4 years old

Dear Tiny and Buba,

Last Wednesday, you turned four. This was the first year where I really saw you getting excited as you waited for your birthday to arrive, and you are so proud to be four years old now. You both tell everyone we see, “Do you know that I’m four now?” I know that it’s true, but still, I can hardly believe it myself.

In this last year, you’ve grown so much. You are taller (something you’re very, very proud about) and your vocabularies continue to grow and grow each week. It is truly amazing to see you coming up with your own ideas (“I have a plan!”) and expressing your thoughts and feelings with more clarity. Of course, we don’t always see eye to eye, and sometimes you get very upset as a result, but I still love that you’re learning to think for yourself and are willing to speak up about what you think and believe.

At home, you still love to play together, but will also go your separate ways sometimes. Although you have tons of toys, you still prefer to be involved in some kind of pretend play or made up game. Various fairy tales (as well as a morning out at Disney on Ice) have inspired lots of reenactments, and your collection of dress-up clothes has grown and grown this year.

In the evenings and sometimes on weekends, you love to play games with Daddy. Although we’ve recently begun to play some board games (Hi-Ho Cherry O! and Snail’s Pace Race), you love to play The Acting Game (similar to charades, but with some talking allowed), Hide and Seek, and Simon Says. You also enjoy watching little videos on You Tube (something we’ve just recently begun to allow) and dancing with Daddy and me to just about any kind of music out there.

You both could spend almost all day outside if it were possible. Over the summer, Daddy found replacement parts and spruced up our 15 year old swing set in the backyard. You love to play on it, as well as in both the front and back yards. The cemetery near our house has very smooth roads, and you’ve spent lots of afternoons there riding your bikes, pushing baby dolls in strollers, and even flying a kite.

Tiny, you have continued to grow into the strong-minded, independent little girl we’ve know for quite some time now. When it was time for your first day of preschool in September, you didn’t even want me to walk you in the door. You insisted that I just pull up in the drop-off lane and let your teachers take you from there. Of course, I insisted that I walk you in on the first day, but day two, I let you have it your way, and you were so thrilled.

You are adored by both of your preschool teachers. They say that having you in the front room is like having a third teacher. You’re always willing to help out when they need a hand. But you also love to play and act silly with Buba and your new friends. You play at the water table, cut, color, and tape with the art supplies, and snuggle up with your buddy M in the baby doll bed. You really enjoy music time, and have taught me many of the songs you have learned in school. And just recently, you have been very excited about making friends with a couple of older girls in the far room. You play with them outside before dismissal time and are always chatty about the things you’ve done together while we’re driving home.

At gymnastics, you have continued to make tremendous progress. In May, your coaches suggested that we place you in an advanced group with older children who also pick up new skills relatively easily and quickly. We tried that class when gymnastics started back up in September, but quickly decided that we preferred to keep you in a class with children closer to your own age. I have not once regretted that decision. Your coach is very skillful and caring, and has helped you learn to walk backward on the balance beam, do walking turns on the beam, and turn cartwheels on the open floor. You love going to gymnastics each week and are eager to learn some of the “hard tricks” you’ve seen a few of the older girls do.

Buba, you are our silly, kind-hearted little boy. You love to do funny things and make everyone around you laugh. From your silly voices to your cute and crazy dance moves, you bring so many smiles and so much joy to our house and everywhere you go. I often find you sitting in the living room with a pile of books around you or in the midst of putting together a challenging jigsaw puzzle, but you also really, really like to play outside. You love to climb high, run far, jump around, and throw rocks in puddles. You are curious about the world, and like to observe and explore nature.

You were excited to start preschool this fall and seem to really enjoy all of the activities you get to do there. You could spend all morning playing at the water table, but also love to paint, play in the moon sand, and build with the blocks. Your teachers love having you in their class and say that you especially enjoy singing silly songs and making your classmates laugh. When you’re not playing with Tiny, you prefer to do your own thing. But recently, you’ve started talking about playing with a few classmates and have enjoyed playing with some older girls on the playground.

You continue to enjoy gymnastics, and can do so much more this year than you could do last year. Your upper body is much stronger, and your confidence has grown tremendously. At home, you love to show off the “hard tricks” you can do, which often involve jumping, somersaults, and jumping up to front support. You’ve also enjoyed learning to ice skate this year. From the very beginning you wanted almost nothing to do with the crates available to help little ones. You didn’t even want me to hold your hand. You may not be fast, but you certainly know how to get yourself around and can get yourself up when you fall. And when Dynamite plays through the loud speakers, you dance and bop without falling or missing a beat.

Your fourth birthday was surprisingly hard for me. There have been so many moments in the last few weeks where I’ve wanted to wrap my arms around you both and somehow make you stay little forever. But there’s no denying that you’re growing up. It’s happening so fast, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it or even slow it down. So, I just remind myself that the older you get, the more fun we have. And I’m looking forward to lots and lots of fun things coming up this year.

Happy 4th Birthday! I love you with all my heart and to the moon and back!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday to Wednesday

It’s been a bit of a challenge to sit down and write up all the fun things we’ve been up to. Here are some highlights from the last week…

Last Wednesday: We returned to the zoo for the first time since last summer. We went with some friends, and the kids had a great time running around and reacquainting themselves with all the animals around the park. It was our first visit without the double stroller, and both Tiny and Buba did a great job walking through the zoo like big kids. (I did take a single umbrella stroller in case anyone was unable to handle the privilege of walking, but we didn’t end up needing it.)

Thursday: We went for a playdate with some twin friends who live about 20 minutes north of us. We hadn’t seen them in a while, so it was fun connecting with them again. The kids played mostly in the back yard. There was a water table and a kiddie pool, and Buba and Tiny had the best time playing with both. They stayed outside almost 15 minutes longer than the other kids, because they just didn’t want to stop all the fun. We’ll definitely be needing a kiddie pool of our own in the near future.

Friday: Tiny and Buba had their last mommy and me gymnastics class in the morning and spent the afternoon playing outside and riding their tricycles.

Saturday: We got an early start on our spring/summer tradition of Saturday yard sale shopping to be sure we’d have plenty of time to wash the fire trucks in town.

 

 

 

 

That night we had a delicious Indian food dinner to celebrate our beloved Daddy (we let him choose a special dinner on Saturday, because we had plans to celebrate with Grandpa on Sunday).

Sunday: Buba, Tiny and I got up and ready and snuck out of the house while T was still sleeping. We went and picked up a dozen donuts and a coffee for Daddy, and then snuck back in as quietly as we could. When T woke up, we presented him with his coffee, the Sunday paper, and the gift the kids had made (a picture frame that they painted and decorated with sparkly jewels). Later that day, we went to Grandpa’s house and give him the same gift. The kids rode bikes around the circle, and then we all had a nice dinner at Macaroni Grill.

 

 

Monday: We went back to the zoo with another set of friends. Even though we had just been there a few days ago, the kids were just as excited as the first time we went. After our zoo visit, we headed back to our town for a popsicle party at the playground. It was technically for kids headed to kindergarten in the fall, but since I was in charge of the event (I am now the special events planner for my town’s family organization), my kids got to go and have popsicles too.

Tuesday: Tiny and Buba had their first day of summer gymnastics. They were in a class with kids who were all younger than them, and the level of gymnastics was definitely lower than the class they had just completed. So, we dropped the weekly mommy and me class and signed them up for two days of gymnastics camp (one in July and one in August). In camp, they’ll go for 3.5 hours at a time and ALL BY THEMSELVES. Tiny can’t wait. Hopefully Buba will be okay with this. We also switched their classes for the fall, so Tiny will definitely be going in the more advanced class, and Buba will be in an all boys class. Lots of changes coming up for them.

After gymnastics, we headed to a playground where T’s class was having an end of the year celebration. Buba and Tiny were treated like kings and queens, with all those big kids carrying them around, pushing them on the swings, and just doing whatever it was that they wanted. They were in heaven.

Wednesday (Today): The weather wasn’t great today. It sprinkled on and off all morning, and then poured all afternoon. But that didn’t keep us from getting out and having some fun. We headed out early to go pick Strawberries at a nearby farm. Tiny was all about getting the biggest, red-est berries she could find. Buba spent his time picking all the tiny, white ones and then throwing them across the field (which I may have done once when I told him to only pick the red ones). Either way, they both had a good time.

 

 

 

 

Then we headed back down to a playdate at the kids’ preschool. Over the summer, regular playdates are scheduled on the school’s playground so the kids (and parents) can get to know each other before the school year begins. And, hopefully, this will lead to a smoother transition when September rolls around. Buba and Tiny had a great time playing on the structures and in the massive sandbox. Even when it started to rain, they didn’t want to leave. We stayed until the very end. They left soaking wet, filthy, and begging to go back.

Gymnastics Class & My Summer Schedule

Today was the last day of gymnastics class for the current school year. We started our Friday morning class way back in September and stuck with it all year. It’s amazing to see how much both Tiny and Buba have learned and grown from this experience. They’re definitely both stronger and more spatially aware than they were when they began the class last fall. And they both appear to be more confident when trying something new. They love all the coaches they worked with throughout the year, and are both very excited to begin the summer session (which starts Tuesday!)

Here’s my little daredevil riding the rope swing one-handed and then upside down.

 

 

Buba loves the rope swing too…

 

but he’s always preferred jumping off of things (like that big yellow platform behind him).

Thanks so much for the comments you left about whether or not to put Tiny in the advanced four year old class or not. After T and I discussed it, we were all set to just leave her in the regular three-year-old class, but then one of the coaches pulled me aside today and again encouraged me to let her move ahead. After a bit more explaining, it sounds as though there may be an advanced 3/4 class, where she would not be the only 3 year old, and that there is an all boys gym class that meets at the same time (so I wouldn’t have to take Buba at a separate time). I’m still waiting for a bit more information, but at this point, I think I’m leaning towards the new options. The only thing really giving me pause right now is that the class will be at 1pm, and I’d prefer a morning class so as not to interfere with nap time. But it’s only once a week, and who know if they’ll even be napping in the fall. I really hope so, but I already consider myself lucky that they’re still napping at this point.

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My “me” thing this week wasn’t something super great. I didn’t splurge on anything new, treat myself to a massage, or leave the kids with a sitter so I could go off and do something on my own. But what I’m considering to be my “me” thing this week involves my summer schedule. Last summer, when I set up my tutoring schedule, I was seeing kids at all times of the day 5 days a week. I took on too many kids and too many hours. I was constantly going from one place to another, and it was really, really exhausting. So, this time, I set up some parameters around my tutoring schedule: 1) I will only tutor in the morning. 2) I have a set number of hours that I will work each week. Once my hours are full, I will not take on anymore students (and I only have two hours left to fill!). 3) I will not schedule tutoring sessions during my power dance class. This, I think, is one of the biggest gifts I am giving myself this summer.

So far, I’ve managed to stick with all three rules while scheduling my summer students. It means that I’m starting my sessions some days at 7am (Ugh!), but at least I know I’ll have all afternoon to be with my kids as they enjoy time with friends and summer activities.

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Happy 3rd Birthday!

Dear Tiny and Buba,

It was just three short years ago that you were born in the next town over at the same hospital where Daddy was born. You were both born at 8:22am (just seconds apart), and you both were 18.5 inches long and weighed 5 pounds, 15.6 ounces. The nurses were so surprised by your exact measurements that they measured and weighed you several times to be sure they were correct. Daddy and I were so excited to meet you. We took tons and tons of pictures and showed them to everyone we knew. We were just so happy and so proud to be your mommy and daddy.

Three years later, we are still amazed by all the growing and learning you do every day. Although you will always be our little babies, we could hardly get away with calling you babies now. You look like big kids and act like big kids. You love to run and play and jump and giggle, and you work hard to do as much as you can on your own- including getting yourselves dressed and going to the bathroom. I love to watch the two of you involved in pretend play (taking your babies to the library or doctor, or driving your ride on toys up to one of the safety gates to order some munchkins (donut holes) for a special snack), and it warms my heart to see you sitting down with your piles of books taking turns reading to each other. You truly have a special bond that I hope will stay with you your entire lives.

After two years of sticking pretty close to home, this past year we took the plunge and joined a playgroup, started gymnastics, and took a music class. Although it took several weeks for you to get used to going to playgroup without me, you have loved playing with your teachers and meeting lots and lots of new friends. Each time we went, there were always fun toys to play with and a craft activity to do. You loved circle time and often sang the songs and played the games with each other and your dolls at home. Sadly, now that you’re three, our time at playgroup is over. But I know you’ll have just as much fun, and even more, when you start preschool in the fall.

You have also really loved going to gymnastics and music classes. At gymnastics, you love to walk on the beam and jump on the trampoline. You are growing stronger and more confident in your abilities each time we go, and it’s so much fun to watch you having so much fun! We’ve had a lot of fun going to music class too. You love to listen to the CD with all the songs we sing in class, and almost every song is someone’s favorite. Although you almost never sing in class, you love to sing the songs at home while you play.

Tiny, it has been amazing to watch you grow from a tiny little baby into the big girl you are today. You are fun loving and free spirited, but also a stickler for rules (like your mommy). If someone isn’t following a rule, you’d be the one to point it out. And should you get caught breaking a rule, more often than not, you don’t have to be told twice to go to time out. You love to color and paint with watercolor and are able to focus on your creative projects for a good length of time. There are currently a dozen or so books in our home library that you’ve memorized, and you love to read them to Monkey or Mouse Cookie or anyone else who will listen.

At gymnastics, we’ve been told that you’re a natural. You have great balance, tons of energy, and are willing to try anything. You love to walk across the beam and do jumps and forward rolls on the high beam with help from your coaches. On trampoline, you love to do straddle jumps and seat drops where you then bounce right back up to your feet.

Like your mommy, you are a talker. You love to tell anyone who will listen what has been going on in your life, and whenever the phone rings, you assume that someone is calling for you. I am constantly amazed by the details that you remember, as well as your patience when your listener cannot understand what you are trying to say. You do not become frustrated if asked to repeat yourself and will often rephrase what you are saying or try to describe the item or event to get your point across.

Buba, you are such a sweet and determined little boy, and I am so proud of the big boy you’ve become. You love to play with your trains and trucks, but are also just as happy to do dress up and play with your baby dolls. Your love for books has only grown since you first fell in love with them way back when you were a baby. It is not at all uncommon to see you sitting in front of the bookshelf with stacks of books all around you while you read and read and read. And, of course, you love to bring Mommy and Daddy books to read to you. Sometimes we have to limit how many, because you could sit and listen to books forever.

You tend to be on the quiet and shy side at music class, but at home you often request your favorite songs and sing along while you play. You have the sweetest little voice, and your rhythm is quite good. You also love to go to gymnastics, where you can run and climb and jump. You absolutely love to run up to the vault, do donkey kicks on the spring board before climbing up on the vault and then doing a big jump (which you call a bee-bop) down to the mats below. Then, with a big smile on your face, you stand up tall with your arms straight up and shout, “ta-da!” You never, ever get tired of this. You also love to jump on the big trampoline and swim through the foam pit.

Although you’re not a big talker (phone conversations tend to go “Hello-Good-Talk to you later-Love you-Bye Bye.”), your language skills have improved tremendously over the last year. Your vocabulary is extensive, and several people have recently commented on how much easier it now is to understand what you are saying. Over the last six months or so, you’ve become very interested in letters and numbers. You now know every capital letter by sight and can identify numbers 0 through 10 pretty consistently. You love to point out letters and numbers on signs and on packages when we are out shopping.

Of course, this is not to say that we don’t have our battles from time to time. But overall, we had an amazingly wonderful year with two two-year-olds. I’m already looking forward to all the fun things we’ll do together this next year.

Happy 3rd Birthday! I love you and love you and love you and love you!

Mommy

 

Gymnastics Class

Last Friday, Tiny and Buba went to their first gymnastics class (since the tryout class in early August). Tiny had been talking about gymnastics class for weeks, and had the biggest smile of her face when I went to get her out of her crib that morning. She knew the day had finally arrived.

As I was putting their socks and shoes on, I explained to Buba and Tiny that it was very important that they listen to the teacher and follow her instructions. I told them, “If the teacher says it’s time to jump on the trampoline, you can jump on the trampoline. But if the teacher says we need to sit and listen to instructions, then we’ll need to sit and listen. Okay? If I don’t have good listeners, we may not be able to go back to gymnastics class another day. Okay?” Of course, Tiny and Buba agreed to all of this, and soon we were out the door.

When I opened the van door to let Buba out, he gave me a nervous grin, but added, “I’m so excited!” (Something he’d heard Tiny say many times that morning.) We were running just a little late due to an accident on the highway, so I rushed to get the kids out of their car seats and into the gym. Tiny walked confidently into the waiting room and sat down to take off her shoes and socks. But Buba took one look at that room filled with parents and kids (maybe a dozen parents and even more kids, as our class has 4 sets of twins) and was immediately overwhelmed. He actually grabbed a hold of the door frame and refused to enter the waiting room, screaming, “No! No! Go? Go? Go home?” I had a feeling that might happen, but still felt so sad for him, knowing how he has a hard time with big groups (the tryout class we took had fewer kids and parents). One of the coaches (there are two since the class is so big) helped me get my kids into the big gym, and once Buba saw the low beam, he calmed down enough to start having some fun.

The first 10 minutes or so, the kids were allowed to just wander from station to station- trying out each one and getting used to the gym’s set-up. Then we all met together in a circle to get directions from the coaches and to do some warm-up stretching. Next, we were broken up into two groups, and each went with a coach to be guided through the different stations around the gym. Tiny loved the trampoline and jumping into the pit of foam bricks. Buba’s favorite station seemed to be the parallel bar. He’d hold on for just a few seconds and then go crashing down to the mat below with a huge smile on his face. At the end of the class, we all came together again in a circle to say good-bye.

Tiny was a model student the entire time. She listened extremely well, and waited patiently for her turns on the different pieces of equipment. Buba did a pretty good job, but had a harder time sitting and listening to directions and was much clingier than Tiny. He had a pretty significant meltdown in the last five minutes of our hour long class, but then got himself together again so he could go and get stamps on his hands (something they do at the end of each class).

Overall, I think we had a great experience. Tiny is already looking forward to going back this Friday, and I know she’s going to love trying whatever the coaches throw her way. Buba will probably take a little longer to get used to everything, but I know he’ll get there, and I think he’ll really benefit from another experience of having to take directions from a non-parent adult. Can’t wait to see how things go this Friday!

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Tiny’s conversation with T last Friday evening:

T: So, how was gymnastics class?

Tiny: Good! I was so excited! I listened to the teacher!

T: That’s great!

Tiny: But Buba not listen to the teacher. He not go back to gymnastics class. (shaking her head side to side in a disappointed way)

Unfortunately for Buba, he can’t get away with much whenever Tiny is around. But, for the record, I think he did a great job about 90% of the time, and he’ll definitely be going back to gymnastics class on Friday. :)

a reanbean week in review

I’ve been having a tough time with blogging lately. I have plenty to write about, but just can’t find the time in all the busyness of summer. So, here are just a few highlights from this week that I don’t want to forget.

Monday: Our week got off to a great start. Both kids were finally completely free of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, and we headed back to our EI playgroup for the first time in two weeks. The last playgroup we had gone to was the first time both Tiny and Buba were able to handle me being gone for the entire 90 minutes. I was hopeful (but nervous) that they’d allow me to leave again this time. And they did (hooray!). No crying from either of them. I’m so glad that we’re able to keep both kids in, even now that Buba is no longer receiving any EI services. Now I just have to come up with things to do while they’re playing without me. Not a bad position to be in.

Tuesday: We all went to a kiddie craft event hosted by the family group of a neighboring town. (We live right on the boarder of this town, so we belong to this family group as well as our own town’s group.) The event was held in one of the member’s backyard. Both Buba and Tiny had a ton of fun making tissue paper butterflies and even more fun playing on the enormous and elaborate play structure in the yard.

Wednesday: T and I took Tiny and Buba to a free tryout gymnastics class at a gymnastics academy about 20 minutes from our house. Tiny loved, loved, LOVED it, and Buba seemed to enjoy it too. As I was buckling Tiny into her car seat, she said, “Can we go back to gymtastics? I want to do more gymtastics please. I love it! I love it!” (I’m not kidding. That is exactly what she said.) We’ll be joining a nine week class this September. Getting Tiny to understand just how many weeks it is until we go back to “gymtastics” has been difficult.

Thursday: Buba and Tiny went to their first playdate in over two weeks. They were so excited to go to their friend’s house to play. They played inside for a bit, and then we headed outside to play with the sand and water table and splash in the kiddie pool. Tiny got to show off her new swimsuit (a short sleeved one piece suit that Grammy got her- I returned the one I didn’t love), and they all seemed to have fun playing between the rain drops under cloudy skies.

Friday: We all headed back to Grandpa’s pool (his town’s pool and tennis club, where he is a lifetime member) for more swimming with Aunt Dee, who is in town from California for the next week or so. Both Buba and Tiny were much more comfortable in the little pool (which varies from roughly 6 to 24 inches of water), and they even went into the shallow end of the big pool for the first time. They loved climbing the steps in and out (and in and out…) of the water, and Aunt Dee began teaching them how to jump into the pool into her arms and how to float on their backs. They’re not pros yet, but it’s a beginning.

All in all, this week rocked! We’re definitely back into our summer groove.