Bean started kindergarten in the fall. He was such a shy boy in preschool, and I worried that he would be an easy target for more aggressive kids in elementary school. He also napped until his 5th birthday, so I worried that the full-day schedule would be too much for him. But like many of the frets of parenthood, all the apprehension about this transition was for naught. Bean is absolutely thriving so far. He has a great group of kids in his class, he can't wait to go to school to play with his "twenty friends." And he gets irritated when they have a week off -- "Two days for the weekend is enough of a break, Mom," he told me. He does often arrive home tired and grumpy, but it's nothing that a good snack and quality time with his Legos can't fix. I adore his teacher, she is fantastic, and I am lucky enough to be able to help out in the classroom every Friday. He is reading books, writing sentences, tackling math, and stretching his imagination for class projects. Kindergarten has been a win for him... now if only the next 12 years could go this smoothly.
Nix and Gax turn 4 years old next month. And as much as I hate to pair them in the same paragraph and minimize their individuality, they really are best friends and spend all their time together (they get lonely when they are not at the same place), so for the sake of brevity, here it is. They started a new drop-off preschool in the fall, three mornings a week for 2.5 hours at a time. As much as I love the co-op model, it was just too much for me to handle with both of them. Even mommies need a break now and then. Technically the new school has a co-op option: I go in the classroom to "work" once a month. But it's so much less commitment than our original co-op, and I do enjoy being able to see them interacting in class on this limited basis. Nix had trouble with the separation at first... I was the mom hiding around the corner after drop-off, listening for the crying to stop. Such a heartbreaker! But he only cried for a minute or two, and when it was time to leave, he would skip into my arms with a big smile, telling me about the fun things they had done. And after a couple of weeks, it was no big deal. Gax never batted an eye about being dropped off, I think he's been ready for me to leave him the heck alone since he was about four months old. Their teacher is an angel, I really don't know how she does it all day, every day! Other than preschool, Nix and Gax enjoy playing Legos with Bean, tackling new games on their LeapPad, and bugging the crap out of each other. They also love going to the park to play, but seeing as we live in Seattle, those days have been few and far between lately. But spring is coming! Nix and Gax are also starting their first organized sport this year: soccer. So far it is not going well for Nix... he cries when other kids kick the ball. It's going to be a long season, I am fully stocked on Excedrin.
Littlest is not so little anymore... he turns 2 years old in May. TWO YEARS OLD! He is incredibly adorable and hilarious (if I do say so myself). A couple of months ago, he decided he no longer wanted to be the baby of the family, and he has adopted all the behaviors and attitudes of Nix and Gax. While it's challenging to parent 3-year-olds acting like 3-year-olds, it's just plain funny when it's Littlest. I see his little baby and toddler behaviors slowly slipping away, and it does bring tears to my eyes at times. I try to enjoy every snuggle and cuddle while I still can. Even though I am completely confident and unconflicted about our decision to stop at four kids (oh my gosh, do I really have that many?!), I still mourn the passing of this stage of our family. In the meantime, Littlest and I have special time together at the co-op preschool on Monday mornings, and I can soak it up as much as possible.
As for me, I am slowly emerging from the shock and fog of successive reproducing. Some days are better than others... it depends on how much sleep I've gotten, what moods the boys are in, and perhaps if we'll see a glimpse of the sun. Unfortunately, keeping a balance with my part-time work-from-home position was just too much. As much as I appreciated the personal fulfillment I get from working, and the change-of-pace from a day packed with kid-focused activities, it was taking too much from my emotional reserves to find the time and mental focus to do the job well. After coming to that difficult decision, I called my boss to let her know, and she was more than understanding. She reminded me that I had helped them earn their biggest contract to date, and made me promise to call her as soon as I was ready to work again. That was a huge relief for me; I am confident that it is best for me to just focus on these four monkey boys for now.
As may be apparent, I have been extremely remiss at updating my blog. *ahem* I blame the lack of coherency in my brain for this... when I do have a few moments without the kids demanding my attention, forming sentences is not something that I generally have much capability to do. You will find me on the couch watching "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," refusing to do anything productive, cerebral, or useful. I hope that will change in the future. But regardless, I don't have time to mine file after file of pictures on our hard drive to fill in the gaps of posting, so I'll make it easy and show some pictures snapped since 2014 began. Highlights include Bean's birthday, Bumpa's birthday, the Seahawks winning the Superbowl, Nix and Gax starting soccer, snow in Seattle, and a visit from my Mother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law. Enjoy!