Saturday, October 15

Slice of life

These little ones give me a chance to swing between such a complex spectrum of emotions in such short succession it's dizzying! Here's what they've been up to.

Potty-training Morgan has begun after months of Ryan's urging and my cringing. She has been ready for a while and with her starting German kindergarten next month, it's a nice deadline for me.

My strategy? Talk it up, clear days free of errands, push the watered down juice, naked bottom time, and set my watch timer to go off every 15 minutes so I remember to ask her if she needs to go. For the first five days, we were in the bathroom almost every five minutes because she wanted the potty treat, she was bored, and loved knowing how to get my undivided attention every five minutes. I'd forgotten how involved this process is once you add in the intricacies of adding underwear and pants!

She's a tough negotiator on the potty treats. When she earned her first celebratory treat, I dropped one M&M in her hand. She gave me a look of death before collapsing on the floor in a full-blown tantrum. She wanted 10 M&Ms! We compromised at 3, since she's 3 now I explained. She drives a hard bargain!
One reason I held off was that I had to have a travel potty. A friend recommended one of these and it's perfect for the van! Fits right under our van's front passenger seat. The first week with soccer games and practices finds me spending more time at the van with her trying out her new potty than actually being on the field. Factor in nursing Jake too and I'm a veritably circus act! For $16, this Kalencom travel potty is sheer genius and works with regular plastic grocery bags and a paper towel.

In all, Morgan has had more dry days with no accidents than wet ones so I really can't complain. Last night, her first night without a diaper, she stayed dry. It was time to try since she woke up the other morning dry and went to the potty first thing -- with McKay's help! He's such a proud brother "teaching" her how to do big kid things!

Grade 2 school picture

Easton made me seriously proud yesterday at the dentist. Isn't he handsome?!!! McKay was there to get a cavity worked on and afterward got to pick a toy out of the treasure chest. Easton knew the routine and was anticipating the toy. As I was finalizing insurance details with the receptionist, she told me how proud she was of my son for asking for a toy in German. What?! Then she told him how proud she was of him in German and he got a sheepish grin. "Kann ich haben eins?" he'd said and didn't even think much of it. Awesome! Yes, we've lived here almost three years, but this is my son who told his German kindergarten teachers that he didn't want to learn German.

He's gaining a lot more confidence recently in a lot of areas. He scored a goal in one of his first soccer games this season. He regularly sits down to do art projects lately - 3D models of our house mostly although he recently found a stack of Sonic the Hedgehog coloring sheets among our colored paper stash. But his favorite? Yo-Yo! Ryan and I found a free yo-yo while organizing our storage area a month ago. Ryan showed the boys some tricks he know and Easton went to town on the basics. Ryan got him a better one to practice with and hardly a day goes by when Easton's not found practicing skills like walking the dog.

Taken by hospital photographer, August 16

McKay is loving life lately having joined Easton at the International School of Stuttgart dual language campus. His class has 16 boys and 6 girls, only six German speakers although about half the Americans in class attended German kindergarten like McKay did. He loves having lunch and break with Easton and all the K-2 kids. He's on the verge of really reading and enjoys "reading" the beginner books from school to us. The PE/art teacher at the school, who's Spanish/Czeck, told me she just can't say no to those eyes of his! The boys are both participating in an afterschool activity led by Easton's new teacher, Ms. Clem, called Chef's Academy. McKay loves to help in the kitchen so it's great for him and I love that Easton's tried new things and found that he liked them.

McKay's got some natural athleticism that we really enjoy watching. He has a knack for knowing where to position himself and other parents have commented on it too. He practices with Easton/Ryan's soccer team on Tuesdays, has tennis with Easton and his buddy Evan on Wednesdays, and his soccer team practices on Thursdays with a game on Saturdays. He's scored a goal and had a couple assists this season and his coach loves that he seems to grasp the game and drills a bit more than some of the younger teammates. I get such a kick out of how he runs to me after each kick and asks if I saw his "big kicks." He's so adorable!

Jake is now getting chatty with all those sweet smiles. He is seriously such an easy-tempered little guy and if I had my way, I'd hold him all day long because it makes me seriously happy! We all coo and baby talk to him to coax those smiles out and I think we wear him out pretty fast because he takes a lot of naps although we're still working on lengthening those nights!

Jake had his 2 month checkup with our German pediatrician and is doing very well. I'm fascinated by these checkups because they seem so much more thorough than I remember our stateside ones being. They do sonograms at each appointment to check different organs and joints that are more prone to disease or malformation, such as the hips and kidneys. He checks Jake's reflexes by holding him up in the air in different ways. At this visit, Jake just lay there coo-ing and smiling as Dr. Grumbach checked him out. It was so adorable! He did have to get a shot in each thigh but was quick to calm down when I picked him up. Oh how I love him!!!

Easton still loves to hold him and be my last minute packup lifesaver while McKay and Morgan ask to hold him now and then. I love hearing Morgan mimic my tone of voice when we go get him up from his naps -- "Oh baby Jake," she'll say in a sing-song voice.