Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Aiden

You just turned 4, and I am amazed that time has gone by so quickly! Sometimes it's hard for me to realize that you're not a baby anymore. You still love to cuddle in my arms, but instead of a little 8 lbs. baby, you're a 28 lbs. little boy, who is hilarious, sensitive, loving, cautious, curious about the world, and just so much fun to be around! You know how and which buttons to push to drive me crazy, but you also know how to make my heart soar and laugh like no one else (well maybe Maddie, but that doesn't count).

I know that things aren't always easy for you. You hear the phrases "Not right now," "Mommy just has to..." and "Hold on" more than I'd like. We are often busy with lots of appointments and school and you have had to learn how to let Madelyn come first a lot of times, but some of that is just part of growing up, and you are so amazingly patient! I hope that we have provided you with enough opportunities throughout this past year to show you how important you are to us. You and Daddy go on little Daddy/Aiden Dates and he enjoys taking you on Friday mornings to get Dunkin Donuts, to the park, or just run errands together. I wish you and I had more time to do Mommy/Aiden things, but we sneak it in when we can, usually while Maddie's napping. :)

You are such a wonderful big brother to Madelyn. You help her during therapy, hold her hand when she's hurt, keep her from getting into too much mischief, and play with her when she gets into your toys. I'm sure you will both have times when you won't want the other around and I'm sure the fighting and sibling rivalry will someday come, but for now you are the best of friends. I'm in awe of your love for your sister, and I'm so lucky to be able to have a glimpse into your relationship. I hope that it only continues to grow stronger.

You started school this year and loved every second of it. You have asked me almost every day this summer if you are going back to school soon. When I reply that it will be awhile before the new school year, you get sad because you're that eager to go back to school and be with your friends. Your two best friends at school this year were Caleb and Lochlan. Some of your other friends were Francesca, Rio, and Laurel. Unfortunately, Caleb's dad took a job in Tennessee and moved away. You were heartbroken and cried for days. When you found out that Caleb wasn't going to be able to be at your birthday party, you told me that if Caleb didn't come then you didn't want anyone to come. I finally convinced you to invite Lochlan, and you couldn't have been more excited to have your friend there. The two of you played in your room and you even told me that I wasn't allowed in there. You had a sly look on your face wondering if you were going to get away with telling me you didn't want me in your room to play with you. I left feeling so happy for you and so sad for me that you are growing up and asserting your independence. Your world is growing and expanding beyond me and as wonderful as it is to watch, it's also sad for Mommy, but I'm so incredibly proud of you!

Speaking of being proud, a recent conversation went something like this:
Me: Can I be a little proud?
You: No!
Me: Ok, I'm not proud at all.
You: Ok, good.
Me: (whispering) But, you know I'm proud, right?
You: Oh yes, yes!
I may not be allowed to say it to you right now, but I can tell you here, I am incredibly proud of you! I'm not sure you'll be able to know how proud until you have kids of your own someday, but you are an amazing little boy and if I had a choice between you and all the other little boys in the world to be my baby, I would chose you a million times over and over!

This year you have been fascinated by sharks, Spiderman, Transformers and tornadoes. Your favorite color is red (because of Spiderman), your favorite songs are "We are the Dinosaurs" by The Laurie Berkner Band, and "Snow is Gone" by Josh Ritter (but only when it's spring or summer, you refused to allow us to listen to it during the winter because the snow was not, in fact, gone), your favorite shows are The Backyardigans and Wild Kratts. Your favorite building in "downtown Pixburgh" is the UPMC building, and every time you see it you remind us.

You have learned how to write most of your name, however still need a little help with the e... but we just tried a new tactic and I think you've got it! You like to pick out your own clothes to wear in the morning and recently you have demanded to only wear the Spiderman outfit you got from Mimi and Granddad for your birthday. You fell out of a tree while climbing it and Daddy raced to your rescue, expecting you to be crying, but instead you pushed him away and said you needed to practice again so that you didn't fall next time.

You changed the slogan on Aiden Cafe from "Here it's personal", to "I believe you'll like it", to "Ideal", to "That's how it is". You have funny sayings, like "Comfy cozy, I call it, comfy cozy" and "Dreams are like gummies, you can't have them all day" (you are wise beyond your years) and when Daddy told you that you were his best friend, your response was, "Something like that".

You know almost everything there is to know about sharks and have read almost every book in the library about them. When you learned that more sharks are killed by humans every year than humans are killed by sharks, you wanted to lock up every person that killed sharks in a cage and tell them to stop. You will only eat eggs if they are green, and mostly eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast, but only if it's maple and brown sugar because you think it's better with sugar, what you don't know is that I get the kind that is "reduced sugar". You cried with me when we had to cancel Maddie's first birthday party because Daddy was sick, but then you celebrated with me and Maddie when no one else was here.

You insisted that we buy you a bow tie like the one the Cat in the Hat wears, but then refused to wear it until you saw an episode of The Backyardigans where Pablo was pretending to be Dames Bond... and no, that's not a mistake, I said Dames. You still take afternoon naps most days, but I like the days you skip them because it gives me some time to spend just with you.

You are an amazing little boy and I can't wait to see what the next year brings for you. I'm so lucky to be your Mommy and have a front row seat to watch you become the person you are going to be! Thank you for giving me the best job in the world! I love you!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Wild Wednesdays

Wednesdays are the only day during the week that we don't have appointments and in an effort to make something of our summer, I decided to take the kids on outings those days. A few weeks ago I took them to the Carnegie Science Center  because we had been talking about going there for a while. Luckily for us, The Science Center has this awesome deal for families receiving Medical Assistance (MA), and since Maddie not only has private insurance, but also receives MA, we were able to get into The Science Center for $1 each... and since Maddie's under 2, she got in free! 

When we got there Aiden saw a giant ad for one of their OmniMax Theatre shows called Tornado Alley. Since Aiden has been interested in tornadoes for some time and we only spent $2 to get in, I decided that we could splurge a little and go see the movie. We bought some popcorn (which was spilled before we even got in line for the theatre, and there was crying and sobbing and cleaning up and then Mommy saved the day with treats she had in her bag), entered the theatre, found our seats, and unloaded. As we were waiting for the show to start, I began to think about all that could possibly go wrong. What was I thinking taking a 3 year old and a 17 month old to a movie by myself?!?!?

We were sitting as far away as possible from the exit and in the middle of the row, so I packed everything and everyone up and we moved as close as possible to the exit. Then I started to wonder about the movie itself, I didn't know anything about it and the possibility that it was inappropriate for a 3 year old and was going to scar him for life was high. This was not a movie about cute, cuddly animals in the wild. It was about storms and thunder and lightning and tornadoes and people going out into the middle of them trying to film them. Clearly, I didn't think this through before I bought the tickets. At least we had moved near the exit and had a clear shot of getting out before we ruined the movie for everyone. 

Throughout the entire movie, I was on edge, waiting for it to be too much for Aiden or Maddie and ready to leave at the slightest sign that someone was going to lose it. Turns out, I was worried for nothing. Aiden loved every second of it, and I was able to keep Maddie happy with snacks for most of the movie. During one part of the movie, Aiden leaned over to Maddie, who was sitting on my lap, hugged her and told her he loved her. Just a spontaneous hug, which melted my heart! I wish I had been able to take a picture of it, it was so sweet!

After the movie, we continued on throughout the center.

They had an entire miniature railroad and village set up and Aiden was in awe of it! He kept exclaiming, "Look, Mommy! A train!!" every 5 seconds.

He had no idea who C-3PO was, but took a picture with him non-the-less. Can't you tell how excited he is about it??

Aiden is obsessed with sharks and sharks live in the ocean. So when he saw this "submarine" he was in heaven!! He probably played in it for 45 minutes while Maddie and I stared at the fish in the tank next to it. Every time another kid would come in he would go into this elaborate explanation about what they were doing to find sharks in the sub and even managed to include some things about tornadoes into his imaginary play. It was pretty cute, but Maddie and I got pretty bored after awhile, although you'd never know it from this picture!

I finally convinced him that there was more to see and that we should move on. Little did I know that there was a water area awaiting us. So we spent the remained of our time playing with the little ping-pong balls in the water.

And, little sister wanted to play oh-so-badly! She's doing some AMAZING things lately... there will be a post on it soon!

Then she started to put the balls in her mouth, so she and I went to a little side area where we could still watch Aiden, but play with some other things that we were less likely to choke on.

We had a great day at the Science Center and can't wait to go back, because we didn't even get to go into the SportsWorks area, and we'd like to take Grant with us, too!

The week after we visited the Science Center, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, however I don't have any pictures from our visit there. It was pretty crowded and I was by myself with both kids and Aiden wanted to walk most of the way through so my hands were pretty busy with the kids. We, of course, had to see the sharks first. Then, we saw a baby sea lion that Aiden fell in love with, Maddie loved the water fountain that was in with the sea lions. Maddie threw her giraffe sun hat out of the basket of the stroller and I thought it was lost forever, then I had to go back later because some wonderful person turned it in to lost and found. Maddie threw a few more things out of the basket of the stroller, but luckily I noticed those. And finally we got to see a live animal presentation and Aiden answered one of their trivia questions for the audience correctly! It was a great, exhausting day as well!

I'm loving our Wild Wednesdays! We get out of the house and do something that's fun just for the kids; no appointments, no chores, no schedule and it makes me wish everyday was Wednesday!!