Thursday, September 30, 2021

Settling In, Bitsy by Bitsy

This month had both steps towards "normal" (Elizabeth is back to work... in the office!) and also a big, rare luxury (help with the kiddos!).

Grandma Fiorani was here almost every day of September, watching Adelaide while Elizabeth went back to work. The beasties have been spoiled with all the Grandma love and attention and it's been a special time.



Adelaide

Bitsy beastie has adjusted well to Mommy's hours away. She loves Grandma, is fine with bottles, and has started taking some naps in the crib! Oh, and can sit unassisted and has started much more purposefully scooting and grabbing. And eating. Eating ALL THE THINGS.

Two of Addy's favorite things - sitting and eating! - September 25, 2021

Her giggle is infectious, her smiles plentiful, and her curiosity insatiable. We can't wait to see more of her personality emerge and we hope the transition to day care in October goes smoothly.


Imogen

Big sister is taking her role very seriously, and has really taken to playing with baby dolls as well as impersonating other people (Mommy, her cousins, a baby). Her commitment to the role is reminiscent of Everett's months as Bolt the dog, and her realistic interpretation is scary. As an example, she won't just switch roles in your presence, she will invent a whole backstory (e.g. "Gordon has been playing with Grandma all day.") and then switch places ("I'll go inside and get Gordon."). It is wild.

Imogen was also the first of us to be directly impacted by a COVID exposure. Don't worry, she's negative! Her preschool class had to close for a week, though, so she got some extra time at home with Grandma and little sister. We were notified of the closure the day Elizabeth returned to the office, so that first week didn't go quite as planned!

Ring slingin' with Grandma - September 8, 2021

Everett

Still loving school, after care, and literally any activity we do. All the excitement is taking a bit of a toll on his emotional management. We're doing our best to validate and be supportive, while also trying to solve simple issues and encourage talking it out. Especially when the thing that triggered the meltdown was we didn't have enough time in the morning before school to do a brand new craft.

Kiwi Crate claw - September 4, 2021

He has gotten to do so many fun things at school - Super Scientist (he got to announce the lesson and bring in a related item to share), crayfishing, music class, fitness Fridays, sight word certificates - we could go on and on (and so could he!). We are so proud of how he throws himself into the activities at school and home. Here's hoping the bumps this school year are minor and easily overcome.

As A Family

It's going well. We're trying to instill some traditions like movie night Saturday and game night Sunday, and it's been a blast. Maybe we should start reviewing the games here on the Beastie Blog?

Ticket to Ride Jr.

Kids on Stage

Backyard Bugs

September also included a trip to Happy Hollow (with rides open!) and an outdoor birthday party for one of Imogen's new schoolmates. More so than last year, it feels like things are trending back to "normal." Still holding out for those vaccines before we drop the precautions, but the light is totally there.

Happy Hollow - September 18, 2021

Elizabeth is doing well with stepping back into work mode, though she does miss the constant Addy snuggles. 

Bring it on, October!








Monday, August 30, 2021

Elementary, My Dear Everett

It's always tempting to do a full run-down of the month in these posts. But this time, this month, we wanted to focus on Everett.

Kinder Kickoff - August 14, 2021

Because... Everett started kindergarten. Cue the horns, the fireworks, the applause. Kindergarten always felt like a huge milestone, and it has sure lived up to it. Everett is lucky to have in-person class this year (thank you, vaccines), and also lucky that school has a 100% masking policy (thank you, school board and county health department). While the masking is a constant reminder of the times we are living in, it doesn't feel like Everett is internalizing that too much.

Our Everett comes home thrilled to talk about school and aftercare. He shares his assignments with his sister, sometimes going so far as to recreate it so she can do it too. He tells us about his new closest friend (Evan) and his tablemates. We hear about games they play. Some familiar (Ghosts In The Graveyard), some not (Silent Ball).

First day of school - August 18, 2021

We look at his baby pictures and it seems impossible that the wide-eyed chunk staring out at us is the same mohawked, slender, ball of nonstop commentary sleeping in the next room. He's no longer a baby, not a toddler, not even a preschooler. He's a kid. A school-aged kid. 

So Everett, here's to you as you embark on this new, exciting adventure.

Gooooooo HAWKS! - August 18, 2021

Our dear Everett,

May you always have this starry-eyed enthusiasm. May your kindness and wonder balance your eagerness to please (and win). We are so proud of you - especially that kindness and thoughtfulness. You can already read, which amazes and delights us. We hope it amazes and delights you too... it seems like it does.

You should be proud of yourself as well. You are handling all the uncertainty with a maturity we have no right to expect. We ask a lot of you, older brothering to a threenager and an infant. The sweetness and joy you exude when playing with or holding your baby sister Adelaide warms our hearts. You love on her, protect her, and give her what she needs (typically a pacifier, which you eagerly scour the house to find).


We also see the love you have for your middle sister, Imogen. Your drawings often feature the two of you, the way life has seemed to you as far back as you can remember. We hope that through the ups and downs of growing up, that you can stay close and be that teammate for each other.


Your gentleness when you talk about Oberon is so loving, and honestly unexpected. We wish you had gotten the chance to meet him too. It warms our hearts when you include bees or talk about him. He is part of our family and it is so special that you embrace that too.

You are embarking on many years of school. You will learn so many things, make so many friends, and face so many challenges. We hope we can be the support system you need, so you can grow and flourish. We hope you accept your classmates as they are and lead with kindness and patience. We hope they meet you the same way. Boys can wear skirts. Everyone knows something you don't. We are all learning. Be a bucket filler. 

You got this. And we got you.

Mommy & Daddy






























Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Speedy Summer

It is flying by. It's not over, but with Everett starting kindergarten (!) in mid-August, the summer days are winding down quickly. Balance is a theme in so many of these posts, and this one is no different.

Hiking at Uvas Canyon - July 4, 2021

Everett's Best Tricks

This kid... he is growing up. He can read, he can write, he loves art and science, he mimics Olympic athletes and is (over) confident in his abilities. As he will tell you, he has run races before and is very fast. He even beat Mason Q. one time. (gasp!)

This is 5-and-a-half - July 7, 2021

He "watches" Adelaide when we ask him to, he (sometimes) helps in the kitchen with his very own knife, and he is getting much better at taking a breath when emotions run high. When we remind him that he is an example for his sisters, he almost always shapes up right then and there.

Everett's Challenges

Listening and emotional regulation. These aren't unusual challenges for kids his age. We are trying very hard to be patient with the listening, to give him a chance to respond, and to make sure he can actually hear us through the craziness. It is hard on all of us sometimes. The later in the day it gets, the more manic he is and the harder it is to get him to respond to his name. We've talked with him a few times about how it makes us sad and disappointed when he ignores us, and that does seem to be helping.

Making some patriotic art - July 4, 2021

This boy feels BIG. His frown when he is about to cry is emoji-sized and heart wrenching. What makes him cry? Some big things - like realizing he is almost at his last day with his JrK teacher. Some tiny things - like a country he wasn't cheering for won a gold medal or a paper ripped. It is tricky to balance emotional support with letting things get *too* blown out of proportion. When to hug and say, "I'm here for you," versus when to say, "hey, it's OK - we have another paper we can use." When to do both and sit with him for 20 minutes while he cries his eyes out over a cheap plastic toy he hasn't played with in at least six months breaking.

Imogen's Best Tricks

Her commitment to pretend play is unreal. Everett did pretend to be Bolt for months at about this age, and Imogen is following closely in his footsteps. Currently, being Elsa is the winner. Mommy is Anna, Daddy is Kristoff, and Everett is usually the Water Nokk. Adelaide is a snowgie - one of the tiny snowmen from the story "Frozen Fever." Everyone has a role, every time. She sings, she invents plotlines, she dresses the part, she... refuses to answer to her own name.

Swimming! - July 3, 2021

She is (usually) gentle with Adelaide and can be incredibly sweet... when she wants to be. Which brings us to...

Imogen's Challenges

Threenager is in full swing. We've mostly moved through hitting and biting to scratching and spitting during full-on, drawn-out melt-downs. Luckily, she reserves this physical lashing out for her parents and hasn't attacked her friends or teachers. Fingers crossed that holds up. Time outs and alone time work in the moment, but early intervention when she starts to spiral is the most successful. When we hear her start to whine / scream / cry, one of us tries to get there quickly to understand and deescalate. We have said "use your words" more times than we could ever count. 

The mythical unicorn at play - July 3, 2021

Three is harder emotionally than two, that's for sure. Everett was a strong-willed three-year-old, but he didn't have the manipulative tricks that Imogen pulls out. I don't think Everett ever yelled at us, "you're not nice!" or "I don't like you!" Her apologies are sugary sweet, but she claims to not remember what she's even apologizing for. Often seconds after we'd discussed it. She'll get there, but it's tricky right now.

Adelaide's Best Tricks

Rolling tummy to back, rolling back to tummy, HUGE SMILES, raspberries, cooing (that sometimes sounds something very close to "Everett"), sleeping through the night... so many amazing tricks. She's at such a fun age, and still pretty immobile so it's pretty easy!

All smiles - July 21, 2021

Adelaide's Challenges

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In truth, she spits up, she poops, she cries consistently during her witching our every night during bigger beasties' bedtime, but these are super small things in the grand scheme of things.


July Firsts

First flight since the pandemic started - and first time with five travelers!

Back at the airport - July 10, 2021

First time Adelaide meets Uncle Matt, Auntie Christa, Auntie Megan, Grace, and Natalie!

Fussing over Adelaide - July 10, 2021