Monday, September 11, 2017

How is it Fall Already?

When did it become September? Yes, I know, the first day of Fall is September 22nd, but it will be here before you know it! The leaves have already started to change color out here.

I will say for St. Louis, we have had a pretty good summer. Nothing too crazy hot, and now we've had a string of very lovely days. Somehow we just kept playing outside and it turned into September. WHAM.

We've had a few Firsts in the past few months.

Logan turned 1 June 30th. WOW. Totally snuck up on us... Snuck up on us so much that we had his 1st birthday party the second week of July. We made it early in the morning, had water toys and bikes out on the driveway, had lunch catered, and everyone was home in time for nap. It was awesome.

We explained to Grant that he was officially the big brother of a one-year-old now. Grant thought the party was great. He got to zoom around, mostly unnoticed, eat snacks and lunch all morning, had cupcakes, and then napped with the rest of us after everyone left. It was a good day.


In early August, Logan started walking...that makes him about 14 months or so.
Check it out here:

Just for fun, Grant was about 16 months when he was walking, but he didn't have a big brother to chase... or one to run from.


August 16 Grant started Preschool, Monday-Friday 8:00 -11:15.
For all my west coast friends thinking that is early, the schools out here are mostly August through May, instead of September through June like we all grew up with.

Here he is two years ago when he first started Toddler class.

He started Toddler school going only Th/F 8:00 - 11:15, then another year of Toddler switching to 3 days a week, M/T/W. Now we are a full 5 days and Grant absolutely loves it. He had a hard time at first realizing that after two years with the same teacher, he was going to be in a new classroom with new teachers. Once we told him he was going to be a "big time preschooler with big time teachers", it finally sunk in and for weeks before school started he would go around the house saying, "I'm going to be a pee-schooler!"

At first, 5 days seemed like a lot, but as all parents know, the minutes of the day sometimes tick by, but the days and weeks fly by and before you know it, it is Friday morning again and you're wondering what happened to your to-do list for the week.

Yes, in the picture for Preschool he has two different shoes on. He picks out his own clothes in the morning and puts on his own socks and shoes. Some days he picks out different shoes on purpose. I figure it is exponentially harder to pick out the right shoe of one pair and the left shoe of the other pair and put them on together, so I let him have it. Besides, he has shoes on and he is at school on time dressed with breakfast, teeth brushed and hair combed. That is the limit to my importance hierarchy at 8:00 in the morning.

On that same day, Logan realized he now gets 2 hours alone with Mom while Grant is at school.

Play Ball!

To top it off, on Sunday we took Grant to his first baseball game!

Grant's first baseball game is going to be hard to top. Right away upon entering the gates, he was given a free puppy stuffed animal (Build a Bear giveaway day). We didn't tell him and he was so excited that a man just handed him a stuffed puppy.  Hope he doesn't think that happens every game. Just like the 800 or so moms before me, I shouted, "You get a bear!" and the guy handing them out said through his smile, "It's a puppy."  Um... right, a puppy. Yay you got a puppy!

We walked around the stadium, showing Grant the field from different angles, and he immediately found Fredbird (the mascot). We have a book of baseball mascots in it but I didn't know he would be so excited. When we got to our section, Grant and I went to our seats while Kyle got some food. While we were waiting, we got to sing America, the Beautiful and the National Anthem. Grant sings the National Anthem every Monday at school (more on this later), so he knew the drill. He stood up straight, and although he didn't sing, he also didn't act like a 3 yr old either. He waited until the song was over to sit down and then ask me what was taking Dad so long. 

Kyle came back with a hot dog for mom, and french fries and nachos for all to share. Grant said he loved the french fries, liked the chips - but only the ones without the cheese, and then said the water was cold. He said no thanks to the hot dog which I thought was great because I got to eat the whole thing. We sat in section 349, which turned out to be perfect. We knew we wouldn't stay the whole game, but we were still behind home plate (3 sections up) and could see the field. We were close enough to keep Grant's attention but not worry too much about ticket prices if we had to leave early. Plus we were in the shade for a 1:15 game. Definitely trying to get that spot again. 

The Cardinals scored 1 run in the first inning, and in the 3rd, Molina hit a 3-run homerun so Grant got to see fireworks. By the end of the 3rd inning, Grant was all pooped out and ready for a change of scenery. We walked around a bit, checked out the team store, and after one look at our tired boy, decided it was time to hit the road. He was asleep in the car by the time we hit the freeway. 

Best decision of the day was leaving Logan home with a babysitter, and he of course, slept the whole time we were gone. 

No, we did not put our son in a collared shirt for a baseball game - he did that. We have a Cardinals jersey for him to wear, but he told me since the players look so fancy in their uniforms when we watch them on TV, he wanted to be fancy too. Since Kyle wears a suit to work every day, we say Dad dresses fancy, and Grant wants to be just like Dad. Most days Grant will pick out a collared shirt for school so he can be fancy like Dad. Today he wanted to be fancy like the players, so there you go.

I love Busch Stadium. I feel like it is a cathedral for baseball. I always get so excited walking in through the gates and seeing the field. Today was exceptionally fun to see Grant light up and see all the people, the players and the field itself. I must admit I had tears in my eyes to see how excited he was to see everything. He walked around the way a kid should - eyes wide open, a little tense but mostly excited, trying to listen and see everything all at once. I think I loved it more than he did.

The amount of people alone was enough to intimidate Grant at first, but after holding hands with Mom and Dad and walking around for a bit, he settled in like a great baseball fan. Once he learned it was okay to yell and cheer and clap and be loud, then he was all in. We've watched baseball on TV before and talked about the Cardinals and going to a game, and he always asks who the guys in the black shirts are:
"Buddy, those are the umpires. They make sure everyone follows the rules."

Mom likes the Cardinals, Dad likes the Cubs, and Grant has informed us that his favorite team is the Umpires. Go figure.

So for this guy's first game, he got a stuffed animal, french fries, chips, screaming, clapping, singing, cheering, a home run, and fireworks. I don't know how we do better the next time we go.

The Boys

It is funny how Grant and Logan are different. People ask us all the time if they are similar or different... and the answer is, of course, YES. It's funny when you have your first child, because you wonder what the two of you look like in one other human. Then if you have a second child, you wonder, how could it be different? As I have observed in many families, one child leans towards the father while the other leans towards the mother. Nature is kind in that way, giving both parents a bit of a high-five. People say all the time that Grant is a mini-Kyle, while Logan seems to have gotten the Siemens side of the eyes and facial structure. If nothing else, Grant has Kyle's teeth and Logan has my teeth (sorry dude, braces are in your future).

As for personalities, the boys change by the day. It is so hard to say how much is nature vs. nurture, and if they were each an only child would they have this same personality? I will remember Grant when he was an only child, but most likely he will only remember his life with Logan in it, and Logan will only remember his life with Grant in it. Hopefully, if this fairytale goes as it is supposed to, they will remember their entire lives with each other in it, even long after their mom and dad are gone.

But who knows what their personalities would be like if they were only children? Or if Logan came first? Or if Logan came when Grant was 5 years old instead of 2 1/2? The only one who can truly answer that is the guy with the white hair who watches all the TVs at the end of the Matrix movies.

Grant's personality tends to lean more towards following rules, although he is 3 1/2 going on 18 so of course he has his moments. His job is to have moments. It's called being a child and growing. Logan's personality, albeit he is only 14 months, tends to be more of "let's blow this up and see what happens" mode.

I feel like if we were on a hike in the Amazon, and we came up to a crossing where the bridge was out, Grant would stop us all, tell us the bridge was out, and then point to the sign that says "Bridge out." Meanwhile Logan would just go flying by us as fast as he could run yelling "I bet you I can jump it!" I feel like Logan has yet to learn the laws of Physics...mostly Gravity.  But who knows what tomorrow will bring. They may change personalities yet again. That's the fun part.

They are brothers. They are best friends one minute and mortal enemies the next. Grant loves Logan and Logan loves Grant and wants to do what Grant does. Sometimes Grant loves to boss Logan around a bit too much and sometimes Logan loves to bother Grant a bit too much, but that's how it goes... And then as a parent you hope and wish that they can find it in their hearts to be friends forever.

It is very interesting just from a human development perspective to see how Grant grew up and learned skills compared to Logan. Grant sat around and stared at my face all day. Not really, but you get the idea. We stayed home for nap times, we made sure he didn't fall down and covered all the sharp edges. With Logan, he never gets a proper morning nap because we have to be in the car taking Grant to and from school, and he has a brother to chase. I think having someone to chase is the best thing that could happen to you. Logan is not afraid to jump on Grant's bikes and do what Grant does. The minute he could walk Logan was chasing Grant around the house, and Grant was not only encouraging him to do it but to do it faster. From the moment Logan has learned any new skill, he has 3 people to ask him "Great, but can you do this?" And then he does!

When I played softball in high school and travel ball, no one told us we were good, but no one told us we weren't good either. We tried hard and we won a lot of games. Honestly, how do you determine how much of that is from what you think vs. what your skills are? I feel like Logan and Grant are the same way. We've never told Logan that he was younger, and he is clearly not aware, because he thinks he can do anything and everything, and he has Grant right there next to him challenging him to try. I see gray hair in my future.

Above is Logan on Grant's favorite red trike and below he's doing his best "Easy Rider" impression. His feet don't reach the pedals on either bike, but he has no idea and doesn't care.

I was wondering what Logan would think and do when Grant was at school every morning. Granted, 3 hours at school does not mean we get 3 hours at home alone. Every parent who as a kid at school knows that time goes by twice as fast for the parent at home while the child is at school. We may have 2 hours to play three times a week - I do get a sitter for Logan twice a week so I can go to boot camp. Kyle says I'm a nicer person after I go to boot camp. The first day we dropped Grant off at school, we came home and played in the basement. Here Logan is playing with the coveted and much protected train table, and he realized he could do what he wanted and Grant wasn't around. To say he was excited would be an understatement.


Back to Grant's school - Grant's school has Toddler (18 months) up to 6th grade.
It is a Montessori school and not a public school. Every Monday morning, they have a Morning Gathering, that all parents are invited to. It is a quick meeting of all students in the gym right after school starts. The meeting/assembly is run by the 6th graders and not faculty, and is used to celebrate birthdays for that month, go over special topics or field trips that a class just went on - like when we had the eclipse and they did a whole meeting explaining how the eclipse works - or the recent 4th grade field trip or anything else that one grade wants to share with the whole school. This is the first year Grant has gone to these as the Toddlers do not go - it would be like herding cats. Now that he is a Preschooler, he goes. Since Logan and I are already at school dropping Grant off, and parents are invited, Logan and I have been staying on Mondays just to see what the meetings are about.

I love that they start off with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem. In the first Monday meeting when I say everyone stand up I realized (oh crap!) we have to practice the Pledge of Allegiance at home!

The reason we originally picked this school for Grant - we were looking for a school where Grant could go when he was about 2 years old just to learn social skills, be with other people, follow directions from other adults (not Mom), and really, to stare at someone else's face besides Mom's face for a while. I remember in CA that they had "more for 2's" school and things like that, but out here it was hard to find a school that started before 24 months that wasn't religious based or more of a glorified daycare. Then a friend of Kyle's recommended we check this school out and I fell in love. Even on the tour, I wanted to stay forever. I love this place. I love it more and more every time I go to a parent's meeting or meet a teacher I haven't met before. They do start children as young as 18 months, and since Grant was born in December that would put him in starting in summer school at 18 months, so we waited for the Fall session and started him at 20 months. Logan is a totally different story. He has a brother to chase and has grown leaps and bounds and is a different person because he has a big brother. He will hit the 18 month mark in December and start the Toddler class - just 2 days a week - in January with the same teacher Grant had.

Proof that we no longer have babies, but two grown boys. Grant can brush his own teeth and make macaroni and cheese. I figure that qualifies him for college at this point. I love our front door. It has become a hang out. I open it every morning and the boys look out over the court to see what's new. I leave the door open but the storm door shut all day and the dogs love to curl up and sleep in the sunshine and keep an eye on the street all day long.

Mr. Grant. 3 1/2 going on 18. I've heard it said that you only get 18 years with your children to raise and teach them, after that you just try to point them in a direction, give advice and support when asked and hope for the best. I don't think it's 18. I think it's more like 3 or 4. He is so clever and so insightful and sees things that I don't see, and just today he drew me shapes he knew -  in crayon - in the new carpet in the basement. 

Also at 3 1/2 we don't nap very much. Yes, we are tired often, but that afternoon nap eludes us. Every now and then, when we are so tired, he will lay down, and in the middle of all the commotion, he will rest. As a parent it is so hard not to curl up right next to him and hold him forever, but you can't. You have to let them rest.

Finally, just in case you forgot what Toby and Ollie looked like, here you go. These two make us crazy. They make each other crazy. Ollie is definitely Grant's buddy and will snuggle up to him any chance he gets. If I can't find Ollie when we go to bed it is because he is upstairs on Grant's bed. Toby however, is not a kid-friendly dog. He may make himself scarce when the boys are playing, but at the end of the night, when I sit down and maybe need a hug, he is always right there next to me - like magic.

Until next time, keep exploring! Love and hugs from our family to yours.

M, K, G, L, T & O