Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Brenson is 4 years old!

Today, our Brenson turns FOUR years old! Just one week ago, we were celebrating Brooke and Brecklyn's first birthday, and now we're focusing on Bren and his fourth birthday. You can rightly assume that this Momma has been a MESS this month, ha!

There are so many special, unique, and wonderful characteristics that make our Brenson the amazing little boy he is. He is our only son, and we are privileged and blessed to call him ours!

Brenson has always been tall for his age and currently measures about 43 inches. Because of his height, he wears a size 4/5 in little boys clothing (not 5T). He wears a size 11 shoe. 

He was excited one day when he laid on our loveseat, and he was tall enough for his head to touch one end while his feet touched the other end :-). 

Although he is tall, he is very thin and only weighs about 40-41 pounds. I try to buy pants that have an adjustable waistband for him, but even then we can't always get them tight enough to stay up. We also ask my sister to put darts in many of his pants. 

*Update on his stats - At his four year well check with Dr. F (March 7, 2016), Bren weighed 39 pounds (73rd percentile) and was 43.2 inches tall (95th percentile). He had lost about a pound since he was last weighed at Dr. F's office (in October), but he has also very recently experienced a growth spurt. I expect his weight will catch up. Also noteworthy, he is over three inches taller than Brianna was at four years old!*

Although he is a very hearty eater and will eat a lot, mealtimes can often be frustrating with Bren. He is the slooooowest eater, and will take an hour or more to eat a meal if we let him. I don't mind him not scarfing his food, but his pokey-ness gets a little excessive at times. He loves all fruits (especially oranges), peanut butter sandwiches, spaghetti, and carrots. He can also do some damage to pickled okra. Sometimes, it takes some convincing to get him to try new foods, but he will do it. He is routine oriented and likes to eat the same thing over and over again. The other day, I made a dish that included quinoa (a first for me). After dinner, I asked Bren if he liked the quinoa and he said, "No! But that rice was yummy!" Hahaha.

We tend to get a lot of compliments on how cute Bren is (specifically on his little chin dimple). I certainly think he's cute, but obviously I'm biased :-). His eyes are still a beautiful shade of blue, and his dimples melt us. 

Depending on the light and what he is wearing, his eyes can look more green than blue. This is just like his Daddy. 

Brenson is articulate for his age, though he's not necessarily a big talker (compared to Brianna, anyway). He has a good vocabulary and likes to use very specific, precise words to discuss ideas, concepts, and objects. Before he leads a prayer or tells a story, he will often clear his throat to make sure he has our attention :-). There are a few words that he still doesn't pronounce quite correctly, but I think it's cute so I don't correct him. Two examples of this are how he says "oitmeal" instead of "oatmeal" and "frigilator" instead of "refrigerator". Sometimes, he doesn't know what to call certain items, so he'll just add "er" to the end of a word he associates with the item. For example, he calls a tape dispenser a "taper", a soap pump (like in a public restroom) a "soaper", a pushpin a "poker" or "sticker", and a razor a "shaver".

Brenson is generally a serious, slow-to-warm little guy. In new situations, he likes to hang back and observe for a bit before talking or participating. He's been to Brianna's school for their morning assembly several times, and although it's usually very high energy with singing, dancing, clapping, etc, he has always been quiet, reserved, and serious.

Watching Rise and Shine at Brianna's school

Deep in thought

At places that we go regularly, however, he is much more outgoing. For example, at church he is friendly and talkative, and has even gotten up in front of the assembly to help lead songs a few times. If we know that he is going to have to do something out of his comfort zone, we will talk to him about it for a few days before and this helps him immensely. Spontaneity tends to be more difficult for him. I can empathize as this is just how I am. 

He wasn't sure about bowling for the first time, but he ended up loving it! 

Although often serious, he can definitely be silly, too :-).

Out of all our children, we often call Bren our "star sleeper". He's always been a great sleeper! He usually goes to bed around 8:00pm, and gets up between 6:30 and 7:00am. He's not one to sleep in really ever, even if he's been up late the night before. He also still takes a nap almost every day for about an hour and a half. 

Brenson has also always loved blankets and stuffed animals and that has not changed. We've never let him carry a blanket or stuffed animal around with him in public, but no doubt he would if we allowed him to. For sleeping, we limit him to three dolls or stuffed animals in his bed, and he never sleeps without someone to snuggle.

Bren with just a few of his many stuffed friends

Brenson calls himself the "zookeeper" of the house, and has been known to take over his sisters' stuffed friends, as well. His current favorite little animal is a colorful chameleon he named Leo. He often calls him his "little guy" and takes very good care of him. He feeds him, pets him, gives him medicine when he is sick, hugs him, snuggles him, and rocks him. Before Leo, his green dinosaur "Legend" was the favorite for several months. Bren always has a stuffed friend that he's taking care of and is concerned about.

Oftentimes, Bren will call himself the "Daddy" of his stuffed animals, and he talks pretty frequently about being a Daddy when he grows up. He really admires and looks up to his Daddy, and I love that he wants to be like him. Bren will talk about going to work and how he has four or five jobs. Sometimes when we're out running errands he'll say, "We need to hurry and get home so I can straight up go to work. I don't want to be late." (He likes to say he's going to "straight up" do this or that.) Chris has to travel once in a while for work, and many of those trips are to Denver. One day Bren said, "Mom, for my job, I fly to Denver, Colorado every day and help people pop popcorn!" Another day, he said, "When I'm a Dad, I'm going to leave the Christmas lights up alllllll year!" Baha!

Bren has even started carrying a wallet like Daddy. It's so cute how he puts it in his back pocket and stashes pieces of paper, notes, and other little treasures he finds in it. 

Brenson really enjoys helping Daddy do whatever Daddy is doing, especially if that involves any type of yard work, working with tools, or being outside.

Brenson helped quite a bit with building the playhouse, and he was truly helpful much of the time!

He does really well when given a specific job to do. He loves it when we call it his "responsibility" and takes it very seriously. 

Notice in the photo above that Bren is wearing ear protection? Anytime he's outside while Chris is using power tools or lawn equipment, we want him to wear ear protection, but we NEVER even have to ask him as he is very sensitive to noise and makes sure he has them on. 

Swim lessons were challenging when there was construction going on in the gym . . . Bren hated the noise!

We attended a basketball game not too long ago. Brenson was concerned about the noise and made sure to grab his earphones!

Along with his stuffed friends, Brenson also has pretend friends. His main pretend friend is named "Kimii" (pronounced Kim-eye), and he spends a lot of time with us. Kimii is often feeling what Brenson is feeling, but Bren will only say, "Kimii is hungry . . . Kimii is tired . . .  Kimii is upset . . . Kimii wants to go home . . . etc" For a while, Kimii was causing some trouble as he would be disrespectful or mean, so we finally told Bren that if Kimii couldn't be nice then he wasn't allowed to hang out with us anymore. Kimii learned to be nicer very quickly :-). Other pretend friends that come around sometimes are "Junii" (pronounced Joon-eye) and "Jochabed". I have no idea where Bren came up with their names (except Jochabed which is a Bible name). 

Kimii may be Bren's best pretend friend, but Brianna is his best friend in real life. They are very close!

Brenson calls Brianna "Sister", and although he has two other sisters, he never calls anyone but Brianna "Sister". I get asked often if I have two sets of twins. Bren is not much smaller in size than Brianna, so they definitely look like they could be twins!

These two even have their own band that they named "Old Lady Gumbo". I have no idea where they came up with that name, but it makes me laugh (and, it's a pretty great band name, yes?) They play different types of instruments and different kinds of music with their band, but it's always entertaining! 

This day was blues and soulful music. Bren was drumming a slow beat on his mower while Brianna was playing a tune on a stringed instrument with a bow. And they were both singing their hearts out :-).

When Brianna first started school, it was a tough adjustment for Brenson. For the first week or so, he acted like he didn't know what to do with himself without Brianna there to mother him and boss him around. He still gets excited every day when we pick her up, and will often start telling her about his day as soon as she gets in the van. 

Now, that's not to say that things are always perfect between them. Though they can play very well together and get along, they certainly have sibling squabbles, as well. As Bren gets older, he understands better how to push his sister's buttons and truly be that "annoying little brother". 

Many of the sibling arguments lately have come from Brenson's new-found independence. He's had to learn to play by himself with Brianna in school during the days, and he's discovered that he's maybe not as interested in playing house, Barbies, and My Little Ponies as he once thought. Brianna still tries to boss and mother Brenson, but he's more assertive about his own opinions of things now than he once was.

Bren is protective of all his sisters, but especially of Brianna. She has no fear and is a bit wild, but Bren is sure to tell her if something is not safe or is against the rules. He tries to help her out :-). He likes to police things (other children's behavior, my driving, etc), and is just a rule follower type personality. We've been to visit her classroom a few times for class parties and such, and he's protective of her at school, too.  

Along with being a good little brother, Bren is a good big brother, as well. He was fairly unimpressed with his baby sisters at first, but as they've gotten older, he's grown to really love them. When they were tiny, he didn't always want much to do with them, although he would help us out with them sometimes. 

Burping Brooke

Feeding Brecklyn

His attitude toward the babies really began to change once they became more mobile and playful, and he could see that they were little people who actually did things. He enjoys playing with them now, and especially loves trying to teach them things. He will tickle them, "chase" them around the room, and try to keep them out of trouble by redirecting them when they're getting into something they shouldn't. Their crying does wear on him, though. One day - after they had been crying for a good little bit - he said, "What was that commotion all about?!?" He also hates it when they get into his stuff or wreck what he's trying to play with (which is happening more and more). One day he said, "Whew. I'm glad the babies aren't in here to disturb me!" Haha.

Wiping Brecklyn's nose

Brooke started to get upset during a chiropractic adjustment one day, and Bren rushed right to her side to hold her hand. He kept saying, "It's okay, Brooke. It's okay." So sweet!

Speaking of chiropractic adjustments, Brenson still gets adjusted once a month. We have found that it really helps with his growing pains and ear infections. 

He used to get a little nervous about being adjusted, but he's a champ about it now! 

Another thing he's a champ about is getting his teeth cleaned. He has gotten them cleaned every 6 months since he was 2 years old, and it's never been a problem. This is one of those things that we talk to him about for a few days before he has it done, so he knows it's coming and what to expect. 

He brushes his teeth himself with a battery powered toothbrush about 3 days a week. The other days, Daddy or I help him brush. He's never had a cavity!

However, earlier in the summer, he hit his front left tooth on his dresser in his bedroom one night. The tooth was pushed back pretty far, but we were thankful it wasn't knocked out. We pulled the tooth back into place, and it tightened up after a few days. A few weeks later, though, we noticed that the tooth began to look discolored. I took him to our dentist where they x-rayed the tooth and determined that it was dead :-(. Our dentist didn't feel like it needed to be pulled, but warned us that it would continue to get darker. For several months, I felt like it was very noticeable (like in the photo below), but more recently the discoloration has begun to fade. I'm not sure why, but I'm glad that it's looking better!

We are extremely thankful that overall Brenson is a very healthy kid. He has been sick more since Brianna started school than really ever before, but it's mostly been coughs and colds. Several times when he has been congested, he has said, "Mom, my nose is not working right" or, "Something is blocking my nose from working right." Ha! When he gets a cough, it tends to get severe very quickly, and he will spend several nights coughing uncontrollably for hours. We have tried everything we know to help him in these situations, but so far we haven't found anything that really relieves the cough. Also, you may remember that back around Thanksgiving, he became very sick with a fever that kept getting higher and higher. We rarely give meds to reduce a fever, but this time the fever was getting way too high for our comfort. When we did finally give him meds, they weren't very effective. His fever got up to 105 degrees, and he started acting very out of sorts and confused. 

We also noticed that his back looked like he had gotten a severe sunburn. 

Between the "sunburn" and fever, we decided to take him to the ER upon the advice of the on-call nurse at our pediatrician's office. We were thankful we did as he was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever! With some meds and a few days of rest, he was back to normal. His back did peel (like a sunburn would) after the rash went away, but there were no other effects from the sickness. 

I wrote above about how Brenson looks up to and admires his Daddy. That's certainly true, but he is also definitely a Momma's boy. He may love working with his Daddy and want to be like him, but he adores his Momma!

Bren gets so excited to tell me about things . . . big or small . . . and loves to ask me questions. Oh, the questions! He must ask me hundreds of questions a day! His questions range from the constant, "Why?" to "What are you doing?" to things like "Is tomorrow today?" (He's forever trying to figure out why it's never tomorrow, ha.) Another day, he heard me say, "Fifteen bucks! That's ridiculous!" and he said,"Mom, do you have that many bucks? Will that take allllllll your bucks?" He's a bit of a natural worrier, so of course he was concerned that I was spending too much money. 

Brenson is always loving toward me. Every morning, he wants to snuggle me when he first wakes up. If we miss our snuggle time, he is sure to remind me that we need to snuggle later to make up for what we missed.   

Brenson helps me carry things if he thinks they are heavy, holds doors open for me when we're out in public, and even opens my car door for me sometimes (he sees his Daddy do this, so he wants to do it, too). He's a very thankful and sweet little guy, so he'll often say things like, "Mommy, thank you. You're a good Mommy" when I do simple things like fix his lunch, tie his shoe, or help him with his jacket. I hope he always keeps his grateful spirit. 

Although he's sweet, he is also honest/blunt about things. One day I told him something and said, "Isn't that funny?" to which he replied, "Nope. Not really." Haha.

One morning while I was fixing his breakfast, he was watching me very closely. This isn't at all unusual as he's one who likes to sit and observe. However, this morning, finally he said, "Sometimes when I stare at you for a long time, you look like G-Jo." Love it!

I carry a taser on me for safety reasons (bad guys beware!), especially since I'll often go run an errand by myself at night after we get the kids down. A while back, Brenson noticed it for the first time and was very curious about it. I showed it to him, explained how it worked, and even buzzed it so he could hear. He was really interested in it and why I carry it, and the next morning he came to me very concerned and said, "Mom, did you have to weapon anyone last night?"

Momma's little guy <3>

Since the babies have been born, they've always taken a morning nap. I try to spend that time with Brianna and Brenson (and just Brenson when Brianna is in school) to work on writing and reading skills. Here he is working on number recognition:

The photo above was taken back in the spring. He now does really well with number recognition and counting. He can count to 60! He also knows our address, our names, his full name, his birthday, all his letters, letter sounds, colors, and shapes. He's really good at spacial relationships, ordering, and patterns.

Here he is spelling his name with letter magnets.

And, learning to write his name. 

He wrote his name by himself for the first time back in April, not long after he turned 3 years old. He was very proud of himself!

He is very meticulous about his writing. He likes for me to draw lines on the paper so he can keep his letters in a row. This is quite different from Brianna!

He enjoys coloring, tracing, 

and practicing writing his letters. 

He is doing very well with letter sounds, and just starting to sound out simple words. He likes for us to give him a word, and for him to tell us what letter begins that word. This day, he matched up all of these cards himself!

We will often have a letter of the day and do activities that focus on that letter. He loves to paint, so this is a great activity for him.

Painting a fish we made for "F" day

Recently, he has surprised me several times by spelling out a word then saying, "Look, Mom! I spelled _____!" I was really surprised this day because I didn't know he knew the word "zoo".

Just a few weeks ago, we went to visit Daddy at work for lunch. Brenson picked up a marker and wrote his name on Daddy's dry erase board :-).

Brenson loves going to Miss Shelly's (our once-a-week Mommy and Me preschool class). He is so interested in the activities, and does a great job paying full attention. He just really thrives in a classroom environment!

He also loves and does well in Bible class. He recently received a certificate for reciting all 66 books of the Bible!

Library story time is another favorite activity for Brenson. He has become increasingly independent this year, and now does most of the crafts without my help. He does so well during the story part of the session that I can wander around looking at books and not have to worry about him at all. Such a big boy. Sigh.

Our library also has a Lego Club that we've recently started attending. It's for ages 5 to 10, but Bren does fine and fits right in. The Lego Club director is also the Story Time lady (Ms. Tena), and she invited me to bring Brenson because "he's mature for his age and will do great."

Brenson is a great helper when it's something he's interested in doing (like working outside), but when it comes to inside chores, he's not so interested. Getting him to do things like pick up his room or clean up his mess in the kitchen after eating can be challenging some days. We often say he's the "diva" of the family because if he doesn't want to do it, he just expects that someone else will take care of it for him (which was happening a lot until more recently). A perfect example of this is that one day he walked in the kitchen and said, "Hey! Someone didn't clean up my mess!" when he saw his breakfast mess was still at the table. We've been working on him taking care of his "responsibilities", and he's doing much better about doing chores with a happy heart.

Helping wipe the table after dinner

Making his bed

Spot vacuuming the floor

One thing that is a real struggle for us is Brenson's pouting/whining/crying when he doesn't get his way. I've often said that three years old is no joke, and Brenson has proved that true many times! He is just a sensitive soul, and with that comes intense emotions. We have seen some improvement in this area, but we will continue work on it. I will say, I had to laugh when I was going through photos for this post and saw how many photos of the pout face I have. Ridiculous (but funny!)

So tired of waiting at the doctor's office

Upon learning that he was not permitted to have a second cupcake

If we tell him "no" or reprimand him for something, he'll often tell us, "You upset me." We encourage him to use his words to let us know how he's feeling instead of crying and throwing fits. 

One day, Brenson wore his pajama pants to church by mistake (and his parents didn't notice until he told us as we were pulling into the parking lot). This really upset and embarrassed him. He's easily embarrassed, and this was a big deal to him. Anyhow, I asked to take his photo wearing his pj pants with his dress shirt, and he did not want to oblige. 

After a little activity didn't work out the way he thought it should . . .

This was when he had scarlet fever, so he was sick (not really pouting). 

Who knows why he was pouting here . . . 

One day, Bren was goofing around during breakfast and ended up spilling his cup of milk. Instead of admitting that he wasn't acting appropriately at the dinner table, he said, "This is not a good cup!" Haha. It turned into a good opportunity for a little lesson about taking responsibility for our actions. 

In this photo, we were in the van on the way to Miss Shelly's and he had a pencil. I had told him to put it down (he had nothing to write on so I didn't see a need for him to have it), and he didn't want to. So - instead of obeying me - he drew lines on his face as we were driving down the highway. I noticed the lines when we got to our destination . . . he's lucky he didn't poke his eye out! Since he chose to ignore what I told him to do, I wouldn't clean the lines off his face and he had to go into the class with the marks. That really embarrassed him, so he's never done anything like that since!

Brenson is a good little boy for the most part, but of course there's some need for training and discipline. He went through a little phase where he was breaking toys and being destructive. That does not fly in our house, but just grounding him from the toys or giving him a spank wasn't really working to deter the behavior. Finally, I decided that every time he purposely broke a toy he would have to wear mittens on his hands to help him remember to use his hands in a nice way. The first time, he had to wear the mittens for 30 minutes and the time increased with each offense. He hated the mittens because it was hard to do anything with his hands, and he only had to wear the mittens three times before he learned his lesson and quit purposely breaking toys!

When Bren was a tiny baby, he would often cry inconsolably. When it seemed that nothing would calm him down, we would take him outside. This was often the ticket to calming him. He has always LOVED the outdoors. Even now, if he's having a bad day and just needs a reset, letting him play outside is the solution to making things better.  

Neither the season nor the weather make any difference to Bren. 

He loves being outdoors in the winter (and of course he loves the snow),

in the spring (who doesn't love to play in the rain?!?)

in the summer,

(he's a water bug, for sure!)

and in the fall.

Digging is his favorite.

As well as tractors . . . the boy loves tractors and construction equipment.

More interested in the tractor than the hayride . . . 

Although he prefers to be outside on any given day, he does enjoy many indoor activities, as well. He's a great helper in the kitchen and is an enthusiastic cook. Just don't ask him to help clean up, ha!

The best part about baking? Licking the beaters, of course!

Reading is one of Bren's very favorite things to do. He always has a favorite book that he wants to read 10 times a day, but it changes frequently. He appreciates books about animals, tractors, farms, construction equipment, and robots . . . pretty much typical "boy" things. He constantly asks to be read to, and would let us read to him for several hours a day if we had time. I hope he always enjoys reading!

At the library last week, they were asking patrons to pose with their favorite book. Bren picked Wendell's Workshop. This is a book about an inventor mouse who builds robots, and it's super cute with a good little message. We checked this book out from the library about 10 times before I finally ordered it for him from Amazon. He was beyond excited when I told him that we could keep it forever! I wasn't at all surprised that he picked Wendell's Workshop for his photo. 

Other things that Brenson enjoys include playing with his tools and "fixing" things around the house, 



{using the chainsaw . . . with safety glasses, of course}


carrying his sword to keep the bad guys away (and in his shirt is the perfect spot for it!), 

dressing up as a construction worker, doctor, or firefighter, 

building and creating with Legos, 

{he loves having them organized}

watching TV (he could be quite the couch potato if we let him), 

digging for treasures (both pretend and real), 

building and creating with Magformers,

and building and creating with these VTech Go-Go Smart Tracks (again, wearing safety glasses, haha).

Brenson is such a fun, thoughtful, smart, and compassionate boy, and I love spending my days with him! Happy fourth birthday to our precious son! You are a joy and a blessing, and we thank God daily for making you part of our family. 

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Happy Birthday to your boy! Wow, you have some great pictures and stories! I love his use of words with putting -er on the end of things! makes pretty great sense! Your use of the mittens as a discipline thing is very clever! I love that idea. I'm also glad you haven't had to 'weapon' anybody yet...haha So cute!