(Overflowing excitement hearing the choo-choo coming.)
I wish I devoted more time to blogging what my kids are like at this stage in their lives. I know it's not the most entertaining for other people, but I look back and read through things of earlier blogs that I had totally forgotten - things they did, stages they went through. (Too bad they didn't blog 40 years ago - my mom seems to remember that none of her kids ever threw tantrums like mine.) For example, I seem to remember Diesel being pretty easy as a baby, but Ryan reminded me of the countless movies he watched on his iPhone while rocking Diesel in the rocking chair. (I think that was his own fault though. I just put him in his crib and left him there. Sucker.)
Diesel has been our high-maintenance, fussy little prince since birth. But no one would know unless they spent a day in our life because to the outside world he is in the charming phase. He is intent on winning over everyone he encounters. He may leap in front of the opening elevator door to greet you with a boisterous "HA-WOAH!!!" and a double arm wave, or give you bashful grins then duck away and do this repeatedly until he's certain you think he's the cutest thing ever.
At home he continues to be the hulk - you can see the rage building until he throws over a chair, or runs out the door through the hall and bolts out to the parking lot (the naughtiest thing he can think of, that little stinker). In fact, I should have known better - the other day there was like a 5-lb bag of M&Ms open in the shopping cart with him as a means of bribing him to stop yelling throughout the entire grocery trip. I was stooping down looking for something on a bottom shelf and should have more consciously registered the shoes that went flying out of the cart and the increasing volume of madness. But no, I didn't, and sure enough, pretty soon I hear a big pshhhhhhhhh - as the contents of the entire giant bag of M&Ms gets turned upside down and violently shaken out all over the shopping aisle floor. It was audible enough that no less than 10 people came running to see what on earth had happened. Sigh. Thank goodness he's not a twin. :)
He spends lots of our one-on-one time together whining and I'm usually relieved when the twins get home from school and help keep him entertained. He seems to be too - he cries for his brothers all morning long, which is actually quite sweet: "Cashy...." boo hoo, "Ah-ton...." boo hoo, sticking out of lower lip. To his credit, he does have to spend an awful lot of time getting shuttled around in the car from one school drop-off across town to another. (This is a frequent face):
But when he's in his charming mode he's adorable and I remember why it's so much fun to have a little one around. He brightens up everyone's day, makes everyone laugh and is constantly entertaining. He has a lot of personality, is expressive and excited, loves dancing, and can be quite the ham. He has referred to his feet as "stinky toes" for as long as he could talk. And he has refused to acknowledge there is more than one twin for the majority of his life. They have both simply been known as "Ah-ton." For the longest time when we tried to say that's Phoenix he'd practically roll his eyes and walk away irritated that there was clearly only one of them and he wasn't about to acknowledge anything we were saying.
Mr. Personality is also very independent. The other day I walked in to see him grabbing another 5-lb bag of M&Ms - (the one that did make it home safely with the buy one get one free deal) and loudly calling over his brothers with an excited, "GUYS! DINNEW!!" (dinner!) very proud that he had solely been responsible for dinner. He really has been an independent kid - I remember one day when he was just over
He is also a total bottle-addict. I nursed him for a year but added in bottles as the nursing declined and they've stuck around ever since. He would much prefer drinking anything out of a bottle than a cup and his blanky and baba are consolation for any woes and seem to do the trick when sending him to day care at the gym or the nursery at church. Diesel can spit out a whole mouthful of jibberish when he has a lot to say (or is mad at us), and continues to adore his dad and beg for "baby ba bides" (piggy back rides) when Ryan comes home.Keeping up with the older boys has made him more adept at everything than any of the other boys were at this age. He can run and jump and kick a soccer ball better than any of them could at age two and he even holds a pencil better than Phoenix.
And he our snuggler, which of course we adore. One day in church he left our bench and wandered around the church scanning over the crowd until he found the right target - a gray haired cozy-looking old Haitian lady (that I'm sure we've never even spoken to before). He stopped in front of her, held his arms up and proceeded to lay his head down on her shoulder and snuggle up for a good few minutes. When he was done, he left her bench, wandered around again, found a nice middle-aged Hispanic woman and did the same. It was adorable. And amusing. You can sure make up for a lot of mischief when you come snuggle up to mom or dad after whatever crazy antics you might have been up to.
The twins are cute and fun and absolutely un-cuddly. They claim to be "allergic" to princesses, and everything else abominable (like whatever dinner I've made that is currently sitting in front of them). They still play together so well for the most part and seem to be better at the creative play than Cash was (I think their school has to do with this, but their writing isn't nearly as good as Cash's was at this age - also which I blame on their school). They struggle terribly with articulation and I've spent months trying to get them the free speech therapy through the state since our insurance won't cover it but it hasn't happened yet. They are, however, phenomenal readers for their age and Phoenix will bring home a Magic Tree House book from the book mobile and breeze through it in one day. (I think Cash who is a more resistant reader was finally feeling the pressure of getting shown up by the little brother so he came home from the bookmobile and read five of them in a day last weekend). With their articulation though, it makes me laugh so hard that they can read all these sophisticated words - sounding like they're speaking baby talk.
They really are so much like me I laugh sometimes - besides looks, they definitely got my love of food (the kind where I can tell they just can't get it out of their heads sometimes), and they even have love handles already just like their mom always has. And I can see they're not going to be the most agile athletes - just like me at that age. :) (Cash on the other hand has the much more moderate attitude towards food like Ryan, the same lanky skin-and-bones build that Ryan did growing up and is much more wiry and agile.)
Ashton is my meticulous and cautious one. He wants everything done perfectly, lined up correctly and colored with great precision. He wants me to be with him in any new situation or circumstance where he feels shy. He idolizes the "boy missionaries" at church and comes home and writes them letters every week and fills boxes with pictures and stuff to make packages for them. When we told him to give them to the missionaries at church though, he became totally starstruck and shy and couldn't go near them. :) Ashton is also my child with NO volume control and frequently speaks to me at the top of his lungs when I am an inch from his face.
Phoenix is far more reckless and will try anything on his own, march into any situation on his own, and is my requested substitute for me when Ashton is feeling shy and wants someone to go with him somewhere. When Ashton is reading and comes to a word he doesn't know he totally stops and won't go on. When Phoenix does he just plows through it saying whatever he thinks it is or makes it up. It's just funny to watch their different personalities. Phoenix also loves getting massages and trying to keep up with Cash in everything. He loves exercising on our elliptical and can do Just Dance for hours. He has always been the feisty one and this definitely comes out in his temperament. He can scream his face off for any length of time without tiring and will hurl projectiles at me when I try to open his bedroom door in an attempt to get him to stop. Let's hope that gets channeled into something productive when he grows up.
And while they're much easier than they used to be, the crazy antics haven't totally disappeared. A few weeks ago we went to our local Target. It is situated in kind of an outdoor mall with a parking garage in back of it and one road with some parallel parking in front of all the street-level shops. I had parallel parked in front, and trying to ensure safety while I got out the stroller to put Diesel in, I had instructed the kids to go stand at the tree on the sidewalk just to make sure they weren't near the road. As I am buckling Diesel in the stroller, I see some teenage boys walking by behind the car and can tell they're looking at the twins and smiling. Aw, I think to myself, even these tough teenage boys can't help but smile at the cute-ness of my identical twins. As I walk to the back of the car, I see Phoenix and Ashton zipping up their pants. "What are you doing??!" I blurt out. "Were you just PEEING right here?? 5 feet in front of Target and all these other storefront windows?!?" "But mom, you told us to." "What...? I... NOOOO, I told you to STAND by the tree, not PEE on it!" Goodness, when you're five years old standing in front of a restaurant window that's a little borderline public exposure rather than cute. :)
The twins are both so sweet with Diesel and take turns getting him to play with them. They currently can play for hours with their stuffed animals, love legos and Ninjago and Legends of Chima, and anything else their older brother thinks is cool.
And seriously I think these cap-and-gown pictures are so silly for Pre-K but Ashton never takes good pictures (he always scrunches up his nose giving him this gummy smile), so I couldn't believe he took better pictures than Phoenix this time (usually our photogenic one).