Friday, September 29, 2017

Greyden Roy at 5 Years Old

Dear Greyden Roy,

You are five years old now!!

You turned five on July 28th. I really can't wrap my head around how old you are. I still think of you as young because you're our baby, but really, there's nothing little about you anymore.

You are a little above average height and about average for weight/BMI. Your eyes usually look brown but in certain lights can appear hazel. Your hair is still light brown in the winter and blonde in the summer. You still have your small red birthmark on the bridge of your nose, and over the last year you developed a brown vertical line in the nail of your left pinky finger, which the pediatrician told us was no concern but just another thing to make you special. We also discovered in the last year that your epiglottis pops up and is visible in your throat when you open your mouth, which is another rare genetic variant you have. Left-handed, two partially-webbed toes on each foot, birth mark, line in finger nail, visible epiglottis, EoE, cyclic vomiting are a wonderful bundle of rarity, our dear child. :)

This year you are attending transitional kindergarten at your preschool, and then you'll go to kindergarten next year. Given your late summer birthday, we thought it'd be good for you to have another year before starting. I think you probably could have handled kindergarten, but we figured that waiting another year wouldn't hurt. Plus, it gives us more time to get a better grasp on your EoE food restrictions before you have to handle them all on your own at school.

You are such a fun kid to have in our lives. You have a very sweet personality with a strong goofy side. Although often shy at first, once you feel comfortable in a situation, you can be a bit of a clown. You love babbling goofy sayings and making silly faces. You're pretty darn cute right now, which of course causes us to laugh at your antics and likely encourage them even more. You tend to be very loud when you are excited, but you're not as over-the-top loud all the time like you used to be. You still don't say your "R"s properly, and sometimes not your "L"s, which is something we're working on, and also sometimes causes confusion when you're talking to someone. ("Pray" and "play" sound the same, and someone once thought your name was "Gleyden.") You do have the ability to say these sounds, but they don't come naturally to you and can cause you to stumble over your words if you try to use them.

You've been learning to read a little on your own lately, which is exciting. Your favorite books to read are Mo Willems piggy and elephant books. You love to read them out loud with special voices for the characters, especially if your daddy or I join you and read one of the character's voices. You've also been practicing writing, and will sound out and write entire sentences if you're making a card for someone. The letters are always all capitalized and all the words are spelled incorrectly, which actually makes it all the more adorable when you are clearly trying so hard. You also have a decent understanding of numbers, a lot of which I think has happened from being around Krew, who loves math.

You love playing on the iPad, just like your older brother. Your favorite game right now is Pokemon Shuffle, which you've unfortunately gotten me addicted to as well. We like to play it together during our one-on-one time. You also have a new Lego Batman iPad game you love. Your favorite non-electronic toys are action figures and Bey Blades.  Every time we turn around, you are wanting to buy a new Bey Blade with your saved money, which we've had to put a limit on. You already have so many that it seems there's no way you use them all. You also still love doing puzzles and games, and you are an awesome Skip-Bo player which leads to lots of fun games for the two of us since I love that game as well.

You are very into sports and especially competition. Football is your favorite game to watch, and you love playing in a soccer league twice a year. You also did swim team last summer, with your main goal being to earn a rainbow ribbon (which you did). You are a devoted follower of certain sports teams (Notre Dame, Panthers, NC State), and your favorite shirts to wear are your corresponding team jerseys. You still like to turn everything into a competition, as you did a year ago. Who can do it quickest? Who can do it best? Sometimes we'll be competing with you and not even realize it. After doing something, you'll say, "Mommy, did I do that faster than you?" Or you'll be working to beat your personal best, and you'll finish something and say, "Mommy, did I do that my fastest ever?" Although still a bit clumsy compared to many of your friends, you are falling less and less. Nonetheless, you do still trip over your own feet and I frequently find myself warning, "Greyden, don't fall!" when you start running on the pavement.

Your ornery streak that we were experiencing last year has passed, and now you are more considerate and kind with your words. You still have slip-ups, but in general you don't do things to intentionally hurt others' feelings anymore. Also, you take discipline much more seriously now than you used to, and it doesn't take much for your daddy or I to correct you when you do something wrong. In fact, you are quick to break into tears over discipline now, although you get over your sadness very, very quickly.

You still sing very well for your age, and will belt out songs when you don't feel that there's any attention on you. In fact, you like to sing when you're doing almost everything, especially when you're on the toilet. We frequently hear you belting out songs from the bathroom, the most popular one over the last year being your own rendition of Gloria in Excelsis Deo. When people are watching, however, you tend to shut down and only sing quietly if at all. Your favorite songs over the last year have been the Moana soundtrack, the Trolls soundtrack, and most recently, the Newsies soundtrack.

Last year your 4's teachers determined that you are in fact left-handed, and so you've been learning to write with your left hand. However, if we ask you to write with your right hand, the handwriting looks pretty similar. You also still use your right hand for a lot of other things. So I guess you're more ambidextrous than anything.

You are more and more seeming to be incredibly distractable. It takes you FOREVER to do everything because you are always getting sidetracked or thinking about something else. For example, for almost every meal, we have to remind you to keep chewing and eating. You'll just sit/stand there with food in your mouth, watching the room or interacting with someone or something other than your dinner. You can take 20 minutes to go to the bathroom, because you just lounge on the toilet and space off. Just this morning, your daddy found you standing in the bathroom with your hands running under the faucet, doing nothing else, and when he came into the room it jolted you back to reality and then you realized you hadn't even put soap on your hands yet. We oftentimes have to remind you multiple times to finish getting dressed, or to finish putting away those toys you were cleaning up. Along with this, you seem to have lots of energy. You never stay fully in your chair at dinnertime and are usually sitting half-on, half-off, which oftentimes turns into you fully standing to the side. You just can't sit there. And you need very little sleep. Although the frequency is lessening, you still come out of your room at night and will be awake until 10pm sometimes.

Krew is still your best friend, which brings my heart so much joy. You two play together all the time and honestly fight pretty rarely. We are very strict about the way you treat each other and quickly reprimand any misbehavior or even a mean tone of voice, but I also think your personalities play into it quite a bit. Despite being polar opposites in many ways, you complement each other well. For example, when Krew is scared, you are unfazed and will support him (such as going upstairs and turning on the lights for him). And when you don't yet have the physical ability or maturity to do something, Krew will step in and help you.

You are an incredibly resilient and forgiving boy. You always give other kids the benefit of the doubt, and if someone hurts you, you always get over it quickly and never hold a grudge. You still handle your food restrictions like a champ, happily eating your replacement foods when you can't have what others are having. We reintroduced fish, yeast, cocoa, bananas, and sunflower oil to your diet over the spring/summer, and your follow-up endoscopy showed that you stayed healthy, so you've gotten to keep those foods in your diet. Right now we are trialing chicken, peanuts, and tree nuts, and you'll have another endoscopy on Oct 12th where we find out if you get to keep those foods as well. Other than your EoE diagnosis, you are a very healthy boy. You'd don't get many colds, you are growing and developing well, and you have plenty of energy. We are so thankful.

You love being around people and hate to be alone. Lately you've been asking either your daddy, Krew, or I to come be in the bathroom with you to talk while you're on the toilet. You are also still very touchy. You love to be touching someone and to give hugs and kisses. For a while you were opposed to hand-holding, I think because it seemed like a baby behavior to you. Then I told you that when we hold hands, it's like our hands are hugging, and that's why I love it. Ever since then, you've been holding my hand all the time when we're walking places together. It's incredibly sweet.

Alright Roy Boy, I think that's all for now. We are so grateful for you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

Mommy (and Daddy)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Greyden Roy: 5-Year-Old Interview

Greyden turned 5 years old on July 28th! He had a fun birthday with several celebrations with family and friends.

I'll write a blog post all about who is he is at age 5 once I get some 5-year-old pictures taken of him and edited. For now, I hope this video will hold you over. :)

I asked him the same questions I asked Krew for his most recent 7-year-old interview. So these questions will be different from his 4-year-old video, but will hopefully capture more of his personality now and as he gets older. I've also posted his 4-year-old interview below.

Enjoy. :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Krewson Lee at 7 Years Old

Dearest Krewson Lee,

You have now been 7 years old for nearly three months. I've been stressed about writing this blog post for nearly two months. I'm excited to be finally sitting down to do it. :)

It's been so fascinating to me to see how the personality traits we saw in you at a very young age (even at age 2) have continued over time and have developed. You are our sensitive, introspective, and inquisitive boy. It's been that way from the beginning and I'm thinking it will continue to be that way into the far future.

But really, I love that about you. I love your sensitivity, your emotions, your tenderness. You feel deeply but that means you love deeply. You hate to hurt others and often become very upset when you realize you've done so, even if it was an accident. You do your best to make sure that your daddy and I always know that you love us, through your hugs and cards and gifts and attention. You have so many children who consider you a friend at school, and I know it's because of your sweet, kind personality.

You are also a very cautious, careful, and responsible child. Although I wouldn't, I think I could leave you home alone for quite a while and you would be fine. You'd probably follow most of the house rules, even without someone there to hold you to them. You do not like to take risks, and you are very aware of safety, often cautioning us about "precarious" situations ("Mommy, make sure you put that candle up high so that the dogs can't bump it, and also put it in a bowl so just in case it does fall over, it lands inside the bowl and doesn't catch the house on fire..."). You are also a perfectionist, and become upset when something you've done doesn't meet your high standards. Because of this, we actually haven't even told you yet that you get report cards. We don't want you worrying about them any earlier than you have to.

Of course, your sensitivity can also make things harder for you. I'm trying to be careful with my words here, because you're at the age now where I don't want to say things that would embarrass you if you read them online. But I think you'd be ok if I said this: You struggle sometimes with participating in your extracurricular activities such as soccer, swim team, and piano, because they cause extreme anxiety for you (even though you do really well at all of them). I think it makes it hard for you at school as well, when you're the center of attention. We are working through this together, though, learning day by day and helping you find ways to overcome your anxiety when it keeps you from doing things you want to do. Also, certain things such as movies and parts of books or even comments that people say to you can really affect you emotionally. You will readily admit this to others and often tell people, "I don't like movies" if they ask to watch one with you. And you will tell us when we have hurt your feelings or said something that makes you sad. I'm so grateful you feel you can be honest with us and tell us what's going on. And we are working together on figuring out these emotions. We got this, buddy.

On the other hand, once you are comfortable with someone, you can become quite outgoing, goofy, talkative, and even a bit of a smart aleck. I also enjoy this side of you because it keeps me laughing and on my toes.

You started your piano lessons in April and have really been doing well. You are currently learning the difference between 4/4 and 3/4 time. You also just finished another season of soccer, with your daddy as the coach, and you're currently beginning your second season of swim team. You do well at all of these activities (especially when you're able to overcome your fears), and I love seeing you figure out how your body works. You've always been very attuned to the details of movement, and it shows as you're learning how to position your fingers in piano, kick a ball, or learn swim strokes.

You love to learn, build, and create. Your favorite activities are Minecraft, Legos, K'Nex, drawing, and making creations out of cardboard boxes. Your reading ability just recently shot through the roof, and now you've begun reading chapter books such as The Magic Tree House. You are loving this and it makes me SO excited because I am a book lover myself.

You lost your third tooth five nights ago (it was your first top tooth, the one on the right when we look at you), and you now have the cutest giant gap in the top of your mouth. It really makes you seem older to me, seeing that hole in your smile. It's going to be crazy when a giant adult tooth comes in! You don't get to see the missing tooth in these pictures because I took these back in the beginning of April, but I have plenty of other photos of it. :)

You and your little brother are best friends now and play together all the time. It really is so wonderful, and I feel so fortunate that you get along. Not that you never get into spats, because you do. But they're pretty infrequent and pretty quickly over when they do happen. I'm so, so grateful for your friendship and plan to do all I can to foster it and help it to stay strong as you both grow.

Your first year of elementary school has gone well. You've learned to read, as I mentioned, and also still love math and can do addition problems with fairly large numbers and also some simple multiplication problems. You do well at writing, but you don't enjoy it. You complain about how much you have to write in school, and I hate to tell you that it's going to be that way for the next 12+ years. You are tracked out right now, but go back to school in a week and a half. Then you'll be in school for three and a half more weeks before you have a week off and then begin first grade. I'm honestly very sad that you'll be leaving your current kindergarten teacher, because she has been an incredible blessing to us this year. Hopefully your first grade teacher will be just as awesome. :)

Alright buddy boy, I think that's all for now.

Love you SO MUCH!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Krewson Lee: 7-Year-Old Interview

Krew turned 7 on March 5th! He had several mini birthday celebrations with family, we met some friends at a bounce house one night, and then he even gained an aunt on his birthday day (welcome to the family, Amber)!

As usual, I'll soon be doing a blog post to sum him up at age 7. But first, here is his annual interview. I decided to switch up the questions a little this year from past years, to be more relevant and personal and really capture more of who he is. I'm hoping these same questions will continue to work as he grows older, and also with Greyden in his birthday interviews.

Enjoy the interview! Past interviews are posted below, too, so you can see how he's changed. :)

Age 7:

Age 6:

Age 5:

Age 4:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Greyden Roy at 4 Years Old

Hey there Roy Boy,

It seems to be my rhythm these days that I post the yearly updates for you and your brother a few months late. Better late than never, though, right? I just want to be able to remember your personalities and quirks, the things that made me and your daddy laugh when you were these ages, the things that made you YOU.

You turned four years old on July 28th, 2016, and you were excitedly talking about it for at least the six months prior. You just couldn't wait for the big day.

We had a few small get-togethers with family and friends, and those were good enough "parties" for you. You of course got more presents than we knew what to do with, but you loved it all.

Let's see, what are you like at age 4...

You are loud and excited. Oh so loud and excited. You really struggle turning the volume down, even in just normal face-to-face conversation. You just can't help but belt out whatever you want to say with extreme enthusiasm. You are vocal and expressive and SO excited about life. It takes very little to get you wound up, wiggling and jumping around and shouting out goofy words. It's hard to get you to sit still long because you're easily distracted and ready to move on to the next thing. You're a very happy-go-lucky boy about most things, and even when something upsets you, you brush it off a moment later. Tears rarely last more than a minute or two, and you're incredibly quick to forgive.

You have never-ending energy and really don't sleep much. You're always wired at night time and rarely fall asleep quickly. Almost every night you get out of bed at least twice between the time we officially tell you goodnight and the time we climb into bed ourselves. You have all kinds of excuses for getting out of bed - you're hot, you're cold, you can't get your covers pulled on correctly, you need us to wipe your bottom, you need water, you can't find your stuffed animal...the list goes on and on until Daddy and I are about to pull our hair out. And then you're almost always up early in the morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to seize the day. You have to wait until your clock turns green at 7am to come out of your room, and then you'll go wake up Daddy and stick your face into his and announce, "Daddy, it's green o'clock!" Sometimes you'll sleep in until 8:45 or so, but that's a rarity. I swear you need less sleep than me. I'm not sure how you do it.

You love music and singing, and if you're not talking then you're usually singing. You frequently sing about things as you're doing them, making up words and the tune as you go. You can still sing on pitch fairly well, as you've been able to do since you were two. It still impresses me and I just hope that you continue to like singing as you grow older. You have a strong, clear voice and I'd hate to see your ability to sing go to waste...but at the same time I am determined to not force my dreams onto you or your brother. I want to let you grow to pursue your OWN dreams, even if that doesn't include singing as I've always wished I could. :)

You still have an ornery streak as you have for a while. It's not uncommon for you say things that are intentionally hurtful or self-serving, and so we've been working on learning to use our words to love people and not be mean. You can be very sneaky and are very quick to use white lies to cover up things you've done if you're worried what you did was wrong. You're incredibly skilled at coming up with quick excuses that sound logical, and I oftentimes find myself stumbling over my words as I try to respond to your reasonable-sounding explanations for your misbehavior. When we do discipline you, your face will become downcast and you'll immediately apologize in a remorseful voice. But then two seconds later you'll be grinning and laughing again. I'm never sure if our lessons and disciplines are getting through to your heart, or if you're just acting the way you believe we want you to so that the moment will pass. It's a tricky thing.

You're still very accident-prone and give me about 800 panic attacks per day. Every time I hear a thump or bang or yell, my heart jumps through my chest wondering if you're hurt. You always have bruises and scrapes and cuts. When you run on the pavement, your daddy and I both cringe inside because you trip and fall so frequently. You're falling less than you used to, thank goodness, but it still happens.

You love cars and action figures and all kinds of sports. You love, LOVE playing on a soccer team. When your team scrimmages, you keep track of the score and run over to me and daddy on the sidelines to enthusiastically update us on the points after each goal. You always want to play football in the house or throw a frisbee outside or kick a soccer ball or swing a bat. Or wrestle. Basically anything physical and competitive, you love it. In fact, you turn almost everything into a competition. It seems to be in your blood. It doesn't matter if you're getting dressed, brushing your teeth, cleaning up toys, or getting in the car - everything is a race or a test to see who can win. Oftentimes we don't even know we're competing with you until we lose.

You also love to play make believe, and even when playing by yourself, we'll overhear you talking for your action figures, having them live out their pretend lives. You love playing nearly anything with your brother. He is most definitely your best friend and I would say you are probably his now as well, although he may not willingly admit it. Your daddy and I felt like we waited so long for you two to get along, and sometimes we wondered if the day would ever come when you'd play together. Now you've become favorite playmates and do almost everything together, and your daddy and I talk quite frequently about how incredibly happy it makes our hearts to see you loving and enjoying each other.

You're in the 4s class at preschool now, and since starting this school year you've finally learned how to hold a pencil correctly, hurray! And you're totally a lefty, which is just yet another genetic quirk of yours that we've found. (Add that to your brown eyes, two partially webbed toes on each foot, and, bless-your-heart, rare health conditions.) Now that you can hold a writing utensil, you're starting to write and draw more which is precious. You still really don't like coloring much, and your coloring pictures from school often crack me up. It always looks like you scribbled the absolute minimum necessary to get your teacher's approval so she'll call it done. But you are now writing your name and drawing pictures on your own accord, and that's very exciting.

In terms of health, you're growing well, learning well, and abounding in energy. At your 4-year checkup in August you were 40 inches tall (42nd percentile) and weighed 37.9 lbs (67th percentile). You continue to be on your restricted diet and handle it like a champ. You're very trustworthy and careful with your restrictions, but at the same time you don't let them get you down. Very rarely do you seem sad or left out when you can't eat what others are eating around you. I thank God for your easy-going personality, because it's made this journey with you so much easier, on both you and everyone around you.

We're so grateful to have you in our lives, little buddy. You make us laugh and challenge us, and we can't imagine our lives without you.

Love you lots,