George at 5 1/2

  • 54 pounds and 47 inches. George tells us that there are 3 kids taller than him (and they are taller by quite a bit!) and they're also close to a year older than he is.
  • Wears size 13 or 13.5 shoes, size 6 clothes. His feet are getting wider too so some shoes I had bought already he won't be able to wear at all as they're just too tight across. At least William will get them brand new!
  • Loves Theater Arts most at school
  • Likes listening to books and takes it all in, but does best when he's doing something else, like a puzzle, while listening
  • Has dropped down to only eating pomegranate seeds and raspberries (we lost grapefruit and cuties most recently)
  • Likes to do 'challenges' and is keen to make a chart if we talk about a problem we need to work on and ask him to come up with ideas on how to solve
  • Has warmed up slightly and is a little bit better at shaking the Head of School's hand each morning (though sort of rushes through it)
  • Hates losing (o when he thinks they lose at soccer)
  • His writing has improved so much even in just a few weeks of being in school
  • He's made so much progress on his 'sh-' sound. I still notice it when he says it right (which is all the time now). He pronunciation of everything has really improved and we continue to recognize how he did it by really concentrating on how he had to say it.
  • He's had a few potty issues since starting K. He's someone who has to go often, but yet doesn't want to miss out on anything and sometimes it's just too late. We're working with him on ideas on how to prevent any accidents from happening.
  • Even after a long day/week of school, George never 'crashes'. Sure, there are moments (probably daily) when his attitude or behavior is just screaming 'I'm tired and cranky!!!' but usually dinner turns things around and he gets a second wind. He's done better the last week or so but for a while there, he was coming up several times telling us he couldn't fall asleep and finally doing so around 9pm, yet still up before 7.
  • He's gotten much more into drawing lately and we've also seen the improvement there. It used to be that he thought it was William's thing since he does seem to be advanced in that area but then William started wanting to draw at nighttime and now it's become part of the routine. I read until 7:30, then they can draw in their beds/lights off until 8pm. George really got into it at this point.
  • George is good about cleaning up his quiet time toys  (and often does before quiet time is over and just waits, talking to himself, until I tell him it's over)
  • Though he knew how to 'pump', the first week of K, we were at the park and he kept bugging me to come push him. He knew William could get himself going and get really high but he wasn't able to do that. I went and talked to him, challenged him to pump and swing for two minutes and in the end, he ended up swinging for 20 minutes. He totally figured it out and was so happy. Now, he'll often run straight to the swings and swing by himself for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Math comes easily to George. Dave is great about doing verbal math problems and G is quick to figure them out. He won a 'Math Wars' card game at Bingo night and while disappointed initially (he thought he'd be able to choose his prize, he got assigned a number that was associated with a certain prize), we already played it and was able to figure most of them out.
  • Homework is optional at Town school for the first couple of years, and only a worksheet is sent home each Friday at this point. I set the worksheets out Saturday morning and sort of leave it up to them to do. George likes to do his immediately (just like I would've).
  • There was a day they were playing at the park after school and one of their classmates was there who has a much older brother. He was trying to get George to play a game with him and kept saying, 'well, it's only for 10 year olds. You can't tell anyone that you're playing' (and of course I'm sitting like 10 feet away and hearing all this). I could see George thinking about it and he eventually came over and told me about it and asked me what he should do. I asked him what he thought he should do, he said he didn't know, and then I rephrased and said, 'do you think you should be playing a game for 10 year olds when you're 5?' He said, 'no', and ran off to do something else. A few minutes later, I hear this same boy try to wrangle William in and William without missing a beat, immediately says 'yes'. I feel like that sums up so much of their personalities :)
  • While George is sort of sloppy naturally -- doesn't like to dry his hands, doesn't care if his shirt is on backwards or his shoes are on the right feet -- he's very photogenic and especially when taking professional photos, is able to sit still, do a nice pose and smile. I'm always so surprised by this ;)
  • While table manner and manners and in general are still a work in progress for G, he has made some really good progress here
  • He still put things in his mouth (shirt collar, backpack strap, etc.)
  • George loves Coco so much and tells us her daily that she's the 'sweetest person in our family'. He and William also agreed that she's 'the number one person in our family' :)
  • The coach at school has told me on two separate occasions that William and George are the most loving brothers he's seen in all his years at Town. Glad they're showing that love somewhere as it usually isn't at home!

Favorite color: gold and yellow and green
Favorite show: Lego shows
Favorite movie: Ninjago and Incredibles 2
Favorite food: cake and candy
Favorite toy: legos
Favorite animal: Lion and hippo
Favorite sport: soccer and running
Favorite class: Theater Arts
Least favorite class: Music and Writing Workshop ('because now I have to spell')
What do you want to be when you grow up? Construction worker
Favorite place to visit: New York
Favorite pizza place: Giorgio's

We had George's conference the other day and met with his Reading teacher as well as his two kindergarten teachers. We were a little surprised when we got an email that George would be in a separate reading group with just a couple of other kids and would be leaving the classroom daily for reading class. We were mostly surprised because William was not selected for a similar reading group and we felt that George possibly had better letter recognition, sounds, etc. We're thrilled George is getting the extra attention and sort of joked with William's teachers, 'are you sure he doesn't need to be in a similar group?'. George definitely has some room for improvement with his writing so perhaps that's part of the reason he's in this group but even in just a few weeks, his writing has really gotten better. It was listed on his report that George is secure in counting and measurements, that he completes classwork on time and he listens and follows directions. Most other areas are beginner or developing which is right where he should be. Sometimes he'll goof off with some of the other boys and when I inquired, occasionally he's the one instigating. The teacher just says that they say, 'let's close that silly door' so we'll try that at home too. I also asked if he's a rule-enforcer or tells on other boys and the teacher said no, that there are certainly kids who come to mind for that and George isn't one of them. During Learning Choice time George likes to do the  blocks, art/coloring or animals. At recess, he plays basketball or tag/imaginary play.

George, while you often have so much energy and it's sometimes hard for you to sit still, you're also a pleaser and I feel like that will really benefit you when it comes to learning. Despite the energy, you can also make yourself sit down to get it done. I'm so excited to see where you'll be in 6 months!

William at 5 1/2

  • 41 lbs and 43 inches (there are a couple kids right around his height or shorter but most are taller in K)
  • Wears size 5 in clothes and 12 in shoes
  • William is such a fast runner and loves to play chase
  • He is so detailed in his art work and is constantly growing in his ability, adding new features and details. He gets frustrated when it doesn't turn out right, but mostly just when he's extra tired. I'm glad his doesn't usually do drawing when he gets home from school as I'm not sure it would go over well at that time.
  • He still loves listening to stories, whether books or books on cd. He has a great attention span for chapter books but still won't let me read Harry Potter as he says there aren't enough pictures.
  • The boys have a basic dress code of a collared shirt and no athletic-type pants or shorts. For the past six months or so, William has preferred to dress up more for church, adding a bow tie and a hand-me-down sport coat we got. One of his K teachers is a man who just moved from North Carolina for the job and wears a bow tie most days, otherwise a tie. Many of the boys, including George, end up wearing a polo most days but William prefers to wear a button-down shirt with bow tie every day, and for special occasions, he adds his sport coat. He even requested a belt.
  • William is still drawn to girls and often when we get to the park after school, he heads straight for this new friend Odette if she's there. The other day, he was playing with a classmate's 3-year old little sister and asked his mom if they could have a playdate :) He gets along well with boys too, but he definitely connects with girls.
  • William is really into building when at home, and I've also heard that's what he likes to do at recess at school. They have different outdoor blocks to play with. At home, he'll use Lincoln Logs, the big cardboard block, magnatiles, etc.
  • William often doesn't care about rewards or challenges, at least not like George does. I'll offer it up and if he's not motivated to begin with, usually whatever I'm offering doesn't incentivize him.
  • I hope William has Dave's natural smarts because I already predict the homework battle to be fierce with him. I leave out their optional homework each Saturday morning (to be returned on Monday) and ask him if he wants to do it several times throughout the weekend. So far he's decided to do it just once and it was after encouraging him to come back and finish it several different times.
  • William doesn't find as much comfort in our different routines -- setting the table, putting shoes away, etc (though he is very good at making his bed each morning!) and often I hear 'I'll do it later'. Whenever I actually let him wait until later, it doesn't end well as of course he still doesn't want to do it.
  • I think school will be easy for William in the way that it's easy for him to sit still and listen. He doesn't have

Favorite color: gold and green
Favorite show: Mickey
Favorite movie: Incredibles 2
Favorite food: cinnamon French toast
Favorite toy: rainbow ball
Favorite animal: python
Favorite sport: soccer
Favorite class: Theater Arts
Least favorite class: Music
What do you want to be when you grow up? Doctor
Favorite place to visit: Ma's house
Favorite pizza place: Tony's

We met with William's teachers Mrs. Hollister and Mr. Vick a few days ago and got a good report. William likes to build during 'Learning Choice' (the other options are art/coloring, games, legos and animals) but I guess William likes the keva blocks best.  At recess he likes to play soccer or be in the block area. The teachers say (after I specifically asked) that very rarely do they need to intervene and ask him to say something a different way or talk about how he handled something. He's been having such a rough time at home because I think he's tired and it's clear after talking to them that he's saving that behavior at home and it never comes out at school. He's 'secure' in counting, completes classwork on time and works neatly and carefully. Most of the other skills he's a beginner or his skills are developing, which is right on track for this point. They like that he's helpful to others, like when someone was asking out loud about how to spell something, William reminded them to take out their alphabet sheet from their folder and see if that would help. They were impressed that he thought about that on his own, but also that he suggested it to others. We were curious about how William is doing with reading since George is pulled out into a special reading group and we felt he was stronger thus far with letters. They're confident he's doing fine and is right in the mix with the others. I like how they did the conference, it was based off an interview they did with each child and filled in more commentary while discussing with us. Clearly William is passionate about drawing but in general his answers are really thoughtful.

Such a big year, can't wait to see what you're able to do at age 6!

Coco is 29 Months

It's been a busy month with school in full swing and lots of nighttime events for Dave and I, either together or separately. It seems like every group I'm a part of has had a happy hour or mom's night out in the last few weeks and while I've wanted to do all of it as it has been since before summer that I've seen a lot of these women, it's just meant a lot of nights out. We're still doing fine with the new routine and each of us can get the kids to bed on our own so I feel like it's much more manageable than it was a year ago, it still feels like a lot at time. Dave and I evaluated how everything has been going and while overall things are fine, we did discuss some changes to make.

We're so lucky to have my parents help and that's covered a lot of my key needs to be able to help at the boys' school, take care of my appointments and get a work out in. But they've been really busy lately too -- my mom was in Boulder, came back for a couple days, and then went to LA, where my dad basically go into my sister's car as my mom got out for her flight home. Since they have the dogs, someone always has to be home with them at night. My mom often stays over on Thursday nights so Dave and I can keep our weekly date night, but we realized that besides my birthday, we hadn't been out for most of September and October. Often times if my mom couldn't stay over, then I just wouldn't plan anything else on Thursday I'd need her help with so she wouldn't have to come in. Dave and I talked about how important the date nights are not just for us as a couple, but also because it means one night that I don't have to cook and clean up dinner so we've decided that regardless of if my mom is available, we still need to go out. So on Sunday, I asked one of the women in the church nursery, whom we've known for 5 years now, and I know she nannies, and she was able to come over on Thursday so we could go out. I think it's tough when someone new is over -- I tried to give her the rundown of the routine, but really we didn't want her to be overwhelmed on her first visit so Dave bathed the boys before she came, I had dinner ready and most stuff cleaned up. I think once we get into the swing of things with someone, we can be more hands off and it may feel like more of a break for us.

I've also been working on taming her hair... I didn't do this though!
Coco and I have enjoyed doing her classes each morning, though I'm getting a bit tired of MyGym so I've put in our cancellation for that and we'll wrap up in early December. I'm starting to look into ballet or soccer, not sure what else is appropriate at this age but I know I'd definitely ready for a change.

EAT: No big changes here. I would say maybe she's slightly less likely to go for different fruits and a bit more influenced by what her brothers are or aren't eating. I will say that she still willingly tries new things. At her outdoor class, kids are eating avocado, snap peas, etc. and she will try them. She spits them out after, but I think it's great that she hasn't moved onto the 'no, I don't want to taste it' phase.

SLEEP: Mostly okay, though again she decided to have a party in her crib at 1am, nonstop talking to all her friends and keeping us awake. We've definitely noticed that she falls right asleep at 7pm without a nap, but will chat in her bed for over an hour if she has a nap. Last week I didn't have any help during her nap time so I just didn't put her down since I have to leave to get the boys at 2pm. She does fine without a nap, but by Friday at 1:30, she was definitely a mess, she needed a nap, and we had boy of the week at William's school so she still didn't get a nap. She's make up for it this week and took a 3+ hour nap on Monday. I think our typical plan of she naps on the days when someone can stay with her (which is usually 4-5 days) and we don't put her down on the others works well... except when she decides not to nap on one of those days when someone is actually home with her. Ugh! She's still good about sleeping, or at least being mostly quiet until her sun clock goes off at 6:45. She did climb out of her crib a week ago but apparently fell and was sad so after a talk with her that she shouldn't climb out so she doesn't hurt herself, she seems to be okay staying in. It's been a full week so we'll see...

PLAY: Much of what Coco has been into recently has continued. She is still really into Halloween and we must've read Little Critter's Halloween a million times by now. We still have out about 30 other Halloween library book so those get mixed in as well. There was some back and forth on being a ghost or a witch, but she decided on the witch so I got the dressed hemmed and we're all set. We went to one Halloween party and she wasn't too into wearing the hat, which really makes the outfit so we'll see how she does on the big day. We have the annual NICU Halloween party next Saturday so that will be fun to see everyone. I tried to convince her that I should be a black cat, which would be an easy costume to pull together, but she told me her doll is already being a cat and that I need to be a witch with her... so that's what I'm doing.

Dress up and the dollhouse are still top favorites, though we did have to put away a lot of her dollhouse friends and she does not likely putting things away at night. We're still working at that without much success and she doesn't really care when we take them away.

I feel like we don't have that much park time now and realized when my friend's daughter who's a month older than her pulled up to the park on her scooter (they had walked/scooted the 7 blocks to the park and not taken the stroller like we did), that I need to get her on her scooter and balance bike more. I really should just have her ride her scooter if we walk over to the store or the park, but the stroller is so much easier... She just isn't very good on her scooter yet and I feel like the boys' used there's so much more in that 18-24 month period when you're at the park most days. They also went to the park in the afternoons with Jessica, which we still do a few days a week but we're mostly walking from the boys' school after parking. I just need to make it more of a priority.

POTTY: Unfortunately no progress has been made and after some frustration, I've put Coco back in diapers. We went to the doctor to get her urine tested just to make sure there wasn't anything that was causing the accidents and thankfully it came back clear. The doctor had a few suggestions, and since most of her issues are involving poop, she gave some recommendations to make sure constipation is not an issue. We've been diligent about that for the last week and while the consistency of the stool has improved, her pooping really hasn't. She'll still do lots of small poops, running to the potty once it's already started to come out. She doesn't seem to get the feeling of having to go and sitting down before actually going. With pee, she mostly does fine and sits down and then starts going, but there are accidents here and there with that too. So I tried to stick with it as far as keeping her bottoms-free at home so she gets the feeling of having it come out on her, still taking her to the potty while we're out, asking her if she has to go, etc., but she's just wearing a diaper now when we're out. Often it's dry which is encouraging, but we just got home from the park and had to rush out because I had taken off her wet diaper and asked her if she just wanted to leave it off and she said yes, then she pooped a messy poop all into her pants which reminds me why I went back to diapers. It's discouraging because I felt like she was beyond diapers but I was getting stressed with the accidents so I know this is better. Hopefully continuing the doctors's recommended course with prune juice, etc., her poop will continue to improve and hopefully her body will start to get it. Unfortunately this is not an issue that just arose with potty training but holding her poop has long been an issue so I'm not sure when she'll be able to overcome it.

TALK: Coco is still talking a ton but lately she's taken to speaking in the third person. All day long I correct her with 'I want...' etc. and she does adopt it briefly but usually continues on with 'Coco...' We're trying to remind those around her to speak normally and not refer to themselves in the third person which may confuse her further.

Coco, it's been a busy month with all your activities and you're getting very comfortable at the boys' school. It makes me sad that you won't be able to go there, but it's fun for you to be part of the community regardless. You rush up the steps and shake the Head of School's hand each morning, just like each boy is required to do. You have to get a drink of water every day at the fountain and then if I'm not watching you closely, you'll sneak right into one of the boys' rooms. George usually needs an extra hug from you before heading in for the day, and then you and I are off to do our stuff. My day still largely revolves around you and while I occasionally sneak in an errand or quick workout before we head out for your activities, mostly that time is filled with what you want to be doing. My focus has definitely shifted a bit since Jessica left and now I may have an hour or so to sit and eat lunch while you play before we go pick up the boys. I do have other chances to get out and take care of my stuff, and during that time you're with Papa or Dedee which you love. This month you had Papa painting your toe nails and dressing up each one of your stuffed animals in different costumes! Our big challenge of the month has been the potty and while I'm thankful everything checked out at the doctor, I'm feeling a little discouraged about you ever figuring out your poop situation. Hopefully we keep on our path of what the doctor recommended and we'll see some improvement soon. Dad has had more flexibility with his work the last week or so and has gotten some really great 1-on-1 time with you which you love. You'll always come right over and tell him what you want him to do -- come play dollhouse, put costumes on your friends, etc. and he'll always do it with you. I know he appreciates the time with you just as much as you do. I'm so excited to experience some of the Halloween activities with you this year. You were starting to get it last year but this year you're so into it so the upcoming parties and trick-or-treating should be really fun. Can't wait to hear your 'trick-or-treat!'