This year was no exception. For some reason, three seems ancient. I mean, they're basically ready for college. And the changes that have happened this last year... it's truly hard to keep up with it all.
But I shall try.
Jude the Dude
Jude is the sweetest, most exhausting little boy I've ever known. He is a whole lot of everything in a 3-year-old body. Jude is incredibly active, especially if he is in a new place or when I really need him to sit still. When people meet him they always (100% of the time) say, "He's all boy," which I know is polite for, "Oh my gosh that boy never stops." And he doesn't!
He is very tactile. He wants to hold things, he wants to throw things, he wants to touch everything in sight, he wants to run down hallways, jump off couches, and crawl into tiny spaces that aren't made for toddlers. But he always manages to fit.
Do you have a good mental picture of my Tasmanian devil? Good. Now let me tell you about the other side of Jude. He gives the best hugs. He crawls in your lap, puts his hands on your cheeks, and kisses you straight on the mouth. Again and again and again. He says "please" and "thank you" and "bless you" and "your welcome" and "excuse me." He waits until we leave and then crawls into Sloane's bed every night so he can be close to his sister. He is the most empathetic toddler I know, truly feeling the emotions of his friends and characters on TV. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Poor Elsa" or "How sweet!" or "What's wrong with Sloaney?"
Jude is talking more and more, which is music to our ears. He did not qualify for the early learning school so he no longer meets with a speech therapist each week. We were shocked he wasn't accepted but his vocabulary is growing every day so we're not worried about it. We call him our engineer because he loves to build tall towers and design all sorts of buildings (Jude's school house and Sloane's library are his favorites). He loves counting everything in site (he's counted to 30 a few times but usually stops at 20) and loves to point out numbers when he sees them on books or posters. Shapes are also important to him - he constantly points to objects and names all of the shapes he sees on them. In some areas, he's weirdly smart. The other day he was trying to pick up his toys to take them to the play room. He couldn't hold all of them so he went to the kitchen to find a box, put all of his toys in the box, and then carried the box to the playroom. I was impressed.
He spends a lot of time in timeout. He is extremely stubborn and only wants to do things his way and on his own time. He gets frustrated very easily and when that happens, he completely shuts down. Michael and I are learning how to deal with this behavior but it can be frustrating for everyone involved.
A few other fun favorites...
TV Show: PJ Masks & Mickey
Phrase: "Put me down!!" or "Mama, I have a present for you...."
Toy: Magna Tiles
Food: Any fruit
If someone gave this girl a microphone and put her on stage she'd be set for life. She is the most extroverted toddler I know. The other day my friend told me her husband was a little jealous of how much Sloane loved Michael. I shared this with Michael and he said, "She gave me a hug and saw him smiling at her so she kept giving me dramatic hugs and kissing my face." Total actress (though she does adore Michael).
Everything with Sloane is a big deal. When life is good, it is really, really good. When something goes wrong, leave it to Sloane to make it the biggest deal on earth. She has perfected her Charlie Brown walk when she is sad and it is HILARIOUS.
Sloane is fiercely independent. She wants to do everything herself. She also wants to help you but quickly gets bored and moves on. She's inquisitive and resourceful. She loves Jude but loses patience with him quickly. They are the epitome of an old married couple and we constantly hear her yell in her most exasperated voice, "Ju-uuude." One day he will be holding her purse.
She loves meeting new people. I've caught her many times talking to a stranger. She's always very polite: "Hi, my name is Sloane Elisabeth Haynes. What's your name?" Once they answer, she tells them about her day. Fortunately, they've all been extremely polite strangers and listen intently.
We were advised by Jude's therapist to have Sloane tested for the early learning school as well. She was accepted - Michael and I were more than shocked. Sloane has a very large vocabulary, but she has some pronunciation issues (leaves letters out of words, etc.). She now goes to school two days a week (two hours each day) to work on those specific areas. To be honest, neither of us truly feel this is necessary but we're trusting we made the right decision and she will "graduate" in no time.
Sloane absolutely love her friends. Her prayers at night go on for days and she constantly asks me what they're up to. She loves seeing them at ballet and school - my prayer is she'll be a friend to everyone she meets and not just her favorites.
A few other fun favorites...
Song: Jesus Loves Me & Twinkle, Twinkle
TV Show: PJ Masks & Sophia the First
Phrase: "I want to do it all. by. my. self." "Please, Please, pretty please? (bats eyes)"
Toy: Her microphone and stuffed animals
Person: Whoever is standing closest to her
Food: Pizza & Pancakes
The past year has been amazing. There have been plenty of rough moments and tears from all of us. I've spent many nights praying to God to give me wisdom to parent because I have no clue what I'm doing. Michael and I have perfected the look that says, "We need to get out of here RIGHT NOW." Sometimes our days are total disasters and I'm counting the minutes until bedtime.
I couldn't love anything more. I feel so lucky I get to spend my days with these two, learning all of their little intricacies that make them so unique. I smile knowing they can and will be their worst around me because they're comfortable with me. I'm honored to be their mom and if Sloane would lend me her microphone, I'd shout it from the rooftops.
Here's to many more tears, fears, and (best of all) years.