Well, we survived the 2s and while the 3s started out rough, it ended pretty good. We definitely have our parenting struggles but I so enjoy our little 4 year old! He is just awesome and amazing and makes us laugh!
(He's really tall, but not as tall as this picture makes him look!)
So many changes this year! Our little man is in preschool now. I'm doing better with it than I thought I would. (I would have done better had the idea not been broached the day after Bella was born! But at least I don't cry about it now!) I miss him terribly when he's gone but we have lots of fun when he's home. And it gives McKenna some more focused momma time. Austin LOVES school. He is such a little sponge. He is such a social butterfly and loves all the kids, Micah in particular. And he comes home with songs and stories and bible verses. He's still such a ham and will perform just about any of them for anyone who'll listen. Although its hard to get them out of him right after school. When I ask what he did that day I get a lot of "I dunno" or the patent "Jesus" answer when I ask what his story was about. But eventually I can get him to recall and share. Academically he's pretty advanced I think. He can write all his letters and most numbers and knows all his letter sounds and is starting to sound out words. If I don't understand something he's saying, he'll sound it out for me. :| "I said train, mom. T-t-t-train. It starts with a T!"
We decided to send him to preschool a year earlier than originally planned so he could learn how to listen in a group setting. Listening and obeying are not Austin's strong suit! He is not a bad kid, just an aloof and independent little soul. He does what he wants, not defiantly usually, but because in his mind if it's what he wants to do, it should be done. Everything is his "favorite thing to do" and therefore justified. It makes for very frustrated parents! And then you pair it with selective hearing (ie ignoring) and it gets even more frustrating. We struggle with teaching him how to obey without breaking his spirit.
What makes parenting him so much easier is his sweet heart. He is such a loving, affectionate, snuggly little guy! We constantly hear "Momma, I love you so very much!" And "Daddy, you're my best friend!" (Granted some of these are clever ploys to get back on Mommy's good side while in the middle of getting scolded. But it's good he does that too, cuz sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me from putting him up for sale on Craigslist!) He gives the best hugs and will tackle us with kiss attacks. For a while when he'd go to bed, he'd need a hug, a kiss, a knock (gentle head butt) and noses. Even in his affection he is silly!
He loves his sisters! He and McKenna squabble all the time, (mostly Austin taking something to be a pill and McKenna hitting him in retaliation) but they are starting to become good friends! They play really cute together and Austin can be incredibly sweet to her! And he adores Bella. He is always introducing people to his new sister and always telling her how much he loves her and gives her sweet kisses!
Our little boy isn't so little anymore. I'm not positive I beleieve the dr's scale that puts him at 37lbs (75%) since he is still so skinny. But he is so tall that maybe it's true. He was 41" (also 75%) at his last appointment. He was able to go on the good rides at Disneyland pretty early this year. For having such a fear of heights, I'm always shocked how much he loves roller coasters.
His favorite new ride is Star Tours because he loves Star Wars. In actuality he has only seen a little of the movies but his best friend Micah's favorite thing is Star Wars and there are guns and swords so its obviously the best thing ever! My absolutely most favorite part of him loving Star Wars though is his mispronounnciation of R2D2 - "artoody toody". Sometimes there is even an extra extra toody in there. I'm praying he never gets it right cuz I love it!
This kid comes up with the funniest things to say. He picks up phrases and jokes from shows and school. Right now his catch phrase is "for the record..." How he knows how to use it correctly is beyond me! My favorite Austin-ism this year: When he gets undressed to go to the bathroom before bed, he likes to ask everyone "Do I look naked to you?" What is it with boys and being naked? The kid would go commando every day if I let him!
I don't even know how to explain the other funny things he says in a way that makes sense. Maybe they are only funny to me? Yesterday he was explaining how he had boogies in his nose and he said "you know, this thing on my face? Right here! This thing!" He's not serious, just silly! Disciplining him while he says these random things is hard too! He asks for little spankings, not big ones. Complete with hand gestures. I've had to walk out of the room so he doesn't see me laugh when I'm supposed to be mad! His favorite thing to say when we give him food he doesn't like is "I want good food not bad food! This is bad food! My tummy needs good food so I can grow up strong!"
He loves to whistle, except that he doesn't know how, so it's just a funny screeching sound he makes. I will post a video...someday!
The boy is obsessed with Legos. I am completely amazed at his Lego skills too! He can put just about any kit we give him together...by himself. I taught him (meaning showed him like twice!) how to read the instructions and he just does it all on his own! He's got a little engineering mind for sure. Some of the kits he does are for 6 or 7 years and up. I, being the neurotic person that I am, feel compelled to keep all his kits separate. That was easy when he had 2 or 3 sets. It's becoming more difficult now that he has a lot of sets!
He is also obsessed with Angry Birds. That was the theme of his birthday party. He's actually really good at playing the game on my phone. He got a few plush birds for Christmas and then earned a few over the year for potty training and good behavior. They are his precious toys sleeping toys! He also likes to chuck them at you and make the Angry Bird sqawking sound.
But his big obsession for the year was Octonauts. He refers to himself as Captain Barnacles, official Octonauts! He introduces himself like that to strangers constantly. And he want the only one with an alter ego. He calls me Dashy, Daddy is Kwazi, mcKenna is Professor Inkling, Bella is Turnip, Nani is Tweak and then various other family members share the titles of Shellington and Peso. It has waned some, mostly after Daddy put a ban on being called Kwazi when Austin went at least a full month without calling him Daddy at all! Plus he has found a few new shows he really enjoys so that has contributed to the waning. But Nani is very consistently called Tweak. That might never go away.
For most of the year he insisted on everything being either blue or in 3s. Because he was 3 it was his favorite number. If a toy was blue, he needed it. If it was pink, he insisted McKenna needed it. He's very into traditional gender designations! If he had a cookie, he needed three. If I sang him a song at bedtime, it had to be three songs. Sometimes this would backfire on him - we'd tell him to take two more bites of something and he insisted on 3! Sounds good to me! Of course, now that he is 4, his favorite number is 4!
He insists that someday he's going to turn 100. This mostly comes because he thinks 100 comes after 20. (He can actually count to 100 with minimal assistance but likes to say it goes "19, 20, 100!") I really hope he turns 100! I wish I could be around to see that. Partly because I'm curious if his childhood prediction comes true and partly cuz I'm excited about all the amazing things he's going to do in his lifetime! If anyone has enjoy joy to fill up 100 years of living, it's this kid!!
Austin is the king of questions! I think the average kid asks 200 a day? He can crank that out by the end of breakfast! Most of them are "why?" It's hard to balance answering legitimate questions and needing him to not question everything we ask him to do before obeying. But lots of times he has really good questions and just wants to learn. He's a sponge! He's also learned to use them as stalling techniques at bedtime, insisting on asking the same questions over and over again, so I've had to limit him to either 4 questions or 4 songs or a combo of both and he gets to choose how to use that time.
I have never met a child that is as much of a social butterfly as Austin is. I absolutely adore this about him! He will talk to anyone and everyone! He has yet to learn some social norms so a lot of times people, kids in particular, don't know how to respond! He usually introduces himself as either "Captain Barnacles, official Octonaut!" or "Austin Jeremiah Crowley, Austin is spelled A,U,S,T,I,N!" And then he launches into his whole life story or tells them all about his blankets or birds or his favorite toy! He always wants to either have friends over after school or invites himself over to their house. Stranger Danger and personal space are two concepts we have to work on. He just loves and talks to everyone! I discovered he has no concept of strangers' personal space when he just randomly hugged a lady in the grocery store. What's worse is she was wearing a skirt! Both she and I were mortified as he reached under her skirt to hug her leg. Thankfully I quickly figured out what he was doing and told him "oh, sweetie, we don't hug people we don't know!" So a few weeks later he introduced himself to a lady in line at Disneyland, asked her name and THEN hugged her!
Phew! That was a doozy of an update! I didn't realize how much he's changed in the last year. He is such a joy and I just love this kid so much! I want to remember everything about him being this stage!!
I made him answer a bunch of questions about his likes and dislikes at age 4, but I'll do those in a separate post since this one is already crazy long!!