moses @ six years old
moses is a first grader! he is loving school and has made a lot of new friends. he has a very lively imagination and he has become a leader on the playground when it comes to imaginative games at recess. he is learning spanish (half of every school day is in spanish immersion!), loves math and especially math games on the computer at school, and is improving in his reading and writing. the transition into first grade was rough in some ways and mo has worked together with his wonderful teachers, the school social worker, and the district behavior therapist as his active body and mind have adjusted to the full school day. he is a proud canyon crest cub and talks often about the school’s values – respect, ownership, attitude, responsibility – which spell out roar! we also talk a lot about an expectation at school: khfaooty – keep hands, feet and all other objects to yourself. this can be hard for moses but he is getting better at controlling his impulses and respecting others’ personal space.
mo has such an actively creative mind – he is always wanting to make something, wether it be a robot costume out of used amazon boxes or a wild lego creation or pretend battle weapons out of paper and tape. at a church christmas activity he learned about hot glue guns and popsicle stick creations and he was overjoyed when santa put a glue gun in his stocking. he makes cards and books and puppets and masks and all kinds of other things.
moses is still going to karate twice a week, and he’s learning so much there about his body, mind and spirit – and how they all connect. recently his sensei did a “self-discipline board-breaking challenge” – each pupil had a chance to perform acts of self-discipline at home to earn blue stripes on their belts, and once they had eight blue stripes they got to break their very own board with a chop or kick. mo was really motivated by this and performed many acts of self-discipline from waiting his turn to talk to not hitting his brother back to emptying the dishwasher without being asked to taking care of his sister when she needed help. and he was thrilled when he got to break his board and that he did it in one try! every week at karate moses and his fellow “ninjas” are introduced to a different “life skill” and this has generated conversations at home about consistency, persistence, emotion, and lots of other good stuff.
in addition to karate, moses also goes to a music class once a week. it’s the same music class he did last year, but this year he gets to learn to play the piano! he’s doing so well and can read simple chords and play some fun songs. he practices the piano for a few minutes almost every day. occasionally practicing is a battle but mostly it’s really fun and it’s been fantastic to watch mo’s progress.
moses is obsessed with his baby sister. he adores august, to be sure, but he is just infatuated with evie. he loves to give her hugs and kisses (which has prompted lots of productive conversations about consent!) and tells her all the time how much he loves her and how cute she is. he loves to be around her and teach her things – he recently taught her how to sort the utensils when he is unloading the dishwasher 🙂 he is really, really sweet with both eve and august.
with gabriel, on the other hand … haha, those two boys are both best friends and arch nemesis lately. the bickering and bothering and fighting often feels completely unrelenting … but then they get playing together so nicely and in such a fun way, and they often watch out for each other. a common-heard phrase at our house is moses saying “c’mon, gabey,” leading his kid brother off to some imaginative game or creative activity. how long the activity lasts without an eruption into fighting is variable, but these brothers really love each other.
moses has some big emotions. we’ve been talking a lot about how all emotions are good and important, but we have to go through them instead of fighting them, and while we are going through them we cannot hurt anyone or anything. mo’s active mind and body tells him to lash out when he feels hard emotions and he’s learning different strategies for coping and moving through them. we talk about how we all have “lava” in our bodies and if we don’t do things to bring the lava down and feel regulated, it can erupt and that can hurt others. we have a paper on our kitchen wall that shows things we can do to bring our lava down – like take deep breaths or move our bodies or squeeze our fists or have some alone time. moses is getting better at staying in control when his lava is close to the top or spurting out. it’s hard work that we are all doing together!
mo has been a lover of magical stories since the very beginning of his life and this love has not waned. he loves listening to different kid story podcasts that we’ve discovered – in the car and at bedtime. he hates it when we turn off his audio player so he can get some sleep, and he’s become a night owl – he has a hard time going to sleep before too late and has started sleeping in more in the morning … we are trying to figure out a way to get him on a little earlier schedule!
moses is a lego master. he can do big, full sets that are above his age range with zero help and he also loves to build his own creations. i am consistently amazed by the way he makes things symmetrical and cool-looking. we recently got this incredible app called brick it that scans a photo of a pile of legos and gives you tons of options of things to build, with instructions. moses loves doing that and he’s so good at coming up with smart solutions when there’s a missing piece – he figures out what could work instead and which things are totally necessary or not to complete the creation.
he has learned how to ski! as of this writing he’s been to two ski lessons and he absolutely loves it. he’s pretty fearless and really proud of his progress – in his second lesson he got to ride the chairlift instead of just staying on the bunny hill and he was thrilled! i tried to prep moses pretty thoroughly that learning to ski can be uncomfortable and frustrating but if you stick with it, it can be so fun. on the drive home after his second lesson he said, “miki [his karate sensei] is right, mom! hard work does pay off!” 🙂
some random/funny little antics of mo’s as of late:
he had a phase where he would put on dozens of pairs of underwear at the same time, just when he was bored or just to be silly.
he many times replies with an enthusiastic “got it!” when he’s asked to do something around the house. (other times it takes more effort to get to compliance…)
he loves cereal and asks for a bowl after dinner almost every day. his favorites are special k with red berries (which he affectionately calls “strawberry cereal”) and rice crispies.
he continues to love gems, crystals, “treasure” … anything shiny or sparkly.
he likes to sing the spanish songs he learns at school around the house. he will just randomly start (loudly) belting out: “lunes, martes, miercoles, jueves, viernes, sabado, domingo!”
he loves and gets a kick out of elephant & piggie books, which are his favourites to read aloud and get a check on his reading chart – every one hundred books earns him a trip to the arcade, which he looooooooves.
gabriel @ four years old
gabriel goes to two different preschools and he loves both! he has a few favourite friends at each preschool and is usually very enthusiastic about telling me what happened at school each morning, monday thru thursday. on friday mornings he hangs out with mom and the twins!
we started a family economy in our house this year, and gabes is very into it. he’s super motivated by opportunities to make money and he’s made some great purchases when he has saved up. (moses can hold onto money about as long as he could hold onto a hot potato, but gabriel really enjoys watching his earnings pile up!) gabe is diligent and quite impressively self-reliant in checking off his jobs each day.
this past fall, gabriel did a basketball class at the rec center with his dad. he loved it so much – he was always counting down the days until he could go again and was often telling me all about the skills he was learning. it worked out that after he had completed the class (and he got a medal!) he got to go to a professional basketball game! my parents have season tickets for the utah jazz and ian and gabriel got to use the tickets for one home game. it was super exciting! gabes gets to try out a soccer class with his daddy later this winter!
gabriel also had a lot of enthusiasm for his music class. it’s fun for him to do the same class with the same songs and activities that moses did last year. he adores doing his “practicing” each day and always get so pumped up to go to class – half of the time he goes on his own and half of the time he goes with me. he’s learning a lot and taking to all of it really well – i think he may become a bit of a musician! he’s made some cute little friends at music class – he can be shy at first with new people but then he gets really friendly.
almost everyone who meets gabriel comments on his darling freckles. those and his dimples continue to be such distinctive characteristics as he grows up. gabe is super expressive – a total chatterbox who is often overflowing with excitement – and i just adore how his face lights up and his nose wrinkles and his eyes widen as he tells others about something he loves or learned. he’s prone to interrupting and an oft-said phrase in our house is “please stop talking gabriel, i’m talking to someone else” … he’s working on waiting his turn to speak. he just has so many exciting things to say! and questions to ask – he’s very curious and usually very eager to learn.
gabriel can read!! he started blending letter sounds together without any encouragement and so we started having him read specific words in books on his own when we were reading together. he wanted a chart like his big brother’s – one with one hundred boxes, checked off one by one whenever a book was read – so we made him one with the understanding that he could get a check each time he read five words in a book. he whizzed through that, got to go to the arcade as a prize, and started a new chart with one hundred boxes representing one hundred entire books. he adores reading little bob books out loud and getting more checks on his chart.
reading seems to be coming pretty naturally to gabe, but he really has a mind for math. he continues to amaze me with computations that he does in his head and blurts out numerical truths in a variety of situations. he loves figuring out different questions that come up about numbers (like how old he will be when someone else is a specific age or how many more jobs he needs to do to earn his weekly money).
gabriel loves playing games. after he kinda moved out of his chess phase, he had a long phase of constantly wanting to play lucky unders (a face card game that my sister taught him) – we played that game sooo many times haha! other recent favourites have been monopoly express (a card game version of monopoly), giraffes in scarves and llamas in pajamas (two random kids’ games we got long ago in the uk), and our peaceable kingdom cooperative games … he also likes sorry and hi-ho cherry-oh and war … and non-board/card games like hot and cold or hide and seek and sometimes he makes up his own games with all kinds of complicated rules. gabriel is so, so often asking to play a game.
he’s gotten so much better at not screaming (there was a consistent consequence for a while that he had to leave the house when he screamed – that sound is not allowed in out house – and that seems to have helped him rein in the noise!) and also matching his reaction to the situation – we talk a lot about small, medium and big problems and how we should match the size of our response to the size of the problem. there maaaay have been one time that i got everyone in the car and drove to the hospital to illustrate to gabriel that he can’t have a need-to-go-to-the-hospital type of reaction when he had a small problem. like moses, gabriel has learned ways to “bring his lava down,” and we are all working as a family to regulate our emotions.
he has followed in his big brother’s footsteps when it comes to lego – recently he’s mastered the ability both to follow instructions to build sets and to make his own creations with the small bricks.
he had a phase where he would consistently put his hands on his hips when he was emphatic about something. i just thought that was so cute. there was also an awesome phase when he would reply to a request with either “as you wish!” or “you got it!” more often now he gets pretty focused on what he is doing / playing with / working on so it takes a lot of times asking to do simple tasks like putting on shoes… he always says “constructions” instead of “instructions.” he’s a pretty good eater and is usually willing to try new foods, and when he’s asleep he is dead asleep. he usually wakes up first of everyone in the house and he peacefully goes downstairs and plays in our craft room or with legos, sometimes on his own for up to an hour.
august @ two years old
august is just a pot of gold. he’s the sweetest little boy you’ll ever meet – he just melts us with his sweetness. occasionally he is very, very sad and he can holler about that sadness very loudly … but most of the time he continues to be a chillster – a laid-back guy who goes with the flow of the chaos of our family. he is almost always willing to give (big, open-mouthed, slobbery) kisses and hugs and sometimes just randomly grabs my face to give me some love. he’s usually really quick to share and do cooperate when asked to do something.
he also has begun a bit of a mischievous streak. he thinks it’s hilarious to pull my hair, to run away from me when i ask him to come, to steal toys from evie, to throw food or other things across the room. he just genuinely, sweetly thinks he’s doing something funny. his little maniacal laugh is so dang cute it makes it really hard to be mad at him.
auggie completed his second three-week physical therapy intensive in august, and he walked himself out! well, at least a few independent steps … it took a few weeks after that for him to really have walking down, but man we were soooo excited that he was able to finally master that skill. for a while we had to remind him to walk instead of crawl – and sometimes he would mischievously and giggly sneak in some crawling or crawl away fast when we came to physically encourage him up onto his feet – but by his second birthday he was mostly choosing walking over crawling. he worked really hard to get to this milestone. his therapists concluded that he has hyponia, which just means low muscle tone – so it takes significantly more effort for august to move his body than for most people. we don’t know if his hyponia is a symptom of a larger disorder, but we’ve felt optimistic that he will catch up to his peers. we are in the process of getting insurance coverage to do full genetic testing.
in addition to bi-montly physical therapy, august also has bi-monthly speech therapy. he now has a handful of words – maybe 15 – but it’s clear that his muscle weakness is also making it tricky for him to coordinate speaking. his receptive language (what he can understand) seems quite strong, and he does try to communicate in different ways, and his words are increasing – but it’s frustrating for all of us that he can’t say much. we’ll keep working on it!
it has been so fun to watch august figure out how to say different things. his first “uh-oh”s were soooo cute – both sounds totally exaggerated and really drawn out … now his “uh-oh”s are quicker but still very expressive. one day i was strapping auggie into his car seat in the car and i can’t remember what happened that prompted him to want to say this, but i could just see the wheels turning in his head as he carefully maneuvered his mouth to talk about his big brother and say “momo.” he made his lips into a perfectly little “o” shape and said, “moooooe mooooooe,” and then flashed a look that communicated that he was deeply proud of himself. it was so so adorable. now, he talks about all his siblings but gabriel’s name is kind of a back-of-the-throat two-syllable grunt and evie is “didi.” when august first started saying “wow,” he would always say it in a kind of reverent whisper – it was so cute. this has since morphed into a loud and enthusiastic “woah!” he will often just totally holler MAMA and DADA!! he adores cars and balls and so he often says “baba” and “caca” and just recently he started responding with “tootoo” when asked how old he is and something slightly resembling “please” when he wants to ask for something politely.
the most distinctive-to-him thing that auggie says is “thank you.” somehow he figured that little phrase out and he uses it plentifully – any time he’s asked “what do you say?” and plenty of other times without any prompting. he likes to say it very loud and proud – HANK OOOO! – to anyone who happens to help him with something or just to the universe for his life being great (he’ll kind of randomly say it when he’s feeling happy) 🙂 the other day he picked up a little stuffed dog that gabriel gave him for christmas – it was tucked under an armchair in his bedroom. i asked him, “august, who gave you that doggy?” and he looked around a little, thinking about it, then stuck his head partially under the chair and hollered “hank oooo!” he’s so sweet in constantly showing gratitude!
august loooooves to throw things and is quite obsessed with balls. others comment really frequently on how good of an arm he has – he can throw far and also with surprising accuracy. he got a ball pit for his birthday and is like a machine throwing those one hundred balls – either out of the pit one right after another fast or right into the little built-in basket … he gets the ball in the basket an alarming number of times. he loves to play “catch” with anyone, and i love how he will, while sitting, spread his legs to catch a ball rolling his way and then laugh with glee as his picks it up and throws it back. he also loves to play with cars, especially pull-back cars (he gets so excited by either letting them go and watching them zoom or just holding them up after he’s pulled them back to watch the wheels turn super fast).
august is just excited about life. when he wants to really express his excitement, he twists his wrists quickly and straightens out his legs super straight. the stimming with his wrists has decreased lately, especially when walking, but i love that he still does that to just show a little extra how happy or excited he is about something. when prompted, auggie does the cuuuutest flexing-muscles/strong face with clenched fists and teeth. it makes all of us laugh and is just so adorable.
he adores his stuffed bear – a cute little teddy that was actually ian’s when he was a toddler and that his mom saved for ian’s kids. for a long time he called the bear “mama,” but now he calls it “bear bear.” he’s like a garbage disposal when it comes to eating and he will eat basically anything very enthusiastically. he’s getting better at not making a colossal mess at every meal. he’s a great sleeper and before he falls asleep and after he wakes up he’s super happy to hang out in his crib babbling, singing, or laughing with his twin sister. he’s mostly moved on from sleeping on his knees, face-planted with his bum up in the air … but that was his main sleeping position for a long time. he loves his parents, his siblings, and his life!
eve @ two years old
this girl! she is chock full of pizazz and spunk. her personality is loud (literally – sometimes i am amazed at how much noise can come out of such a small person! – and figuratively). she prances and struts around the house, usually with a big smile and occasionally with the hugest sobs, and she knows she’s the queen of all of our hearts. her language has exploded in the past few months and it is so fun to hear what words and phrases she uses for different things and scenarios. she’s adventurous and excitable and always sure of herself.
eve is a caretaker. when someone is hurt she often notices, stops what she is doing and goes to them to offer a pat or a toy. she is obsessed with her baby dolls, and, although she often leaves them naked and has on occasion thrown them across the room, she loves to cuddle and kiss them and make sure they’re not left out of any fun activities. the one she watches out most for, though, by far, is her brother august. whenever we give her a snack or a toy or a book or anything, she makes sure that auggie gets one too. “auggie too, auggie too,” she says. when he’s sad, she finds a way to help him without any prompting; if he’s not with her she enquires where he is. aaaand yes sometimes she snatches toys from him or pushes him over. but she loves him sooo much.
she gets to play a little game on my phone for five minutes most mornings while i do her hair. she likes to ask for a bow in her hair. she loves showing her outfits to daddy and she loves shoes. she’s a stinker often when i try to take a photo of her but she likes to pretend she’s taking photos (or maybe she thinks she actually is taking photos…) with my phone.
eve always wants a kiss at bedtime. she’ll say, “kisses, kisses!” and then “last one” to get one more, then she’ll blow a few kisses after that. she always makes sure auggie gets kisses too. she makes the cutest little smacking noise when she gives a kiss. this started on the night of her second birthday when she was having a hard time going to sleep – lots of crying in her crib. finally i said, “do you want a kiss?” and she was like, “yeaaaah!!” and so i gave her one and she went right to sleep. sometimes she’ll ask me to hold her and then she’ll just hug me – tightly – for several minutes. she also likes to hug and kiss auggie repeatedly when she’s in the right mood. it’s pretty adorable.
she loves to say prayers and is pretty mad when it’s not her turn to say the prayer (she often gets to do one after the other person has said one). at christmastime especially but also continuing on into the new year, she’s really really into talking about baby jesus and his birthday. “baby jesus birthday!” she’ll say loudly when we get scriptures out or if we’re ever talking about jesus, and she loves to find pictures of jesus.
evie is often found singing a little song in her own language. she’ll do this often unprompted, but also if asked to sing a song she gets right to it belting away – lately the song is usually about baby jesus and a few english words are interspersed with her own language words. she says a lot of things that almost anyone could understand – recent phrases are “i got it,” “mommy help,” “evie do it,” “love you,” “evie come too” – and she says a lot of things that no one could understand, sometimes long monologues. now she says “evie toooo, evie toooo” often when we are getting a snack, starting an activity, or going somewhere, but it used to be that she’d just quite forcefully pound her chest to indicate that she wanted to be included, and that evolved into her saying “i do, i do!” especially when she wanted to do something all by herself.
she has a tendency to blame things on her twin brother. she almost always responds to “sniff – who has a poopy diaper?” with “auggie poopy” haha. same goes for “who made this mess?”– “auggie.” she’s started to own up a little bit more lately 🙂
she’s our very pickiest eater and she screams when she doesn’t get what she wants to eat. she’d eat ten little oranges a day if we let her. she also loves cheese sticks and peaches. she’s almost always happy to play with other kids or with babysitters although she did have a phase of being a bit clingy to mommy. she called gabriel “baby” (instead of “gabey”) for a long time but now she loves calling him “babe-ri-EL!” she sometimes gets annoyed by moses’s close/physical/intense attention but she adores her brothers. she likes to do sleeping bunnies (the cutest little british nursery rhyme with actions) and when she’s really excited or happy she likes to hop/skip around with the hugest smile and a scrunched up nose.
Did you get my comment? This is incredible! They want a password to comment on the blog. You and they will love that you did this forever! Big hug!
I am not surprised that a woman who used to blog under “dripping with passion” has children with big emotions. 🙂
Your kids are adorable! I kind of wish you wouldn’t keep referring to Gabriel as the “kid” brother… I think it’s a little old fashioned and somewhat degrading.. I know you were probably referred to as the “kid” sister…didn’t it make you feel kind of less than…?
I don’t remember ever being called that, and I don’t see anything negative or degrading about it. It’s useful for me to know that others do, and I’ll keep that in mind!
In some parts of India, “didi” means sister – it’s what you call your older sister/female cousin/female relative. Cute kids – great writing!