Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Aaron's Third Birthday and Andrew's 18 Month Birthday

Wow! My firstborn is turning 3? I don't have two boys two years old and under anymore? I don't have only babies in the house any more? Andrew is already 18 months old? How did that happen? It sure seems like both Aaron and Andrew were just born not too long ago. I am finding the saying "Some days can be long, but the years are short" to be very true.

Andrew is an amazing son.  He as always excelled at anything related to physical development. His all of his motor skills (both gross and fine) have always been his most advanced abilities. Of course, he is trying to keep up with his big brother. He can throw and hit a ball almost as well as Aaron can, and he can already walk on his tip-toes. He doesn't quite have the running motion down yet, but his walking speed can be just about as fast as running. The other day, he decided he wanted to watch a Thomas The Tank Engine video, so he took it upon himself to plug the portable DVD player into the tablet computer and press enter to start it. Andrew was the only one in the room, so it had to be him. This speaks highly of his fine motor and computer skills and sheds light on why the USB ports are wearing out.

Everyone here says Andrew is very fat. At 27.5 pounds and 33 inches tall he does dwarf the Chinese 18-month-olds. But he is hardly fat since he is in the 75th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height (by American standards). I think that that is a pretty good weight for his height. We take it as a compliment that he is of healthy constitution.

Andrew is just developing the ability to sit still for more than a minute. An ability he lost temporarily when he learned to walk at 9 months. As such, he can read a couple of words and letters, but is just starting to develop a real interest in learning. Now he loves to look at the computer, books, and pictures. His verbal skills are starting to take off once again too.  He is rapidly adding to his vocabulary, both in English and Chinese. His desire to communicate meaningfully is kicking in, and he loves to "talk" about everything he sees, whether in English, Chinese, sign language, or by simply making Animal noises. The last activity is one of his favorites as of late, especially snorting like a pig.

Aaron is an equally amazing son with different strengths. At three years old, he already knows words in four languages, reads English proficiently at about 4th grade level, and uses a computer almost too well for his age.  Once he surprised me by using the table of contents to find his favorite Winne-the-Pooh story. His daddy taught him how to use a table of contents and how to use a computer, so it is no surprise he is great at it.

At three years old he is 33 pounds and 38½ inches tall, which is 80th percentile for height and 65th percentile for weight. We know he is growing a lot lately because he is eating more than Andrew again. He loves to run, jump, and climb trees, and he is getting much better at throwing and hitting balls.

Aaron is starting to make clearer, more purposeful lines and drawings. He loves to cut and glue things. So far this hobby has been contained to approved paper. He loves to help around the house and is beginning to be a really useful boy. Aaron can help set the table, clear dishes (we use metal camping dishes), put dishes in the dish drainer, hang up and fold diapers and diaper wipes, shake out the rugs, and pick up toys. He also loves to help mommy when she is cooking and baking, although perhaps his favorite part is licking the spoon.

Andrew and Aaron's favorite fictional characters are from Winnie-the-Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Since we had a Winnie-the-Pooh party for Aaron's second birthday, we went with Thomas this time. We found Thomas coloring pages online and colored a bunch of them for decorations. I put them up the night before Aaron's birthday so that he would see them first thing in the morning.

The birthday fun started when Aaron awoke while I was blowing up balloons for him. Aaron and Andrew ran around naming all of the engines and singing the "Doodle-doot Song" (their name for Thomas's classic theme song). Aaron had great fun picking out which color balloon should be next and naming each after an engine of the same color.

We had breakfast and talked to both sets of grandparents on Skype. Aaron was super excited, except when his grandparents tried to sing the birthday song to him. For some reason, Aaron decided he hated the Happy Birthday Song being sung to him. He got cranky each time the grandparents sang to him.

That afternoon, as part of the boys present, we took them to their two favorite places: Walmart and KFC. Behind Walmart there are those funny little toy vehicles that you put a coin in and they move and sing for a while. The boys were thrilled that they each got a ride one and then play a wack-a-mole game. After that, we went to KFC for ice cream cones, and the boys played in the playplace for a long time. Well, they played in the playplace until Andrew discovered that he can now climb into the KFC highchairs by himself. These new jungle gyms then became the most exciting thing around.

We had a few of our friends over for a small party that night. Three girls in their twenties are probably not the most traditional guests at a 3-year-old's party, but these are some of Aaron's favorite people here. At first, he said that he didn't want any birthday party, and then later he said that these guests could come to Andrew's half birthday party. It's a good thing it was the same party because Aaron actually loved it when they came. The six-year-old boy we invited was busy, and we decided against inviting kids from the neighborhood because Aaron is so bothered whenever their grandmothers try to touch his blond hair. The small party was just right.

Nate printed some extra Thomas pages to color at the party and a complete set of coloring pages as a gift for Aaron. I also made some Thomas themed games. The boys had fun with the games, even though they didn't really follow the traditional way to play Bozo buckets or pin the tail on the donkey. It is easier, after all, not to have to stand behind a line or use a blindfold. Everyone got prizes anyway. Andrew made sure that everyone had plenty of prizes; he loved passing them out.

I made a cake with a map of the Island of Sodor (from Thomas the Tank Engine) and put Henry (engine number 3) on top for Aaron and a half a cake with a Thomas (engine number 1) for Andrew. Once again, Aaron said that he didn't want the birthday song sung to him, but he said we could sing to Andrew. So, we sang a general Happy Birthday song to both of them. Aaron then proceeded to blow out his three candles and Andrew's one candle. Poor guy, we had to light it again so that Andrew could blow it out himself.

We ate cake, ice cream cones, and watermelon, and then the boys opened a few simple gifts. Our friends brought Aaron a bunch of cars and stickers. We gave Aaron a few gifts we made and bought both Aaron and Andrew a plastic bat and ball. Aaron couldn't have been more excited. He stayed up late looking at all of his new things and coloring his coloring pages. Then he announced that he was ready to go to bed, laid down, and fell asleep instantly.

A few days later, when the packages arrived from the grandparents, it was celebration time all over again. The boys just kept opening presents until everything was spread out all over the floor. Then they play with the new toys all afternoon. Aaron got so sad when we all needed to go out for a couple of minutes to pay the electric bill, even though we said we would take him to the park on the way back. He is usually begging to go outside, so the gifts from the grandparents were a huge hit.

It has been a wonderful  (albeit sometimes grumpy) year with Aaron, and we look forward to seeing what God will bring in the next year of his life.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about all of this! You are doing a great job at recording all of these experiences!


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