Adelaide, 6 years old:
44.5 inches tall (35th percentile)
45 pounds (51st percentile)
– Reenacting the movie Frozen as Elsa and then as Anna
– Riding her Razor scooter
– Finding new friends to play with at the park
– Listening to cassette tapes: G.T. and the Halo Express and Dan and Louie Bible Storybook Castle
– Listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans album
– Dancing and singing
– Drawing and painting
– Pretending to be a dog, a rat, or a slave girl
– Reading her kids’ Bible
– Playing on her iPad, especially Stack the States, Mermaid Salon, and Princess Dress Up
– Watching videos on her iPad, especially on Brain Pop and PBS Kids
– Wearing black from head to toe
– Cold water with ice and a straw
Adelaide does not like:
– Trying new foods
– Loud music in restaurants
Adelaide has a lot of firstborn qualities.
She is competitive. She wants to be the first one in the car. She wants to be the first to buckle up. She wants to have the cookie with the most chocolate chips.
She is an achiever. She soaks up knowledge. She can place all 50 states correctly on the map. She wants to know the answer before learning it.
She likes attention. She talks a lot, giving us regular updates on what she is pretending to be. When we laugh at Augie or give him praise, she gets jealous and tries to turn our focus back to her.
She has a strong conscience. When she (rarely) tells a lie, she follows up with the truth a few seconds later. When I told her not to watch “Arthur” because the characters have bad attitudes, Adelaide covered her ears when Augie clicked to watch it on his iPad.
I think what stands out to me most about Adelaide, though, is not her firstborn-ness, but her beauty. She is beautiful on the outside, of course, with those big blue eyes and smooth olive skin. But it’s her purity of heart, her quiet courage, and her desire to do the right thing that make her so beautiful to me.
Like the way she sings to herself when she has to walk in the dark, “Even though I walk through the valley/of the shadow of death/I will fear no evil/for you are with me/your rod and your staff/they comfort me.” (This is when she is walking through our dark bedroom to the bathroom about 10 feet beyond the door.)
Or like the other day, she and Augie came downstairs in the morning and jumped in our bed, as they normally do. But now, with baby Hazel, our queen-sized bed is getting awfully crowded in the mornings. Daddy told Adelaide that there were too many people in the bed, and could she lay next to the bed on some pillows? She said she didn’t want to, and laid between us. So I put Augie at the foot of the bed to make more room. A few minutes later, Adelaide sat up. She quietly got out of bed and laid on the pillows next to our bed.
I’m not sure how heartwarming that sounds on paper — or on the screen — but it was special to us.
On the other hand, it worries me a bit. I share some of Adelaide’s firstborn qualities. I worry about what people think of me, and I am pretty hard on myself when I don’t feel like I measure up. And I don’t want those things for Adelaide. I don’t want her to criticize herself too harshly or try too hard to do what others want her to do.
I wish I could be a little more wild, and so I hope that Adelaide can take a lesson from her favorite princess and “Let it go” more than I have. Without, you know, retreating to a frozen mountaintop.
August, 3 years old:
37 inches tall (36th percentile)
32 pounds (53rd percentile)
– Copying his big sister
– Holding his baby sister and patting her head
– Milk, bottomless glasses of milk
– Chasing Adelaide with salad tongs
– Drawing and painting
– Picking up trash and throwing it away
– Dressing up like a princess
August does not like:
August has a joy about him. Sometimes you will look at him and he will crack up laughing for no reason. His whole face smiles and his whole body laughs.
August is also demanding. When he wants a glass of milk, he goes to the fridge and yells for it. If you don’t come, he gets the milk and brings it to you. If you still don’t respond, he will get himself a glass and pour it himself. (To his credit, he is good at pouring and puts the milk back afterwards.)
He has improved a lot with language this year. I’ve rarely doubted his intelligence — you can tell that the gears are turning in his head. He studies the way things work and seems drawn to the mechanical. But communication has often lagged, and he tends to rely on whines and half-words to get what he wants. A lot of that is my fault by responding to his made-up words and neglecting to work with him intentionally with books or flashcards.
But in the last several months, Augie’s vocabulary has grown. He learned to count to ten a while back, but I’ve noticed that he is now counting items. He is starting to recognize numbers and getting better at naming colors. And he surprises me with new words all the time, like the day he pointed at the logo on his shirt and said “crocodile.”
He has loosened up on some of his neurotic behavior this year. He used to have a strong attachment to shoes. He refused to take them off to go to bed, and he would cry and fight when we made him take them off. He used to wake up and ask for his shoes, and the first thing he would do in the mornings was put on his shoes. But recently, I’ve noticed that he’s not as concerned about his shoes. He still prefers to wear them, but sometimes he will go all morning without shoes, even playing outside barefoot (which he would NEVER do before).
August has been asserting his independence lately. Whether it’s pouring a glass of milk, dipping his paintbrush in paint, or bringing his chair to the dinner table, he wants to do it himself. He has been picking out his own outfits lately, too. His favorite things to wear are his pirate pajamas and his glow-in-the-dark skeleton shirt.
One thing August does not want to do by himself is use the toilet. We took a shot at potty training him before Hazel was born, but it didn’t take. We got him to willingly sit on the toilet every day, but he never actually went potty. And when we put underpants on him, he wet through them and onto the floor and didn’t say a word about it. So I get the feeling that he still isn’t ready.
But he keeps us laughing. He loves to snuggle. He falls asleep easily. When he gets hurt (which is often), and we ask him if he is OK, he always says, “Yeah, I OK,” between sobs. So what if he’s still in diapers?
(Although I do hope it clicks for him this year…or this month…)