8

Dear Calum,

Wow, 8. I feel like it took us a lot of work to get here. If I am honest, 7 was not my favorite age for you. Seven is regarded as somewhat of an emotionally downer year, developmentally, and that was not far off the mark for you. Not that you were not often delightful but you did (and still do) take the world quite personally, and I have to admit that it can wear on a person (and on you as well). The upside, if there is one, of all of your sensitivity to the great injustices that you have suffered is that you have extended this sense of raging against wrongdoing to the world around you as well. Your teachers have remarked on more than one occasion about how you speak up for others and call out unkind words or actions or point out ways that we can all be better. Your heart is very big, which means, yes, it does take things more personally but it also beats for more than just your own self, and that is a very beautiful thing.

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April

It has been a challenging year for you academically as well. School is getting to be more, well, school-like, and that can be tough for you. You do like school very much, even if you are not always able to rise to the challenges as easily as others around you, and your papa and i and your teachers and staff at school have been working very hard to make sure that you feel supported and continue to be curious about learning. We did some testing and you do have some attention issues and you are doing some OT work this spring to help and see if we can get your reading and writing a little more organized. As always, you are patient with all of this and do your best and even find ways to enjoy it. I know soon you are going to start to notice how much easier all of this stuff is for other kids – particularly when Hugo starts school in the fall, I am sure, but we are hoping that by helping your put some scaffolding in place you will feel confident enough in your abilities that information won’t be too much of a roadblock for you to get over. You love reading and you love math and you love writing stories, so we want most of all is that those things continue to be interesting and exciting for you, even as you begin to recognize the difficulties they pose for you.

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May

You continue to love soccer. You were excited to stay all day at soccer camp again this past summer and are so fierce and fast and tough. You are starting to recognize how much smaller you are than the other kids (sorry about those constitutional growth delay genes, buddy) but you have also noticed how much that doesn’t necessarily matter on the soccer field. Playing with your older brother all your life has given you skills and advantages that other kids your age don’t have yet and you use it to your advantage as much as possible. And while you are getting a little bored of clinic work this spring, you are super excited about starting on travel team in the fall.

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June

You talk about gender a lot. Mostly you are sad that you cannot grow or nurse a baby, although you acknowledge that it is not altogether to terrible that you will never have to actually give birth. You love rings and necklaces and rings (although they are a bit of a distraction and you never end up keeping any of them on long) and you love deciding which earrings to wear. You and your little brother are excited about wearing sundresses again this summer and you have been impatient with the cold weather we had for too long this spring. You even asked for a navy blue jumper to wear to school, but you haven’t quite been sure about actually wearing it to school yet. You are nervous that the kids will say something to you. It makes me sad that that is what seems to be holding you back, as last year I think you wouldn’t have worried about that at all. Your papa and I try to make sure that you know that we support all of your weather- and location-appropriate fashion choices, but right now you are feeling pretty sensitive about what other kids have to say, so I think you won’t end up pulling that jumper out this year. But you do still love to wear sundresses at home, as well as leggings or shirts or shoes with sparkles or rainbows or anything shiny or glittery that you can find in your drawer.

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July

You loved our trip last summer and just like August, you were really quite excellent in the car. You and August played some weird imagination soccer game or looked out the windows or sometimes did some activity books. You wanted very badly to go on this inflatable water obstacle course even though at the end there was a 10-foot free swim from the course to the side of the pool and you aren’t that strong of a swimmer. I ran over to the other side to cheer you on and you gave it all you had to swim all the way to the edge. You are one tough kid. And it was fun seeing how much you enjoyed everything we visited and saw. You were always up for an adventure and it was so fun being on the trip with you. You especially liked visiting with our friends in Seattle and really look forward to seeing them again some day (we do too).

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August

You are really into riding your bike and you spend most of the fall being put out with me that we almost never rode to school. You even moved up a bike size this winter, which you were crabby about but now are quite good on the new bike. I hope that we can do some more bike riding soon, now that the weather looks like it might actually decide to be spring!

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September

You like playing outside with Zachary and Emmanuel and you are as equally excited to play sports with them (baseball or soccer or frisbee or football) as you are to play imagination games (mostly star wars). This year you were super excited to try snowboarding and you are getting better and better at ice skating. You like playing board games (who was it? is a favorite) and card games (from sleeping queens, to pokemon or magic to exploding kittens). You love the iPad of course and play too many new games for me to count and have been getting into using the computer at home to play games you have learned about in school as well.

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October

You love being read to, particularly as reading is a lot of work for you, but this spring you have started to work on reading some graphic novels by yourself. We read Zita the Space Girl and all of the Worst Witch books together this winter and that was super fun. We have been working on Amulet, but bedtime has been crazy lately and we are very behind. But I am proud of you for working on it without me!

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November

You have been getting into art and drawing more. We got you gel pens like your Nana has and you sometimes will color in postcards, but you have started just drawing freestyle as well. Your artwork at school is incredible – both because you have an amazing art teacher but also because you clearly so very much enjoy getting to express yourself this way. It’s fun to see you sit still for a minute while you work on something.

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December

You get along with your brothers quite well, although you frequently lose your temper and overreact to small injustices. This often gets you in trouble, even if one of your brothers initiated the altercation. One of the things we will be working on over the summer when we don’t have all of the extra school work to wear you out is how you can respond to perceived injustices. We have been working on understanding how it is ok to be upset but how treating everything like an end of the world situation isn’t helpful for you or anyone and intellectually you know that, but I think perhaps working hard all day at school just leaves you too wrung out to do much about it right now.

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January

You love watching Dragon Riders of Berk and Wild Kratts and this year we discovered that we all enjoy Odd Squad. You love going to movies (minions and star wars are favorites) and really wish you could go on more sleepovers. You like pizza and quesadillas but you eat just about anything we ask you to, even if it is not exciting. You like cake and ice cream and cookies and brownies, any flavor but without fruit filling, please. You are funny and silly and loving and you still won’t sleep on the top bunk unless you are forced to. You love the cats and you love your uncle’s dog so much that sometimes we almost think about getting you on before we come to our senses. You are challenging and wonderful and we are lucky to have you.

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February

Happy Birthday, my love!

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Eight!

Love,

Mama

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11

dear august,

it feels like just yesterday you were turning 5 and getting big enough to go to elementary school in the fall, but now it’s hugo who is turning 5 soon and you who are getting ready to leave elementary school. how did that happen so fast? if you are nervous about the transition, you haven’t really shared it with us. it’s starting to sink in that you likely be the only one of your friends at the school we’ll be sending you to middle school, and i think you are not so excited about that, but you are also a little bit ready for the change – you like the idea of switching classrooms and having a locker and checking out what options and activities your new school might have. i am excited for you even as i am not sure i am ready.

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march

your tenth year was really nice. you are unsurprisingly growing into a really interesting kid. you love reading books and talking about them, you like watching sports (mostly soccer) and talking about them, and you like playing games and talking about them. you are curious and excited about a lot of things and it’s really fun to hear all about the things that you are curious and excited about.

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april

you still like graphic novels and will read almost any genre, from sport manga to historical fiction to fantasy or sci fi or animal or kids. you don’t see a difference between “girl” books and “boy” books, so you read a wide variety of stories and tales without prejudice. you are “back” into chapter books. if the library had unlimited graphic novels that you had never read, you might only read those, but the problem is that graphic novels are ultimately too short and you read them too quickly, and the pile is never large enough, so you find yourself “forced” to read novels too to scratch your reading itch. right now you are reading a series about warrior owls (sure) that you chanced upon at a stop during our road trip this summer because there was nothing else for you to read before bed and you’ve been reading it ever since. you still love the rick riordan books and papa and i are still reading them along with you. we’ve read the entire percy jackson series together and almost the entire red pyramid series (well *i* finished it anyway) and we’ve just finished magnus chase. and we are all anxiously awaiting the next book in the apollo series to come out. you would love if we read more of the same books as you but sometimes we like to read grownup books too 😉 still, talking about books we have all read together is really fun and i am glad we have these series.

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may

we got the three of you a computer last year and you’ve discovered email  this year. you spent a few months emailing with local and cross-country friends and that was really fun. your class was on the computer more during the spring of last school year, so i would get occasional emails from you with links to .gifs of cute kittens and it was always the best. and you are starting to learn how to use email usefully as well  – this year you sent me embedded links of the games you wanted me to put on your birthday wishlist. it’s crazy how grownup these little things make you seem.

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june

you still love the iPad, of course, and although i still screen all of the games i download for all of you, i can’t keep track of everything you play anymore. you do still love fifa and other soccer games and you and your brothers are back into some games you used to play on the iPad that you can now all play on the appletv. it’s still a thing about who is first and can i finish this during the weekends and breaks when everyone is taking a turn, but overall you are pretty good about sharing the time with your brothers and with friends on the rare occasion that they get screen time with you.

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july

you love soccer, of course, and finally had a really good season this past fall. you and your teammates have been really good sports about your frequently dismal records in the past, so it was especially exciting for you to have a winning season this year. you continue to be a good teammate and a good sport – encouraging your team to play harder and being patient when they make mistakes. you also have some excellent soccer skillz and it’s fun to watch you play.

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august

you are starting to want to watch more big kid movies and tv shows, so one thing we have done is started to let you go up a little bit later than your brothers so that you and i could watch a tv show (troll hunters, on netflix) that calum and hugo find too scary. after we finished that, we started playing a few adventure games on the iPad together and it’s been really nice having that time with you. on mama snuggle nights (when i take calum and hugo up to bed instead of papa), you and papa have been watching soccer games or highlights or other papa and august things.

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september

you continue to be a pretty great big brother. you are snotty and a brat sometimes. impatient or too full of energy to not be able to resist making calum angry or teasing hugo, but overall you like your brothers and once you get over being forced to hang out with him, you always have a good time. you also play with them on your own, calum especially, although unkindly you often demand that calum play what you want to play (soccer or magic, often). but they both look up to you and like you and often want to do things with you, so it still most often works out for everyone in the end. although you do play board and card games well with calum, hugo is the worst at sitting still, so he often gets bored or tries to destroy whatever is happening, so your best games with hugo still often involve a ball or running and playing. to that end, your uncle got the three of you a slack line with all kinds of climbing tools on it, so your papa and i are excited to put that up later this spring for all of you.

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october

we took a big trip this past summer and you really enjoyed the traveling. i wasn’t sure if you would be bored or if you would think things were cool but i think we managed a nice balance between seeing things in nature and doing kid-centric things and it was really fun to see you and your brothers enjoy looking at big trees and the ocean and big lakes and geysers and hiking and staying in new places. you and calum and hugo were excellent with all of the driving (and you all LOVED the posh-compared-to-our-car minivan), which really helped. and seeing you meet friends we hadn’t seen in ages was pretty great too. i didn’t know how it was all going to work out, but it turns out taking a big trip with all of you was a delight.

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november

you enjoy school and you are becoming thoughtful in your work (we can even read it sometimes now). although you have to do homework this year as it will affect your transcript for the exam schools (which you think you would like to try to attend), it has also been more thoughtful in 5th grade and you don’t mind doing it as much. your teachers have commented more than once about how thoughtful you can be in class and how interesting your contributions are when you decide to participate. you are also sometimes very much a 5th grade boy who is not very excited about being excited about school.

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december

your class is watching some news this year, partly to be more informed and partly as part of the curriculum for the year learning to be more critical thinkers, and you often have news bits that you want to share or ask questions about at dinner. it’s very cool to see you engaging in the world in this way, you often have very insightful comments to make about what you have learned.

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january

you’re getting taller. your hair is getting longer. your feet and hands are still a little too big for your body. you haven’t started to hit puberty yet but all of that seems just over the horizon and it’s so crazy to believe that you’re about to get so much bigger and that you used to be so tiny.

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eleven!!

you’re a sweet and thoughtful kid and we are lucky to have you. happy birthday!

love,

mama and papa

4

dear hugo,

well i am not going to lie, 3 was rough. so many big feelings that are so tricky to deal with! i am not sorry that we are not going to have to deal with a 3 yr old kid again. but three is also pretty great. you are really coming into your own as a person – really starting to be able to talk about things that are exciting to you and really starting to stand up for yourself and demand to be included and/or punch and force choke people until they pay attention to you.

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june

you started a drop off program this year 1-2 mornings a week and it was a mixed bag for you. you sobbed at drop off every time there was a new transition but then you always have a pretty nice time. eventually you even made a friend (walter) who you played A LOT of star wars with. it was your first real friend your age that you made all on your own. i needed some time to do some more work and so i always felt a little bad about dropping you off when you were sad about it. but in a lot of ways you are just still my little buddy and you don’t want to leave my side for very long, even if you know you are going to have a good time. when i went away this summer for something like 27 hours it took you a few months to not ask me every night before you went to bed if i would be there in the morning. you’re a brave and bold little guy when i am around but you crumble a little when i am not. although you are getting bigger every day, sometimes it’s easy to forget what a wee small buddy you still are.

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july

you started children’s soccer this past year and you are both super excited about playing soccer like your brothers and super put out by the fact that your soccer team includes a bunch of other kids you don’t know at all. you are so loud and crazy at home that it i forget how shy you can be about making new friends. if papa or i do the activities with you, then you really get into it, but you don’t often want do them by yourself and after awhile you need to take a minute by yourself.

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august

in spite of the 3 yr-old crazies, you seem to be the most in tune with what you need, and will often take yourself away from some alone time in the brothers’ room or ask me if it’s time to go up to bed. we finished nursing this year and that was a little bit sad for you (and for me) but hanging out and snuggling at bed time is not soooo bad (and weirdly you seem to have replaced mahnahs with wiggling the moles on my back, which i guess is an ok compromise?) and it means that papa can take you up to bed sometimes too.

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september

you found a buddy in our neighbor across the street this year (sawyer, who is just about 10 months younger than you) and it has been a really wonderful thing for you. all of the brothers like sawyer, but he’s really your friend and he likes you a lot too, and it’s so nice to see you making a new friend who is all your own. for your birthday party this year, you wanted “only wren and shona and that’s it” to come to bowling and pizza with you and the fact that they could in fact come was really the best thing for you. it was a really fun party (we invited euan and wren and shona’s parents too) and it was so great to see such a simple event bring you so much happiness.

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october

you like pizza but you are so funny about food. you eat a chocolate sandwich (chocolate chips melted into sunflower butter) for lunch every day along with apple slices and a snack (tings or veggie bootie mostly) and that’s it. you eat granola with mini chocolate chips every morning. and then invariably you are sad about whatever we have for dinner. you don’t even really like pizza or burritos or any other “eating out” dessert so you are kind of a pain. you will make some concessions here and there, but who knew there was a non-allergic kid who did not like pizza?! sometimes i wonder if you are not just being contrary.

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november

like your brothers you love the cats (although you can be a little too rough) and you love babies (LOVE babies). you have dolls that you like to play with/murder and i can never tell if it is teaching you tenderness or how to get away with infanticide. you love playing star wars with calum and zachary and emmanuel and you love dressing up in any star wars clothes that we have, especially to be darth vader. but you will also play just about any game that the brothers and other friends will include you in (except magic).

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december

you don’t have the patience for most board games yet or cards. you will sometimes play a family game with us but you get easily bored. you are just getting interested in playing with game pieces and if it’s just you and me or you and papa and we aren’t super concerned about strictly following the rules, we can manage to play a few rounds of pete the cat or the goodnight moon game. you do like matching things and spinning numbers and moving game pieces. you like watching other people do puzzles and sometimes you will join in. you are pretty good at matching shapes and color patterns.

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january

you love reading books and will read picture books and some chapter books with illustrations by yourself for ages. you love being read to even more and you especially like it when i do character voices (but you are not overly fond of my terrible british accent). you will read the star wars encyclopedia for ages and you will sometimes tell the brothers about some fact that you learned about star wars “from reading that book.” we go to the library story hour most tuesdays and you like that routine. you like the books and the songs and the after activities, although most of all i think you like playing on the library computer for a few minutes while i check out the books.

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february

you hate picking up the brothers after school, it’s never at the right time for you and you are always crabby about it. it’s tough because i think it’s during your sleepiest part of the day and you always fall asleep a little bit on the car ride there. but if we let you nap you will never go to sleep at night and so everyone is just a little bit sad about all of that every day. but you love the part at the playground after you’ve woken back up and you can play. sometimes you are too crabby and it takes almost until it is time to leave for you to warm up again, but most times you like to run around and be outside. you frequently want me to play zombie tag or hide and seek and you are quite frustrated if i want to talk to other grownups instead. and if it is cold you don’t want to be there at all.

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march

you like going to youth soccer with papa and the brothers and playing with wren and shona and calum when it’s not his day for soccer practice. it is tricky because sometimes you fall asleep in the car but it’s always good for you to get a little extra run around time and you love seeing your friends.

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april

you love the iPad. you love the little kid games like sago mini and toca but you also love lego star wars. you also play a lot of wild kratts – one your favorite tv shows to watch on a movie night. you are also excited because now that you are 4, it’s time to start watching the star wars movies!

you are bright and funny and working on being brave. you love to run and to laugh and to snuggle. you had so many big feelings this year that were so tough but the storm seems to be calming down and you are feeling more agreeable about most things again. it will be interesting to see how your personality develops this year now that everything doesn’t make you feel so ornery. i can’t believe what a big kid you are getting to be and i am so proud of all of your growing!

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4 (37 lbs 40.5″)!

happy birthday!

love,

mama

 

7

dear calum,

happy birthday, 7 yr old! can you believe you are so old? 6 was an exciting year for you – finishing kindergarten and starting youth soccer. you are growing up in all kinds of ways and you cannot wait!

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april

six was an ok year for you. you are kind of a dramatic guy, with high highs and low lows. when things are going you way you are quite pleasant; then they are not you are quite the little thundercloud. some of it is your personality and some of it is your age and some of it is probably being the middle child.

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may

but overall you enjoy life and make the most out of things. you enjoyed kindergarten and you are enjoying first grade and you love learning and writing and learning how to read. you are the only nerd in the history of phonics who loves that topic the best.

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june

your teachers find you to be a delight and we struggle to leave school in any kind of reasonable time on rainy days because you have to stop and hug any of them that you see on the way out. and they love it. you continue to enjoy all of your classmates and despite some challenges in reading and writing, you really enjoy doing your school work too. you got to be part of a special reading group at school recently and you really like meeting with classmates and discussing what you have read. you don’t see the extra intervention as anything but positive and that is pretty great. sometimes your learning specialists would like you to get a little more stressed about your challenges so that maybe it will motivate you a little bit to work harder on them, but mostly you are content to keep soldiering along without getting too worked up about things.

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july 

you love getting new books from the library and you love having books read to you. you are not as excited about having to read books back to us – it’s still a little bit of a challenge – but you are really coming along with the reading and you can really tell the work you have been putting into things. at the beginning of the first grade school year you were behind but now you are starting to catch up.

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august

you love youth soccer and you play so hard that it’s almost heartbreaking. all of your hard there is paying off too and you are gaining a lot of skillz yourself. it’s tough keeping up being as small as you are, but that is going to end up being your secret weapon when everyone else underestimates you and then you crush them. you would like to go to soccer every day all week long, so it’s very frustrating to you that we only go to soccer twice a week – once for august and once for you. you’d like to go to both of your practices and to the weekend soccer as well. sometimes we make it on sundays but usually by then we need a break, so that is definitely not your favorite thing.

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september

you also are really enjoying riding your bike and would like to rid every day to and from school and it is endlessly frustrating to you that we cannot do that. you love whenever we do manage to squeeze in a family bike ride and of course we never manage to do it quite frequently enough. you love playing with zachary and emmanuel and you will play with hugo and his buddy sawyer as well. you aren’t too picky about how only anyone is as long as they are willing to play with you. you like playing baseball in the backyard with zachary (and zachary even gave you your won glove to play with) but you are just as happy playing star wars.

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october

you like playing pokemon and you have your own special and favorite cards that you like but you also enjoy playing magic with august. you like playing board games and card games with the family – something that we never do enough of for you either.

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november

you are generally helpful around the house and you are generally kind to your brothers. hugo makes you crazy (because he is crazy making) and sometimes august teases you, and it’s true that it really is no picnic being the one in the middle sometimes. but you do your chores without too many complaints and you get along with your brothers most of the time.

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december

you have a big heart that i am pretty sure is going to break for the whole world when you get older. i think you are going to be pretty tough and take care of yourself but you take social justice pretty personally and i think you are really going to be a fighter for people who have less privilege than you. you always have ideas for signs for any protests that we go to and they are usually messages like “be nice to my friends” and “please don’t hurt anyone”. the world is already lucky to have you.

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january

you love playing the iPad and watching movies. you like snuggling during movie and book time and you like to give hugs during dinner (but please save your hugs until after dinner) and during toothbrushing (and after toothbrushing) and after bedtime (please do not get out of bed for hugs) and although you are quite lovable we are working on consent and appropriate times for affection and also not using affection as a deflection technique to get out of doing what you are supposed to be doing.

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feburary

you are scatterbrained and get lost in the middle of tasks. not because you don’t know what you should be doing but because there is always something else you would rather be doing. we are working on that and you are getting better at all of that as you are getting older. you are funny and brave and confident and silly. you love a good joke and a good game. you are thoughtful about others and you try to be kind. you need to be quiet and eat at meal times and you need to work on not reacting so satisfyingly when your brothers are trying to get a rise out of you. you are the most likely to give a kiss or a hug or to say i love you. you are a delight and i can’t believe how much you are growing every day.

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7 (40.5 lb 43.25″)!

happy birthday!

love,

mama

10

dear august,

double digits. wow. you are finishing 4th grade and entering your last year at school in the fall. how did all of this happen so fast? i feel like i was just shocked that you were entering kindergarten and hear we are – approaching your last year of elementary school!

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march

nine was an ok year for you. you are starting to really develop some kickass soccer skillz and you are super excited about that. you’re starting to become a little bit more of a grown up – you like sitting quietly and reading to yourself, listening to music on your iPhone (a present this year for listening to music, using the internet, and taking photos and movies – no phone service), and checking the echo for the latest sports news (what?). you’ve started to sometimes notice that there are other people in your family besides you and you sometimes actively make a point of helping out when you haven’t been directed to. you are still cranky and pouty about some of the things you are asked to do, but generally you do your chores without putting up too much of a struggle.

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april

but even with the reading and the music listening, you still like to move your body the most. your favorite activity is soccer by far, but you will play almost any physical game that the other kids want to. you and your friends have created a bunch of different wild games that involve throwing and kicking playground balls and you love to tell us blow by blow who scored what points and who almost lost but didn’t after.

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may

you and calum recently started playing four square at school, and since there is a four square board(?) painted at the playground up the street, it is a fun family ball-oriented activity that you can usually get most of us to get into. you find it disappointing that papa and i don’t get as into running around as you do.

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june

you like going for long bike rides and you recently got into magic cards. somehow you have amassed hundreds of them and you play them with your friends as often as we will allow you (which is all of the time during the cold months but never enough of the time when it’s warm out and we make you play outside). you have patiently taught your brother how to play with you as well, and while he is not as able an opponent as your peers, you and calum will often quietly set off somewhere to play magic, which hurricane hugo whirls around the both of you, trying to flip over cards and cause general mayhem. he is still too little to think magic is anything but boring.

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july 

you still love reading graphic novels and you prefer to select your own from the library whenever possible. you like reading historical fiction as much as you like reading fantasy and sci fi. and you will read just about any sports-story book you can get your hands on.

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august (in august)

you love playing the iPad and are hoping to talk us into an xbox when hugo turns 4. for your birthday, you invited friends over for a sleepover and to play iPad on the TV.

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september

you have most of the same friends that you have always had, and even though we are starting to see differences in your interests and personalities, so far these differences are just accepted by all of you as part of who each of you are and don’t seem to cause any direct conflicts. it’s amazing to think of how little you were when you first met some of them and now how big all of you are getting. i can still sometimes see you very tiny baby faces but every day you are all getting farther and farther of that toddling around stage.

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october

you are funny and clever and curious. it is fun and interesting to have a conversation with you. you delight in making your brothers screech and frequently get into trouble for distracting them from their tasks after you have already finished your own. you are responsible and maddening. you huff and sulk if you feel like we have asked too much of you. you are starting to become age-appropriately defiant but (sorrynotsorry) you still pretty much have to do what you are told when you are told it. you have some small ideas about what you want to do in the immediate future (which middle and high school options you would like to consider, for example) and much bigger ideas about what you would like to be when you grow up (professional soccer play/video game tester). you don’t ever want me to cut your hair, although we had to have a serious and fretful discussion about how you would have to wash it regularly then and to wash it well. you have a heart for justice and you feel strongly that all people should be created fairly. although this is often easier for you to understand on a larger scale (community/country/world), you will also occasionally begrudgingly concede that this is also true in our own household (poor brothers).

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november

you love the cats and are kind and tender with babies. you can appreciate a beautiful day and you love a good view and a good hike. you don’t get excited about going to the beach but you always have fun with your friends there (sometimes you are a crab about plans like your papa but then you usually warm up once you’ve been forced to do something).

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december

overall 9 was not the worst. i’m really enjoying seeing you grown up into a person, even with all of the ups and downs. i love you very much and can’t believe you are 10!

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january

happy birthday!

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10 (68 lb 54″)!

love,

mama

3 years old!

dear hugo,

this month you turned three. THREE. where did the time go? didn’t we have another so we could have one more baby? that baby is long, long gone. in his place is a wonderful little person who is so big and so brave and so strong (32.5 lbs, 38″). we are so lucky to have one last year old around.

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june

you have been waiting and waiting for this birthday. it’s tough being not only the youngest but also the last birthday of the season (mama’s birthday in august so far from everyone else’s doesn’t count). you already knew all about birthdays and what to do and what happens. you knew that you wanted star wars cupcakes and to invite manu and zachary and jingle and wren and shona (and josie and anand, who were out of town). luckily manu and zachary and wren and shona came, so it wasn’t just you and jingle (a stuff dog). especially since at some point jingle was disinvited (poor jingle).

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july

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august

you had a great birthday, with birthday cereal (!) and presents (!) and ice cream (!) and a great birthday party (with games and guests and cupcakes and even a few silly presents)! three is so fun because you get so excited about everything. your brothers and friends were very sweet and you were quite pleased with all of the attention. you were rather disappointed when it wasn’t your birthday anymore, but honey, aren’t we all.

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september

because you are three, you are not allowed a regular iPad time. this is THE BEST thing that ever happened to you. interestingly, because you are allowed to use the iPad now, you rarely sneak it (which is nice for papa and me). you can’t quite sit still playing it though, and frequently move about during your iPad time, which is pretty amazing. first you sit on the couch, then, still looking at the screen, you move to the floor. then the easy chair. then the couch again. i can’t tell what it is exactly that has you so antsy, but it’s very funny.

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october

even though you love the iPad oh so very much, you are becoming interested in other things too. you really like coloring and gluing – especially glitter gluing – and many things in the house have been decorated. some of them even paper! i have to keep reminding you where you are allowed to use the colorful things, but it’s worth it to see you so occupied with a project, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

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november

you’ve been going to “school” this past month and you mostly like it. it’s tough for you, honestly, to have me leave you there, although you do tend to be just fine once i’m gone. we talk about how i will always always come back, but even though you try to believe it, you are always immensely relieved to see me at the end of the time. it’s only for three hours – a perfect amount of time for me to get loads of work done – but it feels like so very long to you. it’s times like these that remind me just how little you are still. you are so so very big in many ways, but you still have a lot of growing left to do for sure.

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december

you started nap again because sure why not. i think it has to do with the weather being warmer and the play being more outside and longer. but it makes for very interesting schedule planning. and evenings. it’s like that box of chocolates adage – i never know what we are going to get. sometimes you need the nap, you are so very tired, so i let you, and then papa and i pay the price that night at bedtime. sometimes you skip the nap with vigor and then crash early. sometimes we get a little bit in between. i’m eager for you to figure all of this out one way or another, but these things just take time, i know. anyway, you may as well nap a bit more going into the summer, it will help us stay out later and enjoy the long days and evenings.

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january

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february

you still love books and will bring one to papa for “snuggle and read a book” time most evenings. you try to get me to read to you while we’re signing books out to kids in calum’s K2 class (and calum often brings home books he thinks you will like too). you like to bring a bunch of books over to me when i’m trying to do something else. sometimes gus will read to you. and sometimes still you will look at books by yourself, with a very serious look of concentration on your face. like eating, i will never get tired of watching my kids reading.

 

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march

you like to do everything that the brothers do and you like to know all of the things too. if i try to explain something, you tell me, “i know,” regardless of what it actually is. you still hate to get your teeth brush and you throw tantrums over weather appropriate pajamas and coats without pockets. you are crazy and unreasonable and completely impossible. you can get your pants down but not usually up and you get mostly get your shirts off but not on. boots you can manage but shoes are still tricky and forget about socks. you like taking baths, especially with bubbles, and you think showers are fun for standing in but not for cleaning. you eat most foods when you are hungry and carbs when you are not. you still snack for as many as – if not more than – actual regular meals that the rest of us eat. you are busy and clever and still into all of the things you should not be. at least we can take you out to eat now, as long as there is something there that you would like and the service is not too slow. you love to ride the try and wish we would ride bikes more. you love to swing at the playground too.

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april

my love, you are going too fast but it’s a wild ride that papa and i are grateful to be taking with you. happy three!

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THREE!

love, always,

mama

 

 

35 months

dear hugo,

IT SNOWED THIS MONTH WHAT THE HELL.

i have to tell you that this has been a fairly miserable winter, even if it hasn’t been full of snow like last year. i knew those handful of beautiful days in march were too good to be true – this month has been rainy and cold and dreary and just the pits. everyone is cranky and ready for sunshine and springtime.

after not napping more than once every 7-10 days, you’ve decided now is the time to nap again. perhaps it’s due to the fact that we have been staying at the playground and forcing ourselves to go outside even in the miserable, dreary weather more than we managed in the winter. or perhaps whatever speed you were taking in december has finally worn off, but these days you seem to be napping more and more frequently. you are at least going to bed at a decent hour – but 8-8:30 at the latest instead of 9:30-10 and so papa and i don’t really mind. it makes it easier to do evening things as well and honestly it’s great timing considering soccer is starting and it would be impossible to take your brother on a night when you haven’t napped.

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touching rays at the mystic aquarium

in fact you seem to be generally more sleep overall – at bedtime you know the whole routine and will often climb into bed and turn on the reading light and get snuggled up while i am grabbing my book and glasses. it’s a lot nicer than fighting you to go to bed, that’s for sure.

even so, we are making the best of things as we can. you have finally started to enjoy going to little sprouts on monday mornings. that is – you have always enjoyed going, but you have finally started talking about it and looking forward to it. you are still slow to warm up to people and places, which is very sweet considering how obnoxious you are once you feel comfortable! it’s fun seeing you connect with other kids your age.

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hiking with nana and grandpa

you have a few youtube movies you like to watch – a bad habit we developed during the winter months when mama had to work and you weren’t napping. clash of clans commercials (‘cwash of cwams’ and minions, along with some taylor swift and bruno mars ‘videos’). and now if you do nap and i have to wake you so we can pick up the brothers or so you aren’t awake all night long, they are a good bribe for getting you to forgive me for being disturbed.

because your naps are spotty and unplannable and because you are awful when i work, i have decided that this month you can start having a little bit of iPad time instead of waiting a few more weeks until you are 3. you LOVE this of course, and we have been working hard on ironing out the rules (after lunch, just when mama is working, once a day, you can’t have a tantrum when time is up). it’s not so easy for you to give the iPad up when the time is over, but you are getting used to the routine of it, and now that you have realized that you do get another turn the next day, it’s even getting a little easier to give up to. i have mixed feelings about giving you iPad time “early” but desperate times, i guess.

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if you don’ wear yo scarf yo neck’s gon’ get cold

you love blueberry pouches, those gross gross baby food in foil things. long ago i considered buying some silicone pouches and making our own, but for whatever reason(s) that never happened and now they are your favorite treat. whatever. they cost less than $2 and they are a great purchase to keep you occupied while we are at the grocery store and they are actually healthy too. the amusing thing is that even though you love the blueberry flavor, you still won’t eat actual blueberries. i’m curious to see if that will change this summer when they are fresh and delicious.

you are delight to watch play the iPad, even as conflicted as i am about allowing you to use it. when you play the construction game with grandpa (or whatever it is called) and “grandpa” asks if you “want to play again?” you always whisper, “yes” and i die every time. you also like the “game with the birdies” and you will point excitedly to all the silly things you can make the birdie do.

 

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big helper

although you also eat most things, you can be particular about other treats as well. you like bunny not bear crackers and you would really always prefer star wars crackers (but alas, they no longer sell them around here). you will only eat the short fat pretzel rods, not the skinny pretzels or the “hug” shaped ones. you will eat certain kind of orange slices but not others. you DO still love apples, and will eat them sliced or whole. one of my favorite things is watching you eat a whole apple. it’s still so heavy in your hands and getting a good bite out of it is tricky. still you persevere and it’s adorable. papa would prefer if you would stop taking bites of his apples, however, and he’s often arrived at work appalled to find his morning snack has already been nibbled many times over.

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everyone loves the iPad

we’ve also talked about weaning some this month, and it’s going ok so far. we’re not in a rush, but i’ve been working on nursing you not at all at night anymore. i was thinking that because you are the same age as your brothers were night weaned that it wouldn’t be much of a thing for you either, but it turns out that being pregnant means a lot less milk and therefore a lot less fight about it all. but you know that as you are getting tall and taller there will be less milk and you are ok with that in theory – in practice you are not so sure. still, we are making slow and steady progress at night and that is the most important thing. you still occasionally nurse other times – for nap and bedtime, for example, but mostly that’s it. it’s definitely bittersweet for both of us.

 

happy 35 months, baby! i can’t believe how big you are getting so fast!

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thirty-five months

love,

mama