Flashback Friday: that time Simon turned 4!

I was a terrible blogger of events this summer, so enjoy the flashbacks. Simon turned 4 this year. He is suddenly into real kid territory. I kind of love it a lot – as nuts as #thisis4 can be. We’ve gotten into a birthday routine and will probably keep on this path, until we change it. We celebrate birthdays on the actual day.

We start with birthday breakfast and presents from Mom & Dad (us) and the grandparents and great aunts and uncles.

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Then there is the school party! Daycare means so far Simon has been in “school” all summer. This one will be the most interesting change as we will have the summer birthday (on a holiday weekend) problem once he’s really in school. This year I brought mini ice cream sandwiches and blueberries for the class. Then Simon got to hold the book during the CD read aloud time.

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Then we got to leave school early to go pick up the cake. And home to pack up for the party. The party was at the park from 5-7. I ordered pizza and we sang Happy Birthday and ate ice cream cake. We invited a few families of Simon’s best friends and had a low key evening of hanging out and letting the kids run free.

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And now he is four.

Stats at four: 31 lbs; 39 inches; 3T pants (2T/3T shorts!); 4T shirts; size 9 shoes.

Simon talks all the time and is getting more into pretend play. He is still working on the Children’s catechism at church and can go through the first 20 questions. His favorite shows are Paw Patrol and Doc McStuffins. He loves to watch YouTube and YouTube Kids, although his time watching “unboxing videos” is heavily limited (that deserves a whole post on it’s own), and likes to watch video game videos – Jelly is funny but “language” and anything Mario. He and Rob still play Wii games together, like Mario Kart and Bowling, but have added PC versions of Super Mario Bros. (old school) and some of the new Lego games to their mix of video game time.

Non screen time favorites are RescueBots and PawPatrol figures, basketball and bowling in the hall and due to new “go build” rules Magna Tiles and Duplos and Legos (as of last week) are back in heavy rotation. Trains are still played with but not as obsessively right now. That could change though as we move in to winter and more indoor play.

We still spend as much time outside as possible and the playgrounds and parks are amazing. Simon has mastered every apparatus except for the monkey bars.

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We also frequent the Hall of Science and Simon is finally big enough to enjoys areas outside of the Preschool Place.

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He started tennis lessons this summer and is doing really well. He loves Mr. Carlo and got his first trophy at the mini tournament he played in September.

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Not that there aren’t times he’s difficult, but this is to celebrate the great. I love this kid.


At his birthday party, July 9, 2014.

Simon is THREE. Three is just so big, he’s really a kid now. Not a baby or a toddler even. But a real kid. Even since 2.5 it’s amazing the changes. I was watching the videos of him from when Caleb was born and he was so little in how he talked. I’ve become Mom most of the time instead of Mama. Simon has demands and knows what he wants. His communication is amazing and also frustrating. Because with understanding comes having to learn patience, and “no.” There is lots of negotiation happening in our home right now. I have to be the strong one to not give in. And he knows when I’m weak and exactly when and how far he can push. It’s already getting old when he screams at me, but we’ll get through it. The drop down all out tantrums don’t happen that often anymore.There are so many feelings that come with being three. It’s sometimes almost funny to watch him navigate trying to verbalize how he feels, he never knows and it’s always changing. And the answer to “Why?” is always, “But because I did/do.” It is an awesome responsibility parenting a three-year-old.

IMG_2071 IMG_2055 IMG_1794Simon has also earned a lot of independence that is granted to the preschool set of city kids. We’ve been working on stopping at corners and waiting for the “walking man” to cross since he could walk, but really the last year. And over the last six months Simon has earned the privilege to run ahead down the block having proven trustworthy to stop. And the consequences of not stopping halfway (if he’s gone a bit too far from me) or turning a corner without a grown-up are swift and severe. Buckled in the stroller, or hand holding the rest of the walk. There have been three times I can recall where this has happened in the last few months and all are from not listening (not stopping or “hiding” around the corner) and not a real fear that he wasn’t planning to stop at the corner. I’m kind of amazed at the independence he’s earned. He and the after school posse run to the playground together most days after school. I can almost see the future where they do this without the parents trailing along behind.

IMG_2088 IMG_2087Simon also got a scooter and helmet for his birthday, so he’s on wheels. After about a day and half he was doing tricks, like holding one leg to the side. And so fast. We’ve just started scooting to and from school on days he doesn’t ride the bike seat with Dad.

IMG_1669 IMG_1774Somewhere in the last month Simon has learned to identify almost all of the letters and numbers and the sounds they make. I thank the Leap Frog videos on Netflix for the sounds.

IMG_2111We started watching movies this year. The second half of Finding Nemo (the first half where he gets lost and the sharks was too intense, but we might be ready to try again), Rio, and Peter Pan were the first movies. We added in Ghostbusters, Toy Story (1, 2, &3), Marry Poppins, Robin Hood (Disney), A Turtle’s Tale, Frozen, Tangled, Brave, How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters Inc., Kung Fu Panda 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (1 &2) and Rio 2 was his first movie theater experience. I list that out and ummm we watch a lot of movies. But that is kind of what happens when your parents work in animation.

IMG_2189As a big brother, Simon is doing pretty good. We are just now getting to the point where Caleb can roll and grab his stuff, and sharing is definitely going to be an issue. But that is to be expected. Mostly he loves his brother and loves to mess with him and touch him all. the. time. Unless of course he wants him to go away and stop crying.

IMG_1993 IMG_2185He still has a love of all things train, but is also in to Monster Trucks and cars and fire trucks. His Duplo building skills are expanding. And so much time spent outside running and climbing.

IMG_1657 IMG_1694At three Simon’s favorite foods are definitely sweets, of which he probably gets too many. But he also likes sausage and bacon, hot dogs, eggs, peanut butter, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and apples. He’s not so in to vegetables, but will eat at least one bite per meal in order to earn a desert. He also seems to eat more veggies when with anyone other than Mom and Dad.

IMG_2054He loves his “friends” and every one is his friend. It’s so fun to watch him befriend any new kid at the playground if we aren’t there with someone he already knows. It is going to break my heart the first time a bigger kid (or even one his own age) tells him they don’t want him to play with then. Until then I will enjoy his openness to include everyone – unless of course they want his toy and he doesn’t want to share… Ah, three.

DSC05471 As we go through this next year I hope Simon continues to keep his sense of adventure to come along to wherever we drag him in or out of the city. He’s gotten so good at not being scared of new things – like the beach or the carousel. I hope he stays fearless to try new things. The good days are amazing. The not so good days are…difficult. But Simon will keep us on our toes and we love him so very much.IMG_2171

Stats: 36 inches, 28 pounds, size 2T/3T shirts, shorts 12months – 2T (he’s skinny!), diapers size 4 – moving to underwear slowly.


Caleb: months 4 & 5

Months 4 and 5 were big one. And as we were in the midst of a month of crazy in June, I decided to do a combo post (May 11 – July10).

IMG_2056In this time frame we took SIX flights. Caleb was a dream on all of them mostly sleeping, especially on the two long flights for the LA trip.When he was awake he was happy or eating, so I’m glad this first intense travel experience was a good one. And on one of those legs I had both kids by myself!

Caleb got to go to Indiana twice to celebrate Aunt Emily and meet his great-grandma. The first trip was for the shower and the second for the wedding. In the middle of all this Caleb and I flew to LA to meet Rob for the Em.my Awards. This was Caleb’s first pool, first beach, and first formal occasion.

IMG_1891 IMG_1851Months 4 and 5 were also the first carousel ride, first boat rides (Circle Line, Staten Island Ferry, and a deck boat), and first baseball game. Like I said we’ve been extraordinarily busy and I’m so glad things are slowing down.

IMG_1688 IMG_1697Just before the 4- month mark Caleb rolled consistently belly to back for about 3 days, then nothing. But just before the 5- month mark he started rolling BOTH directions, pivoting around on both belly and back, AND a poorly executed but there army crawl. He’s so happy now that he can reach some of his toys. I think in another couple of weeks he’ll be venturing off of his play mat.

IMG_1986 I am so glad we kept the play mat. Simon never really used it and just laid on a blanket, but when it didn’t sell a few weeks ago I pulled it out again and Caleb is a fan of the hanging animals. The swing went away this week. He doesn’t need it to sleep in and we wanted to reclaim the space. Borrowing a jumperoo is being mulled over and he doesn’t NEED it, but it could be nice, but these things are HUGE. We picked one up at my mom’s house for the week, and he liked it, but was a little small for it. So we’ll see where we’ve landed on this one next month.

IMG_1973I’m perfecting a back carry. I’m ok with a Ruck but am liking the Double Hammock better. The Ergo/Kinderpack are still too big. The ring sling is great for short trips. We’re also using the stroller more since the heat and humidity make babywearing sweaty. Caleb is now too big for the carseat insert in the Uppa.baby, but a little small without it. It works, and I’m loving the double stroller (we added a rumble seat). I do wish the second seat reclined, but in a couple of months Caleb should be sitting well enough to sit there so Simon can keep rocking the stroller nap.

IMG_1665Caleb is still napping pretty well with one long (1-2 hours) nap in the morning and then 2 or 3 shorter (20-60 minute) naps in the afternoon. However the long nap really only works in a dark quiet place, like the bed. This isn’t so awesome for a second child in a family who is often on the go, but we’re working with it. He will sleep in a carrier or the stroller, but it’s not as solid.

not quite big enough, but the kinderpack was a good boost.


Overnight sleep is about the same. I think at around 4 months we got an earlier wake-up so now it’s 8-midnight, then up around 2:30 for about an hour, I’m mostly co-sleeping from 2:30 on and not really paying attention to how continuous the nursing is. Around 5 or 6 I move him back to the bassinet where he stays until 7 most mornings.

IMG_2033I assume all is going well with nursing. At the 4-month check he weighed in at 12 lbs. 9 oz. which isn’t a huge gain (1.5 lbs in 2 months) but not abysmal. I’m trying really hard not to worry because it seems I have another kid on his own growth curve. And he will be fine. The big difference in eating with Caleb, is that he will take a bottle. It still amazes me every week when I get home from the babysitter day and he’s taken all the bottles (I leave 2 oz bottles). This will make the much anticipated daycare less stressful.

IMG_2017Caleb loves kisses and having us close to his face, which is good because Simon is always messing with him. But there are so many smiles and laughs and the highest pitch squeal of glee I’ve ever heard. And he knows when we’ve stopped paying attention to him and demands it. This is making working from home quite difficult, but I will never regret staying home with him for the first 6 months.

IMG_1681 IMG_2056He is an awesome little guy. And Oh! his hair! I love it.


Caleb: month 3

It’s more than a week late, but the Smoosh is 3 months old! Wow! Just like his brother he manages to be skinny and yet incredibly smooshable with bits of chub. This month was interactive Caleb. Lots of smiles and giggles. Simon likes to “make Caleb be happy.” It’s pretty cute.

He rolled over at least once – other possible rollings may be courtesy of big brother. But because we spend so much time baby wearing or laying in the swing (to stay out of mortal peril) he doesn’t get much floor time to practice.

Nursing is going much better. I’ve learned to manage the oversupply, so no more choking. Now the only problem is the occasional “I eat something that disagrees with his tummy”. Still a lot of spit up. His latch is crappy, but it works, but ALWAYS necessary for a good burp. I’m getting better at nursing on in the wraps and I’m hoping that by the time summer is in full swing we have this down so I can keep up with the big.

photo 3I left Caleb home with Dad for three days this month to go to a workshop for my dissertation stats, I was able to pump enough each day with the manual pump – although I will get an electric when I go back in the fall. And Caleb took a bottle no problem. I actually think that the bottle flow is slower than breast (which NEVER happens) and he didn’t spit up as much. But just knowing he will take a bottle makes leaving him so much easier.

Sleep is still pretty good with generally one night waking to eat. A bad night is noted if he wakes up before midnight, so at that point we will co-sleep the rest of the night. Caleb is in the bassinet in the hall still most nights, with the swing for the last stretch in the early morning. Occasionally he still falls asleep in the swing while we are eating, so I leave him. When he outgrows the bassinet in a couple of months we need to figure out if it will be co-sleeping full time or if we try the bottom bunk. I’m more worried about Simon messing with him than Caleb waking Simon or having issues with the bottom bunk.
IMG_1524We don’t go back to the pedi until next month so no weight, but 3-6 month clothes and size 1/2 diapers. I had just opened a pack of size ones when I realized we needed 2s, so squeezing into one last pack. We are using cloth 95% of the time, disposable at night and sometimes when we are out in the city. This is up from about 60% of the time because I couldn’t keep up with the laundry for two. (Simon has moved to disposable slip-on diapers full time in preparation for toilet learning)

Simon 2.5

IMG_6266Oh wow! 2 and a half is here! 30 months! That seems so big. And it seems so long since I did his last “monthly update” at 2. He’s changed so much since July. And that wasn’t a true update, maybe I should do these more often.IMG_6263At 2.5 one of Simon’s favorite things to do is to “help” on the counter or on the step-ladder in the kitchen. Helping mostly consists of eating bites out of everything and making a mess. But sometimes he will pour from a measuring cup to a bowl without spilling or actually get the bread in the toaster. This morning he helped make his oatmeal and mama’s toast. Then because it’s a special day he helped put the chocolate syrup in his “regler” milk to make “special” milk.IMG_6256Before getting into other development I should explain poor scab-face. Simon has discovered pockets. Rob and I often walk with our hands in coat pockets so I guess it was only a matter of time. Monday we were walking home from school and he had hands in pockets. And then tripped and fell and well you see where this is going. With no free hands to stop him, face met concrete. There was a lot of blood. But other than a bloody nose and a cut lip the damage wasn’t too bad. We stopped in a store and got some tissues to clean up until we got home. Then I saw the scab-face. It’s healing. He’ll be fine. Now he says “no tripping with hands in my pockets.”IMG_6268He talks so well in sentences now. Back in October he was talking in sentences but couldn’t have a conversation, now he can. Language development totally blows my mind at how fast it happens. In his two year post I guessed he had around 200 words, but he was in a language study shortly after that post which showed he had 356 of 680 commonly used words. This put him above average, and I know he has words that aren’t on the lists. Being my kid it should come to no surprise to anyone that he talks a lot. From a kid who spoke approximately three words on his first birthday it astounds me. He still has some work to do on using the correct pronoun and will often put nouns and adjectives and verbs in the wrong order, but these are common errors. He’s trying to use different tenses too. IMG_6271Simon is definitely a kid of the 21st century and prefers Facetime to a regular phone, but he does now understand that all calls aren’t video calls, even though he prefers them. And he will actually talk to the grandparents and aunts and uncles on the phone, sometimes even asking to call to show them something.IMG_6270Depending on who you ask some would say he gets too much “screen time,” but as a developmental psychologist who has done research in this area and Rob an animator it really can’t be avoided. We are ok with the amount he gets. He loves his Leapster and has started being able to play the games on his own rather than just watch videos. I’m amazed at how fast he picks up a new game. One days he’s totally frustrated and the next – he’s playing independently. He also has “my phone” which is my old ipod touch. It’s set up with apps for him, Netflix, and YouTube. Netflix lets you have different accounts for a household, and Simon can log-in to his name (the yellow happy face) and watch his shows. He also plays a lot of matching and puzzle games which are fine-motor skills. He loves to color at school but not so much at home – possibly because of the screen but again I’m ok with that.IMG_6281Lest you think all he does is have “screen time” be assured that he is still OBSESSED with all things trains and spends at least an hour on school days and more on weekends building tracks with tunnels and bridges. There are conversations with the trains. It’s so much fun to watch the pretend play develop. Then when he tires of that he will build a Lego (Duplo) tower around the tracks and have a Monster Truck Jam smash-up with total destruction of the structure.IMG_6284Simon has always been good with independent play and still is, but he likes to play with us too. But in a very specific if you don’t play as he directs you way then there is a melt down. With my crazy fall schedule we’ve had fewer play dates the last few months than normal, but he has his friends and likes to have them over. So we’ve added a couple of new friends to the play date rotation.IMG_6286School is still so fantastic for him. At the parent-teacher conference last month (I love that we have these) there were only good things to say. And some of the things Miss A told us he can do I had no idea about! So sneaky kid, no more pretending you can’t do the puzzle yourself or that you refuse to try new foods. Apparently he’s quite the adventurous eater at school. Behavior wise, all is normal toddler, but he and his BFF do fight in a brotherly sort of way that is both frustrating and endearing (and gives me a glimpse of my future with real brother). Both sets of parents are of the mindset “unless there is blood let them figure it out” which they mostly do. *and yes we do step in before actual bloodshed, but that is the sentiment.IMG_6293For me this six months was consumed with being pregnant with baby brother, but also was the time of the great weaning. We started just before he turned 2 in June and his last nursing was in October. It went as well as these things go and while I truly don’t think Simon was quite ready, I was. Mostly. He didn’t as the doctor assured me start eating a ton more, he did start drinking a ton of cow milk from a cup (and now that he knows about chocolate it’s all over). The process wasn’t traumatic and all is well.IMG_6280take a picture of my arm mama.

Otherwise eating is going better, and while it may be somewhat related to weaning much more is our approach. At the 2 year well visit we ran a bunch of tests just to make sure there wasn’t a medical or allergy issue and when all came back normal and we talked with school and the doctor Dr. C said “I think this is a behavior thing, not a food thing.” So we changed our approach – to what is was BEFORE the weight scare and following stress – back to we will decide what and when, you decide if and how much. Removing the battle at meal times and allowing him to choose his snacks helped. Also the promise of desert if he ate dinner. And by eat dinner it could be one bite of each thing because it’s new or a whole portion of something we know he likes. Most times desert was enough of a reminder, but there have definitely been times where he says all done, no desert, and goes to play trains until bed time. I was so proud on Tuesday when he tried the sloppy joe, which was much to spicy, and asked for toast and jelly instead. He got it.IMG_0847there’s a monster in my hair.

Parenting a toddler is exhausting at times. All the time? It’s not always easy. There are tantrums and whining and all the things that go along with the “terrible twos” but he’s so much fun. My mom commented on what an urban kid he is, because at 2.5 he can walk down the sidewalk by himself and knows to stop at the corner and wait to hold hands to cross with the “walking man.” And what kid has a melt down because we don’t have time to stop at [Grand] Central Station? He knows his subway trains.IMG_0848I love this kid so so much.

Stats: ~25 lbs.; 34.5 inches