Monday, November 25, 2019

Fiona is TWO Months Old

Dear Fiona, 

You are TWO months old. Much to Mama's sadness, you have transitioned out of newborn clothes into 0-3, and slowly getting into 3 months clothes. Mama is reminded by how quickly infants grow during their first year, and with you being her last, it is not an easy thing to accept. Nonetheless, it is a joy to watch you fatten up, and grow. 

You had a couple trips to see Dr. Karbon regarding your health. Your skin was inspected, and it was confirmed that you had a bad case of newborn acne. Mama also felt you had eczema based on her experience with your older brothers, and she started using Aveeno Ecezma cream. Behold and Lo, your newborn acne was drastically reduced, especially on your face, and she also had to experiment with detergent to help offset flare ups all over your body.  

You are exactly 9 pounds from your last check up, though you may have gained more since, and Mama will find out exactly soon with your doctor appointment coming up. It is a different experience with you, because your brothers beefed up so quickly, and you are slower at gaining weight. Dr. Karbon assures Mama that as long as you follow the growth curve, then you're all good! Mama is always drinking lactation shakes to maintain her milk supply to be able to nurse you. It is in her goal to nurse you for a year, and beyond that will be determined later.

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You are a particular baby. You have specific expectations when it comes to taking care of your needs. You can be diva-like, and that's okay! Some babies are more needy than others. You love to be held either in a wrap, or on the lap. Gramma Theresa bought a ring sling for Mama to babywear you. It is magic for you. The minute you go into it, you pass out, and stay asleep...that is until Mama tries to take you out of it! Then you wake up, and fuss again. Mama is content to just keep you on her, and she thinks you are too. It also makes it easier for Mama to take care of the older ones.

You aren't a great napper during the day. You either sleep away the day (and still sleep all night long at that), or you're up all day long. When you do stay up all day long, you tend to get extremely fussy, and cranky. It can be tiring at times for both you, and Mama. However, babywearing does enable you to calm down, and rest your eyes for as long as a half hour at time, which is better than absolutely none. You prefer to sleep on someone than by yourself. However, at night you are able to sleep in your bassinet without any problem as long as you are swaddled tightly, and you feel cosy enough to drift into sleep.

 You prefer constant motion over none. You dislike stillness. You dislike it when Mama eats too much spicy food. Dairy upsets your stomach. You like continuation of sounds. When the house gets too quiet, you struggle to sleep, but with the house being noisy with your older brothers causing rucukus, you happily sleep! Mama often leaves TV on all night long just to have sounds going in the background (and to be able to see while she is nursing you, and for diaper changes during the wee hours). You are okay with music playing in the background, but you seem to prefer heartbeat lulling you to sleep than the music itself. You are fairly a good sleeper. You sleep between 4-7 hours during the night, and wake up for one or two feedings. More often than not, Mama is tired only because she ends up watching an episode or two instead of going back to sleep, because it's only time she has to herself to watch her shows!You tend to go into clusterfeeding phase once or twice a month, and when this does happen, you wake up more frequently to nurse. Then before Mama knows it, you've beefed up even more!

Mama had to reduce dairy consumption in her diet, and add probotics to your daily dose of vitamin D. With those those in the place, your skin cleared up, and you became less fussy. Having said that you became less fussy, it meant it became easier for Mama to distinguish what was causing you to be fussy. The majority of the time, it was just because you wanted to be held close to Mama's chest.

You have your first cold. It is a sad thing to see such a little baby to be sick this young. Cold/flu season is in a full force so early this year, and with older three being in school, germs are bound to show up sooner or later. Thank goodness for a nasal aspirator, because it helps to clear up your nostrils, and make you feel better. Thankfully, your congestion is not terrible. You just prefer to be propped up, and nurse more often, because nursing at a length in one sitting can be difficult for you with a congestion.

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Mama is enjoying dressing you up in all of the cute clothes, and you do happen to have A LOT of cute outfits that are somewhat overflowing your drawers. Mama loves kimono, ruffles, polka dots, and of course, Llama outfits for you. You also have a lot of cute headbands. Unfortunately, you aren't a fan of headbands, but Mama keeps having you wear them in short intervals. Hopefully, you will grow to like them, because there are sure a lot of cute headbands! She is looking forward to having your hair grow out, so she can do your hair, and put bows in them! You may or may not come to like having those when you are a bit older, so Mama might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

You are already being introduced to dinosaurs by your older brothers. In no time, you will be saying RAWR, and loving dinosaurs as much as they do. There are so many dinosaur toys for you to play with when you are a bit older, and you'll most likely be introduced to Dino Dan, Adventures of Trek, and Dino Dana. You will probably learn the difference between Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Europosaurus even though they all look similar! You may come to love Velociraptors, because Forrest says who does not like raptors? Or you will love gentle Stegosaurus like Franklin and Mama does. Or you may be fascinated by T-Rex, the king of them all, and it won't be surprising given your feisty personality!

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You will be experiencing your first Thanksgiving, and Christmas, which is pretty exciting. Mama is betting that you will be passed around like a hot potato to be held, and have the rest of family to finally meet you! You're quite popular around the holidays this year, aren't you?

We are so thankful to have you in our lives. The boys continue to be fascinated by you, and are always wanting to kiss, hold, and touch you. Forrest loves telling people how he JUST KNEW you were a girl from the very start, and Frank is rather protective of you. Fox is looking forward to be able to play with you (in no time, he should)! We all are in love with you.

Mama and Daddy are looking forward to what month two will bring for you, our dear Fiona.


Mama, Daddy, and the boys

Saturday, November 23, 2019

FDR is FIVE Year Old

Dear Franklin,

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You are FIVE year old. Time has come again for a letter to be penned for you. It is perhaps becoming repetitive among you, and your brothers for Mama to bring this up, however, as a parent, one cannot help, but muster, and lament how quickly time has gone by in the past years. It is a blink of an eye, and suddenly, you are five?

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You are joyous, adventurous, beautiful, stubborn, challenging, tenacious, strong-willed, intelligent, sweet, sensitive, loving, and funny boy. You may be the hardest child out of four, but fear not, this is not to be interpreted as a negative remark regarding you as a person. It is to show that you are destined for a great things, because you already have an innate drive to not give in, and that you are not easily swayed. Once you have something in the mind, you will not let go of it until you are satisfied. This can be challenging for Mama and Daddy, because they must strike a perfect balance of guiding you to follow the established boundaries, and to allow you flourish as a personal leader. 

You've gone through a big change in the past year with schools, moving into a new home, and watching your mama's belly grow. You handled the changes like a pro! You loved the new home, with all of the additional space, and new neighbors with children for you to play with. You transitioned into a role of a big brother once again like a champ. You lost your status as a middle child, and stepped into the role of a second oldest. Just like rest of your siblings, Mama and Daddy were always mindful of making sure your needs are met as an individual, and to make you feel valued, because you are cherished. When you found out you were having a little sister, you were excited, and wanted to meet her already. You were disappointed when you realized that Mama had a few more months to grow your sister before meeting her! 

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We went on our first family vacation to Iowa. You handled the long road trip like an old pro. You loved having "free for all" snacks, and watching the movies in the van. Your favorite part of the whole trip was "seeing all of the fishes" at the Aquarium museum! Mama and Daddy could not be any more prouder of you and your brothers with how well you all behaved. The trip left a lot of amazing memories to be remembered. Mama and Daddy hoped to be able to take you and your siblings on more vacations in the years yet to come!  

You and Forrest went to Camp Grandma. You both had a blast spending time with Gramma Theresa and Grandaunt Rosalie! You also went up north to the Farm several times with Daddy. Matter of fact, Daddy, Forrest, and you got to see a Big Foot rampaging through the corn field. It was a bit scary for you to witness, and you had trouble sleeping in your bed for several weeks after! Fortunately, Daddy was able to defuse the situation, and you felt safer to sleep in your own bed. 

One day, you will look back at this, and laugh about the whole thing...Mama promise you that. 

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Over the summer, you learned how to ride your bicycle! It was a bit difficult for you to find the right balance, and how to steer the bicycle. You had a lot of tears, and words to be said about not being able to successfully ride your bicycle. Daddy and Mama kept encouraging you to not give up, and to keep trying. You eventually got a hang of it! Go you! 

You also spent most of your summer fishing with Daddy and Forrest. It had been a learning curve for you to put a worm on the hook, and to catch a fish. There were some days that left you frustrated that you struggled to grasp the concept of fishing. Daddy kept assuring you that you WILL get a hang of it by the next summer! You weren't a fan of touching a slimy fish, and often left that task up to Daddy to release the fish back to the water. You also went to a few football games with Daddy before school began! 

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You are an amazing boy with such a big heart. It cannot be emphasized enough on how loving you are. You continue to fit your nickname, the one Mama bestowed upon you from when she carried you, Sunshine, after the song, "You are my only Sunshine".

Mama and Daddy recently welcomed your littlest sibling into the family. You have done nothing, but lavish love on your sister. You are always helping with bringing the wipes, or diapers to Mama for Fiona's changes. You desperately want to cover her with kisses, and to hold her against your chest. You literally puff out your chest when you are allowed to hold Fiona in your arms. You gently pat her on top of her head, and stroke her soft baby hair. When Fiona cries, you quickly alert Mama, and guard over her until she is attended to. You are in an awe of her. You are a phenomenal big brother, even though it is not surprising, because of your beautiful heart. 

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It is not just toward her that you show so much love toward, but to your brothers, and Mama and Daddy. You love to just sit next to Mama, and cuddle against her. You hold Fox, when he allows you to (a toddler can be funny like that), and tell him what a good boy he is. You chase around after Forrest, and admire him so. You love sitting in the bed with Forrest while he reads to you. You laugh rather boisterously as you roughhouse with Daddy. Your favorite pastime activity is to tackle, climb, and playfully punch Daddy as you and the boys wrestle.  You are a wonderful brother, and an amazing son.

You have close bond with both Forrest, and Fox. In a way, you have the best of both worlds; you get to do "older" kid stuff with Forrest, yet be able to resort to "younger" kid things with Fox. You love the balance of both. When Forrest gets to be too bossy or want his own space, you play with Fox, and Fox loves it so. Just like how you look up to Forrest, Fox looks up to you, and admire you. Sometimes, you and Forrest can have a love and hate relationship. It boggles Mama's mind how you two can fight so fiercely like a cat and a dog, then be loving toward each other the next minute like nothing has happened! Fox and you don't have that relationship just yet, and maybe you won't or you may. Who knows? Right now, Fox is so happy to just have your company when you do spend time with him. 

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You still love school. You've recently started 4K at Hillcrest, and it is so exciting for you to attend the same school with Forrest! You adjusted easily to being in a different school, and enjoy attending. Mama and Daddy do feel lucky that both of you and Forrest enjoy school so much, and have no real pressing problems there. Mrs. Dombrowski, your teacher, has said that you are such a social butterfly, and everyone adores you. You are people person. You go to everyone for playtime, and they all love playing with you. You have many friends. It makes Daddy and Mama happy to learn this about you.

At the conference with your teacher, you shared that you wanted to learn how to read! What an amazing goal you have for yourself! Always strive for challenging goals, and you will feel so accomplished once you achieve them. You love bringing artwork home to show off, and you have a quite talent with art. Mama loves looking over them, and often praise you for doing such a wonderful job. You know how to count up to 30, can recite 26 uppercase letters and 21 lower cases from alphabet, know your shapes and colors, recognize that you must underline words to create a sentence, read your name, and know your place in a line up. You are such a great student.

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You've transitioned from being dropped off for afternoon speech therapy to in-school service. You are still receiving speech at school. It is now almost unnoticeable that you ever had a speech delay! Erin has been working hard with you, and it shows. IEP meetings is now no longer something that Mama dreads going, because positives far outweighs the negativity in your therapy. You're constantly talking, and turning you into quite a chatterbox. Daddy jokingly says that there is once a point in your life when you are quiet, and now you won't be quiet ever. It's great to know what thoughts are churning in your head. Sometimes, you do get tired of sharing what is on your mind. When that happens, you have a tendency to say, "I don't know", or "I forgot". You can be a bit flippant when it comes to certain things, and it is hard to say if it's your personality, or because you're just tired. Mama thinks it is most likely a combination of both.

You love using your hands to build, and create things. You enjoy creating towers, robots, and aliens from duplo blocks. You enjoy crafting by cutting construction papers, then gluing them to create whatever you're imagining at that time! You like to draw people, monsters, and animals. You proudly show off your creations, and beam when you get compliments on your creations. Matter of fact, you created a giant replica of yourself by using paper plate, googly eyes, twisties, and construction paper. It was too cool to see! This is also great for your fine motor skills by learning how to use scissors, how to draw with a crayons, markers, or coloring pens of different sizes. When you run into an obstacle, you do get quite frustrated, and start to melt down, then with guidance, you are able to overcome the obstacle, and you get quite proud of yourself, which you should be!

Mama has been teaching you how to use your grit to overcome your frustrations, and to be reminded to ask for help when it is needed. You are reminded to say thank you and please. You are encouraged to work through your angry feelings in a safe space, and to find a solution without resorting to screaming about it. You've been doing really well with this! It helps that you are able to associate your big feelings with labels, and to understand what those feelings mean to you. Sometimes your feelings can be too big for a 5-year old, so you are often encouraged to find an alternative to dispel your anger, such as dancing, running around the house, or jump up and down until your mad feelings are a lot less. Sometimes, none of these works, and sleep is what you need. Once you are rested, you usually feel a lot better, and able to try again. Isn't that awesome, or what, about you not giving up, right? 

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You're picking up on signing more now Forrest is in school full-time, and you are becoming more cognizant of needing to use your hands to communicate with Mama. You are able to put aside your stubborn nature, and to be willing to learn. Your language development has exploded in both speech, and signing. You love learning signing by using flashcards, and ask to practice daily. You work quite hard at this. You're able to start have conversations without relying on Forrest (which is something we have been working on for a long while now for you to break the habit). You love making a game out of signing alphabet, and numbers to try beat your previous record. It makes Mama's heart warm just seeing you being so determined to learn. Mama's culture is extremely important to her, and to have you boys to be a part of such a beautiful culture is one of her gifts to all of you kids.

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With you just turning five, you are learning what is appropriate, and what is inappropriate to say. You test the boundaries by saying naughty words to get a rise out of anyone. It often earns you a serious conversation, and a time-out. Thankfully, you are phasing out from this! You are still working on not putting fingers in your mouth. It is a sensory thing for you. Because of this, Mama is looking into a chewy for you to replace your fingers with, especially with the winter season being here, and all of the germs floating around in the air.

This can be a bit challenging, because you are so independent, and stubborn. You prefer getting your way than agreeing with what is given to you, which is not always feasible. It often leads to a lot of tough lessons for you to learn from. Mama and Daddy are hoping to enable your nature of stubbornness into a form of persistence for when you are older, and you will not give up as easily to achieve what you need to get done. Mama and Daddy don't expect perfection from you, and never will. You are uniquely you, and it should remain so. At the same time, it is expected from you to obey rules, and follow them. After all, it is what enables you to become a responsible, and courteous adult that knows when to stand his ground, and when to be a team player.

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You are hilarious! You always crack people up with being silly, and sharing your funny thoughts. Sometimes, Mama can't repress a laughter, or smile, because you're attempting to distract her from what is happening at the moment. You are definitely a ray of sunshine. You have such a beautiful smile. Mama loves it when you smile. It is genuine, and real. It comes directly from your heart, and is also seen in your eyes. You are truly an amazing boy. Always remember that. 

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You are a very affectionate child. You are always demanding to be hugged, and kissed at least 4 times every night at bedtime. Mama always obliges, even if she is tired, and desperately wants to sleep, because she knows that there will be a day when you stop asking for your hugs and kisses (it is something she doesn't want to think about right now). You love snuggles, and cuddles. You are constantly seeking for touches with your toes, and feet. You don't really like to go without hugs after every argument. You get a lot of assurance from being hugged after having a serious discussion. It helps you to feel more grounded, and know that you are still loved in despite of what happens.

You are in a fairly good health. You did end up with a cavity that was thankfully filled! Mama think it is because you're always eating fruit, and fruit has a high acidity content, because you really do not eat much of junk food to begin with! Your 5-year old wellness check is scheduled on December 10th with Dr. Karbon. Mama is curious to see how much you've grown since last year! You're on the verge of outgrowing size 5 pants, and transitioning into size 6 pants! A perfect timing, because Forrest has recently gone up a size, and you'll be getting his pants. Mama also has bought you some new pants, because you deserve some new clothes in amidst of hand-down clothes!

Your favorite food right now is pizza, hot dogs, oranges, and bananas. You love ketcup. If you could, then you'd eat it straight from the bottle! Mama is not sure why, but it is what you like. You often prefer eating a fruit for a snack instead of a bag of chips. You have been asking to try cherries lately! So you will be getting a cherry cheesecake instead of a cake for your birthday. It is one nice thing about you; you are always so willing to try new food, and more often than not, you do like what it is given to you.

It is hard to believe that five years ago you came into the world during a blizzard, which is just fitting with your relentless personality, and how you want to take on the world! You are a blessing, and a ray of sunshine in our lives, sweet Franklin. We love you so much.


Mama, Daddy, Forrest, Fox, and Fiona