Nolan: Four Years Old #kids #parenting #motherhood #preschool

HOW is it that my "baby", my last child, is four years old?

Life sure has sped by since Nolan was born but, when I hold him in my arms as we sit and read books every night and he asks me for one more kiss, it feels like he was just born!

All about Nolan, or what I can recall at this moment:

Nolan is quick to memorize story lines from books, television shows, songs, and even movies and we often find him repeating them through out the day. For example: he knows the entire Team Umizoomi episode with Farmer Dan when all the animals go missing. He can recite every single line and gets a real giggle when you chime in to play one of the parts- I've watched it enough times I can almost play Farmer Dan myself! :) It's no secret he loves Frozen and knows nearly all the words to every song but it blows our minds that he can recite entire scenes from that film! He has his favorite songs that he will insist we let play over the radio when we happen upon them including "Sugar" by Maroon Five, "All About that Bass" by Meghan Trainor, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift, and "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry. Oh, and only the artists are allowed to sing their songs, not anyone else in the car!

Nolan LOVES wheels!!! {That statement NEEDED three exclamation points because it's such a huge part of who he is} Wheels on the bike he learned to ride without training wheels at only three years old, wheels on the scooter he mastered before age three, wheels on wheelchairs, shopping carts, strollers, parked vehicles, stationary bikes at the gym, on his beloved train set, on the 200+ Matchbox cars he owns and plays with daily, and even the wheels on his sister's rolling backpack. The kids loves the mechanics of them and the push/pull action of playing with them. He's never not ecstatic about getting a new toy with wheels! Some other things he really enjoys is playing with Kinetic sand and playdoh, doing puzzles (especially shapes!), using the Tag Reader on the collection of books we have (Pixar's Cars are his favorites), building the marble run, using a cash register, building a set of train tracks, being read to and flipping through books himself, shooting hoops, using watercolors, building towers with Legos, riding his scooter and his bike, kicking his soccer ball, playing match games, climbing the big trees at our local parks, riding carnival rides at our local zoo, and swimming. We can't believe how good Nolan is at all electronic games. Like most kids, he was exposed to Leapfrog electronic hand-held games at an early age and is very savvy. He has his own set of headphones, thanks to Gram, and loves to just "play pen" quietly in our playroom by himself.

Nolan is a keen observer, sharply in-tune with other's feelings, often crying when other people are hurt or sad or having a tantrum for reasons that have nothing to do with him. He can be heard saying "oh, she's sad, she misses her mommy" or "oh, he has a boo-boo and needs a kiss", almost as a way to talk himself into not being upset and that everything is okay. It's very sweet to see so much empathy in my child. As parents, we have to be careful not to be too harsh or loud when reprimanding Nolan because it's easy to overwhelm him and hurt his feelings. He's quick to understand when he's made a bad choice if you address him calmly with a kind tone. He's also quick with the "are you okay?"s when someone falls down near him and the "I'm alright"s when he's the one to go down. David and I are thrilled at how clearly he communicates - it will serve him well in life!

He's a very affectionate child, always freely giving hugs and kisses and high-fives and "good-bye, I'll miss you"s. He loves to be held and hugged, doesn't resist hand-holding (much), and still loves to climb up in your lap to read books or watch a movie.

We don't have Nolan on any kind of rigid schedule... he has his whole life to be on a schedule! Whenever he wakes up for the day is when he wakes up and that's because I still stay at home full time with him and David works very non-traditional, late morning hours. He typically sleeps until about 8:30am, which is oh so lovely on weekends; however, I do have David get him up around 7:45am on the days I have an early gym class (Nolan goes with me every day) so that he has time to wake up, play, have breakfast, and is more willing to leave home. It's funny to me that Nolan is such a home-body. He loves to wake up on his own, be brought downstairs to the playroom, and spend a  leisurely morning playing with his cars and trains before having breakfast, getting dressed, and going about the day. I've learned you cannot rush this boy anywhere. It really stresses him out (he will start squawking and physically resist being moved!) to be told "hurry up!" so building in extra time for him on days we have somewhere to be helps a great deal with his willingness to do what you want him to do. Is this typical for four year olds? I'm going to assume it's typical for all kids of all ages. :)

Age three to four seems to be a huge time of transition for most kids, especially surrounding naps and bed times. We thought Nolan was transitioning out of his daily naps this last month as he would insist, nearly beg, he wasn't tired and wanted to play. After a few days in a row without a mid-day nap, he would become so overtired he couldn't even sleep at night! It was a rough recovery. So, I went back to putting him down for a nap every day, about 5-6 hours after he awoke for that particular day and he sleeps anywhere from 2 - 4 hours. He hasn't had any trouble going back to bed for the night, after he has had about a 12 hour day... so far. We will see how it all goes this fall when he starts Preschool and has to be up with an alarm (7:00am!).

For now, Nolan is still sleeping comfortably in his crib. Hey, if it's not broke, don't try and fix/change it! Right? :) He sleeps crammed up in one corner, on his stomach, with his knees drawn up to his chest. He will softly rock side to side as a soothing ritual to put himself to sleep and David and I both fear he won't do well in a "big boy bed" right now. And since potty-training is still spotty and definitely not something happening at night, we don't feel the rush to change anything right now. I think we will all know when that times comes. He's also so small, barely 36" tall and 34lbs, his crib is still perfect!

Ah, potty-training. It's clear he's beginning to make the body-to-brain connection as he has told us many times, when in the tub or between diaper changes, he needs to "pee pee" and has gone successfully on his own, but it's not something we want to push at all. We ask him every morning, after meals, before nap, and before bed if he feels the urge to use the potty and, lately, his answer has been "yes" more than it's been "no". He knows where the potty is, we've been working on the pulling down/up of his pants and Pull-ups (we wear them when at home), and we aren't at all making a big deal out of any misses or accidents. His Preschool takes kids in diapers no matter how old because age is not an indicator of readiness and we really appreciate this. He won't go to school in diapers...

Nolan is what I would call somewhat of a picky eater. Again, it's just not something we fret over because it's not going to last forever! He loves french toast and multi-grain pancakes, bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, cheeses, smoothies/yogurt, ALL fruits, broccoli, peas, snap peas, black beans, macaroni 'n cheese, and almost all crunchy, salty, snack items. He will eat pasta (quinoa and/or brown rice with Organic marinara!) and grilled cheese sandwiches as well. But not much else. I offer a serving of whatever we are eating daily but he continues to leave it on his plate. We're good with that! Emily's palate began to open up around 6-7 years old and I know he will come around one day, too.

Nolan is a petite little boy. He's just now wearing size 3T shirts and jackets but is still mostly in size 2T pants and shorts. He wears a size 9 shoe and size 5 diaper. He's pretty vocal about what he wears, wanting to choose his outfit each morning, and, ever since he dropped a toy on his toe and lost that toe nail - it was quite traumatic, he insists on wearing socks all day and night! David indulges him. :) He has his four year well check and physical in late July, when we return from our summer vacation, and I'm not at all looking forward to it as he has immunizations scheduled. Ugh. When does that ever get easier?

Nolan loves being around other kids! I've never met a kid more excited to enter a room, be it the gym daycare, the zoo, the children's museum, or when picking Emily up after school. He waves and often says "hey guys!". It's the cutest thing ever but you can literally hear his little heart break when they ignore him. He is eager to play beside anyone, regardless of age! I can't wait for him to start Preschool, he is going to LOVE it! I still take him places every day. Mostly the gym daycare but we also have memberships to the local zoo, three children's museum and our local aquarium and indoor bounce house that we visit once a week. His favorite part of the day is still when his sister comes home from school (about 3:00pm) because she really plays WITH him. She loves to get down on the floor with the train set, Maganatiles, puzzles, and Matchbox car race sets and engage him in play. They play chase and tickle Monster, too!

Nolan appears to be fairly patient and persistent with most things in general but when he's not able to get something to work quite right, he screams, swats at things, and often throws items he's frustrated with. {sigh} He has no trouble expressing himself verbally ("I need your help!", "The __ is stuck", "___ won't work!", "Help me ___") but we are still working on helping him not react physically. I guess we're just thankful he's not a hitter or biter! I think the peer influence from Preschool will help a lot with this. Any suggestions?

Emily is Nolan's favorite person on earth. It's clear he looks up to her for guidance and assistance and very much wants to do and have every thing she does and has. He loves when she acknowledges him daily, invites him to play when she has friends over, helps him build and play, and even when she offers him her daily hug and high fives. He knows her name is Emily but still prefers to call her "Bappy" and he notices when she's not around, asking when she's coming back. He's also starting with the "I want some, too!" regarding anything she has: new clothes, a snack, even punishment!

One thing that really upsets Nolan is when you leave his line of sight. He will start crying, calling for you, begging you to "come back to me". I can't take out the trash nor check the mail without him right beside me. It's sudden and came out of nowhere! He's fine to be left with the gym daycare or Gram or the other parent but if it's just me and him and I leave the room he's in, he panics. Also, I've noticed that the moment we pull into a parking spot and I turn the car off, he starts asking "are you going to leave me here?". I've never left that child in the car! It's the strangest fear of abandonment.

Nolan's favorite phrase is "I don't like that!". He got it from me, no doubt. I swear, I say it like a dozen times a day and had no clue until I heard him using it. ha! At least he expresses himself, right?

A little quirk about Nolan is that he can't stand for anyone or the wind to mess with his hair! He wants it laying flat down against his head at all times. No gel nor any kind of fancy cut for this man.

I'm sure there's more, couldn't we all just ramble on and on about our children? We just love our little Diggy and are really looking forward to upcoming adventures including Preschool and Nolan's first trip to Disneyland this fall!


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