Happy holidays!

Another year has come and gone, and this one was a doozy.

Santa2019-199We’ll start off with a toast. At Thanksgiving, we went around the room starting with Nashi to say what we’re thankful for. He says something like “pies and Mama” and it goes around the dozen or so people in attendance. Papaya is last, and this is clearly the first time she’s seen this happen, but we still ask her what she’s thankful for. Seeing everyone go in front of her, I figured she’d pick up on it enough to say something like “ice cream and snuggles,” or “Mama and unicorns,” and I was prepared for her to either just turn away in silence or yell “toilet head!”

Instead, she rolls right into something like “I am thankful for my Mama, Papa, Nashi, Grandmas, and whole family. I love everyone and my house and what we have.”

Super earnest, and doesn’t even realize it’s the sweetest thing a three year old has ever said in the history of humans. My nose starts stinging and I feel this strange burning sensation behind my eyes and all of the sudden I find myself working very hard to fight back my body’s newfound need to loud-wet-and-ugly-sob in front of my wife, children, and in-laws, not to mention all over my turkey. I already know what I’m going to see when I look to my left and yep, the wife is done for over there as well.

This, from the same little being that now is capable of tantrums that result in 20-30 minutes worth of screaming at the top of her lungs. A recent episode: she’s in a hot tub having a great time in Seabrook, WA, where we rented a house for Xmas.

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The calm before the storm

Sitting next to her two favorite people in the world, Mama and Nashi, she’s splashing water out of the tub which I tell her not to do. She does it again to test and I tell her she’s going to have to come out of the hot tub if she keeps doing it again. She does it again. “Ok, you have to come out” I say, and she reaches up to scratch Mama’s face. I pull her out and that starts a screaming fit, which lasts through the remaining time Mama and Nashi stay in, get out, get our final things in order as it was our last activity before checkout, get in the car, and start driving home before she finally passes out with a half eaten pepperoni stick in her mouth. She’s like an angry, exhausted, drunk, hungry sailor. Lord help us when she’s physically larger AND attains a full arsenal of swear words.

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She continues to live a big life full of big feelings. Figuring no four walls and ceiling can contain her, Mama placed her in the same forest school that Nashi attended, except she’s doing it five days a week. I was concerned about it since she has been way more particular about being outside in cold and rain by comparison to her brother. Fortunately, she took to it right away and seems to love it.

From the recent parent teacher conference, I’ve learned she’s often a ring leader of activity and other kids are often excited to see her. This further supports my theory that she’s going to be a very popular friend for nights out at a bar. Don’t expect to stay sober if Papaya’s at the party – she’ll getcha on board.

Nashi continues to love soccer, fighting, and building. In soccer, his footwork has improved quite a bit now that we’ve focused on incorporating it into our playing at home. It used to be just about shooting goals (which he’s quite good at now as well) so once I saw where he was weakest during his games I knew the kind of things to add.

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Mama has continued coaching into the winter season, due to popular demand

The fighting is our “karate” game where we basically just battle each other with various ridiculous moves. Admittedly, I introduced them all including the lighting shooting gloves, jackhammer, power drill, and dump truck where I dump him off the bed while saying I’m taking out the trash. Papaya has picked up on this as well and sometimes it becomes a two-on-one “battle” game on the couch. Papaya’s favorite move is saying to Nashi “I’ll handle this!” and then jump and land on my chest with her knees to which I yell out “Bluahh!” in pain.

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They created a battlefield for one of the fights

The building keeps getting more and more elaborate. He has all kinds of amazing toys that involve building, and he sometimes mixes and matches. Having access to scotch tape has set him free. This one is a motor he attached to a boat:

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Then it turned into some kind of hybrid car that includes a solar propeller.

He’s learned more about the concept of money, although he’s usually pretty far off on what costs how much. He has this pouch full of change now, along with some dollar bills. Once we determined it was at about $5, he asked if that could buy a lollipop. We’ve let him buy a few things at the grocery store and it’s super cute. Better still, he once offered to buy his mom a tea so I let him pay for it. So proud!

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He’s also learned how to navigate Spotify. He loves a wide variety of music, and loves DJ’ing in general. He gets in trouble and loses DJ privileges if he keeps playing the same song over and over again, or if he keeps moving through songs within seconds of starting it. Because it’s super annoying. If he dips too far into Mama’s music I have to steer him back away before he starts asking what bitches and hoes means.

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Violin is also moving along nicely as he’s now learning more songs other than the variations of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

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Playing a duet with his teacher

The biggest milestone is that Nashi is reading! We were told he is behind in reading skills (but keep in mind he’s the youngest in his grade so “behind” is a very relative term here). Still, Mama started a routine at home a few months ago and now he’s reading. Is there anything better than that voice/cadence of a newly reading child? He’s clearly picking up on the incredible empowerment of being able to read, because now he’s pointing out random things as we walk and drive around in the world and reading random signs, instruction, and posters. It’s of course not something I think about anymore, but being able to read really unlocks so many things in this world, and watching that transition for my own child is an amazing thing. He can read most letters in hiragana too, which is a pretty cool cherry on top. Soon enough, I’ll get him exposed to the vast and wonderful world of manga.

Here comes 2020. Really hoping for a less stressful home life this coming year, as there have been so many life impacting events outside the world of children, and just keeping up with them is such a full task when balancing it with full time jobs. Here’s to good health, big growth, and lots of laughter in the new year!

Xmas was a total score for them too.

 

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