Happy fall! We’re back in school and settling into new routines. I’m sad the summer is over – we really had a good one. But, as sad as I am, I'm looking forward to an exciting school year ahead.
Mason -- I want you to continue to be a super nerd. Your inquisitive mind is one of my most favorite things about you. We’ve started a fun new nighttime activity. I bought a game called Brainiac (like Trivial Pursuit for kids) and every night, we read through three cards. One category is “The World” and whenever you don’t know the answer, you ask if you can peek at a map to try to figure it out. You HATE when I tell you the answer. More challenging though is when the material is way too advanced for you and you ask me to explain it. For example, one question was “What is the chemical formula for water?” Trying to explain that to a seven year old without just telling you the answer hurt my brain. One area we do need to work on though is getting comfortable NOT knowing the answer. You get so angry if you get something wrong. Or worse, you try to talk your way out of it, like "oh, I couldn't hear you... I mean my answer is FALSE". I called you out on it last night, trying to say "buddy, you don't need to make excuses, it's ok to just get it wrong. I get things wrong 100 times a day." And you had a galactic meltdown, calling yourself stupid and saying 'I hate my stupid brain.' It was at the end of a very long day, and your emotions have always run extra hot at bedtime, but you have to know that you have a great brain and that I will never care about you knowing all the answers. I want you to have grit and accountability.
Hayden --I love your independent spirit and your fierceness, but you can also be painfully shy. Sometimes it really confuses me, because of the three of you, I think you actually have the greatest handle on who you are. When you’re around people you’re comfortable with, you walk through this world like “This is me, take it or leave it.” Whereas your brother and sister are people-pleasers, you are just you. It’s not to say that you aren’t incredibly kind and sweet, because you are; there’s just a “it is what it is” vibe about you.
That said, in some situations, you retreat into yourself and get really quiet. I hope this year, your last year before heading off to kindergarten, that you gain more confidence to join things. For example, I know you love to dance and tumble. I think if you could, you would cartwheel everywhere instead of walking, but I’ve asked you over and over again if you want to join gymnastics or dance, and you always are a hard no. You'll watch YouTube videos and practice moves all day long, but I think joining a class gives you anxiety. Your teachers said last year that you were gaining confidence and participating in class more, which was so encouraging to hear. I hope that continues 10-fold this year.
Quinn -- Oh, sweet baby Quinn. Last year was so fun watching you come into your own. You’re confident and funny as hell. When you walk up to people and say “yo bro”, I always double over laughing. Like your hero Mason, you will play with anyone and generally speaking, you’re super easy going, but at home, when it’s just us, you are capable of epic, inconsolable meltdowns. When it’s just Mama, Ely, or me, you can be unrelentingly single-minded and stubborn, and often times over the silliest things, like a 10 minute meltdown because you want to go to the candy store and we said no. The worst for me is at bedtime. You want me to fall asleep with you every night, and if I leave the room before you’re ready, you scream and yell with an anger that feels too big for your little body. That scream crushes my soul. I know it’s not because you’re afraid to go to sleep – you go to bed great for Ely and Mama, and you share a room with Hayden so it’s not like you’re even being left alone. I think it’s because I get home from work at 6:30 so we don’t have a ton of time to hang out before bedtime, and, probably more than that, you realized a long time ago that I’m a giant sucker and I’ve set the precedent that I will stay with you. The only problem is, the older Mason gets, the busier nights get with homework and reading. It’s hard to be there for all three of you at night. I often don’t eat dinner myself until 9 pm. Half the time I don’t eat at all because I’m just so tired. I don’t want to give up our bedtime routine – I love singing you your three songs, one book, and giving you scratchies for days – but if we could work on it being just a *little* bit easier/quicker, that’d be great. One of my favorite things about you, which I think says everything about your character, is that hours after a meltdown totally unprompted you'll come up to me and say "mommy, I'm really sorry I was yelling." Your heart is so pure and so good.
I love you so much babies. I'm proud of you and so optimistic about the year ahead.