Ever since I volunteered in Zachary's class a few weeks ago (for the first and what may become the only time...coordinating volunteering with the teacher and a babysitter and healthy children is rarely successful), I've been working with Zach on a few things to supplement his schoolwork. I won't bore you with details, but this kid needs to be stimulated and it's not happening in the classroom. So part of his daily homework now includes writing five sentences on a random topic I pull from the air. Zach is learning to make his writing more specific and interesting, to vary his word selection, and to write a topic sentence that's worth reading. He is making some progress and I enjoy working with him. This week for an assignment about becoming the president, he wrote a few lines that made me chuckle.
"I should be President because I would find a better solution to make the earth a cleaner place to live. I would be an honest President. I would be a trustworthy President. Protecting families would be the thing I would do most."
Zach continues to be a very early riser, getting up most mornings before 5:30. He has developed an excellent habit of reading on the couch in the family room for at least 30 minutes before Tyler gets up. This is great on so many levels. Right now he's reading The Spiderwick Chronicles #7. I just heard him tell Tyler all about the plot, and that it's "so awesome!"
Thank you, by the way, for all the fabulous comments with book suggestions for Zach. I compiled them into a huge list, which I am especially grateful for after talking to the school librarian, whose knowledge and ability to recommend appropriate material was a great disappointment. I'm so glad to have friends who can help out! Zach is pretty mad at me for striking Goosebumps books from the Mom-approved list ("It's just because you're a girl!"), but hopefully he'll find a good replacement series that we both like.
On Presidents Day, I took the boys to see Hotel for Dogs at the theater with gift cards they received for Christmas from Granny. That was a fun outing! Zachary bought popcorn and Tyler bought a drink to share. They loved the movie. (Gavin was another story, however.) I was glad for a simple and successful excursion when Garry had to work.
Tyler extended his birthday celebrations this week by spending the birthday money he received from Grandma Bartle, Great-Grandma Terry, and Great-Grandma and Grandpa Dent. He ordered some toy camping tools and shark figurines on Amazon.com (because we get free shipping) and chose a Batman play set and art supplies at Target. He has really enjoyed them so far! Tyler and Zach often color in their room before breakfast because I won't let them eat until 7:00 (I'm so mean!). The boys have also had fun in the teepee I made...so much fun, in fact, that they ripped two of the seams (argh!!!). So the teepee is out of commission until I find time/energy to unassemble the darn thing and sew it up.
Preschool continues to go well. Tyler loves going and his teachers love him. I am especially grateful for this because it was at this time last year that we withdrew him from preschool in Oregon. I'm so glad to be on this side of that drama! Tyler got to bring an item for show-and-tell this week, and last week he took a fun snack and got to celebrate his birthday in class, so he has felt pretty special at school lately.
Tyler would watch TV all day long if I let him, and it's a challenge to convince him that other pursuits are worthwhile. I have started making him read to me before enjoying electronic entertainment. He has discovered that once he gets going, that's a pretty fun thing to do! Tyler's favorite books right now are by Dr. Seuss. Ty will read a page and then offer his commentary on the silly words or outrageous story. He kept me entertained while I painted the baby's crib this week.
Gavin has recovered from his ear infection from a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday woke up with a rattle in his chest that became an icky cough. What a bummer! We have so enjoyed the return of his delightful personality and, more especially, his consistent and lengthy sleep. Gavin has been SO happy and fun since the antibiotics kicked in about ten days ago that we wondered how long his ears had been bothering him.
Aside from being ridiculously busy and active and climbing on everything, Gavin is in a delightful phase. He has started clicking his tongue at random times. He also says lots of funny things, like "gi" (drink), "nana" (banana), "gogur" (yogurt), "caca" (cracker), "ba" (with a short 'a' for bath), "bah" (ball), "shhhhh" (shoe), "so" (sock), "neigh" (horse), "Sa" (Zach and Jack), "Dy" (Ty), "sssss" (Russell), plus "buh-bye," "Mama," "Daddy," and probably a dozen others. Gavin can do very purposeful head-shakes for "yes" and "no" as well. He signs lots of things, too, and is always thrilled when he can communicate what he wants.
Gavin loves routines. When he gets a fresh diaper, he immediately stands up, puts away the wipes and Balmex, picks up the dirty diaper, and walks to the garage door so I can throw it away. Gathering for family prayer always prompts Gavin to sit down (usually in Daddy's lap), fold his arms, and close his eyes. (Closing his eyes is actually hysterical eye-fluttering action.) When Dad and Zach leave in the morning, he is always gives a quick wave and closes the door. Gavin loves putting away his bath toys at the end of a bath, choosing things to eat at mealtime, and settling in for story time on my lap. It always makes me smile when I suggest an activity and he sets right off to do it.
Furry friends are a huge part of life right now. Gavin likes to cuddle with anything soft, but our collection of stuffed animals makes him happiest. Russell and Jack top the preferred list, and Elmo and our baby doll, Ben, are pretty popular, too. After Gavin kept stealing little girls' babies and strollers at play group, I pulled out our shopping cart for him to use. Now the animals ride around the house in (boyish) style.
During the last few weeks, Gavin has been to many of my friends' homes as part of a babysitting co-op. I have been pleased to hear that he hardly cries anymore when I drop him off. What a milestone! On the flip side, he starts to whine as soon as he realizes that I'm leaving, but he is only upset for a minute. We hope he'll adjust well to the church nursery when he's old enough...in a little over three months.
Church continues to be a ridiculous exercise with Gavin in tow. It's probably a good thing that we don't live next door to the church building anymore; I would take Gavin home for a nap every week! I get so tired of being the spectacle in every meeting, and I'm sick of people's lame comments that "you've got a live one" and "the nursery leaders should let him in early" and "you look exhausted." Either help me or keep your comments to yourself.
On that lovely note...
I'll put in a plug for the sweet babe growing in my womb. I'm trying hard to identify with her as a girl...a foreign experience for me. I delight in her kicks and wiggles. Last night she was kicking hard enough for Garry to really feel, and that made us both smile. This pregnancy is wreaking havoc on my body and it's hard not to get discouraged, but thinking about having a little girl join the family in May helps me survive. And I've enjoyed getting some things ready, like the crib, and I like to browse the girly sections at the store -- just because I can! I'd like to thank the generous, anonymous friend that left a bag of adorable hand-me-down clothes on my front porch yesterday! That little bag made my day! Two local friends offered to give me a baby shower in April, too. How fun is that?
And there, folks, is an update on the children. If you made it all the way through, congratulations! Or condolences. I was a long-winded Mommy today.