Tuesday, May 22, 2012

All About Matthew

We had a fantastic weekend that overflowed with friends, fun and lots of little everyday things that make life worth living.  For us, spring/summer have been the seasons of life-changing events.  We got engaged the summer of 2005, married the summer of 2006, moved to Wyoming the summer of 2007, moved officially to WY the summer of 2008, had Matthew the summer of 2009, moved to Bozeman the summer of 2010 and had Catherine the summer of 2011. Prior to all that we were stuck on the academic calendar of summer change for one reason or another and spring/summer meant change in one way or another.  Without a looming move or pregnancy or job change this is our spring/summer to just enjoy and we certainly have.

With two summer babies the summer also marks their milestones in a very pronounced way.  Last summer we spent a lot of time slowly following Matthew on hikes and walks while this summer we're busy keeping up with him.  The previous summer he was cruising around grandma's house as we got it ready for the renters and the summer before that we were spending time "sunning" on top of the root cellar to ward off jaundice.

This summer Matthew's developing by leaps and bounds.  He's inquisitive, super-chatty, and becoming more self-confident.  Though I love watching the kids interact with each other, I treasure my one-on-one time with each one and they each thrive with more individual attention (plus it feels a lot less like refereeing!)  By nature, Matthew is cautious.  He walked late, but when he did he didn't fall much.  Like his dad he's a thinker.  He's 6 steps ahead of me in the chess game of life.  Because of his innate (or influenced because he was the first kid) cautiousness he rarely gets himself into dangerous situations and when he does I try really hard to sit by and watch because he can generally figure it out on his own.  I was so proud the other day when we went to a new park and he tackled this all by himself while I sat on the sidelines:
Luckily, this was 2 days before he hit his "NO PICTURES" stage.  Each day I watch his internal struggle for asserting his independence.  Sure, he still wants and needs our affection but now its on his terms of "one hug, one kiss, one cuddle."  Beyond asserting independence he also is experimenting with control and is the affection dictator in the morning, demanding daddy give Catherine or Mommy "one more hug, one more kiss, one more cuddle".  For better or worse we're generally happy to oblige.
 Aside from his own development he definitely has a budding shadow and he takes his role of big brother quite seriously but is still learning that "NO CAFFRINE" isn't the answer to all his sibling woes.   Much like all his moods his affection for Catherine can go from hugs and kisses to the stealing of toys in a matter of seconds, yet Catherine keeps coming back for more.
 The benefit of my teaching experience (in a nutshell: being jaded by the system of test pushing) is that I'm not eager or willing to sit down and do "school" or "lessons" with Matthew at all, but I know enough about child development to recognize yet be in total awe of the process by which Matthew is developing early reading skills from basic storytelling, to letter recognition, to symbol reading, memorization and more.  As if we needed another person vying for our 3 section paper, Matthew's pretty insistent on reading it each morning with us.  He generally spells out the letters in the title then tells us about the pictures.  If he's being especially toddler-ish, he points to everything on the page asking "What's that?"(even if its the same drawing repeated in all three frames of the comic strip).
His memory is frightening.  Not because it's amazing necessarily but because it reflects how much he's learning and holding onto compared to just a few months ago and the profound impact the littlest things we take for granted have from his point of view.  On Mother's Day James and the kids took me out for breakfast.  As we were driving over there Matthew kept asking for a yellow hat.  One day we had been out looking for a new sunhat for his giant head so I figured that was what he wanted and I explained something and kinda ignored his continued mumbling about it.  Last weekend we went out for wings (next to the pancake place) and as James and I discussed that's where we were going Matthew erupted in cheers for a yellow hat.  I don't think we'd been out for wings for months but he definitely remembered, as well as remembering that last time they went to Home Depot they got a shovel, and the thought of going back was pretty exciting:

He's also pretty insistent on wearing his snow boots when we go out so on the off-chance we find a puddle the boy wants to be prepared.

 Matthew's also quite the prep chef.  He loves to help cook and bake.  Here he helped me make pizza dough.  His favorite part is sprinkling anything:
 Well, I guess second favorite because his first favorite part is always tasting!
I just taught him how to use a knife with a banana and watermelon.  He was so proud of himself when he was done and besides mincing some of the pieces, he did excellent work.   Meanwhile, I was practically losing it because my baby was looking so focused and grown up and using a knife and as he announced to anyone or any animal that would listen, he did a good job.
And then he couldn't keep from tasting it and started singing, errr, shrieking into a metal mixing bowl at the top of his lungs and was back to being my precocious 2 year old.  
Last but not least another fun aspect of his budding personality is watching his relationship with the animals.  He loves to throw the ball for Sky, though he prefers to throw it someplace where Sky has to work to get it (into the tree, into the house).  Sky often protests by bringing the ball to James and I instead, but at the end of it all, a thrown ball is a thrown ball I guess.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    It is amazing to watch them grow and learn!


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