Monday, January 19, 2015

The Bean is Four Years Old!

So, let's talk about this four year old we have, shall we?

It's hard to even know where to begin.  The past six months with The Bean have been good ones.

The Bean, like his mommy, is a bit of a homebody.  He's usually quite content to spend the day at home playing with toys, reading books, and watching (a limited amount of) shows (Octonauts and Berenstain Bears are his current favourites).  That said, he loves to go outdoors, but it is sometimes a bit of a struggle to get him out the door, particularly if it's not to go to a park.  (It's also much harder getting him out the door in winter weather than in the summer.)

This might sound a bit contradictory, but he is incredibly active.  I know from experience that most parents seem to think this about their four-year-olds, but he honestly is one of the most active kids I've come across.  He loves throwing and catching and hitting and kicking balls of all sorts. He would happily spend all day climbing, sliding, swinging, etc.  Jen and I joke that he doesn't walk anywhere, he dances.  He moves in skips and jumps and twirls.  He loved his gymnastic class this fall and has a new-found (refound?) love for swimming, though he still doesn't like getting his face wet.  We're trying to figure out what programs he might enjoy the most this spring.  Likely swimming and/or gymnastics, but maybe dance or soccer... it's still undecided.

We recently went ice skating with him for the first time.  He was very excited about the idea of skating, but mostly just liked hanging out in his gear.  He did let us push him around the rink a few times.

We are not really a professional-sports watching family, but if you're from Pittsburgh it's a given that you will be a Steelers fan, so we've been training the kids accordingly.  The Bean gets super excited when he sees a game and will chant "Here we go Steelers!" with the best of them.

He has started to really engage in pretend play with figures.  He has been using the doll house more and got a toy castle for Christmas from my mom that he has been playing with daily. He continues role playing in our play kitchen, as a Mommy to his babies (white blanket, pumpkin man and his "big boy" Rajah the tiger), and with dress up costumes.

He got  Magnatiles for Christmas from Santa (Grandma and Grandpa) and has gotten into building with those too.  He also plays with his wooden blocks in combination with his Bruder trucks and Hotwheels cars, and has started building really tall towers ("apartments") with Duplo.  He'll occasionally ask us to build him train tracks, doesn't seem to love the trains the way some kids do.

He's started doing more artwork, which I adore.  He can draw figures now (a face with legs and sometimes arms), though most of his art is still very free-form  with deeply involved stories to go along with it.  He likes to paint (mostly with black), he has gotten much better with scissors and enjoys working in his tracing books.  He can write his name, though I must admit, he has regressed a bit with this from the time he was in daycare until now.  He also really likes playing with Playdoh.

He LOVES books.  His current favourites are some beautiful fairy tales (Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel) we got the kids for Christmas.  He's also been loving This is New York.  Prior to these, he was asking for Little Critter, Berenstain Bears, and/or Curious George daily (ugh).  He has many books memorized, but prefers to be read to.  He got something called a SparkUp from my sister for Christmas which you can record books into.  It's been getting a lot of use.

He recognizes all his letters and knows their sounds.  He hasn't started reading yet, though he has asked several times that I start teaching him.  It's something I need to make more of a point of.  Maybe print up a few CVC word cards and matching pictures or something.  He is ready.

He's also been asking to "learn about the world," meaning geography.  We got him a wall map and have been pointing out places and talking about what you can find there, the langues that are spoken, etc.  I'm not really a geography buff, but again, I am hoping to get around to putting together a few little packages for him about different continents and countries.

There is no doubt about it, this kids' forte is language.  He is incredibly articulate.  He also loves learning new words and trying them out and will make up his own words, then explain what they mean to us.  The one that comes to mind most easily is "chucking," which means hitting something with a stick.

With him being at home now, I feel like his social circle is quite small.  Basically family and a few good friends.  Sometimes I think he needs more than this small world, but at other times I worry about what the influence of others will do to his polite, (mostly) well-behaved, kind, playful, creative, innocent self.  It's not that he's perfect 100% of the time, but he is free to do the things he enjoys, isn't overly rough, is very protected from media --commercials, violence, etc.  He is a nice kid.  A good kid.  I don't want that to change. But he is also a kid who is curious to experiment, that takes in what is going on around him and who tests limits, so I expect that we will have some conflict over what is and isn't appropriate or acceptable once he is exposed to other kiddos.

Though he is a good kid, he does have his moments.  We've been using a "1, 2, 3" timeout approach that seems to work pretty effectively.

Lately he has been saying that he wants to be a girl.  Related to that he has been saying he wants to grow his hair long.  We're not sure if he wants to be a girl so that he can have long hair, or if he wants to have long hair so that he can be a girl, or if both have to do with something else all together.  He has no other requests to make himself more girl-like.  I trimmed his hair the other week to give it some shape (mullets are not acceptable on boys or girls), but he's got a good shag going.

He has started to have a bit of an opinion about his clothing.  Basically he wants to live in his pajamas.  We make him get dressed everyday, but have conceded to it mostly being in "comfy" (elastic-waisted) pants and long-sleeved t-shirts.  Every once in a while I can get him into skinny jeans and a polo or sweater.  As soon as I get home after work he is allowed to change back into his pajamas and he usually rushes into his bedroom after giving me a super-fast hug and kiss hello.

His sleep continues to be pretty good.  Its been about 6 weeks since he stopped napping.  Prior to that we were struggling to get him down at night, but since the switch its been much easier.  There are still days, particularly days where we are active in the morning, that he will fall asleep during "quiet time," but they are more the exception than the rule at this point.  He's often sort of grumpy by the time we're home in the evening, but I think it's a worthwhile trade off to have him sleeping well overnight.  Unfortunately he has been having some nightmares lately.  We've been talking to him about how he can control things in his dreams, and it seems to be helping.  Hopefully this stage is short-lived.

His lovely is "white blanket," she is a tan blanket with white polk-a-dots, who he will also refer to as his baby.  He's also rather attached to "pumpkin man" which is a little orange kitted doll that my Nana made several years ago but gave to him a couple of Halloweens ago.  Rajah, his stuffed tiger, also is usually in his bed.  His hippo Owen has been relegated to the basket of stuffies on top of the bookshelf.

Not a lovey, but an often-talked about companion, is his son. (Who is nameless.)  His son is quite naughty and does many things that The Bean is not allowed to do.

Food is about the same as it has been, I think.  He eats a few things from the various food groups, but is definitely reluctant to stray away from the foods he knows and likes.  He sometimes declares that he doesn't like something, often an old favourite, anymore, which is frustrating. We insist on him trying things, and sometimes he decides he likes it, but often he spits it out.  I look forward to him becoming a more adventurous eater again.  (He liked nearly everything we put in front of him from the time he started solids until he was two.)

His stomach issues are far from resolved, but on the advice of a pediatric specialist we have introduced a daily dose of fibre into his diet, which seems to be helping with some of the constipation issues he was having.

He is still a peanut.  He is now in size 3 clothes, both on the top and the bottom and size 7 shoes.  I have no idea how tall he is and I think he weighs somewhere around 34lbs.  We have his four year check up on Wednesday, so I'll be able to update his stats then.

The Bean is a true free spirit.  He lives in the moment and wears his heart on his sleeve.  We love him with all our hearts and couldn't ask for a sweeter son.


  1. What a great post.

    He sounds sweet. I think he may pick up on things from other kids but kids are inherently their own personalities too. Like our Jackson has always been loud, active and a button pusher.

    The picky stage is tough. Quinn is going through that right now where he claims to not like most meals.

    That's great that he has a big interest in reading. It'll be easier to teach him!

  2. He sounds so much like Erik at that age, from the language to the love of climbing to the switch from awesome eater to picky eater. (I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but Erik's pickiness has continued. I'm still looking forward to a time when he will enjoy more foods. I keep on top of him by basically ignoring his pickiness when I cook and always trying new recipes and insisting that he try everything.)

    Loved this update about the Bean. Sounds like he's doing great. The pictures are so cute.

  3. I adore every single thing about this kid.

    PS- If you would like, we would love to send him a postcard or something from our travels to help with the flourishing Geography bug ;)