Posts Tagged ‘four’

Four Year Stats

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Today is another installment on my recent theme: parenting gets easier and you’re a good mom. YES your kid will eventually eat a vegetable. YES he will survive even on Goldfish and cheese slices. YES your kid will probably be fine even if he hates bottles and you can’t ever leave him for more than 2 hours at a time and you feel like you’ll be breastfeeding until he’s 12.

Evan had his four year well-child visit on Tuesday. The visit itself was kind of awful, with two children sobbing about their shots (despite the fact that only one child even GOT shots) but the information from the visit was great. Evan is 40.5 pounds and 41 inches tall, which puts him just below the 75th percentile and right on the curve he’s been on since his 2-year check up. They also calculated his BMI at 16, which a) does a 4 year old really need to know their BMI? and b) obviously doesn’t mean the same thing for a kid, since 16 falls in the “significantly underweight” category for adults and my kid is clearly not underweight. He’s as healthy as can be and impressed the pediatrician by saying his favorite food was apples. SO MANY APPLES.

It was a good check-up. As the doctor asked her questions I felt an overwhelming sense of “I got this. ” Despite the fact that it’s been almost three years since Evan fell of the growth curve I used to still get nervous when they pulled out the charts. Finally I feel like I can own our choices and our mistakes – when the doctor asked if I thought Evan’s speech was a little unclear I said it was probably because we relied on a sippy cup for too long but we had already switched to straws and I wasn’t worried. Then the doctor started asking ME for advice, since she has a 2 year old she’s struggling to get off sippy cups because he has been so reluctant to give up bottles and they finally found a sippy he liked and she doesn’t want him to stop drinking milk and she wasn’t sure what to do and did I like the take’n’toss cups as an alternative? (Yes.)

There’s nothing like seeing your pediatrician as just another mom struggling against the whim and will of a toddler to make you realize we’re all just doing the best we can as parents and things will be OK.  Of course, telling you things will be OK is not going to make you believe they will be OK, but try to  hold that knowledge deep inside. If you think there is something wrong, there might be something wrong and getting it checked out is the right choice. Always. But don’t feel guilty over every less-than-ideal-nutrition bite that crosses your kid’s lips. I wish I could go back and hug my previous self who thought she was doing everything wrong when it came to feeding my kid and show her 4 year old, 75th percentile Evan. He’s doing great, which means I am too.

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Kid

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Yesterday I woke up at 8 am, alone in my room, because the sun was shining in my face. It’s been a long time since I had an “oh no why didn’t the baby wake me?” moment of panic, since one of the kids usually comes upstairs to wake me around 6:30. But we took the baby gate down this week; I don’t have any babies anymore. I hopped out of bed shouting “Evan? Caroline?” and immediately heard two sets of feet running up the stairs. The kids ran into the room holding graham crackers and grinning. “Hi Mom!” said Evan, “I took Caroline downstairs. We’re having graham crackers and playing iPad and I fed Brutus!”

I don’t want to jinx anything but I’m fairly sure four is my favorite. He’s understood directions for while but now he understand emotions. He can read me like a book (better than a book, since he can’t actually read) and will call me out when I’m not at my best. Nothing cuts quite like having a four year old ask “Are you having a bad day, Mom? Do you need a hug?” Gut-punch, every time. It’s even more amazing when he does it with Caroline – I scolded her for running away at the grocery store and he took her hand and said “It’s OK, baby baby, you’re my best friend.” If you ever wanted to see a grown woman cry in a grocery store, that would have been a good moment. Standing between the bread and the lightbulbs I realized my oldest baby was a whole kid.

There’s no going back with this growing up thing. I few weeks ago the thought of sending him to real school on a bus was ridiculous. Today it seems inevitable. Of course he’s going to get on a bus. He’s going to get on a bus this September for pre-K and next September for Kindergarten and a few more Septembers for high school and then he’ll be taking a bus to some tropical location for a week-long Spring Break trip where the only thing keeping him alive is my voice in his head saying “WISE CHOICES!” That’s what I think about when my sweet-faced ginger boy says “Mommy, I want to sit on you” when I’m “too busy” for sitting. My kid still wants to hang out with me. I’ve got to enjoy that while I still can.

Evan gets himself out of bed, he picks out clothes from socks to shirt, gets himself dressed, chooses his breakfast, helps decide the days activities, puts on his own shoes, feeds the dog, is a great helper when we grocery shop, tells me the numbers and letters on the signs, goes to the bathroom alone (and ditched the nighttime pull-ups a few weeks ago!), helps cook and clean, can walk alone on a sidewalk, holds his sister’s hand, shares his stuff, plays well with others, eats (pretty) well, talks about his feelings, sits in time out willingly when he’s naughty, wants to see the pictures I take in the camera, can go on long walks, tells me when he’s tired and wants to go to bed, sleeps in any bed with just a kiss goodnight and an “I love you”, and sleeps 10-11 hours straight. He’s a whole kid. I feel super lucky, since hopefully I’ll get at least 4 good years of this independent-but-loving-person before the worst of the tweenage stuff hits. I’d take 40 years of this, as long as “this” was just like this week.

“Go stand under that tree and I’ll take your picture!” I said on the way home from our evening walk. “No Mom, take a picture of me doing this! It’s a good picture!” said my big kid. And he was right.

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spring photos-35

 

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Evan’s Vintage Train 4th Birthday Party

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Vintage Train Party

Sometimes when you ask your almost-four year old what kind of birthday party he wants, he says “Goats!” and you panic. And sometimes when you ask again he says “Choo choo trains!” and you’re super happy about it because you can DO trains. Trains are awesome. You also happen to have a massive collection of electric trains in your basement from both your childhood and your husband’s childhood, so a theme is born. BOOM. Vintage train birthday party it is!

I will do this mostly in pictures, since that’s the best part. HUGE post, apologies, feel free to skip if you hate parties, etc etc etc. I’m going to put a truly insane number of photos on Facebook and Flikr too.

Decorations:

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

I printed banners and food labels on brown cardstock and cut pennants out of scrapbook paper (some new, some leftover from previous party supplies). The vintage stuff lying around (suitcases, globes, lanterns, etc) is from my own supply of junk collectibles or borrowed from my parents. All the train and sign clip art I made using a free fonts from dafont.com – Eisenbahn is the vintage train; old seals tfb and PostageStamps are on the water bottle labels; wmroadsigns, wmthe50s and wmtransport1 are the rest (for the record, the old fashiondy font on almost everything is CM Old Western Shadow, also from dafont.com).

My dad made the railroad crossing sign out of scrap wood in my basement and I painted the letters using a stencil I bought at A.C. Moore. Dad also built the wood table to set up the electric trains. Evan and E painted the Melissa & Doug wooden train on the food table together. The tablecloths are a collection of sheets/fabric I keep in a box just for occasions like this.

I made the Arrivals/Departures board out of just a piece of composite board painted with chalkboard paint. I made up trains and times based on family names and dates.

Food:

vintage train birthday party food

vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food

vintage train birthday party food train party drinks fueling station chugga chugga water bottles vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food vintage train birthday party food

Choo choo train birthday-15

I made train cars with disposable aluminum trays and black cardstock to serve the food, including a coal car, veggie car, and a berry boxcar. I served lemonade in glass “milk” jars (actually Target frappuchino bottles I used for Caroline’s last two birthdays) with fancy straws, old fashioned root beer in bottles, “Chugga Chugga” water bottles and juice in Take’n’Toss cups for the kids.

Here’s my train inspired menu –

Steam Puffs – coconut macaroons
Coal – Krispie treats make with Cocoa Puffs
Train shaped cookies
Train shaped cucumber sandwiches
Rails – black licorice (courtesy of the American Licorice Company! Happy National Licorice Day!)
Railroad ties – vanilla sandwich wafers
Soft pretzels
Switch Cheese Sandwiches – grilled ham and swiss on wheat bread
Cheddar-nooga Choo Choo Sandwiches – grilled cheddar cheese on pumpernickel-rye swirl bread
Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Southwest Dip – Heluva Good black bean queso dip (REALLY delicious)
Veggies
Berry Boxcar – Fruit
Conductor Cubes – cheese cubes
Stoplight Kabobs – watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon
Short Line Shortcake – mini cups of pound cake, strawberries and whipped topping
Golden Spike(d) Lemonade – I left the spiking up to my guests so no one accidentally got their kid drunk

And the cake is a good old-fashioned super sweet grocery store cake from Big Y. It was a Thomas cake until I took Thomas and Percy off and put a little Amtrak train on it. Boom! Custom vintage train cake.

Games:

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

I made the child-sized trains out of cardboard boxes I’ve been collecting for a few weeks. I covered the boxes in plain paper (the kind you buy at Ikea to go on their art easel) and cut out construction paper shapes to make them look sort of like trains. The tracks all over my house are electrical tape purchased at Home Depot. We used approximated 8 60-foot rolls (they come in packs of 10) and E free-handed all the tracks.

As a craft, I bought cheap paint, brushes and wooden cars at the craft store and let the kids decorate their own wooden trains.

My dad worked really hard to set up both model train sets so the kids could run them. That was all stuff we/he already owned but the Tyco HO gauge electric trains are really inexpensive on Ebay. The kids also played with the Thomas/Ikea/Brio wooden tracks and trains.

The kids took home their painted trains, conductor hats and train whistles as favors.

vintage train birthday party

vintage train birthday party

Sources & Supplies (if I missed something you’re looking for just ask!)

Vintage travel posters (plus a calendar I dismantled) – AllPosters.com
Train whistles – Oriental Trading Co.
Conductor hats – Oriental Trading Co.
Wood trains for painting – A.C. Moore
Train lollipops – Oriental Trading Co.
Train car serving dishes – ShopRite
Train shaped cookie cutter – A.C. Moore
Train shaped sandwich cutter – gift, available on Amazon
Sisal twine – Home Depot
Tiny clothes pins – Amazon.com
Photo book & prints – Shutterfly.com
Brown burlap – Home Depot
Orange burlap & fabric – Joann’s

Whew! That was exhausting but super fun. Now please come over and eat all this leftover cake before I do.

So so many thanks to my parents for their help and to Kim for letting me borrow some of her photos!

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Evan: FOUR

Friday, April 5th, 2013

I have a little person who lives in my house named Evan. He’s not a baby. He’s not a toddler. He’s not even very little. He’s a kid, and he’s kind of awesome. He picked out birthday cupcakes and helped bake and decorate them for his school friends today. He’s helping my dad set up the electric train set for his birthday on Saturday and being a very good listener when it comes to the teeny tiny screws and wheels and pieces. He also had a total meltdown at the aquarium yesterday because he was super tired and just wanted to go home and lie down for a little while. It was understandable, since that was hat I really wanted to do too. You’d think after four years I’d remember my kid was a little person more often, but I think I must have fallen into some sort of accelerated time warp since I’m pretty sure I actually gave birth yesterday.

Evan loves books and reading and going to the library to pick out MORE books. He loves trains and cars and trucks and diggers and every other boy-thing you can think of. Bugs! Dirt! Loud noises! He loves swimming and is really excited about going to the beach and the lake this summer. When we’re in the car he requests “rock and rolling music” most of the time, but his favorite CD is Beethoven’s Wig. Every time he does something funny or cute he yells “TAKE MY PICTURE MOMMY! CHEEEEESE!” He can work the iPad better than I can and always knows where my phone is, even if I lose it. Last week he finally earned his special reward (some sort of outer space blaster that shoot glow in the dark balls) for ditching his night time pull ups. As of today, he doesn’t use his much-loved sippy cups anymore because he is a big kid. He is so kind and generous and helpful and sensitive and I am so so lucky to be his mom.

I spent a large part of my week filling out paperwork and touring various preschool programs for next year.The only certainty at this point is he will probably be taking the bus. Which…whoa. My kid is almost old enough to ride a bus. Although he’s not quite old enough to answer these questions without looking around the room and choosing things he can actually see. Abstract concepts are hard when you’re only four.

All about Evan, Age Four

1. What is your favorite color? Blue
2. What is your favorite toy? Pirate Ships
3. Who is your best friend? You! and Caroline. She always jumps and flies.
4. What is your favorite TV show? RescueBots!
5. What is your favorite food? Pizza!
6. What is your favorite drink? Milk.
7. What is your favorite game? I like watching TV. *Me: That’s not a game* I like Sneaky Snacky Squirel. THAT’S my favorite game.
8. What is your favorite snack? Watermelon.
9. What is your favorite animal? Brutus!
10. What is your favorite song? I sing my own song BUH BUH BUH BOP! Like that!
11. What is your favorite book? Mike Mulligan. It broke.
12. What is your favorite dessert? Cupcakes!
13. What is a big boy thing you can do now? I don’t get any more baby cups!
14. Where do you go to school? I go to school with my best friends!
15. Where is your favorite place to go? Staying home with you! The aquarium! The seaport! The yarn store!
16. What would you like to do for your birthday? A choo choo train birthday party!
17. What do you love about yourself? Being four!
18. What is Daddy’s job? Go to work a lot.
19. What do you like to sleep with? My milk cup and my blankies.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be Evan.

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

evan four years old

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