Summer - Lately

by Kristi Van Dyk in

As it turns out, I'm horrible at blogging in the summer. I thought perhaps it was tennis season that kept me from posting. BUT, as it turns out, I'm just not very good at disciplining myself to take the time. :) It's not that I have TONS of time either, we've kept these children HOPPING all summer long. Last Saturday was the first Saturday we've been home (and really only I was home with the kids and Steve was racing with Kevin at the Urban Adventure Challenge) since the Regional Finals in May! Nevertheless, I haven't updated our blog or posted many pictures of our events. I find myself just struggling to keep up with them. So, for fun, here's a little update on the kids - lately.

Kayleigh has, for the past 6 weeks been experiencing the "terrible 2 1/2s." She tests ABSOLUTELY everything we say. Her default answer is always "No," and she has proven herself to be JUST as stubborn and willful as both of her parents combined. In case you think I'm joking, I let her "scream out" a temper tantrum (over not wanting to come inside) for close to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of shrieking, (I'm sure our neighbors were ready to call child protective services) she finally took a breath long enough for me to feel justified in going in there to have a "conversation." In addition to being willful, and testing her parents constantly, Kayleigh loves fighting with her brother. She steals his toys, pushes him over, makes funny faces at him (so he cries), basically, takes great satisfaction in making him angry. It's so infuriating that we got to the point where, when Ben FINALLY retaliated, we simply laughed at her. He ran smack into her with this giant dump truck and she was SO MAD (not really hurt). We just said, "stop picking on him and maybe it won't happen again."

So, I play a lot of referee with Kayleigh, and I do a TON of discipline/punishment/consequence dealing. AND I pray ... I pray that she'll grow out of it, and that some of the lessons we're teaching her will sink in. So far, this week, it appears we're making progress. (No spankings or time outs ALL week ... and that's not because I'm easing up ... she just MAYBE is figuring this thing out, finally).

Benjamin is working on walking and talking ... his two BIGGEST focuses as of late. He's making HUGE strides in each one. His "momma" sounds so much like Kayleigh's that I sometimes turn to her when he calls me. He tries DESPERATELY to say words that people understand (most of which is still entirely incoherent). But when he does hit a winner, you've never seen such a smile. His favorite things to say are "DONE" and "Eat." You can call Benjamin from any corner of the house by saying, "Benjamin, time for ______ (fill in name of meal)." He knows that each meal means one thing ... EAT. And he'll come crawling as fast as his chubby body can handle screaming "EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT" the whole way to his chair. It's adorable. He will shovel as much of his food into his face as he can and when he'd like to get down, he will look at Mommy and say, very clearly. "DONNNNNNNE." And then beam at you. If I don't get up IMMEDIATELY to begin washing his face and hands he will repeat himself, louder and with a longer "NNN" sound until SOMEONE gets him down. It's really quite hysterical.

The walking is progressing. He's very content to creep around using everything for balance. And when he can't balance, he drops to his knees and crawls RAPIDLY before returning to a standing position. He's gone from requiring two hands to help him walk, to allowing you just to hold one hand ... so I know he's making progress. I don't think it'll be too much longer before he's entirely on his own (and oh will he be so happy about that!)

Today the two of them were playing together, while I was packing up for the camping trip. Kayleigh took her pink walker and pulled right up next to Benny's white one. She matched him step for step, encouraging him and talking to him the whole way. I was so impressed with her gentleness, her sweet spirit, and her clear love for watching him learn. (Maybe there is hope for her yet!!) :). I asked her to do it again so I could take her picture, and she turned his walker around for him, propped him back up, got herself set and then told him, "Now Benny, look at Momma's camera and say your big CHEESY so she can take a picture of how cute we are."

How cute you are is right ... Here's the result of her efforts:







I finally see a sibling resemblance. (Steve and I still think we reversed and she has more of his features, and Benjamin has more of mine) ... but I'm not ready to say I see "twins." (which is the comment I hear most often). At any rate, they're the loves of my life and I'm so blessed to hear them both call me Mom (frequently). :)

PS Yes, I know, it's time for a haircut for my boy ... at the next available opportunity, we're going in!!!