Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

It's a collage kind of letter, sweet boy, because you have done so much lately.  I wish there was a merge between Facebook and my blog, because lately I'm posted a lot on Facebook that should go on letters to you.  Such as this:

Tonight we all said our prayers. Thanking God for family and friends and nice weather. Then Gregory said, "And no biting. No hitting. No kicking!" Amen! We don't say those things when we pray but we have been reading books on being good friends. Greg and I were both delighted with Gregory's addition to the prayers.

Your Daddy typed in a comment:

That moment was the highlight of my entire week! Not just that he picked up on our important message of expressing himself in an appropriate way (frustration does not mean hitting or striking out)... but that he decided to contribute to our prayer, and in an important way with NO prompting! Thats my world... right there.

It was a sweet moment.  I'm typing this in your letter, because - as your daddy said - you were not prompted - you participated and with a sense of joy in your voice!  And the added bonus is that your school report has been excellent.

Mommy reads two books to you in the morning, before going to school.  Both books are about - no biting, no kicking, no hitting, no pushing.  It seems to be helping you understand and it's really good timing, considering October 1st, you started full time in school.  Mommy was nervous about this, how the transition would affect you.  Your teacher was confident in your ability to adjust and said you would do fine.

The first day of you going to school, the teacher could see Mommy was worried, but you walked right in.  In the middle of the work day, Ms. Kristie called Mommy at work - Mommy was worried...  but all good news - you were doing wonderfully, you were eating with the group and going with the flow and taking naps!  Yeah!

Before going to school that morning, Mommy showed you the school box with your name on it.  It was filled with yummy foods for lunch.  You refused to let Mommy carry it and insisted on doing so, that day and all the days thus far!  The first day of full days, the teacher sent home a cute little note.

Here are some collages from your school color projects:

I love the yellow fish on black paper!

The purple hippo is cute 

I like the cup of hot cocoa on the top right

The brown pigs in "mud" is made from oatmeal and food coloring.  When you saw the brown collage picture, you pointed and said, "cookies!"  I had to look twice - the brown circles are the cookies :)

Your teachers said you had the class in stitches when they made the house pictures.  You are an actor!  Love the spider hands.

School pictures also came in (first one is from our home with the cat that morning :)

This year we went to the pumpkin patch in Hammond.  The first time you went there, you weren't walking.  This time?  We followed you wherever you wanted to go - the corn maze, the hay maze, the air floating thingie (you loved this), the corn bin, the swings, the pumpkin patch, the cotton field... my gosh, what didn't they have?  It's such an awesome place!  Oma and Opa came with us too and had a blast.  There's so much to see and do and lots of photo opts.  Mommy took a lot more pictures than this collage.  If Picasa is still around, the rest of the pictures will most likely be in the September batch, because somehow the dates on the camera got messed up.

It was a farm kind of weekend ~ after the pumpkin patch, Oma found out that the church down the street from their home had a red barn farm/truck come out for the kids to see farm animals - a calf, bunnies, chickens, turkeys, baby goat, etc.  It was cool!


When you saw the above picture just now, you said, "Mommy pet horsey" - too cute!  The pony lifted his head for me to pet him more.  It was fun!  I love that you enjoy seeing different animals.

More random fun pictures

There's never enough Lego Blocks time!

Your smiles are daily and many and light up the room!

You love playing Doc (or patient).  You did a fantastic job when we needed to take you to the doctor's appointment recently - very proud of you son, for behaving so well and doing as the doctor said!

Playground - ANY time!

Daddy put this mask on you and you started walking like a zombie!  How did you know to do this??

You surprise me constantly - you just did this "bridge" stance like it was a natural thing.

Oma's neighbor, Martha, who has brought you many cloths that her grandson has outgrown.  The generosity of people is amazing!

You can take all of the shapes out and match them back and all the while you say, "tick tock clock."

The  other night Mommy fell in the hallway, with the entire weight of her body turned into her left hand which smashed into the wall... resulting in two sprained fingers.  You were so sweet, kissing mommy's wrapped bobo to make feel better and even pretending your finger hurt too.  You went so far as to wrap mommy's unharmed hand just so mommy had a matching set of hands.  When mommy asked for a blanket, not only did you bring mommy the blanket, you tucked it under mommy's neck and around her feet.  So thoughtful.

Oma and Opa were a huge help too.  Daddy was out of town for work for a couple of days.  Grandparents to the rescue in you going to school and picking you up and helping mommy feel better.  There's nothing like a parents' love no matter how old you get sweet boy!

Oma gave you a tool belt with tools in it.  You walked around proudly and said, "working man!"

Bath time at Oma and Opa's house - helping Mommy while her fingers stay in a splint.... you found a Christmas tree toy and you knew it was a Christmas tree :)  In the below picture you are washing the tree.

Oma and Opa had a new box of toys for you to make robots.  There was an instruction paper with it and you handed it to mommy, saying, "read it!"  Mommy told you a story about a small robot needing help and how the big robot made a car so the small robot could drive around.  Oma listened and asked, "Is that on the paper?"  Mommy said, "No, I just made it up."  Oma said, "That was really good."  Made Mommy feel good.  It's easy to make up stories, because you love story time.

Sorry son, Mommy started this letter before hurting her hands and it is difficult to type much.  Know how much you are loved!  Seeing you pretend stories and express various emotions is beautiful.  You are amazing.

Love Always,

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Letter to My Son

Dear Son,

Oma posted this on Facebook not long ago:

"I went to the dentist today and got some handy tips for toddler's teeth. Thought I'd share them because they were quite interesting. First of all if the child takes to a toothbrush great, just make sure the brush is soft. Use children's toothpaste because it has the proper amount of fluoride for the natural swallowing that takes place. But if the toddler doesn't like a toothbrush the best thing is at bath time wrap your finger with the face cloth. Dampen it and wipe the toddler's teeth. This makes the child aware that there is something in their mouth that needs cleaning. Gradually progress to the toothbrush. Hope this is helpful to some."

Mommy and Daddy tried so many different "text book" attempts to get you to brush your teeth:

1)  By Example - we brushed our teeth in front of you and encouraged you to do the same
2)  By showing you cute cartoon characters on the iPad brushing their teeth
3)  The damp cloth technique
4)  Holding your head or chasing you around the bathroom with the toothbrush

Nothing worked.  Until... Daddy thought out of the box.  Daddy turned on the iPad.  He showed you pictures of healthy teeth and then pictures of unhealthy, rotten, METH mouth teeth.  You put your hands on the side of your face and said, "oh no, oh no."  Daddy said, "You don't want teeth like that.  You don't want rotten teeth, so brush your teeth."  Mommy brought the tooth brush to you and you opened your mouth wide.  You said, "No rotten teeth!"  Since then, it's been easy to get you to brush your teeth.  Daddy had a unique approach.  When I shared with other parents about this, they immediately ask, "Did it work?"  Yes, it did.  You are a visual learner and Daddy found the right vision....

You recently had a visit with with your young cousin, Livy.  Daddy asked you to help him teach Livy how to walk.  She was doing "sofa walking."  You were eager to help.  Daddy took Livy by the hand, you took Livy's other hand and helped her up.  Then the three of you walked together.  We had to tell you to walk slowly though, as you wanted to run with Livy.

When the three of you reached the end of the room, you let go of Livy's hand and went to get something to drink.  Daddy continued to hold Livy's hand, but she pointed to Gregory and shook off Daddy's hand, as if to say, "NO, I want HIM" (meaning you).  Too cute.  Children learn from children.  I understand that Livy has taken her own first few steps now!  Livy turns one year old in October.  She's going to be chasing you around for her party :)

Even though it's still very warm, we had a few nice days this month and decided to make the most of it by taking pictures.  You love walking and exploring and do so with an independent joy.  Mommy loves to play shutter bug. Daddy is our source of support, strength and guidance.  It's a great combination!   Though Daddy had Mommy worried about snakes and spiders and alligators, but it was such a lovely day and no scary monsters were around.

You are repeating words left and right and loving it.  Oma and Opa took you to a restaurant near the water.  Your grandparents ordered two Diet Cokes.  You said, "Two Diet Cokes."  Oma and the waitress were both surprised with your words.

You aren't just a parrot; you know what you are saying.  When Mommy and Daddy took you to a restaurant, when the water was given to you, you immediately said, "Thank you."  You are such a joy, as you learn.

Daddy was teaching you how to say your last name, O'Brien.  You left out the "O."  You said, "NO"... So Mommy started singing, "OOOOOHHHHHHHHH"  and you sang, "NOOOOOOOOO" until we both matched with the letter O.  Now you will say, "O Bri."

You know certain letters of the alphabet song before they are sung, so I know our practicing together is reaching you, but it's a work in progress.  Plenty of letters.  You are also singing to Mickey Mouse songs and you now prefer Mickey Mouse to Paw Patrol.  You like the learning episodes and problems  solving with Mickey the Mouse :)

At school, the color yellow was taught.  Each week Mommy dresses you in the color lessons.  So much fun with the yellow shirts.  I never knew how many people loved Charlie Brown until I posted a picture of you in your Charlie Brown shirt and received a bunch of cute replies.  The teacher said that she will be sending home a lot of the projects from last week on Monday.  Can't wait to see what you made!

Below is the "school picture" outfit.  Your teacher said you had a cute smile for picture day.  Can't wait to see how those pictures came out!

A recent post by Mommy on Facebook:  "We tried to get Gregory to try the broccoli, chicken and pasta with Alfredo sauce... he wouldn't let it come near him. I said, "If you try one piece, I will give you one M&M." Guess what he did? He shook his head no... Gregory exclaimed, "I pee pee!" Yep, he sure did, in the potty, and then he got his M&M, because he knew he would get an M&M for peeing... he found a way to get his candy without doing what we asked. Lol My son is smart.... and clever! Oh boy..."
smile emoticTasted good! We tried to get Gregory to try the broccoli, chicken and pasta with Alfredo sauce... he wouldn't let it come near him. I said, "If you try one piece, I will give you one M&M." Guess what he did? He shook his head no... Gregory exclaimed, "I pee pee!" Yep, he sure did, in the potty, and then he got his M&M, because he knew he would get an M&M for peeing... he found a way to get his candy without doing what we asked. Lol My son is smart.... and clever! Oh boy..."
You had some cool birthday parties just recently!  Oma turned a young 71.  You watched as Mommy made the cake.  You wanted to eat it right away, but I had to explain, "This is for Oma.  When you see her, make sure you say Happy Birthday!"  You were so excited to visit with them.

Mommy made the cake and helped you create a sweet, personalized gift for Oma; Daddy picked up the fresh flowers.  Your cousins were there to celebrate and we were thrilled to FaceTime with your aunt and uncle and newest cousin.  Oma said she had a happy day and that makes Mommy happy too.

Mommy making Oma's cake

You are helping with the icing

Mommy's cousin, Kevin, said he thought it was a professionally decorated cake - totally made Mommy's day!  

Aunt Roda, Baby TJ, Uncle Rob - so sweet

Everyone getting ready to sing Happy Birthday to Oma

The day after Oma's birthday, Mommy and Oma went to get a mani/pedi together.  You saw what was left of the cake and wanted to help finish it.

Playdough is still a daily request.  You recognize everything that Mommy makes.  When we made the gift for Oma, you had plenty of green paint on your hand, so Mommy took the opportunity to create a few other projects.  While you played with Play Dough you watched  Mommy with the projects that grew from your handprint.  You were fascinated with the creation process.  Can you find your handprints in the pictures?

Mommy also made good on her promise to you that she would turn your red handprint into firemen.

The last time that we took out play dough there were a few pieces that you didn't put back into the containers.  You said, "OH NO."  The play dough was rock hard.  Mommy took the opportunity to teach you the difference between the textures.  "If you don't put the play dough away, it will get hard and you can't play with it."  You touched both the textures.  Mommy saw the intensity of your look as you tried to manipulate the hardened play dough and then worked with the good, soft play dough.  When you were ready to stop playing, you immediately put the play dough back into the containers and handed the top to Mommy to close.  You listen, you learn, you react.

You said, "Row Boat" when he saw the below piece that Mommy made.  Mommy never tells you what she is making.  You love the surprises.

And you said, "House!"

Daddy's fun time with play dough

You learn quickly...  like at Oma's birthday party... when your little cousin, Celeste had your toy... your first reaction was to grab it away from her.  The adults in the room stopped you from doing so.  Then you used your words, "Share, Share, Share."  Celeste held on to the toy.  You said, "PLEEEEASE Share PLEASE." It was so sweet and sad.  Celeste is too young to understand and you were trying your hardest to be good.

There was another party we went to this weekend.  Last week you received a birthday invitation to a schoolmate's party, Kylie.  The party was at Story Land in New Orleans.  It's a great place to have a birthday party, but we had a difficult time finding a parking place and ended up going through a back gate to the amusement rides first... we didn't know where the party was and there were a lot of parties going on the same time for different children.

Fortunately, we saw your teacher!  She knelt down and you gave her a hug.  Your teacher and her daughter were there for Kylie's birthday party too and she helped us find where it was being held.  Kylie is such a sweet girl, she has kindness in her eyes.  We made it in time to sing happy birthday and to have a piece of cake.  But then you wanted two things... to reach out and open the gifts OR to ride the rides... Mommy and Daddy figured it would be better to get you away from the gift temptation.
You and your teacher

Birthday girl is wearing the cute purple hat.

You love to go to the carousel, but not ride the horses yet.

On the train around the park.  You were getting tired. (and it was HOT - as seen with your pink cheeks)

Recently, your teacher sent Mommy an email:  "I wanted to email you about how talented he is in his building skills, with blocks and stacking I see a future architect!"

I read this to Daddy, knowing he would be thrilled.  When you were younger, your tendency was to knock down, rather than build up.  After I read the teacher's message to your Daddy, he immediately looked for the blocks.  He put them into bins for you to easily get to.  And you did... on your own without encouragement, you put some blocks into a smaller basket and took them into Mommy's craft area.  You put the blocks together and said, "I make BIG HOUSE!"  You even included people at the top.  Then you made a dinosaur.  When Mommy showed you the dinosaur could have wings, you were totally thrilled and started zooming around the room to make it fly.  I sent a text to Rene, saying how much you are enjoying the blocks that he gave you.

Daddy has been practicing a little skit between the two of you.  Well, actually there are a few skits.  Here is one that you do with Daddy:

"Gregory, Gregory"
"Yes Papa"
"Eating sugar?"
"No Papa"
"Telling lies?"
"No Papa"
"Open your mouth"

You do this perfectly.  It's a cute little skit that you and Daddy picked up from a cartoon on the iPad.

Daddy is now trying another skit, but it's not going how he planned.  Daddy called Mommy into the room, "Listen to this Mommy.  Ready, Gregory?"  You shook your head, "Yes"...  Daddy asked, "Gregory, who loves you?"  Greg shouted out, "MOMMY!"  Mommy did a happy dance.  Daddy said, "Gregory, that's not what we practiced!  Let's try again."  Same response.  Mommy and Gregory did a high five.  Hehe.

We love you, son.  You know you are loved, bunches of hugs, kisses, play time and sharing, teaching and growing ~ you are our heart.

Time to watch the Saints game!

Lots of things coming up in October!  Livy's 1st birthday party, you start school full time, your first flight on an air plane, ring bearer at your cousin's wedding - hoping you do well with wedding plans - should be interesting..  We all get to meet TJ for the first time - Yeah!  (and hopefully get to see pretty fall colors while in town, because we don't get too much of that at home)... Mommy will be making her own birthday cake (You keep asking for more cake, yikes)...  Halloween trick or treating (Uncle Rene told Mommy and Daddy not to buy an outfit for you, because he already has one in mind for you for Halloween.)  Praying for cool weather in Louisiana to take lots of pictures and create more memories.  We love spending time outside; it's good for the spirit.  So many great things coming up and precious memories to share!

(Edited to add:  see below for videos on YouTube.)

Love Always,