Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Franklin is FOUR Years Old

Dear Franklin, 

You are FOUR year old. Oh, sweet yet mischievous Franklin, Mama and Daddy ARE SO blessed to have you to be their child. Just like an excerpt from the book called, Love you Forever by Robert Munsch, sometimes Mama feels like sending you to the zoo..and on some days, it feels like she IS IN A ZOO with you. Never would she trade that for anything else in the world though, dear Franklin.

You're mischievous, funny, sweet, loving, affectionate, moody, fiercely independent, curious, stubborn as heck, impatient, and bear such a big, big heart. You are your dad reincarnated. You are a very tactile child, and must touch, touch, and touch everything...sometimes much to Mama's and Daddy's dismay. This is why you love tinkering, building, and helping to prep as long as you get to use your hands. Your sense of humor is hilarious. While Forrest bears dry and more of a timing based humor, you are roaringly, ruthlessly, and wildly funny. You draw laughter from others that are loud, deep to to the belly, and genuine. You have such a loving soul. You love to kiss, hug, and be constantly touching someone. You are the first to cuddle with anybody. You treat things with such love...sometimes too hard. Missy is the only cat out of two that tolerates your rough handling, and god bless that cat.

You negotiate when you can. When Mama tells you that you only can have X amount of certain something, you fire back with a higher amount suggestion, and Mama has to stick to her original offer. The bargaining can last for about five minutes, and every in great while, you manage to outsmart Mama, because she forgets what is her initial offer is to start with!

You're sneaky! Sometimes you appear in places that are unexpected, and random. For example, when it is your bedtime, you sneak into the kitchen to get a banana or two (your favorite), and sneak back to the stairs to enjoy your late night snack...all this without Mama's knowledge...that is until she catches you! Then some other times, Mama discovers you sleeping on the edge of their bed, and she wonders how you manage to get into their bedroom without being heard or felt. You have a tendency to hide in most unexpected places for your naps, which has caused Mama to grow some gray hair strands from panicking over not finding you immediately.

You love, love, and love food. Your passion lies in eating, touching, smelling, tasting, prepping, and cooking food. When Mama is preparing food on the island in the kitchen, you are right by her side 95 percent of the time helping out. It brings back a lot of memories for Mama, because she used to do the very same thing with helping to cook food by your Grandpa's side, or helping your Grandma to bake the holiday cookies. It is very rare that you'd turn up your nose to food (sometimes you have to be a kid after all, and be picky from time to time, or an illness strikes you and you just don't feel like eating). You very much prefer fruits over chips. Vegetables can be a hit and miss. You usually don't mind eating vegetables, but you definitely DO NOT like anything "green" (broccoli, kale, asparagus, green beans). Don't worry, one day you will end up loving them. Maybe you will become a world famous chef someday? A food journalist? A TV food host? A cookbook author?

You learned a hard lesson earlier this year with putting things in your mouth. You had always been the one to find things only to have it end up in your mouth! Mama or Daddy often had to fish something out of your mouth. You had a couple choking incidents! It has taught Mama how to stay calm in a crazy situation, and how to perform a quick CPR to get it out of your throat. The first time was on a piece of large sausage off a pizza, and the second time was a small dime. Then the third time, you visited Grandma's house up north, and told Grandma that you "ate" money. It led you on a whirlwind adventure to having to go to the hospital to have a GI scope performed. Daddy said it was the most expensive quarter you'd ever have in your life. The good news that happened from a bad situation was that you NEVER put anything else in your mouth again...so far.

On one Sunday, it was as if something clicked in your mind, you decided to sit on the toilet without any prompting, and pooped! Just like how you approached with peeing, you took your pull up off, declared to the world that you no longer wanted them, and started using toilet to pee. Ever since, with one or two accidents here and there, you were able to use toilet every time you had an urge to poop.  Very recently you decided that you did not want to wear pull ups overnight, and have had a very few accidents. What a great feat you have done! It was quite awesome, because it meant less hassle, less work, and less struggle to get you on the board with potty training. Mama and Daddy were quite thankful with how easy you have been in this department! It went to show that once you put your mind on something, then you definitely achieve it!

You're 40 pounds. Your height will be determined tomorrow when you go to Dr. Karbon for your 4-year old wellness check! You're not that far behind from Forrest height-wise. Mama thinks you are around 38 inches tall, but she shall see if she is right in her guess.

Even though you are our middle child, you are our biggest kid out of the bunch, and people have stopped Mama to ask her if you were the oldest, or at least very close in the age to Forrest, because you are tall for your age, and do not look like your age. When it is time to swap out clothes for a seasonal change, Mama often faces a challenge of having to share clothes between you and Forrest, because you share the same size...at least until Forrest hits his next growth spurt, which usually occurs halfway into the winter, and go into the next size. You often skip a clothing size, because you hit your growth spurts earlier. For example, when Forrest is on the verge of going into size 6, but not quite so yet,  you skip 4T completely, and go into 5T right away, but Forrest is still wearing 5T. Because of this, you both have to overlap clothes, and share for a while until Forrest fully grows into size 6. Then Mama switches 5T completely over to you. Daddy and Mama thinks that you will be the biggest kid out of the bunch when you all are teenagers!

You are very sensitive. When you are hurt, you scowl, and cower into a small ball, or turn your back to the offender. A part of this has a great deal to do with your speech delay. It is difficult for you to vocalize how you feel, find vocabulary to express yourself, and show what you are feeling on the inside. It is a struggle for you, and result in a lot of meltdowns. You struggle so much in articulating what you want to say, or what you need. You've come a long way from working with Early Intervention home therapist to working with Colleen, and now Erin, yet you still have more work to do. There has been many nights of Mama worrying about you having to face so many challenges in your short life, from being born with Torticillis and plagiocephaly, enduring physical therapy for 18 months to learn how to crawl, walk, eat, and alleviating tight neck, needing helmet to help round out your head, then your speech delay appeared, and she just wants the best for you. So does Daddy.

Ever since Colleen retired, you got placed with a new speech teacher, Erin, at the school, and have been working with her since the second week of the fall semester. Erin has a different approach of how she would like to work with you. While she may have the best interest in why she prefers the approach she has chosen for you, it is not necessarily the one Mama and Daddy hoped for, and felt you needed more. Because of this, fate has led them to successfully enrolling you into a private 3K program at St. James. Their program allowed you to meet with your classmates three times a week from 8 am to 11 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It were in their hope that by sending you to St. James, you will be able to get much needed social interaction for speech development as well as working with Erin.

Because of this, you got enrolled into St. James 3K program, and you flourished! You love being able to interact with other kids, and to grow independently away from home. You appreciate having just FRANK time away from your brothers to explore your own interests, your own identity, and your favorites that are just YOURS. You love bringing artwork home to show them off. You are such a class clown. Your teachers are always telling Mama how endearing you are, what a comedian you are, and how wonderful you are. 

You loved your ratty old Puppy Paw Patrol slippers. You wore them EVERYWHERE. It was not worth the battle sometimes to try convince you to wear your gym shoes, also in Puppy Patrol theme, because you just loved your slippers SO MUCH. So Mama let you wear them when they go out to do errands (as long as it is not wet outside). You did get compliments on them quite a lot especially from the elderly. They loved it! And you ended up with a big smile on your face too. It's sweet. Sadly, your puppy paw patrol slippers had to be retired due to having so many holes on the soles.

Fear not, the replacement is on its way! You also love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You love the color, GREEN, and RED, even though you show a stronger preference to green. After all, you insist your birthday theme to be entirely in only green. You want a GREEN CAKE with GREEN FROSTING to go with GREEN CANDLES. Your request is duly noted. A green cake with green frosting to go with green candles coming up!

You dislike to be told no. What an almost four year old doesn't?! You are filled with cute quips for every predicament you find yourself in. Your favorite phrase to use for when you are quite frustrated is "IT IS NOT WORKING"! More often than not, when you struggle to zip up the zipper, you scream just that, and Mama goes to help you to get started, then you finish the task. When you find that you are unable to mold the play dough into a shape you want, you scream it is not working, and have someone come along to help you to mold the dough into the desired shape. When Mama finds that she is being faced with a challenge and grows exasperated, you approach her with a squinted eye and sign that's okay.

You love helping with cleaning. Your favorite chore is cleaning the toilet bowl! Mama isn't very sure why. It's yucky. But, you enjoy immensely by using toilet brush, and swirl the blue dye around. You also love wiping down the counters, and carrying the cat dish bowl to the laundry room. You are such a wonderful helper. You clean up after yourself, and put things away nicely. There has been some days when you just don't want to clean up your toys, and that's okay. You're just a child learning boundaries, and having said this, you still gotta clean up even when you don't feel like it!

In the time since you got enrolled at St. James and continuing speech therapy at Hillcrest, Your speech development has exploded. Your words are more clear, and you're making longer sentences. Your voice has become less gruff, and use more appropriate tone with speaking. You love to talk about anything, and everything. You often add funny quips, and phrases while talking, and it cracks everybody up. You are such a darling, sweet Franklin. Your speech has improved so much with the help of speech therapy and being in 3K program to the point that Mama and Daddy decided to reduce how much time you are spending in speech. Instead of going three times a week for 90 minutes, now you are attending twice a week for 60 minutes, and you are still in St. James three times a week.

Your melt-downs are less frequent now that you are able to communicate your needs and wants, and also to understand what you are being told. It is nice to see an improvement in your behavior, and to ease some of that stress on you. It has made a difference in how you respond to the situations. With saying this, you are still only a 4 year old, and a 4 year old is always learning how to modify how they behave in both public, and at home!

Ever since Forrest started school, Mama has noticed that you are starting to sign a lot more than ever, mainly because you no longer rely on Forrest to "interpret" for you. You wiggle your fingers while you talk, or come up with sign associations for a word you don't know a sign for. For example, you forgot a sign for banana so you sign GORILLA then EAT. It makes Mama laugh when you do this, because it's so clever, and just precious! Then Mama shows you the sign for the said item, and you repeat by signing the word. You try very hard to be able to sign, and communicate with Mama. She has no doubt that as you continue to explode in your speech development, the signing will come along closely, and you will be able to communicate in both languages fluently in no time!

You love having one-on-one time with Mama at home while Forrest is at school. You love playing a math game or any board games really, making crafts, and art. You are so creative! You love designing unique art, and showing them off. You have declared that your favorite color is GREEN, and RED. You want to be T-Rex when you grow up (Mama didn't have a heart to tell you that you can't instantaneously switch species). Your favorite animal is cows. You absolutely adore your ducky and Buh-Buh the Bunny. You insist on cuddling with Ducky and Buh-Buh every night when you go to bed. You rarely nap these days, because sleeping is for "babies". You love roughhousing with Daddy and Forrest. You go on adventures of chasing after Pokemon, dinosaurs, and travel to unseen lands with Forrest. You enjoy reading anything that is funny,  or eliciting a wild acting from Daddy while reading. You're such a ball of energy--always moving, and bouncing around. It is not very often that you sit still, and not do anything. You love playing hand-five with people only to trick them in the end by pulling away your hand faster to cause them miss, and tell them that they are TOO SLOW. 

You love Fox so. You are always moving Fox away from dangerous spots. You help Mama out by tossing out dirty diapers, or giving her a new diaper for Fox. You sit down and talk with Fox. If Fox is doing something naughty, then you try to scold him, and tell Mama what has happened. You tell Mama when Fox is crying, or if he needs anything from Mama. You are concerned for his well-being, and want to make sure he's okay. You are such a wonderful brother. 

You are an amazing boy with such a big heart, with such a big imagination, and brings so much happiness to those who loves you. This family would not be the same without your spunky nature. We love you so, Franklin. 


Mama, Daddy, Forrest & Fox