Hello my sweet children. It has been YEARS since I wrote one of these state-of-the-union family posts, and I figured it was about time to do another one.
Carter Glenn, how in the world are you already 8 years old?? You have grown so much, physically and mentally, since my last update. You’ve always been tall for your age, but now you stand a head taller than everyone on your baseball team, and you’re going to pass me by sooner than I would like. Your hair grows like crazy and you always manage to have that cool surfer boy look since you refuse to cut it short. And your brain, oh my goodness, you blow me away every day! We arranged for you to go from 2nd grade to the 4th grade advanced math class every day and you are loving that and handling it quite well despite our nerves. (You could probably go to the 6th grade class, but I don’t think ANY of us are ready for that! ) Some of your recent accomplishments include scoring the highest in the whole class on the 4th grade benchmark test and getting all of the questions correct on the Noetic Math Competition test. I have never seen anyone understand math as naturally as you do, and I can’t wait to see what you are capable of as you get older. You are also killing it in baseball. The boy who started playing in kindergarten with the baseball bat swing that looked like it weighed a million pounds is now strong and confident and hitting well every time you’re up at bat. You are also catching and throwing well, and your team knows that if you are in one of the key field positions that you are likely to get an out (or a few outs) each inning. You could have moved up to AA this season but we are so glad we gave you another season of A to mature. We feel much better sending you off to AA next season, and I know that all of the younger kids benefited from having you as a role model. I especially loved watching your team race at the end of each game when your long legs always came in first! When you turned seven we dubbed it the sassy sevens. You are obviously a smart kid, and you often think that you are ALWAYS right, even if sometimes your old mom and dad know better than you do. You have a strong sense of justice and quite the temper when something happens to make you upset. We expect a lot of you since you are the oldest, which I realize isn’t always fair, but you almost always rise to the occasion and make us proud. You are such an awesome eight year old, and we are amazed by you every day.
Sweet Collin Edwin with your freckles and big green eyes…you have surprised and delighted me this year in kindergarten. I always kind of figured that you would be a troublemaker in school, but you have excellent “purple” behavior (the best you can get on the behavior color chart, every day but two all year!) and have gotten straight E’s all year with 99th percentiles on your MAP tests. We are so proud of you! And oh, your reading! You started out the year hesitantly reading books but now you can do level 1 and 2 with just a little bit of help here and there. You were the first on in your class to get started on Accelerated Reader and I absolutely LOVE getting to hear you read books to me every night. Mrs. Cassidy is your teacher and she is so wonderful! I’m so glad that you have had so many amazing teachers to start your education. It has also been so fun to watch you grow up in baseball this season. You always did well in t-ball but we were still nervous about moving you up to coach pitch. But wow, by the last game you were hitting well and Coach Dada said you were throwing well too! I can’t wait to see how much you grow next season. You still tend to have an explosive personality…even keeled until we tell you no, and then it’s the end of the world. It’s also near impossible to change your mind once it’s made up, and if you’ve decided you’re not doing something, no amount of pleading, yelling or bribing will convince you to change your mind until YOU make that decision. I’m sure it will serve you well in life, but OMG it drives your mama bonkers! Other than that, you are our all-around good kiddo. Which can be hard sometimes because you are usually the one who needs our help the least out of the four, so you tend to get the least attention in the midst of our circus. I hope that you will always remind me if I’m not giving you enough. You are such an amazing six year old, and we are amazed by you every day.
Little Rory Elizabeth Jean, I have already talked a lot about you in this blog recently here and here, so this one will be short. These past nearly two years have been HARD since we determined that you had a speech delay around 18 months up through your apraxia/dyspraxia/sensory processing disorder diagnosis this summer and beyond as we’ve started the really hard work toward beating it. I feel like we have lived a whole lifetime in less than two years, and while the progress has been excruciatingly slow at times I am so proud of how far you have come. Most days I have an inner dialogue in my head that stresses out about your current therapies, supplements, treatments, what could we be doing better, what should we tackle next, what if I had been a little bit less careless that day at the splash park when you fell and hit your head, what is your future going to be like, when will we be able to have a conversation with you, will we EVER be able to have a conversation with you…and so on, and so on. I think, keyword think, that you are happy most of the time. I know you get frustrated, but you also smile and laugh and enjoy your favorite things like Peppa Pig, Yo Gabba Gabba music in our car, Frozen (but only the part when Anna and Elsa are little, and forget about Let It Go), clothes that have characters on them, dance class, and school. In so many ways you are just a normal three year old but in so many other ways you have to work harder than any other three year old I know. It’s not fair to you, but I hope you know that everything we are doing, we do to help you, even if it makes us all crazy. You are such an amazing three year old, and we are amazed by you every day.
And Owen William, my sweet caboose. You are just such a delight to our family! You are 13 months old today, AKA a year from your actual due date since you crashed the party a month early. You toddle the tightrope between dependence and independence every day…sometimes you still need my full and complete attention and it’s overwhelming to say the least, but then there are moments that you are milling around the house exploring on your own and I get a glimmer of the little boy you are too quickly becoming, and I think that may be even more overwhelming because it’s so hard to come to terms that you are my last baby and this is the last time we will be in this sweet in-between phase of life. I feel like many of your milestones are just a bit behind schedule since you were a preemie but sure enough, a few weeks after I expect something to happen, it happens. You are crawling like a madman (you pick up speed and practically fly down the hallway, your hands and knees slapping the wood floors as you go) and just took your first steps (to Dada, on the kitchen counter of all places!) a few days ago. You have been so cautious to walk but I watched today as you voluntarily let go and took a few steps on your own to get from point A to point B, and I could see the light bulb going off in your little head. I imagine that soon you will be running, and I will be chasing after you while also still chasing after your sister, eek! We love how interactive you have become in the past few weeks. You are saying Mama and Dada, and just recently started “no no no” since you hear it so often! You also just started panting like a dog with your tongue hanging out when we ask you what a dog does, which you got from Rory. You have learned to point at things to get what you want (e.g. the box of Teddy Grahams in the cabinet a few minutes ago), you love to wave hello and goodbye, you will sign “more” to get more Teddy Grahams (I’m sensing a trend here!), if we ask for a hug you lean in and put your head on our chests, and my favorite, if we sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” you will clap your hands…best party trick ever! You only had two purees before you decided they weren’t for you, and we’ve done baby led weaning ever since, giving you small bits of (non-dairy since you are still intolerant) whatever we are eating, and you have done awesome with it! You eat some meat and fruits/veggies with most meals and rarely turn anything away…at this age you are eating more than Rory and Collin, maybe combined! You are also still nursing and probably will be for a while. I have absolutely no idea how many times, how often, etc. you have ever nursed since we are on your schedule…fourth time at the rodeo I am a pro and you have never had any issues. I could certainly do without the late-night and early-morning snack breaks, so beware that soon we will have boot camp and that will be ending…as nice as it will be to get a full night of sleep again, it is also bittersweet to end that very special time in my life, and I think all moms who have nursed their babies know what I’m talking about with the quiet, dark moments of the night when it’s just you and your baby and everything else melts away. My sweet boy, I apologize in advance for being a crazy mommy, but I will be watching you like a hawk over the coming months to make sure that your speech and other milestones are developing as they should. I have PTSD after everything we’ve gone through with Rory and I will not make the “your brothers are talking for you” excuses this time around. If anything is amiss we will be intervening even earlier this time, but I think (hope!) that you will develop your expressive speech on a similar timeline to Collin. It’s obvious you are already understanding so much of what we say, we just have to get those words moving. We have you on a preventative dose of the Nemechek Protocol, so I’m hoping that while you spend much of your life at therapy that you will not need to go beyond the waiting room. If you do, though, we know so much more this time around and we will cross that bridge with way more knowledge and confidence. Having a fourth child was never on my radar…like EVER…but I look at you and can’t even imagine our family without your sweet face. Oh, those dimples, Owie! I say all that time that you are the best fourth baby ever, and you so are. You are such an amazing one year old, and we are amazed by you every day.
Our life is such a crazy circus of driving you all to and from your THREE schools, therapy, baseball, ballet, doctors appointments, playgrounds, making lunches and dinners and trying to keep the house from being a complete disaster area, and your Dada and I trying to get some work done so we have money to pay for all of the above while also being stay-at-home parents and being here to witness your amazing lives. This stage of life with four kids under age eight is HARD and STRESSFUL and WONDERFUL, and I know with certainty that I will look back on these days as some of the best in my life. I try very hard to not get hung up on the hard parts and instead focus on all of the positives. To be grateful for each day I have with you, for our health, safety and happiness. Some days that’s easier than others, but at the end of every day when you are all sleeping sweetly, I can sigh, thank the universe for each one of you and get ready to do it all again.
So that’s it for now, my monkeys. I love you more than anything else in this world, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.