talk. soooo much potty talk. something just so alluring to five year old boys about saying poop, pee and fart!
moses has completed the first year of the let’s play music program. he loved it and learned so much! next year he gets to start playing the keyboard! i went to music class with him every other week this past school year (he went on his own the other weeks) — sometimes it was tricky for him to stay focused but he made some good friends and knows all about different music notes, basic chords and solfege patterns, and how to match pitch and copy rhythms. his teacher had a competition at the end of the school year and moses won the grand prize! he was ecstatic and told everyone he saw for a solid couple of weeks about his prize, which was a really cool accordion!
mo adores his baby sister. one phrase you’ll most often hear me say is “please leave eve alone.” moses follows evie around saying “oh, sweetheart, hi cutie girl, i just love you!” in a high-pitched voice. he hugs and kisses her until she squeals and we sometimes have to literally peel him away. he also really loves august but just absolutely dotes over eve – it’s pretty sweet.
moses continues to love stories and particularly stories with magical creatures. he’s into fantasy. recently ian introduced the story of the lord of the rings and moses is very into it. he adores a few story podcasts we have found on spotify and the story cards he has gotten for his yoto player. when he asks me or his daddy to tell him stories he will often specify which magical creatures he would like to appear in the narrative. he also continues to love making art and has drawn all kinds of wild creatures and scenes from his imagination.
he has become a pretty strong swimmer thanks to swimming lessons at the rec center. he is totally fearless when it comes to jumping off the diving platform, climbing the rock wall that comes out of the pool, and going down the slides. i’m confident now that he could make it to the side of the pool if he was in too deep, but now he needs to work on his strokes. moses is a total fish and loves being in water.
moses also gets to go to karate lessons – he started in january of this year. i love his sensai and his dojo so much. his darling class of about ten little boys do a little warmup, work on their different kicking/punching skills, and then sit together to discuss a “life skill” and do a little meditation. moses has already learned a lot about focus, discipline and various life skills at karate, and he has had one belt advancement which was super exciting for him. he will continue karate next school year and i’m really excited to see what else he learns with his spirit, mind and body.
gabriel @ three, turning four years old
gabriel graduated from speech therapy around the new year and now talks very clearly and is a total chatterbox. he seems to always have something to say and he always says that something with a lot of animation and expression. sometimes i feel like he is constantly saying “mommy” to get me to listen to what he has to say. some of his most-used phrases lately have been: “actually, did you know….“ / “k?” / “duh duh de duh!” (when showing off something cool like a puzzle he had completed) / “that’s perfect!” / “cause of” / “right??” / “what the heck?!” / occasionally he has a little stutter – “like like like” or “actually actually” – but that has gone away mostly. gabe just has a really active mind and so much to say and express!
gabey has a brain for math. in the fall he was really into a game where he would say, “when evie is four, i’m gonna be six” or “when mo is 21, i’m gonna be 19!” over and over with lots of different numbers. he will randomly say things to me from the back of the car like, “mom! four fives is 20!” he loves to be quizzed on addition, subtraction, and more recently multiplication. i’m consistently amazed by how quickly he can do simple math problems that come up in day-to-day life.
gabriel has been (at least compared to his big brother, ha!) a pretty mellow kid, but age three brought lots of big feelings and lots of epic meltdowns as little gabe struggled to know what to do with said big feelings. as he got closer to four, gabey found a high-pitched, extremely loud scream that pierces the ears and rattles the brain. for a while we told him, “don’t make that noise unless part of your body is getting cut off,” and that evolved to “don’t make that sound unless you are dying,” and that evolved to a desperate “never make that noise, even if you’re dying!” ha! phew, that scream is powerful. some more expressed aggression has come out as gabriel has gotten older as well. growing up is really hard!
gabes has a few really distinctive and super cute mannerisms / little details about him. he scrunches his nose when he’s confused or tickled, puts his hands on his hips when he wants to come across as matter-of-fact, and he majorly talks with his hands – all kinds of expressive gestures that make him so animated. after he uses the potty, he more times than not comes out of the bathroom with his shirt perfectly half-tucked – i just think it’s so cute. his freckles and dimples are so, so adorable and noticed with delight by anyone he meets. sometimes when gabriel is excitedly telling me about something, i just can’t help but scoop him up and give his cheeks dozens of kisses – he’s just so adorable.
we were so blessed as a family to have gabriel attend the most amazing preschool this past year. it is run by an angelic, magical woman named lisa who gabriel absolutely adores, in her incredible back yard. it is everything i could ever think to dream up for a preschool. this past year with his classmates, gabe grew a garden and harvested grapes to make grape juice, put on a fairytale theatre production and an incredible art showcase, researched about the rainforest and children all around the world, played in the snow and sun, and learned all about being a good friend and a good human along with about letters and numbers. when i would drop gabriel off at school, moses would often lament that he didn’t get to go to gabe’s school. lisa’s favourite colour is white, so gabriel’s favourite colour is white. when gabriel had some cavities filled, lisa texted me to check in on him. when he turned four, she came to his birthday party and brought a thoughtful gift. we just love gabriel’s preschool soooo much, and are so excited that he gets to go there next year again! he will also be attending another preschool so that he will be in school four mornings a week (instead of just two).
as mentioned above, gabriel is moses’s sidekick. “hey moses…” you’ll often hear him say. he loves the (art / karate / game) lessons that moses does for him and for a long time he, for better or for worse, followed mo basically anywhere and doing anything. more recently he has started to push back when it comes to his brother’s sometimes bossy nature 🙂 but he loves and idolizes his brother and they are best buds.
gabriel very, very often asks “how many days / hours / minutes” until… (his birthday, mo’s birthday, christmas, halloween, we will be home, it’s bedtime, we will leave for an outing, etc etc). he’s very very into this. sometimes the query starts with days and then turns to minutes and i’m often sure grateful for alexa and siri to do the math for me!
when i can’t find gabriel somewhere, i will call out “gabriel??” and most of the time i’ll hear back from some close or distant spot, in gabe’s sweetest little voice, “heeeere!” i love that.
he has been in swimming lessons at the same time as moses (but different group) throughout the school year. he’s made a lot of progress with being comfortable in the water (he used to barely dip a toe and now he just barrels in there excitedly!) but he still has some work to do to be totally safe in the pool. he loves swimming lessons and playing at the rec center pool. he has been able to go watch a few of moses’s karate classes and is so into it, watching with very rapt attention the whole time. he is super excited to start let’s play music next year and already knows all the songs since he observed moses doing his homework every week this past year!
gabes has followed his big brother’s lead in being interested in superheros. he’s very into the avengers and the pj masks. often he will be found deep in his own imagination, spinning and jumping around a room clearly in combat with some type of villian. he will often randomly sing a little musical motif from pj masks “duh duh duh-dee duh duh!” and shoot off on some mission to save the day.
august @ 12-21 months
as an infant, august was super, super chill. after he turned one, he started really finding his voice and asserting himself! he’s still quite a laid-back little guy, but now he is very determined about things he wants and can be very loud, haha. when he is upset, he often loudly trills his tongue was he cries. the sounds he makes with that fast rolling tongue are actually pretty darn impressive!
august isn’t using very many words, but his most common sound is “da!” or “dada!” – sometimes for his dad, but also for almost anything else he sees and finds interesting. he can also say “mama” (usually for mom, but not always), “go (gah)” (after a “ready, set…” prompting, and half the time it’s “da!”), and doggy (which sounds like, you guessed it, “dada!”). he started speech therapy a few weeks ago. i’m so excited to hear more of what is going on inside his head!
ever since he was a newborn, auggie has showed his emotion through swirling his wrists. i love that he has found an extra way to express himself through this self-stimulation. people often think he is signing “all done” but he does his hand swirls in a wide variety of situations. (yes, we are monitoring him for autism – he doesn’t fit many of the other signs but we are keeping an eye on it!)
august has the most awesome fine ginger hair. summer has turned it into strawberry blonde. he had his first haircut just after he turned one and, although it was badly needed, it was a little bit heartbreaking for both ian and i! we just love his hair so much. at 15 months, august got glasses! they are adorable and make his already huge and beautifully blue eyes appear even bigger. i think they suit him so well and i’m so glad we were able to figure out that he needed some help with his vision! (we took him to an ophthalmologist because he had started crossing one of his eyes consistently – something that happened to our niece that needed glasses when she was a toddler, so we were lucky to kind of know what to expect.)
auggie is a happy little chap. he is generous with his smiles, which are often enormous – taking over his whole face – and so cheesy. he also laughs a lot and displays a full repertoire of laughter in a day – giggles, chuckles, belly laughs, cackles. his laughs tickle anyone that hears them. sometimes we will be driving somewhere in the car and seemingly out of nowhere i’ll hear august laugh heartily from the back seat. sometimes he gets into little giggle fits where it seems like he just can’t stop laughing (i get those too, so i think he got that from me 🙂 ). august wright brings so much joy!
before august became mobile, he loved to kick his legs while laying on the ground. he would kick them so vigorously and so fast! i’d always ask him where he was running to while he beamed big smiles up at me 🙂
august has physical therapy twice a week. the provo early intervention program is so awesome and their therapists come to families’ homes – this is sooo helpful for us (august had been going to outpatient physical therapy at a pediatric clinic, which was great but required me to find childcare for my other kids and travel there and back and it was exhausting!). in march, he also did a intensive physical therapy session at an amazing place here in provo called “now i can.” it was five days a week, four hours a day, for three weeks! he worked so hard and was such a trooper and we are deeply grateful for the therapists there and the growth they inspired in august. he is still quite severely delayed when it comes to typical physical milestones, but he has made sooo much progress. he started crawling at about 16 months and now at 21 months he is getting really close to walking. a couple of months ago he got some custom ankle orthotics that have been helping him feel more steady and confident on his feet and he wears them pretty much all the time. we don’t know why his development is delayed, but especially because all the therapists that he has worked with haven’t noticed any red flags for permanent neurological issues, we are hopeful that he is just a late bloomer. we are also keeping our hearts open to support him in any type of diagnosis that may come and any type of challenges that he may have.
auggie also has been seeing an occupational therapist twice a month through provo early intervention program and he has made exceptional progress in his fine motor skills. (now the occupational therapist has adjusted his intervention plan to include visits just once a quarter.) his favourite trick once he figured out his separate fingers was to stick his pointer finger up my nostrils, haha. he now really enjoys exploring and manipulating all kinds of differently sized objects with various functions.
i was laughing with his occupational therapist the other day when we were going through the goals we had made for august several months ago – one of them was “purposeful release” because he had a hard time letting go of things. we laughed because now august is very proficient at releasing things – i.e. throwing them. both his therapist and i have been hit in the face with a thrown toy during therapy, haha. august does have quite the arm and his favourite thing to do is throw balls. he can toss quite far and quite accurately, and then when i roll the ball back to him he splits open his legs and catches it between them. and then he lets out a hearty laugh 🙂
when august accomplishes something he has been working on, he is clearly and visibly so proud. when he started crawling and with each new skill he learns he is just beaming – he looks at me with this distinctive glimmer of pride in his eyes and he is just delighted. it’s so fun to watch.
auggie’s “trick” repetoire includes: giving high fives, clapping his hands, pointing to his belly button, blowing kisses, and most recently signing “more.” his receptive language (what he understands as opposed to what he says) has greatly increased over the past month or so and he can follow certain commands. it feels like i can see the wheels turning in his brain as he listens and responds. he is definitely behind his peers in this area in addition to his physical milestones, but he is working hard to catch up.
auggie loves dogs and loves water. he is fascinated and delighted by any doggy he hears or sees, and he is content to splash in the bath for over an hour! he also loves swings and being spun around while being held.
he is a very enthusiastic eater, and he will eat basically anything by the quickly repeated handful. consequently, he is also a very messy eater and sometimes i am genuinely impressed by what a huge mess he can make out of some food not really that prone to messiness! i am also consistently amazed by how quickly his food disappears. he has a healthy appetite, that’s for sure!
august is a cuddly boy that will nuzzle his head into the crook of my neck often, particularly around sleeping times. he’s also very ticklish, particularly right under his chin. he loves when i do “round and round the garden” on his hand and then tickle him under his armpits. recently, he has gotten into the joy of being chased and loves to crawl, giggling, at super speed away from my “i’m gonna get you!”
eve @ 12-21 months
our little evie girl is full of spunk! he knows what she wants and goes after it and she’s fueled by a big dose of natural curiosity and pizazz. as soon as she became mobile she started getting into everything and although she can be a big mess maker, she also genuinely seems to love cleaning up (my favourite is the ownership that she feels over making sure her dirty diaper gets in the trash). she’s always on the move, exploring something or some place, and showing others what she has found. and when she’s upset, she lets you know.
eve has a few more words than august, but still isn’t speaking much. i get to use the things i learn with august in speech therapy to try to help her grow her vocabulary as well! while she’s not very verbal, she’s extremely communicative, having found ways to get her point or desires across clearly using her body and her voice. she’s really loud (like i’m consistently amazed that so much sound can come out of such a small body) – loud babbling, grunting, and especially loud crying. she does say “mama,” “dada,” “doggy” (which sounds more like “dada,” like august says it), “go (gah),” “there / this,” “yeah,” “woah,” “no,” and recently she has started doing this silly tongue flick sound for “water.” she also does the most adorable little “i don’t know” pose with her arms stretched and palms up when asked a question she doesn’t know the answer to. her receptive language is amazing and she can follow multi-step instructions.
she is super affectionate – she loves to give hugs (although usually only umprompted ones – homegirl can be stubborn when asked to do something!) and kisses, particularly to august (she gets so fixated on getting her kiss right on his lips when he is wiggling around, haha!). she is also often willing to cuddle and it’s so sweet. she likes to sit in my lap and will often toddles right over to me and plop herself down there.
eve took her first steps at the very end of 2021 and started walking consistently at around 16 months. when eve first started standing on her own, she had the most exuberant proud look on her face. she was timid was determined in learning how to walk. now, she has the most perfect sassy little strut, and she has started doing a bit of running! she usually likes to walk when she can, rather than being held or in a stroller. or in an airplane seat … i’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months walking behind her up and down airplane aisles over and over and over (i was glad this brought a smile to many passengers’ faces).
eve is naturally a generous caretaker. she always notices when others are sad, particularly her twin, and will often do something to help completely unprompted – she will bring auggie some food or a toy or a binkie. it is so, so sweet. she loves all three of her brothers so much and lights up when she sees them or she is asked where they are and she points at them.
it has made me a little bit giddy with joy to dress my little daughter. evie has mirrored this … she gets really excited about her clothes and after she puts them on she wants to go show family members or others that we are with (she approaches people, gets their attention, and points vigorously at her chest, haha). i also love doing her hair – she doesn’t share my enthusiasm for that quite as much because it requires her to sit still for a bit, but she still likes to show off her pigtails sometimes, too 🙂 eve is just impossibly cute and absolutely my dream girl – i’m a little obsessed with her.
little sis loves, loves, loves being outside. during the colder months she would constantly point at her shoes and coat or point out the back window as an ask to get out in the yard. when i ask, “do you want to go outside?” she beams and chuckles.
one day we were sitting down to dinner and told the big boys it was time for a prayer, and evie clasped her hands reverently. we all cheered a little for her and she gave us this look of immense pride in accomplishment, haha. for a few months she was so good at folding her hands for a prayer but then she decided she was over that and would rather get into some random thing or make lots of noise while we pray, haha.
eve hates having her picture taken, much to my despair. (can you tell from her portraits above, ha!? here’s a few more photos of her that i sneakily got while she was smiling!) she’ll be doing something super cute and the second i put up my phone to snap a photo she gets super grumpy, haha. i’m hoping she will grow out of this phase! her cuteness in her body and personality is so hard to capture!
she loves pointing out her belly button, waving hello/goodbye, using utensils when eating (side note: she is a frustratingly picky eater…), and doing things on her own without any help. what she loves doing probably most is putting on shoes – anyone’s shoes. shoes are her favourite toy! she often doesn’t like being held by anyone but mom and dad, and being told she can’t have something she wants.
I know another toddler who makes a funny tongue-flick sound for water, and we figured out it was her effort to mimic the sound of the refrigerator water dispenser!
Charity, I do not understand why you talk about Auggie’s health condition in such a public place …that said and being a therapist myself, I can clearly see signs that strongly point to the angelman syndrom…maybe there are support groups run by parents in your area?!
I would think a therapist would know better than to comment with a suggested diagnosis. Sounds like mom is doing everything right. The little guy is receiving therapy and I’m sure followed closely by a doctor who is qualified to make a diagnosis if there is one to be made. He is a twin and most likely was premature. Perhaps he just needs a little extra support.
I feel the opposite…I think Charity shared an update on August that is respectful of him and celebrates his progress, and also normalizes discussion of what has previously been a topic largely treated with secrecy, shame, etc. I found this update to be really beautiful, and I am rooting for August and everyone who loves him!
I completely agree with Alexa. I’m an occupational therapist who works with children all all different abilities and disabilities. Charity’s update on August is just perfect and a wonderful way to cheer for all that he is. Neurodivergence is to be celebrated and honored for the unique qualities it brings to our world.
Charity, What beautiful photos and children! As a long time Dripping with Passion reader that has been following you since your single days in Palo Alto it’s so wonderful to see your life progress and some of your most closely help dreams come true. It’s taken a lot of work, love, and dedication for sure. Thanks for sharing your journey. There’s so much to learn from hearing each other’s stories with an open heart.
I’m impressed with your honest, hopeful, and productive attitude towards August’s developmental challenges. (I’m sure you’ve had plenty of worry too.) Whatever comes his way it’s clear you and Ian will support him, love him, and celebrate him every step of the way. What else could any child want. Keep up the good work!
I wonder why Eve doesn’t like her photo taken? Can she even completely know what it means? Maybe she just doesn’t like to sit still?