Oh, this boy. He is equal parts burst-your-heart charming and exasperating. Despite his recent escapades (examples here and here), however, Gavin has begun to exhibit some maturity and gentleness that I really enjoy. He is SUPER independent, obsessed with the outdoors, mindful of others and their needs, cheerful, and creative. For example, when I couldn't paint Lexi's toenails at the exact moment she requested it, Gavin stepped in. He actually did a fantastic job.
Gavin loves to take care of Kate. He knows how to get her out of her crib (!), he tries to change her diapers (!), he takes her places like the green space behind our house and the front yard (!), and he plays with her in his room and on top of the boys' bunk beds (!).
Oh, this girl!! Lexi is three and a half, and as such, is a whiny, needy little princess. She is darling, to be sure, but she definitely tests my patience and my ability to stick to my guns. Lexi often wears down my resolve to ignore her demands. She is fiercely independent at times, but at others requires my constant presence and attention.
We recently began using sticker charts to help her eliminate two difficult behaviors: getting in our bed at night and having potty accidents six times a day. It has worked like a charm! Lexi loves putting stickers on her chart so much that we might be making a trip to the dollar store pretty soon. I am thrilled. It's totally worth a dollar (and a public outing) to eliminate some hazardous waste clean-up every day.
Lexi is always singing a song and doing a dance (usually ballet style). She often requests that I play music just so she can dance. I probably ought to pursue dance lessons for her!
Tyler is a helpful, happy soul...except when his brothers are involved. Aside from the inevitable drama that ensues during mealtime, in conjunction with electronic devices, and in the car, Tyler is quite agreeable. He is really enjoying the cub scout program through church and had a really fun pack meeting this week.
He is very responsible about his homework and is doing very well in school. I love to hear him read out loud and hear the expression in his voice. His talent for conveying a similar expression in writing is beginning to emerge. It's the best! Tyler is so affectionate and loves to give me hugs. I worry sometimes about his intense emotions (the apple doesn't fall far from the mother tree), but hope they translate into passion and success down the road. Below is a self-portrait Tyler drew (we got a free set of stickers that I scanned), and a sample of his writing.
Miss Kate is a whirlwind of activity. She reminds me a lot of Gavin: always exploring, testing, trying, climbing, escaping, and laughing. Church is quite difficult, as we attend during her afternoon nap time. Kate is a roly-poly ball of energy and charm. I suppose I have a tender spot for Kate, but I just think she is so beautiful and wonderful. But clearly she won't stand still for a picture.
We are trying to wean Kate from her binky, which has been my crutch for a little too long. Eliminating it during the day (except at the YMCA child watch and when I'm tired) has led to all kinds of babbling and singing that I just adore. We are working on lots of words and ASL signs and animal sounds. My favorites are "oof off" for a barking dog, the sign for "cereal," and the long-awaited "mama" that really means "mama." Kate has a great wave, and offers vigorous nodding and head shaking when she means yes and no. Kate continues to adore Hopscotch and is great about going to bed. I'm pretty sure a sticker chart wouldn't eliminate her occasional night waking.
Zach is definitely a tween. I love his hair right now: a bit longer and swept to the side, but still short over the ears and in back. He tosses his head to the side 100 times a day so his hair sweeps in just the place. So cute...er...handsome. Zach is developing his own style and establishing his identity. He really enjoys listening to audio books on his purple mp3 player, and his favorite evening activity is playing board games with Dad and Tyler. He has an innate sense for strategy.
Lately Zach has been quite cheerful and cooperative, except for before school, which continues to be a dramatic time. He doesn't love school, and getting him to work hard for his 5th grade teacher, Mr. Boerman, has been a challenge. He has no problem performing for his TAG teacher, however, so I'm including a sample of his work below.
I am so proud of Zach for shouldering the extra work load with his math class and two schools. He's a trooper. Soon we will begin the decision-making process for which middle school he will attend. I can't believe we are in the middle school stage of life!
Some days I still can't believe that Garry and I have five fantastic children. Five? Really? We must be the luckiest parents on earth.