Riley: My right hand, my best friend, you see me at my best and my worst, but you never stop being there for me.
You are the most mature 5 year old I know. Are all five year olds like you? I've never lived with one, but Ella and Nolan have a lot to live up to when they are five years old. Your conversations can be very serious. You are very conscious of things you can do to help me out around the house and you try and do those things.
Maybe more than anyone else, you are ready for your daddy to come home. You always talk about what you and he are going to do together. When I mentioned Daddy might be able to go to your field trip with you, you just about went crazy. You were glowing with happiness. I have no doubt that you will be the happiest girl on the field trip.
Riley, you love to play with your brother and sister. You and Ella spend a lot of time in your room, and most recently, on your bed. You're happy if Ella play with you all the time. I know this stage won't last, but I do hope you and Ella are best friends.
Ella: Spirited. That's how I would describe you. You're usually either really happy or really mad. There isn't much in between.
I've put off mentioning anything about your speech development, like what words you are saying. The main reason for putting it off is because you haven't been talking. At your 1 year and 15 month check ups, you weren't hitting the speech milestones that most kids hit. At first, I was confident that there wasn't a problem and just kept waiting for you to pick up talking. It never really happened. The end of October came and other than Paw-paw and Dada, that was all you would say. According to your doctor, you should have been saying about 5 words. You had tubes put in last May and I assumed your hearing had been thrown off, and that had contributed to delayed speech. I think I felt the need for reassurance and I wanted to know if there was a problem that we could do something about to help you start talking, so I had a speech therapist come evaluate you.
I wasn't sure how much you would cooperate, and you mainly played in my lap the whole time the therapists were there. They asked me questions and observed you for about 45 minutes. And the results? Well, you do have a 2 month delay in your speech. Your perception and comprehension were also measured, and turns out you are advanced in those areas. You're just not talking! I'm relieved to know that there isn't a significant problem. The therapists said to keep watching and waiting for you to start talking, be more explanatory when I talk to you, and read picture books more often.
After a week home from day care over Thanksgiving, even your care giver at day care noticed the progress you made while out. For some reason you started saying several words over the break. No, Mommy, puppy, Ri-ri, Nolan, No-no (short for Nolan), and a clear no. "Do you want to get out of the bath tub?" "NO!" "Do you want to get down?" "NO!" "Do you want to eat?" "NO"! "Do you want to go bye-bye?" "NO!" Basically, any question I ask you the answer is and emphatic NO! I'll take it! You also like to point your finger while saying no. I don't know where that came from.
Nolan: Last week I attempted introducing cereal to you. You are at the point where your bottle doesn't really fill you up. You even have to be topped off after I drop you off at day care. I feed you right before we leave for school, and then you have to be fed one hour later. A little snack. Riley and Ella both ate cereal really well right from the beginning. Not you, buster. The first bite is about all you can manage. Anything after that and you clamp your lips completely shut. You refuse to even let the spoon in your mouth. I'm kind of at a loss about what to do next. I've tried sweetening the cereal with bananas, but nothing seems to appease you. Another factor is the chaos in the mornings before leaving for school. I don't have time to sit and mess with spoon feeding you. I just don't have the time. I'll try again in a couple weeks.
Your sisters are crazy about you. They both love to give you hugs and kisses. Ella is still a little rough with you, but she is so loving. I think she's your biggest fan. Won't things be fun in one year?
You've been very handsy lately. Your hands are always in your mouth. Consequently, they stay cold most of the time. Riley hates your hands being so cold and always asks why they are cold. You are starting to play with rattles. Most 4 month olds are rolling over, but not you. You can get to your side, but you have absolutely no desire to roll. You never even try. Honestly, you don't lay in the floor very often. Ella is just too rambunctious for me to let you lay around. She already steals your pacifier at every given opportunity. If you are in the floor, she likes to climb all over you. You get knocked around a great deal! Therefore, I hold you. A lot.
So last week over Thanksgiving break I made sure to let you lay around, thinking you would probably start rolling over. I guess you need a little more practice!
Mornings are pretty hectic; nights are fine after 5:30. Trying to have a supper cooked (quickly, since Ella likes to eat at 4:30) and kids bathed is a little intense. Once I've got the babies to bed I can do my chores and maybe relax a little. Riley and I spend our evenings reading and coloring. It's nice to have alone time with her. She's easy to talk to. When she goes to bed at 8:00 I really start relaxing! Most of the time I'm in the bed at 9:00. Worn out!
I don't think I will be able to write another newsletter if Henry isn't in it. I feel guilty when I tell Riley I can't play with her because I know her daddy would play with her all night if he were here. When he's gone I try to make decisions and discipline like he would want me to. He's always in the back of my mind around here. He should be home in less than a week, but I've said that more than once. I'm really hoping that this time, he will be home in less than a week. I need him!
To my kids: I'm so happy God chose me to be your Mommy. Riley, I couldn't make this life without you. Ella, you keep me on my toes every minute. Nolan, you're my handsome devil and sweet baby boy. Love you all so much!
Love, Mama (Ella says, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!")