I had to stop and count on my fingers how many months old you are now in January 2014. When you were little, this was a given, but once you started getting into the “teen-months” and then up over 2 years, it got harder and harder to keep track of just how many months had passed since you came into our lives. Now I have a 4 year old and 2 year old, but for the purposes of these state of the union posts, it’s good to capture exactly how old you are at this moment.
Carter, you are growing up so fast. We have seen such a change in you these past few months as you’ve finally started mastering the independence we’ve encouraged you to find. You started pre-school last August with pure hysterics for the first month and a half because you didn’t want me to leave you there. Despite always having a great time and a smile on your face whenever I picked you up, the mornings were hard and when I left you, there were almost always big tears. Collin and I came to chapel with you for that first month and a half so you would feel more comfortable. But after you turned four, we told you it was time to be a big boy and go to chapel without us, and you didn’t blink an eyelash. From that point on you happily went into your classroom every Tuesday and Thursday with barely a glance back at me. And you were excited to go to school! You’ve made your first friendships all on your own, and it still blows my mind that for the first time in your life there are things happening during your days that I am not a part of. But I couldn’t be prouder of you.
You also have started sleeping (mostly) on your own now. Again, when you turned four, we told you it was time to be a big boy and made you a “Carter nest” on the floor next to our bed, and while you certainly weren’t happy about sleeping there (and argued with me for quite some time when it was time to go to bed) you are finally sleeping there on your own now. Then one night a few weeks ago, you told me you wanted to go practice sleeping in your big boy bed all on your own. I put on a movie for you and both you AND your brother fell asleep in your room together! So while you don’t sleep in your big boy bed every night (we let you pick where you want to sleep) you are in there for at least part of a few nights every week, then you come stumbling blindly into our room during the night and spend the rest of the time in your nest. You do still like to snuggle in the mornings though. Again, I am so proud of you!
Additionally, you are learning how to be my big helper. When your sister comes this summer, I’m going to need a lot of help, and you are going to help me so much! You learned how to buckle AND unbuckle your carseat seatbelt, put your socks and shoes on (most of the time at least), and you always help me keep track of Collin and make sure he’s not getting into too much trouble around the house.
Last night you counted to 100 three times in a row, once all on your own, then once to show me and once to show Dada. You are also reading SO well on your own now, and your handwriting is getting better and better every day. Your artwork is actually discernible and you have done some great pictures of our family, Minnie Mouse, Mickey’s boat and more. You understand time and understand how to read a digital clock (and usually an old fashioned one too, but there aren’t too many around these days!) and what time we eat our meals. You are getting more and more curious about the world around you, and have asked questions that have led us to explain so many advanced concepts way beyond what a four year old should know, including the water cycle, gravity and what the Earth is made of. You are just such a smart little kid, and we can’t wait to see how much you learn once you start elementary school! I registered you for pre-kindergarten this week, plus your first soccer league with a bunch of your friends from our playgroup. You tell me all the time that you’re not my baby anymore, and I’m starting to believe you.
And Collin, you are growing up way too quickly, too! My sweet baby has turned into a (mostly) sweet toddler with more personality every day. Just as Carter has gotten more independent lately, so have you…only 2 years ahead of him. Your most commonly uttered phrase lately is “me do it!” and you insist on getting yourself undressed and dressed, putting your socks and shoes on, opening doors, opening your yogurt/applesauce/string cheese, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, buckling the buckle on your car seat, etc. Sometimes you admit you need my help still because you’re just not big or strong enough to do half of the things you want to do, but you more than often surprise me with what you’re capable of.
We started potty training you right before you turned two, which was a full year earlier than we started with Carter. It has been a big learning experience for me to teach you at such a young age. You have way more accidents than Carter did when he started learning, so while I do a lot more laundry with you, we used a whole year’s worth less of diapers, so I think it’s totally worth it. We still bring your little potty everywhere we go in the car (and yes, you still use it, usually in a parking lot on the side of the road) and I have a fold-up potty seat that stays in my purse to use when we are out. You usually use your little froggy potty when we are home, but lately you’ve pulled over the stool and climbed up on the big potty “like Carter” which was adorable. It’s a work in progress, but I’m still very proud of you!
You are still sleeping with Mama and Dada (aside from the one fluke night in Carter’s bed) which is fine with us. You usually end up sleeping between your pillow and my pillow, snuggled up right next to me, no matter how many times I roll you back to the middle of the bed. At 21 weeks pregnant, I am getting bigger and bigger, so it’s always interesting to still be co-sleeping with a toddler, but we did it with your brother, so as long as you want to, we will do it with you, too. You are a sporadic napper for sure. If we are home, you don’t nap during the day unless you fall asleep at 6:30 at night on the couch (yes, for a nap, not for bed), but if we go anywhere in the afternoon you will usually fall asleep in your carseat and transfer inside. You often fall asleep on the way to pick up Carter from school, which means I end up carrying a sleeping toddler around the Robin’s Nest more often than not, but if you want to sleep, I usually let you. Most of the time, a nap means you will be awake until 11 or 12 at night…not my favorite…but we do love spending time with you and Carter is usually asleep long before you are on those nights, so we get to snuggle and sing songs and read books.
Speaking of songs and books, you are learning a lot of songs now, which is so adorable because of course you don’t really sing them correctly, but you still love them. Your favorites are Happy Birthday (to Mama, Dada, Carter, Collin, Grampy, CeeCee, Santa, and your favorite, Mickey!), ABCs, Baby Beluga, Old McDonald, Twinkle Twinkle, and the other night you were singing part of the “Everyone Gets Hurt Sometimes” song from Doc McStuffins, which you picked up all on your own. You also are finally starting to enjoy books. Goodnight Moon is your favorite, but you won’t let me read it to you (“me do it!”) and insist on “reading” it to me instead. You also really like Go Dog Go at bedtime. You also bring me books occasionally, “Mama, read it!” and I always try to stop whatever I’m doing and “read it” to you. You pretty much know all of your letters now, and you can count to…eh, 14, I think. Getting you to sit down and focus on learning things is way harder than it was with Carter, because you would much rather be on the go doing things and your attention span is much shorter. But you have a great imagination, and you love “making dinner” with your pretend food, dressing up, and playing whatever game Carter invents for you. Puzzles are a favorite pastime and you can pretty easily tackle a 24-piece wooden puzzle on your own, which is pretty impressive for such a little guy. You LOVE your friends, and play really well with them. Current favorites are Alena, Evie, Adalyn and Sophia. You also hold your own with the bigger kids, and you still think you are way bigger than you actually are…climbing up things, almost falling off of them, etc. and scaring Mama half to death. But I am so proud of your courage.
You are talking so much more now, and while it’s still in Toddlerese most of the time and not complete sentences, we can have conversations with you, which is so helpful. You used to call Carter Bubba (for brother) but now you usually call him Tah-ter, which is funny because before we told anyone his name when I was pregnant with him, we called him Tater Tot, and now you have inadvertently continued that tradition. My favorite is when you look at me, put your little hands on my face and say “Mama, I love you soooo much.” You are just the sweetest little guy, and the cutest two year old you could possibly be.
I guess I should also throw in a quick postscript for Rory, our soon-to-be sweet girl. At 21 weeks pregnant, I am finally feeling you move around in my belly (and punch me in the bladder) and I’m feeling mostly great after that horribly sick first trimester. I’m tired and achy at the end of the day, but that’s just as much from keeping up with your brothers as it is from carrying you. My friend Michelle and I switched baby wardrobes…I gave her the boys’ clothes for her soon-to-be Julian and she gave me Lilah’s for you. Plus I’ve had several sweet friends unable to resist buying you cute little pink clothes, which make me squeal with delight each time I get one! Raising boys was something completely out of my element, as I’d never really been around boys much growing up. I think (hope!) I’ve done a pretty good job with your brothers despite the learning curve. But I am also so excited to finally get to do the girl stuff that I know and love too…the tea parties, ballet, princesses, pink. While you will probably end up a tomboy, I will at least get a few years of this stuff while you are little, and I am thrilled! I cried happy tears when we found out you were a girl right before Christmas, and I still smile every time I talk about our daughter because it’s just so new!
We chose your name soon after we found out you were a girl: Rory Elizabeth Jean McKay. While it’s a bit ridiculous for someone so small to have such a big name, we decided to give you two middle names because they are both special: Elizabeth is after Dada’s mom, who you unfortunately never got to meet, and Jean is my middle name, CeeCee’s middle name and my grandmother’s middle name. Since we are almost positive we’re done having children after you are born, we decided to give them both to you. Your brothers already know your name and talk to you in my belly (did you hear them?) and we are all so excited to meet you this summer! It will be a huge change to have three children in this family, but I am less scared about it this time than I was with either of my pregnancies before. I know I will have plenty of love for all three of you, and while it will be different, I know that the joy you bring into our family will more than outweigh the stress. It’s going to be amazing.