Saturday, December 28, 2013

3 yrs 3 mo (Great News!)

CET 3 years and 3 months!
Saying cheese just doesn't make them smile!

Since we didn't want them up till midnight we had to wake them up early from their naps. It was quite the challenge because they DID NOT want to get up. Sorry boys that's what happens when it takes you 2 hours to fall asleep at naptime!
We tried everything to wake them up.
Sitting them upright was one of the things that did not work, ha!
The boys made "kee-coos" the other day!
Trust me they tasted better than they looked, haha!
Caleb got into my eyeliner.
So I guess he's going through a goth phase because he now goes by Drakkar Noir.
We went for a walk and we just couldn't resist!
The boys were less than thrilled
A Great Update (among others)!

So the other day, Eli, out of the blue started singing the abc song, it was a complete shock to me because I did not teach him that! A few times I tried singing the tune to the Spanish alphabet and since it didn't quite fit I gave up and never sang it again. Not sure why but I was hoping they wouldn't learn their letters in English, maybe so it wouldn't get so confusing. Well, thanks to toddler radio and the cartoon Super Why they've learned the English alphabet as well (although both alphabets are very similar).

The boys are really smart and have learned everything I've ever tried to teach them. They have their ABC's down pat  (although they like to confuse K with X), they also know the sounds each letter makes. I've started to introduce sounding out simple words, which they act like they are understanding me but when I test them they aren't quite getting it yet. Like with everything else it will take lots of repetition before it's starts clicking, I'm feeling pretty good about meeting my goal of teaching the boys how to read before they start kindergarten (less than two years away!).

The boys language skills continue to progress very rapidly and have graduated on to 4-5 word sentences.  For example, they've said things like "do not eat mami," "me no like that one," and "big one eat chiquito (little) one." Funny, just when I think their Spanish has caught up with their English, their English takes off even more. But that seems to be the pattern so far, at least they aren't completely resisting Spanish as some parents tell me.

So I  looked over language milestones for 3 to 4 year olds (at least according to webmd, it varies so much depending on where you look). It says that during the age of three to four kids will learn to:

-say his name and age (check!)
-speak 250-500 words (check! pretty sure they exceed 500 when you include both languages)
-answer simple questions (check!)
-speak sentences of 5 to 6 words (almost there! we are doing 4-5) and speak in complete sentences by age 4 (feeling confident it will happen!)
-speak clearly (almost there! most of what they say is clear)
-tell stories (they sort of do now but maybe they mean in complete sentences? If so I'm feeling confident it will happen by 4)

According to these milestone markers the boys are not behind on language anymore!!! I really feel like they have caught up, but we certainly aren't quitting our speech class anytime soon. It's still important we keep supporting their language development should they start to fall behind again.

I'm beginning to lean towards starting them early for kindergarten. At least in Oregon you have to be 5 years old by Sept 1st to start kindergarten but if your birthday is before Oct 1st you can contest it and start them early. I know this is sounding like a bad idea right off the bat but after doing a little research on kindergarten readiness I don't think it it's a terrible idea anymore. For a long time I've believed that academic success is determined by how much time parents invest in their children more so than how good of a school they go to. And actually the statistics back this up nicely. My boys already know more than I did when I started kindergarten and even I was reading by the time I finished kindergarten (and I should add that I did not go to preschool but my boys will). I will certainly consult with their teachers when the time comes to make an official decision. The only valid concern is that they were preemies and their full term due date is actually Nov 10 but they were so healthy I have never worried much about them being preemies. I don't think their language development will be an issue especially since they will hopefully be going to Spanish immersion where 50% or more of the kids will not speak a lick of Spanish. Nothing is set in stone but that's the plan for now, we'll do a year of preschool next year and then start them in kindergarten the year after. So that seals the deal, they will more than likely be the shortest kids in their grade, hehehe!

 Here's a cute video of the boys (mostly Eli) singing their abc's...

Monday, December 23, 2013

We're Back!

Ok maybe not 100% but about 95%. Some how I managed to avoid getting this latest stomach bug or maybe it's just that 'of course mom can't get sick!' How else could we have managed? Phil was not so fortunate. One thing that marks this bug was the gas, from beginning to end the boys were riddled with gas on both ends! My boys are not the gassy type either but man we have been living in a cloud of gas, even today! Anyways I'll spare you the rest of the details. So Saturday was the first day we felt brave enough to leave the house without fear of someone pooping their pants. We really needed to get out of the house after being coupe'd up for so long and we did it up good!

Checking out a new bridge being built while enjoying a fruit roll up
Thomas and Phil
With Mr T
The boys!
Caleb and Thomas
Train Museum!
Working the switches while watching a train safety video
Riding the caboose!
Caleb was done with pictures!
Post nap we went to a theater pub where the boys ate french fries for dinner and Phil and I got to enjoy a yummy beer while we all watched Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs 2 : )

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Word

We've had a tumultuous last few days with both highs and lows, but mostly lows. It all started Thursday morning as I lay in bed half awake contemplating whether or not to get up and pee or just try to go back to sleep. Eli was in between Phil and I (we hardly ever wake up alone), when I heard him start lightly coughing and then burp. It was unlike a normal burp and I knew what it could mean! I jumped out of bed faster than you can say barf! As I jumped out I yelled to Phil "get the baby up!" I didn't want him choking or something but I certainly wasn't gonna risk getting vomit all over my hair by getting him up myself. So just like that Eli learned a new word, 'vomito' and of course there would be ample opportunity for the other two boys to learn it later on.

The boys, like their mama, are not the throwing up type (I go 10 to 15 years between throwing up). Even as babies they would rarely spit up, I'd strangely look at people who wanted to hold my babies and would request a burp cloth to put over their shoulders. Why? I now know how common it is in most babies. So this is a highly unusual thing for us to deal with!

Eli barfed a couple more times later that day but other than not having much of an appetite he seemed happy. That day he relished in the fact that he was the only one who could drink juice and he'd point it out to his brothers every chance he got (had to re-hydrate him after all that barfing). Little did he know it would be short lived. The next day all was well and we thought it was over...

It was Friday and Phil would be picking up our brand new refrigerator, yay! Long story short, earlier in the week Phil found out that one of the contractors that his company works for accidentally ordered the wrong type of refrigerator for a new condo development and they were selling them off for 60% less than they retail for! I told Phil to jump on that amazing deal because our fridge is too small, the shelving is half broken and the motor makes a funny noise every couple of months. So while Phil was gone Thomas started up and it was not pretty because I spent the next 2 hours cleaning up several messes. A little later, thankfully after Phil got home, Caleb started up as well. At one point Caleb threw up and some of it managed to fall into our silverware drawer, gross! Then some onto Eli's face and onto our chopped up avocados we'd be having for dinner! But that's not the worse of it, Thomas spent the next 4 hours on the couch throwing up into a trash can every 5 minutes, at this point of course not much was coming out. And this whole time I spent wondering if it would ever stop, he can't possibly keep this up all night, can he? I got visions of him at the hospital hooked up to an IV getting fluids for dehydration. Thankfully he finally fell asleep at about 11pm and didn't wake up till 8am the next day!

This is not from this weekend but that's pretty much how Thomas and Caleb looked on Friday : (
Everyone seemed a little feeble but happy so we thought we were on the mend and we celebrated by going to Ikea to get some things to organize our kitchen nook where the new fridge now stood.

This is the kitchen nook before Ikea only we had just cleaned off the table so imagine it piled to the top with junk!
Weekend excitement at Ikea! YAY!
Kitchen nook transformed!!!
Look at that stainless steel beauty!
(I actually wanted a black fridge but that was all they had)
We thought the worst was over, but boy were we wrong. Early Sunday morning, it's all a blur now but at least two of the boys woke us up because they had pooped their pants (the watery type). It was contained thankfully and we took care of it, no big deal. The next day, Monday, all the boys woke us up one by one with diarrhea in their pants! This time it was not contained and got all over their sheets with a trail of poopy foot prints to our bedroom. I went from fully asleep to cleaning and bathing a child in 10 seconds, and so did Phil! After washing them and sending them off into the living room the diarrhea became even more uncontrollable. The boys (mostly Thomas) started creating little puddles of poopy water all over the house (and curious onlookers would get too close and step in it!)! We quickly got them in diapers and cleaned the obvious messes but the house still reeked of POOP! I was extremely disgusted, Phil had to leave for work finally, so I started a major mopping job of the entire house! And mind you it's only 8 am!!!!!!!!!! WORST DAY EVER

The boys were in serious need of extra bathing later that Monday
The last two days have only been mildly better with two boys each morning waking up with diarrhea in their pants because they can't seem to make it to the potty which lives only 6 feet away from their beds! Please please go away already, you horrible horrible virus! I'm soooo tired of cleaning up gross smelling stuff!!!!!!
The backlog of the boys cereal of choice, not about to give them poop inducing mini wheat's, no matter how much they ask for them!
My poor babies somehow manage to stay happy through this all : )

Friday, December 13, 2013

Personality Updates (Age 3)

Today's Sesame Street is brought to you by Caleb, Eli and Thomas!
The boys at this age are really into trucks (all types), motorcycles, bikes, fast cars, helicopters, airplanes, rockets, robots and t-rex's. Their absolute most favorite thing in the whole wide world though is TRAINS. The obsession is so bad I only let them have their trains and had to hide the tracks because they were driving me insane. If they had it their way they would play with their trains (tracks included) all day long but it's frustrates them soooo bad when their tracks don't come together as they want or when certain trains cars are too tall to go under their bridges or when their trains fall off the tracks, and on and on and on. I just can't put up with all those melt downs so I did the only thing I could think of. Maybe someday they will get their tracks back...

There is no official leader in this group and nobody picks on anyone else. There are times two will play together and one will be off doing his own thing but they rotate nicely and there are no two that are always together. They are truly equal among each other.

The boys love assigning family members to anything they see three or more of, especially if it's in their newly assigned colors. For example Eli was looking over my shoulder as I was reading the Costco coupon book and he pointed to a set of colorful knives and as he pointed to each knife he said "Eli, Thomas, Caleb, mami, papi!" Like I just mentioned the boys now have assigned colors Thomas is red (or orange), Eli is blue (or yellow), and Caleb is green (or what ever other color is left). When they were younger we never assigned colors because I just never thought of it or cared for the idea and it also wasn't ever necessary (like to tell the boys apart). I'm not sure how it happened, it was quite a subtle transition but since the boys have developed a preference for certain colors, namely Thomas and Eli always fighting over red, it was just the easier thing to do. And to my surprise the boys have fully embraced "their" colors. In a world were everything is shared and so little is actually theirs I think assigned colors gives them a sense of ownership they may have been lacking before. For example, if we get them new toys I try to find them in their assigned colors (but more typically you will see them wearing clothes in their colors).

The boys continue to all look very different to us and often Phil or I tell each other "Caleb looks so much like Eli today" or "man Thomas looks just like Eli in that picture." I'm sure we sound crazy to anyone reading this but it's true. I recently had to convince Phil that people honestly can't tell them apart, he seemed to think that people just like saying that they can't tell them apart, you know for the novelty of it or just to say something. But it's true, even people they are around a lot still have to look for identifying markers were as Phil and I just look at them and know who is who. We both just can't get how people don't see how different they look! I even can hear differences in their voices.

Caleb, or as he pronounces it Cay-lep


Caleb is very affectionate and will give anyone a hug that wants one. But be warned, if you let your guard down he'll do something sneaky and unexpected (like take the glasses off your face) and it will usually be accompanied by his little evil laugh. He loves to push his brothers buttons and it annoys the heck out of them as you can imagine. He hates wearing pants and socks (I'm glad I won the battle over keeping his underwear on though). He's pretty chill and is the most easy going of the three. He doesn't sweat the small details like his brother do. Phil and I are very grateful for that! That also means he usually gets to pick last (though I try to make up for it in other ways). He is our resident daredevil and always looks like he's been in a battle with scratches and bruises. And I can't forget to mention he loves kitties!

Eli, or as he pronounces it Ee-i


Eli is as cute as a button and often reminds me of a little squirrel being very industrious and deliberate in his actions. He is quite the spitfire and when he knows what he wants he will tell you. He's is the most chatty of the three and I think he will become the spokesman for the three. He's kind of bossy and likes to try and be the leader but of course his brothers are having none of that, ha! He is as smart as a whip and he often learns things first. His brothers often learn from Eli or they'll hear me praising him and want to learn it too (I'm pretty sure C and T would not know their ABCs if it weren't for Eli). He is very inquisitive and is always asking me what stuff is. Eli gets punished the least, the boy knows to stop while he's ahead, this makes me wonder if he's more obedient or just smart? Perhaps he knows mom and dad's limits better than his brothers. Eli is a screamer and resident Drama queen (or is it king?)! He can be quite emotional at times.

Thomas, or as he pronounces it Tah-masssss


Thomas is our big lovable dork and I'm not sure how to convey that in words, maybe you just have to be around him to see it. He over pronounces the s in his name, and repeats things over and over again to make sure you heard him. And not to mention, he tells the same old tired joke over and over again. If there's two of what ever he'll say one for Thomas, one for Eli and none for Caleb?! (that's his joke) Thomas has lots of great facial expressions. He's a very in-opportune child because after I get done yelling at his brothers for doing something naughty they did he jumps right in and does the thing that I just finished yelling at his brothers for. Seriously, he was two feet away and saw the whole thing play out! He gets punished more for being the straw that broke the camels back. He's pretty stubborn (or maybe you call it determined) and most cautious of the three.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Temperament (and SNOW!)

We don't get snow that often so it was an extra special treat to wake up to this!

Our efforts at making a snowman were foiled when we realized the snow was too dry
Out front
It was tough even making a decent snowball! Brrrrr!

I did a little research on infant/toddler temperament after one of the boys teachers brought it up as a topic of conversation. It's a concept that was previously foreign to me but it was quite interesting to see what kind of kids I have. Temperament is supposedly something inherent or 'is not learned' but something you are just born with. Personality is different from temperament because it is an acquired (learned?) trait that builds upon itself or if you will, develops in complexity as we have more and more life experiences (at least that's how I've come to understand it). Being that the boys are identical it is not surprising that they all share the same temperament traits. There are apparently three different types, and not many children fall exclusively into one of those three categories neatly. I've highlighted the ones that apply to the boys.

Easy or Flexible: these children tend to be happy, regular in sleeping and eating habits, adaptable, calm, and not easily upset. (most common type of temperament)

Active or feisty: children may be fussy, irregular in sleeping and eating habits, fearful of new people and situations, easily upset by noise and stimulation, and intense in their reactions. (least common)

Slow to warm or Cautious (Shy): children may be less active, tend to be fussy/grumpy, and may withdraw or react negatively to new situations, but overtime they may become more positive with repeated exposure to a new person, object, or situation.

So it looks like the boys are somewhere in between Easy and Feisty. I'm happy to see the boys are not shy but they certainly aren't social butterfly's either. The boys aren't overly interested in engaging others but if others try to engage them they do not shy away and will entertain what ever comes their way. They seem to have little interest in other kids their age. I think it's because they have constant playmates and it makes it so they aren't too needy to play with other kids their age. They do, however, adore older kids and they worship their 6 year old friend Oscar. Even though they are brutal with each other when it comes to fighting and hitting they are very very respectful with children they don't know well. They won't hit or take toys away and many times they don't get too upset if someone takes something they were playing with (but they'll throw a fit if one of their brothers does).

The boys are VERY determined and will not stop until they do what they set out to do. Which also makes them extremely frustrated and  melt down when they just can't do something they wanted to (like building the tallest lego tower ever). The boys are definitely on the higher end of the energy spectrum, they are busy busy boys!

I'm working on a personality update next, so stay tuned!

The boys the other day came up with a song, I asked them what they were saying and they said "mama sing" but it sounds more like "mama say" so can't be sure. Anyways, here is a video of it and its super cute! You have to listen carefully to hear them harmonizing (it's Eli and Caleb singing)   : )


Friday, December 6, 2013

Game Changer

The boys may have just met a new milestone. One where they can sort of sit still, be quiet/whisper and let mom and dad at least look like they are paying attention at meetings. We didn't have high hopes when it was time to go to our annual circuit assembly considering how our last assembly went (horrible to say the least). But to our grand surprise the boys behaved really well, day one they did exceptionally well and day two they did pretty good. And it gets better, Eli made some new friends and he will now leave us to go sit with them, yay (Caleb is a little bit willing to leave us but I don't think Thomas will leave our side anytime soon). We're thinking our days in the B school at regular meetings might be over and we can now transition into the main auditorium...This is a real game changer for us!
With my handsome young chaps!
We were looking at the baptisms and they all said they want to be baptized now : )
Day one I kept them busy with new felt puzzles I made them (this may have been why they were so good the first day). Day two I kept them busy with a boat load of stickers from the dollar store. 
At lunch time, just wondering how many 3 year olds still wear bibs while they eat???
I have the messiest boys ever!
Eli looking adorable : )
Eli sitting in between his two new friends.
Seriously, having just two kids to worry about is soooo much easier (it was nice while it lasted)!
Library Time!
I never tire of taking pictures at this library...

Thomas always has great facial expressions!
Eli making a face that says I don't want to stop playing so I can go pee...
Caleb feeding the kitty
"Why hello there Mr. Cat in the Hat!"

"Cool what do you have there?"
ETC, watching me pull out snacks! (notice how Eli is wearing different pants now)
After our great experience at the assembly we decided to be brave and take the boys to a real restaurant!
...and it didn't hurt that there was a train table and toys in each corner of the restaurant.
Do you see Phil in the background? That's were we both enjoyed our relaxing meal and beverage while the boys played to their hearts content : )
We promised them m&m's if they behaved,
this was the only time all three were at the table at once, ha!