A Letter to My 4 Year Old

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6 Hours Old

6 Hours Old

 

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Our first movie date to see Frozen

Our first movie date to see Frozen

 

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My dear dear boy,

You are now 4, which I can hardly believe. Every time I tell people I have a four year old, the words get stuck in my mouth. I remember you being a baby like it was yesterday, and yet you daily show me just how big and grown up you are becoming.

Your mind is like no other. I have been a teacher for many years, and I don’t think that I have ever seen a more wild and vivid imagination in a child. I’ve even seen you “sculpt” toys out of thin air and play with them, because your mind is doing all the work. When your friends (of which you have many!) aren’t there to play with you, I can hear you pretending that they are, even talking to them like they are right beside you. You take your trains and transformers and you play by yourself for hours at a time. And you HATE being disturbed!

It warms my heart to see what a protective big brother you’ve become. You inform me when AJ’s crying or is hurt, you get him water and food (oftentimes without permission!), you soothe him when he’s upset. You answer for him when strangers ask questions, and you show him how to do almost everything. You boss him around all day long, and he is almost always looking to your lead. It’s a big responsibility, and one that I know you won’t take lightly.

One of the biggest ways in which I’ve seen you grow is you’ve become so outgoing! Playing with other kids is your favorite thing to do. Every morning, you wake up and ask me, “What are we going to do today?” or, “Who’s coming to visit us today?” You beg me to take you “downtown” (and then freak out when we go up the elevator to the train platform, because you are worried we’re going “uptown” instead!) . You just started attending church school, and you repeat all the stories to me later. The other day, you sat on my lap and asked me to tell you all about Saint Demetrios (you overheard me teaching my class), and then asked about your Saint Gregory. I was able to tell you why your name is so important and what a great man you are named after, and you were delighted.

Just recently, after months of putting up a fight, you potty trained yourself. I say it this way, because it wasn’t until I got out of the way that you finally decided it was time. Just like that, one day, you started using the toilet, and you never again needed a pull-up, even at night. I noticed such a huge change in you right around this time. Your confidence was soaring, and you started taking bolder and braver risks. I remember one day in particular, you decided out of nowhere to scale the 6 foot wall at the playground. You looked down at me with a huge accomplished smile, as if to say, “I can do anything now!”

Your favorite thing at the moment is Transformers, and you are constantly making gun and robot noises. You can tell me the entire storyline of the Transformers Prime series, and you quickly named everyone you knew as a different Transformer. One day in church, you even asked me where the icon of Optimus Prime was! You love to use your watercolors, read books (you are sounding out words!), and you count all the way to 50! You are almost always humming a song (or two, or three!). The other day, you heard “You Are My Sunshine” come on the radio, and you grabbed my hand and whispered tenderly, “Momma, this is our song.”

You love to help me around the kitchen, and you take a lot of ownership during our grocery trips. You’ve also become very protective of me, making sure I’m okay if I look the slightest bit upset. You are constantly asking questions about your place in the world, whether or not you’re a grownup yet, or about how to “grow big and strong”. About 9 months ago, we realized that both gluten and dairy were bothering your stomach, and so I started having to modify your diet. You have handled it like such a champ, however, asking me before you eat things to make sure they’re “goo-ven free”, and then asking me to put extra gluten in for Dadda and AJ 😉 You have been so patient and understanding, even when everyone around you is eating something that you want.

I think that every mom identifies with one of her children more than the others. Gregory, you are that child for me. Before you were even born, I felt like I “knew” you, and even now, I see so many qualities that we share. One of the reasons I know so much about the way your personality works is because mine is so stinking similar. When I see you embarrassed or hurt, I know why, because I remember feeling the same exact way. When you run into obstacles, I cringe, because I feel why they are hard for you on a gut level.

And that is why, dear boy, I am so very proud of you. I see you conquering your pride and your stubbornness daily, and it convicts me to do the same. You care about things with such intensity and ferocity, I am inspired to be more passionate. You are almost always cheerful and upbeat, which is something I am still working on. There are many times where I look at you and think that you inherited the best of both Dadda and I, and I am in awe of how God is molding your heart and mind into something so incredible.

Happy Birthday, my only first baby. You are my little partner in crime, and I love all the time we get to spend together.

Love, Momma

P.S. Seriously, thank you for learning how to use the potty. I don’t know what I would have done if we’d had to buy even one more package of pullups.

 

Funny Quotes and Good Memories of You This Year:

 “Dadda, you are MY adult. And I am your kid.”

(singing): “My mom-ma got that base, face, place, waste, no trouble.”

“Momma, the tummy bug is gone now! It flew outside and I squished it dead.”

(After I corrected you)
 “Momma, I think that we’re about to get mad at each other.”

(while twirling my hair with your fingers): “Momma, I’m doing this so you can be beautiful like me. “

Me: “Thank you for helping me Gregory!”
Gregory (very seriously): “Yes, Momma. You almost always need someone’s help. “

Real conversation, overheard while baking cookies with you:
“See that oven, AJ? It’s very hot. I can’t touch it. Momma can’t touch it. Momma’s not going to put YOU in there. Not yet. Be a good boy and you won’t get burned like a cookie.”

Some definite tear-jerker/deep quotes from you as you got his blood drawn a few months ago:
Me: “What happy thing were you thinking about?” (thank God for Daniel Tiger!)
Gregory: “I was thinking about Dadda because he’s big and strong like me! <pause> I was NOT thinking about you, Momma. ”
Me: “Gregory, you didn’t even cry!”
Gregory: “That’s because I was crying behind my eyes, not in front of them.”

Gregory played with his little “dress the bears” puzzle today. He put the Dadda Bear in a suit because, “he goes to work”, and he put the Momma Bear in Pjs because “she sleeps a lot”.

Right before communion, you asked to go stand near the Jesus crucifix icon. You counted all of Jesus’ “owies”, then asked if you were going to get owies on his hands when you die someday, or whether you are going to die by dragon’s fire (thanks, Disneyland). After a somber pause, you said, “But Momma, we don’t have to be scared. Jesus makes us not afraid anymore. He loves me.” You did not want to leave the Jesus icon after that.

(After a big diaper explosion)
Gregory: “Momma, I so sorry.”
Me: “For what?”
Gregory: “For the poopoo coming out. “
Me: “Oh baby! That’s not your fault!”
Gregory: “I know. It’s your fault.”
Me: ??
Gregory: “cuz I make you so happy. “

 

Gregory: “where is every-buddy?”
Me: “At school!”
Gregory: “oh. I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay here and love you.”

The downside to waiting until 3+ yrs old to turn him forward facing? He narrates my every.single.move and tells me what to do. On the plus side, it’s kind of adorable 

Gregory: “Dadda, I cannot be your best friend. My best friend is AJ. Go be best friends with Momma.”

(After watching the Little Engine that Could)
Me: Do you have any dreams?
Gregory: No, no dreams, I’m feeling kind of puzzled.

Gregory is carrying a pillow around, telling me it’s his best friend. Perhaps we need to get out more.

How Foster Care Has Affected My Bio Children

Gregory and Momma at beach in wavesThis has been one of those posts that I’ve been putting off for months, to be honest. Over the past 2 years of doing foster care, there are still so many parts of our story that are too muddled, too raw to talk about yet.

Some of these things I will never talk about in this forum. Generally, I have a rule of thumb when publishing anything foster care related– if I can do substantial good by writing it and putting it out there, then I will do it, however painful it might be to sort it all out. Come what may.

And so. So we press on.

One of the biggest concerns about ever embarking on the journey of foster care was about how it would affect our two biological children. Our first placement happened when AJ was just 5 months old, Gregory barely a 2 year old. Looking back, I’m still not even sure how we did it. Ever heard of postpartum hormones? The worst part about them is they are coming on the tail end of pregnancy hormones, so one sometimes forgets what “normal” ever used to feel like. Then you add a grueling/grisly house hunting experience, along with foster care. Sounds like a recipe for burnout and disaster, no?

It took months to even begin to realize how our family had been affected by our first placement. It’s also hard to determine what caused what, since our lives were in such turmoil with the house hunting/moving process. But both of our kids, despite their young ages at the time, definitely showed signs of being emotionally beat up. AJ, who was 11 months old when our first placement ended, finally slept through the night just days after. One day, he was waking 6 times a night, unwilling to eat or be soothed. A few days after the placement ended? He slept through the night peacefully and never looked back. It’s as though he’d been trying to, but couldn’t.

Gregory was 2.5 at this time and we actually didn’t notice the damage right away. But then things would happen, like a brief visit from our first placement, an argument between Jesse and I (there were quite a few during those recovery months), a lost toy. Like a thread unraveling, we started to see some of the ways in which it all had affected him. The hardest episode was over Christmas break, when our first placement came to visit. The moment the visit began, Gregory began to whine and cry, like the beginnings of a tantrum. Slowly, he retreated to his room, where he sobbed the rest of the hour. After the visit was over, I went in to scold him for being unfriendly, only to witness one of the most gut-wrenching sob sessions I had ever seen come from my small 3 year old’s body. He wasn’t kicking and screaming, he was just crying as though his heart was in pain. I felt panicked, because I had no idea what to do. Holding him didn’t work, offering him distractions didn’t work, and it didn’t seem like he was slowing down. Finally, by divine inspiration I figured out how to assure him in a way that made sense in his 3 year old mind, and it clicked. Within a few seconds, the sobs had died down, and he was willing to be comforted.

I remember one of the first days our 2 new placements, our 10 and 5 year old boys, came to live with us. All of them were jumping on the couch together, somersaulting and flopping on the cushions (actions we got to know all too well over the next few months). One of them got too rough, and all of a sudden I heard Gregory say in a stern voice, “NO. DON’T DO THAT. Get OUT of MY house!” He didn’t understand that his house was, without his consent, about to be shared for 8 months with 2 strangers. His playroom, about to be packed and put away. His Christmas with family, shared, his toys no longer just his, his mommy and daddy’s attentions, distracted and redirected.

And then I remember near the end of the placement, when the boys were leaving us every weekend to visit their family. It was during the 3rd weekend, when Gregory got in trouble right before bedtime. And then the sobbing began. The same sobbing that had occurred back at Christmas time. I recognized it right away, because it sent chills down my spine. Jesse was about to scold Gregory for his disobedience, but I said, “It’s something else Jesse, I just know it.”

After two minutes of sobs that threatened to tear him apart, where Jesse and I just stared helplessly, Gregory managed to say, “P-p-lease, p-p-lease, are you going to send me away?”

Jesse and I were stunned.

Are you going to send me away like A and N?” he said, wiping his nose, still crying, looking anxiously at us for the answer.

I felt sick, like someone had punched me in the stomach.  My heart was in pieces. We spent hours that night and every night after, assuring Gregory that he would never be sent away, no matter how much trouble he thought he was in. We explained that we were his parents, and I made a big deal about routinely mentioning how he was a baby that grew in mommy’s tummy. These were hard things to do in front of our foster boys, however, since things with their biological family fell through shortly thereafter and talking about Gregory’s security within our own family felt like rubbing it in their faces.

And, of course, all of this brought up questions from Gregory about why A and N weren’t with their mommy and daddy. We had to talk about how their mommy and daddy were “bad guys”, but that not all mommies and daddies are bad guys. To this day, I still hear him muttering under his breath about how “grownups are bad guys and might hurt us.” It breaks my heart, every time.

Every mom I’ve talked to who has young kids and is also doing foster care has this moment, where the horrifying thought creeps up and dawns on them– am I doing the wrong thing? Have I just traumatized MY kids by trying too hard to help someone else’s? It sneaks up before you know it. It’s also incredibly difficult to battle the fear that accompanies it.

When we first took in the boys, I feared the kind of influence they would be. I feared bad words. I feared sassy talk. I feared germs. I feared picky habits ruining my organic food/lifestyle dreams for my 2 babies. I feared that we wouldn’t have enough love to go around, that they would feel ignored or replaced.

And, at times, those fears would be validated. We did, in all honesty, have a few physical scuffles that made me worried to leave the boys alone together. We all got sick 8 times in the first two months. The boys were siblings, and some of their vicious bickering rubbed off on AJ and Gregory and has set some of their current behavior. I remember one time when Gregory was running towards Jesse’s outstretched arms for a hug, only for N to come up behind him, shove him out of the way, and get the hug instead.

But what I didn’t realize would be so hard would be them leaving us.

Turns out, all the “trauma” I worried about from the boys and their presence paled in comparison to how Gregory reacted when they were gone. To Gregory, one day he had two brothers, and the next day they were gone. Once, I went outside to find him holding one of their toys in the backyard, just sadly staring at a wall. “I’m never playing again.” he said. “Not until N comes back.”

I didn’t know how to tell Gregory that they would never live with us again.

Another time, when Gregory and AJ were fighting, I saw Gregory pull back, and, with a cold tone of voice, say, “It doesn’t matter. He’s not my brother any more. He’s just a friend to me.” Because that’s how it worked in his mind, based on the example set before him. Family isn’t something set in stone, it’s something that changes according to bad decisions people make.

Gregory has just recently begun watching more mature cartoons, the kind with real bad guys in them. As much as I try to limit TV in general and steer him towards bright and happy toddler shows when we do, he is drawn to the ones with good and evil displayed in all their monstrosity. When the dragon breathed fire at the command of the evil witch at Disneyland’s light show, he was enthralled, tense with anticipation, and delighted when Mickey saved the day. At the age of 3, he can explain in full detail why the Decepticons should be torn apart, limb by limb.

There are days when I grieve this fascination with bad guys, because I mourn those 2 years of innocence he missed out on.

Before he even knew my first name, he’d learned that mommies and daddies sometimes do bad things to their children, and that not all adults can be trusted.

Before he’d truly learned what a brother was, he learned that they could be taken away from him at a moment’s notice.

Before he’d learned the alphabet, he learned that his mommy and daddy were vulnerable and could, at times, appear so weak that they weren’t going to make it.

I know that those days of foster care are some of the reason that Gregory is so protective of me at this current juncture. Sometimes, in church, he tells me to sit down and take care of myself. He tells me I need help and that he’s the one to do the job. He tells me when I am looking tired and tells me to rest. During these moments, when he looks at me with such love and tenderness, I can’t believe that he is only 3, because it feels as though he is going on 33. I mourn that he is so wise beyond his years in some of these ways, because it makes me feel as though I did not protect him.

For me, this feeling of failing to protect my son’s babylike innocence has been the hardest thing to process about foster care.

But I recently ran across this quote from one of my husband’s favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton, where he defends the reading of fairytales amongst young children. He says,

“Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

G.K. Chesterton goes on to make the point that children know that there is evil in the world. They have their own fears, they don’t need someone to introduce fear for them. What a fairy tale provides, however, is an answer to that evil. An adult that denies their child a chance to see true evil also denies them the chance of seeing that same evil defeated. Without evil, you cannot have someone to save the day. Without the dragon, you cannot have a knight to slay that dragon.

Or loving parents to embrace the boys mistreated by their biological family.

Or security in a home despite all of his toddler tantrums.

Or a brother that will always be there beside him no matter how many arguments they get into.

And then I realized that Gregory would have had all of these same fears eventually, even if we’d never done foster care. And I become so grateful that not only have many of these fears been voiced and put on the table, but he’s seen their quick defeat.

And when he looks back on this someday? I hope he looks back and feels the pain of all the children who have no loving parent or home, knowing deep within his heart that evil will be conquered, good will win, and that he is loved unconditionally.

And, if not, he has a trust fund set up that he can choose to either use for college, or for therapy, depending on which he needs more.

Just kidding.

Mostly.

3 Years Later, A Dream Come True

I look so bleh!!! The only thing beautiful about this picture is that it was our very very first family photo :)

3 years ago today, my firstborn wonderful son Gregory was born.

In many ways, I feel like I’m also 3 years old. My life didn’t just change, I changed. In many ways, I was born 3 years ago too.

You see, I’ve wanted to be a Mommy since I was little, but it wasn’t until Jesse and I had been married for a few years before I needed to be a Mom. Like yesterday.

The only problem was…my body didn’t cooperate for many months. I was suddenly terrified that I would never become a Mom.

Just when I’d given up all hope, we found out, 4 years ago on Valentine’s Day, no less, that we would be having a baby. Our ultimate Valentine. The new love of our lives.

Some people bond with their babies during pregnancy, some don’t until birth. I definitely spent all 9 months bonded with Gregory. I treasured every ultrasound like it was my birthday, crying the entire way through, marveling at what I saw on the screen. His third ultrasound pictures were so realistic, I could already see his little cupid’s bow on his lips. I carried his ultrasound picture around with me the entire last trimester. I even dreamt about him, dreamt about us hanging out together. I would wake up crying because I’d dreamt he was in my arms, and when I’d wake up, my still-pregnant belly would tell me otherwise.

When he was finally born (the longest 21 hours of my life!), I’d spent so much time thinking and praying about him that I recognized him. He didn’t feel new, he didn’t feel like a stranger. He felt like mine. Like ours. Like the perfect completion.

I thought I loved him while I was pregnant, but I learned a whole new definition of love that day. I realized that “Momma Bear” syndrome isn’t just for hyperactive moms who helicopter– it’s instinct, undeniable and raw, loving another person more than anything you could possibly think of. That instinct comes from loving someone so much that every hurt they have, every move they make, every emotion they feel, is like it is your own, times 10.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t remember how changed I am now that he’s here.

Gregory sweet face, August 2013

Dear Gregory,

How can I explain to you in such a short letter what a blessing it is to be your Mommy? How can I make you understand the amount of joy we get on a daily basis, just from being around you?

You bring so much laughter into our lives. Hardly a day goes by without your hilarious little sayings and phrases. You pick up new things left and right, and your vocabulary is enormous. You figure things out with incredible precision, and you can focus on one game, all by yourself, for hours. You love to read books and even “read” a few of them to others. You love anything with Thomas the Train or Winnie the Pooh. You have an obsession with closing any and every door. You love to play church, creating a “robe” for yourself with Mommy’s bathrobe belt. You color with anything and everything. You get up before anyone else and climb up the pantry shelves, looking for something to eat. One minute, you’ll remind me how old you’re becoming by getting in and out of the car by yourself or putting yourself down for a nap; the next minute, you’re asking to be “COZEE” or “coodled” and for your “die-die” (pacifier). You don’t give kisses, you give “smooches”.

You care so much about others and their emotions. If I cry, you are by my side in an instant, comforting and saying, “It s-okay, momma.” You talk about movie characters being sad or scared, and you worry about AJ when he falls. You love to boss everyone around, telling them when to be quiet. You absolutely LOVE singing! Your bedtime excuses are hilarious, and you talk and talk in the sweetest voice, knowing we already miss you.

Your imagination has taken over the house in the most wonderful way imaginable. You are always playing some new game, talking with some new character, or pretending some new cup is your “honey pot” or “communion chalice”. I watch you as you motion in the air with your hands, pretending to stir something, or when you dance and bounce around the living room, pretending to be Tigger.

No matter how many times you pretend to be a car, or an elephant, when I ask what you are, you always respond with, “No, Momma, I’m Gregory!”

Yes, son. Never forget that you are our Gregory. Never forget that we will always be there for you, and that you were the answer to all of our prayers for so many years.

Love, Mommy

 

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Photo Shoot 52

Chillin'. We called him "Esteban", the Costa Rican tourist

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My precious baby

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Our lil Christmas present :)

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He's BEAUTIFUL!

So full of joy!

How cool...

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Do we look alike?

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Seriously. He is to die for!

Luv this lil face!

...and the wagon! Gregory 1st Birthday

Gregory at the Cambria Park

Gregory in a box, 2013

Gregory in a car, Happy Hollows

Gregory jamba at the fair

Gregory excited in high chair

 Gregory in fountain, 2013

Gregory 2.5 Month Letter

Gregory and AJ hugging 2013

Lovin on your brother

Gregory with makeup on 2013

Raiding Momma’s makeup bag

Gregory Thomas the Train face

Pure joy and excitement over Thomas!

Gregory sweeping with Dadda

Like Father like Son

Gregory reading to Roger 2013

Reading stories to Roger

Gregory in glasses

Trying on some glasses– future nerd alert!

Cooking up a storm

Cooking up a storm

Enthralled with the tiger

Enthralled with the tiger

cuddling brothers

Morning Thomas the Tank Engine cuddles

Gregory asleep in carseat April 2013

You love to sleep in the car!

Gregory eating in highchair, March 2013

So enthusiastic about food!

Gregory playing with trains

Playing with trains

Dear Gregory,

You are a little over 2.5 years old. There are so many things that we love about you, that it takes Mommy a few days to compile it all!

The biggest thing we want to remember about this stage of life with you is your extremely joyful spirit. We asked your Uncle David what he thought of you, and the first thing he said was, “He makes me want to be a happier person! He’s always so cheerful!”. And it’s true– you are enthusiastic, over-the-top excited, and want to giggle hysterically about everything. You greet the members of your family with sheer and utter joy, and you love to interact and sing/dance with people. You have a special “Happy Dance” that you break into whenever you are especially exuberant about something and just can’t contain yourself.

You talk ALL the time. We love the way you talk to yourself about what you’re doing, saying,”YEAH” in reply to all of your little suggestions. You will reiterate the days’ events for us in a sweet little voice, remembering little details that even we’d forgotten. Our favorite sayings of yours: “Thank-oo Mama!” (high voice), “What issit?” (pointing to all sorts of stuff), “Cookie for cookoopoofs!” (thanks David!).

You also are having trouble pronouncing a few words, making it sound (at times) like you are screaming obscenities, especially the F word. You have caused your Momma more than few embarrassing moments in public!

Your funniest conversations occur when you’re playing with your Thomas trains. You re-enact all of the little TV episodes you’ve seen, chastising engines, making them best friends, telling them to be patient, etc…You play with your trains around 70% of your waking day. We received a train table from a friend, and you LOVE it!

The other thing you love to play is church. You use the kitchen cabinets are your “Royal Doors”, take cups and put a cloth over them to simulate “cuh-moon-un”, sing Alleluiahs all over the house at the top of your lungs, and hold books high in the air as though you’re reading scripture. You use hangers as your “censor” and have a special technique that no one else can master (although you stubbornly try to instruct us!). You have a funny little way of crossing yourself that looks like you beating your chest– super cute!

Two more things you are obsessed with– windshield wipers (Dadda turns them on in the car on random so that we can hear you squeal in delight!), and helping Mamma sweep. You also pretend to cook with your new pots and pans from ikea. You describe all of the funny concoctions you are making, like “Oranges soup!”.

You seem to be obsessed with whatever sport is currently on TV, probably because your dad is always watching a game or two. You watch intently, then mimic their mannerisms exactly. For example, you grab Momma’s softball glove, pretend you’re on a pitching mound, look left then right, pretend to throw to first, then raise a leg and throw it. Your batting stance has also gotten a lot better because you’ve been watching hitters pivot as they swing!

When you are shooting hoops with Dadda outside, you say tons of hilarious things like, “That’s MONEY right there!” when he makes it, or “AIRBALL!” when he doesn’t. You usually are super encouraging, saying things like, “Wow Dadda good shot!”. You love to point out the free throw line and the 3 point line. A few times, the ball has almost hit you and you’ve looked at Dadda and said, “woah! SCARED!”. This is the first time we’d ever heard you mention being scared when we’re not referencing the “roller coaster” from Happy Hollows!

You LOVE to sing. Your cutest renditions right now are “Old MacDonald” (you love to name all the animals!), Patty Cake, and Happy Birthday (you carry a “cake” around the house and pretend to blow out candles, complete with the “underwater” Cone version). You also like it when we sing to you, and you have a specific order of bedtime songs that you make us follow everytime– “You Are My Sunshine”, “O Theotokos”, “Close Your Eyes”, “O Gladsome Light”, and the tuck-in song, “The Eyes of All”. Whenever music is on, you automatically start swaying your hips to the beat and break into some HILARIOUS dance moves!

You’ve also become a great big brother. You constantly bring toys for Baby Wee, and even when you have a moment of selfishness and take something away from him, you immediately try to replace it with something else. You’ve established a “screech-call” together that keeps you both giggling hysterically as you yell it back and forth in the mornings. Last night, we heard Anthony in the other room crying. When we ran into investigate, you told us that you’d taken the ball away from Wee because it was “too small” and he wasn’t supposed to have it. You seemed concerned, like you really wanted to care for your brother’s safety!

Before bed, you love to wrestle wildly with Dadda, then give big open mouth smooches to everyone (Dadda has to remind you to close your lips! ew!), then ride piggy back upstairs to bed. You also still use a “die-die” (pacifier), but we’re working on that 🙂

You are super affectionate. You sign “I Love You!” to people all the time now, and it’s just the cutest thing ever.

When you don’t like something, you’re very clear about it. For example, when you don’t want to wear a particular pair of shoes, you cry over and over again that they’re “too big! too big” even though the opposite it usually true. It’s just your way of saying you don’t like them. You STILL don’t like swings, and you only occasionally like slides. Now that we’ve started counting to three before giving you a spanking or time-out, you’re very obedient 90% of the time. Everyone’s noticed how much more cooperative you are. Sometimes, as we’re counting, you sit there staring at us, and when we get to three, you end with a shout, “NO SPANKING!”.

You LOVE animals. You get a huge kick out of the deer that come to roost on our lawn, and watch them at the window for hours. You also love the zoo! We’ve taken you to the Sacramento Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo (last summer), our small Charles Paddock zoo (1-2x/month), and Happy Hollows (more of an amusement park).

This last March, you got a new toddler bed. You took to it right away without any transition period. Since you did start waking up super early as a result, we got you an “OK TO WAKE” owl, which you love to show off to everyone (also, as a result, when we ask you what owls say, you reply, “Hoo-hoo”, then sing a little song, just like your owl!). You have a recurring nightmare that you’ve pooped all over the bed, so I often have to convince you that you’re completely dry in the mornings 🙂

Last but not least, you had your first Easter Egg/Pascha celebration this year! You love eating all the food, and we are still slowly making our way through your Pascha candy (occasionally you get one as a treat). You have a cute rendition of “Christ is Risen”, wherein you combine the last three lines of the song into one 🙂

Some of your best sayings/conversations:

Me: Thomas and Percy are best friends!
Gregory: Yeah.
Me: Who’s your best friend?
Gregory: Me! I’M my best friend!
Me: “Gregory, why can’t you play with Thomas trains.”
Gregory: “I was NAWty.”
Me: “How were you naughty?”
Gregory: “I got time-out.”
Me: “Yes you did. How were you naughty? What did you do to Baby Wee?”
Gregory: “I took him out. On the carpet.”
Real conversation I just overheard from Gregory: “There’s a bat and a ball! Gregory plays baseball! Homerun! Yay for Gregory! There’s the ball again! The ball is soft. Poopy is soft. Eeeewy poopy. Don’t hit poopy.”
Gregory keeps telling the ice cubes in his cup to “take a bath!”. Seriously, could my kid get any cuter?
 I told G that Dadda was picking up a surprise from MissTracy, and now he’s running around frantically looking in every box he can find, saying, “Surprise in there? Surprise in there? It’s a Toby car, I jus know it!”
Me:” Who loves you, Gregory?”
Gregory: “Nana, Awntee Em, Awntee Brookie, Unk-ul Ray Ray…”
Whenever I ask Gregory to do something, he responds with, “Okay, jus-a-minute. Be pash-unt.” So polite in his procrastination. Just like his Momma.
Gregory Singing: “A-B-C-D-S-I-J, Apples and Oranges, Kisses for Roger!”

We love you a ton, Gregory. You are turning into the little boy we’d always dreamed about!

Love, Momma