- School! After a rocky start, Cole is completely and utterly in love with school. He comes home with all sorts of stories and new information. He's been able to navigate some tricky situations with other students politely and successfully ("MOM, NYKURION AND I HAD A LITTLE PROBLEM TODAY AT SCHOOL. HE WANTED HIS CARS IN THE TRAIN SHED BUT MY TRAINS NEEDED TO TAKE A REST, SO I WANTED THEM IN THE TRAIN SHED. WE COULDN'T COME TO A COMPROMISE SO I WENT AND ASKED TEACHER CONNIE FOR HELP."). He has a huge posse of friends and has an amazing time with a variety of fun activities. I always loved school, so I'm super thrilled that Cole enjoys it as much as he should at this point!
- Being a big brother. I sound like a broken record, but Cole is just seriously so so awesome at being a big brother. He is gentle and kind with Chase. He loves Chase so much he insists his car seat be buckled next to his in the car. Occasionally, Cole will get a little too "in" Chase's face or space and Chase will wail - Cole will say, "OK CHASE, I HEAR YOU. YOU ARE ASKING ME TO STOP. I'LL STOP DOING THAT, OK?". I worked really hard to teach Cole to listen and interpret what Chase is "saying" (screaming), so it's super gratifying to hear him treat Chase so respectfully.
- Sleep. For as awful a sleeper as Chase is, Cole is a rock star. You guys, he's STILL napping. Four and half years old and he naps from 2-3 hours a day. I tell other mamas this and their jaws hang open in amazement. At this rate, he'll be the one that comes home from kindergarten and takes a nap.
- Being so thoughtful. He continues to be empathetic and thoughtful, asking me how I slept the night before and if my throat is still sore from few days ago. He works hard at remembering to clean up after himself and uses phrases like: "MOM, WHEN YOU'RE DONE GETTING CHASE HIS LUNCH, WOULD YOU PLEASE GET ME A FORK? I SEE YOU'RE BUSY SO WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED, IS THAT OK?"
- The Art of Conversation. To be honest, I struggled a bit with this one with knowing whether my expectations were reasonable or not. However, now that Cole is four and half, I really don't think it's unreasonable to expect him to answer questions clearly and respectfully and to have a few polite conversation starters in his arsenal to ask adults. We've struggled with Cole remembering in the thick of things to be polite and have nice conversation - he's awesome with us in the everyday, but if he's put on the spot with anyone in public or even FaceTime with relatives, he freezes up and can barely muster "yes" and "no" answers. So far, I've been reminding him and helping him practice some basic manners - "I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" - but it's a work in progress.
- Recollection. Seriously, not sure why this one is so difficult for Cole. He can't remember ANY of the activities that we do that day. He can remember what shoes I wore to the wedding of my cousin two years ago, but he can't remember a single activity from the day to tell Dad over dinner. It drives me BONKERS! So we've been working really hard on promoting recollection of the day, because it helps kids be more aware of their emotions and actions and be more aware of the past which helps kids understand events that are happening currently.
-Being FUN. He's super sweet, pretty easygoing, mostly chill with things. His easygoing personality is probably partly why he's been a little slow to exhibit much personality, but now that he's a bit older it's starting to come through. He loves to make us laugh, so he'll do this bit where he goes on his hands and knees and pushes his head and rolls it on the ground, then looks up at us with a huge grin. I'm not exactly sure what he thinks he's doing, but he sure thinks it's impressive.
-Independent play. We've been working and working on doing less with Chase to promote his ability to play independently. I truly believe independent play is a key to success in life, so I work hard at observing and not directing when he's exploring something, and I literally tiptoe around when he's absorbed. Cole even gets it - "MOM, CHASE IS LEARNING SOMETHING IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW, SO I'M NOT GOING TO TALK TO HIM."
- Eating, of course. People, this kid eats so. much. food. He is ridiculous how much he can put away. Pretty much everything is a hit, with the occasional exception of vegetables (which he picks up disdainfully and drops them over the side of his high chair). We recently started him on whole milk, which the pediatrician warned us he most likely would spit out unless we gradually combined it with breast milk - NOPE! I gave him a cup of it and he gulped down five ounces like nobody's business.
- Being persistent. I like to refer to Chase as our little bulldozer. He just barrels on through any obstacles in his way, be they dogs, people, or toys. He's a pretty persistent little fellow, when he chooses to be, and I love watching him problem solve.
-Well, sleep. Gosh, one week I'll be all, "Oh yay, Chase slept through the night twice this week and he's sleeping really well!" and then the next week it'll be, "Chase was freaking up four times last night and I'm a total zombie today!". I can't figure it out. And once in a while, Chase has a screaming fit in the middle of the night for anywhere from 30 mins- one hour and we can't figure out why. We are trying so hard and some days things work and some days they don't and there's no pattern to anything! But it will happen consistently... eventually. Or at least by the time he's three and we can just lock him in his room and who cares if he sleeps or not as long as he's quiet enough to let us sleep, right??!
- Being patient. Especially in regards to food. Chase LOVES his food and wants ALL the food on his tray RIGHT NOW THIS EXACT SECOND! And he screams - LOUDLY - until that happens. Let me tell you, it is not my favorite thing first thing in the morning when I'm still blearily rubbing the sleep (or lack thereof) out of my eyes and trying frantically to make breakfast for everyone and Chase is SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER at me because the stove is not cooking his eggs fast enough for him. Seriously. I've started giving him a couple of warnings and then if he screams again, he is automatically done with his meal - he just LOVES that - it worked for a couple weeks, then he needed a refresher reminder course. We're working with him on sign language so he can communicate a little more effectively (and quietly) but while he can do his own little version of a couple of signs, he prefers to scream until my eardrums burst. Work in progress.
-Letting me put him down. There are some weeks I'm pretty sure my right arm is going to drop off from exhaustion. Chase is not a heavy child (around 20 lbs), but when you are holding that 20 pound baby and carrying him around ALL DAY LONG and trying to cook, clean, read to preschooler, do laundry, etc (and PEE for goodness' sake!) it can be pretty exhausting. When I do sit down, he's climbing all over me, pulling at my hair and pinching me in his efforts to get me to pick him up and walk around again. I'm pretty sure a lot of this would be alleviated if the kid would just WALK for goodness' sake, but we still seem to be pretty far off from that point. He currently shows zero interest in walking and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed I won't have to carry him on my hip to his college freshman dorm room.