Paul’s Third Birthday

“What should I write in Paul’s birthday card this year?”,  I asked Dan in the middle of our spring break vacation to Georgia.“Put something in there about his spunk and charisma”.Paul is spunky and charismatic, ferociously loyal and stubbornly independent.  And he’s entered into the threes.  And we’re enjoying them so far. 🙂

Lydia is a people watcher.  She likes attention and praise, but she’ll watch what other people do and imitate them.  Abby is a follower.  She’ll sweetly follow just about anyone, anywhere, doing anything.  Paul is his own man.  He struts around like he’s in charge.  He takes matters into his own hands.  When he gets an idea in his head, nothing can stop him.  He’s adorably independent and doesn’t care if anyone is leading or following.He’s also super cute.  😀He loves the colors orange and blue and he’s obsessed with baseball.  He picks little items and obsesses over them for a while, bringing them in the car, to the dinner table, and even to bed.  Some of his little obsessions over the past year have included: his little orange New Testament (which was really mine and I never offered it to him, but he declared it “My Bible” and was so persistent that no one bothered to fight him), a plastic toy crow bar, a parrot puppet, my kitchen tongs, a whisk, and Elijah’s long-abandoned pacifier. Despite all his independence, Paul gets overwhelmed the most easily out of our four children.  In those moments, he sits on my lap, holds my hair in one hand, sucks his two favorite fingers, and periodically looks up and me and says, “Hi Mommy”.  As soon as his basic needs are met (food, sleep, and some snuggles if things are getting to overwhelming) he’s back to his confident self.

It’s hard to capture Paul’s personality in just a few words.  He’s so unique, friends with everybody, and acts very cool.  He’s an endearing little trend-setter.  He’s also surprisingly bright. I say surprisingly because Paul wasn’t very quick to start talking.  He still doesn’t say a ton, but he picks up on things easily and often surprises us with what he knows.  Often I’ll ask the girls to do a task or tell Paul we can do something fun (play baseball or go outside, usually) after we finish a chore.  The girls are slower to help and often get distracted, but not Paul.  Paul is all business helping set or clear the table, sweep, or put away groceries.  In fact, he often jumps in just to be helpful without my asking or mentioning any incentive.  And, though he’s still learning, his helping often is actually helpful, even doing things I’ve never taught or consciously shown him how to do.Last year we were struggling to get Paul to speak.  We would ask questions, read stories, point at the pictures or facial features and ask him what they were.  Nothing.  Then, on some random day, he would start spouting off all these words we never knew he knew.  He’s sharp, for sure, but doesn’t like to show off.Even though Paul is not the youngest, he often ends up being the one who gets his way.  “Orange bowl”.  “Music on”.  “Watch baseball!”.  “No, Abby!  Off the field!  Lydia, play baseball with me!”.  He’s so confident, insistent, and cute, that once we understand what he wants, he usually gets it.Oh, and Paul loves music.  He loves the singing at church and he loves instruments.  If we let him, he likes to hang out up front when church is over by all the instruments.  He latched on to Lydia’s toy drum from when she was a baby and it has become his.  We got him a real box (cajon) drum for his birthday and he loves dragging it around the house to play while the girls dance, music plays in the computer, someone is singing, or we have a guest over playing a ukulele (which also fascinated him). So there’s a glimpse of our three-year-old in a nutshell.  He’s really and endearing little boy everyone should get to know. We enjoy having him around immensely.Happy birthday Paul!  We love you!

“Sing Me a Song, Mommy”

You guys. I feel like I just did an update on Paul. Where does the time go?

Although my last post was late, and this one is early, so I guess it’s my own fault. But still. Where does the time go? How is our baby already 9 months old? That’s three quarters of a year…a whole year. Nevertheless, here is an update on our almost-nine-month-old with several pictures so you can enjoy both his latest antics and his adorable face.

Little man is as cute and cuddly as ever. This month he has shown more of his personality and insisted on snuggling with his Mommy every night at 3 in the morning. We’re working on that.

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Paul likes broccoli and peas. Sweet potato and avocado are alright. Sweet corn is not his thing and he all but refuses to eat oatmeal. I’m sure he’ll grow into it, I mean, who doesn’t like corn? And you cannot survive in this family if you won’t eat oatmeal. 🙂 He’s not the biggest fan of solid foods yet, but we’re easing him into them with tiny hopes that they might just help him sleep better at night.

After getting up several times each night for several nights in a row, I finally admitted that this wasn’t just a six-month-growth-spurt. A couple of nights ago I decided to just hold Paul instead of feeding him. In just two days he’s down to getting up twice a night: once to eat and once to snuggle. And, speaking of snuggling, Paul loves to snuggle with Mommy. Often he enjoys being held by anyone, but sometimes he just wants me (yay!). He also likes it when I sing to him. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet. When Paul is sleepy and grumpy in the evenings, he’ll fuss and cry and stop instantly if I start singing “Jesus Loves Me” to him. He goes into a daze and starts sucking on the middle and ring fingers of his left hand. If I switch into “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, Paul will resume fussing, but “Jesus Loves the Little Children” keeps the daze going.

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Paul doesn’t like noise. Yelling, large groups of people singing together in a small space, and sharp rebukes to misbehaving toddlers will bring tears to his eyes and cause him to stick out his lower lip. One Sunday Paul spent an entire church baseball game snuggled in the arms of one of the ladies from church. Just once she cheered for someone on the field and he started crying. He likes quiet and peace. He also doesn’t like being cold. Normally he’s a smiley guy but put him in a coat in the stroller these days and he’s super serious. Bring him in, take off the coat, and set him down, and he’s back to his smiley self.

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Paul likes books. A few days ago we accidentally left Lydia’s “F” flashcard on the floor and when I found it later it was in shreds. The next day we forgot to pick up the library books and found a quarter of a page gone and the rest of the book covered in drool. We’re learning to be more careful about leaving paper on the floor, but we’re happy that Paul already has an appetite for reading. 😉

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Paul is up to 18 pounds now (probably more, we need to weight him again). He’s getting stronger, but still not sitting up or crawling. He rolls, pivots, and can make it from one side of the living room to the other if there’s something tempting enough. His favorite items to maneuver toward (besides books) are shoes, blankets, and articles of clothing. His favorite real toys are his tiny stuffed elephant with polka dots, and the red animal that we’ve named “The Monkow” because it seems to have the head of a monkey and the body of a cow.

Paul is the perfect age for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we cannot wait for him to meet the Christmas Moose in just a few weeks.

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