When My Last Baby Turned 4


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

When My Last Baby Turned 4

John David, enjoying a birthday cupcake

This summer my baby, John David, turned FOUR. He was quite pleased with himself.

Was I sad that my last baby is not so much a baby anymore? Well, no, not really because I have babied the stew out of him. Basically, he still looks like a baby to me, so it hasn’t hit me yet.

It was completely different when my oldest child, 7 years ago, turned 4 years old.

I wasn’t the least bit sad. I was ecstatic!! For some reason, I saw 4 as this magical hump of parenting where Joshua was going to magically be a big kid.

The push was on. Joshua was constantly pushed towards independence and accomplishments. Soccer team started at age 3. T-ball started the minute he was old enough to participate. He was drilled on academics constantly, and we read him about 15 books/day, not even exaggerating.

I would say things to him like, “Joshua, watch Caleb for a minute while I go in yonder. You’re in charge.”

Even at the time, I knew Joshua wasn’t able to help me with Caleb much. That’s just what I said, and yet, he did seem to actually help with Caleb (who is only 20 months younger than Joshua).

When Joshua would want to be carried or babied, I didn’t understand at all. Wasn’t he supposed to be more grown up? He was my biggest, my oldest, and I had little patience for much shenanigans. Walk child, walk.

Well, you may be feeling sorry for that first-born 4-year-old, and I do too in hindsight, but don’t spend too much time on it.

He’s doing swell. He is now the kind of pre-teen who is confident enough to go into the gas station, escorting a little brother, and pick out a drink and pay for it. When we lived on base, he could even ride his bike to the mini-mart, buy bread for me, and bring it home.

He can make his own meals, so long as it just involves the microwave or an apple core-er, and he can fix his brothers’ meals too.

It is pretty awesome to have that (sometimes) responsible, independent oldest son. Plus, he looks about 13, so no one ever questions his competence level to do these things. It’s working out well so far– no permanent damage done, hopefully.

And John David is sort of the opposite…..

I don’t push at all. Nope not at all. I still put his socks and shoes on him, “wipe him up”, and he never has to “keep his brother out of trouble” because he has no little brother.

He is my little velcro to the side of my leg, and I eat it up. And he eats it up. No one seems to question the fact that this is my giant baby.

But you know what? He’s going to be fine too. I’m sure of it.

He can put his shoes on himself when he wants to, and he wipes before I wipe. Mostly, I’ve let him lead on these steps—except I did have to resort to bribery “rewards” for the wiping.

 

JD loved staying in hotels so much this summer. He keeps asking me when we get to go sleep in a hotel bed again.

Don’t despair. This 4-year-old has many talents too.

John David is a fast learner. He can color for hours without getting tired of it. JD knows all of his letters and the sounds they make. Oh! And he loves helping me with chores!! You gotta love that!!!

Yes, I’ve babied him, but I’m hoping all will turn out well. He does know about love, discipline, and consequences. He’s super sweet and is always doing kind things for his momma.

In fact, he often prays at night, “Thank you for Mom. Thank you for Mom. Thank you for Mom.”

I’m such a sucker for that.

 

 

John David still often cuddles up in my lap and sleeps. I love it. I’m holding on to that as long as I can.

Pre-School

A few weeks ago, John David started K4. He was hesitant, but he went. Then they started morning drop-off for the 4-year-olds.

I pulled up to the curb where 2 pre-school teachers, and thankfully JD knows both of them, were standing to assist the 4-year-olds in getting out of their car and into the building. John David didn’t fully grasp what was going on, so he got out. They walked him to the building, and he had to walk to his classroom by himself.

The next day I pulled back up to the curb, and John David quickly entered panic-mode.

“What! No, Mom, you walk me in. You walk me in. You walk me in.” John David repeated over and over as he backed away into a corner as far as could get from the teachers and the open van door.

Time to throw in the proverbial towel.

“Got it. Ok. I got it. I’ll walk him in. I’ll walk him in. JD, sit back down in your seat, and we’ll park, and I’ll walk you in.”

I asked John David later on if he had been scared walking to class by himself that day. He looked at me with the most pitiful face, and with a shaky little voice, nodded and whispered, “I almost cried.”

Well, that did it for me. I decided right then and there that this child will be personally escorted to his K-4 classroom every single day until he asks me himself to do otherwise!!

a brotherly hug at a cousin’s wedding

See how clingy he is? Bless.

Yes, we carried him around in Washington, D.C. too.

I promise we carried our other 4-year-olds around a little bit too.

When Joshua was 4, and Caleb was 2. Joshua didn’t get carried as much since we had to carry the 35 pound 2-year-old… (Washington, D.C., 2010)

 

But man! They were precious too!! (D.C. Smithsonian Native American Museum, 2010)

When Caleb was 4, and Daniel was around 6 months

When Daniel was 4, Caleb was 7, and we took them to the San Diego Zoo

Yes, we are more relaxed with our youngest child, but not more lenient. I think we might even be more strict, just less worried about him doing what he’s “supposed to do”. As long as he’s obeying and being respectful, we’re good, and that’s a work in progress for ALL of us.

Okay. Well, we do let him sit on the table to paint and build Lego creations, so maybe we are more lenient in all areas except the ones above, which we deem as most important.

And yes, we bought him 5 Batman t-shirts and let him wear only Batman shirts every single day for a YEAR……

Is that so bad? Nah. I’m going with no.

Four is an awesome age. We are so lucky to get to do it one more time!

 

 

 

P.S. The year of Batman is over. He has informed us that he wants no more Batman toys, books, or shirts. He only wants Ninjago stuff now, because all obsessive people occasionally need something NEW to obsess over…let’s move on to ninjas.

 

 


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

 

 

 

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Mommy Moments Link-Up

It’s no secret that motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its joys. That’s why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let’s join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!

Today I’m partnering with Faith of Life of Faith, as her guest co-host to bring you the Mommy Moments Link-up.

This is a space where readers can find new blogs to check out, and bloggers can link up their stories or tips each week and encourage each other.

So allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite weekly link-ups, Mommy Moments!

Welcome to Mommy Moments! It is a blessing to look back on the past several years with all of our co-hosts, guest hosts, and community of moms linking up to encourage and challenge one another. It’s worth so much to know that moms have been blessed and maybe felt a little less alone in doing what God has called them to do. Thank you all for using your writing to be a blessing to me as well as to the hundreds of other mamas who are reading it. I’m thankful for each of you who have made this link up possible!

 The featured post this week belongs to Create With Joy and the “Inspire Me Monday” Link Up! Create With Joy is such a wonderful place to stop by and share your creativity as well as be inspired by that of others! We love supporting fellow bloggers and other link ups, so stop by and link your posts up there in addition to Mommy Moments every week! 

Inspire Me Monday!

 



 
 
Now, link up your post!
Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren’t a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 




Please, pretty please, we’d love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends! Use the hashtag #mommymoments to help us all stay connected!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!


 

A Parent Review of ABCmouse: Keeping Our Brains Working Through Summer

 

Like most moms, I TRY to keep my children from letting all of their knowledge fall out over the summer.

Any “book learnin'” my four boys accomplish over the summer is typically solely because I forced them to do it. Maybe your kids aren’t like mine, I don’t know, but my children never ASK me to do workbook pages and catch up on their reading logs.

When I was a little girl, I LOVED doing workbooks, but that is not my kids. I can’t even fathom that.

Have we read this summer? Yes, tons. Have I recorded half of those books on the required reading logs? Um, no. Like I don’t have enough things to remember to do.

So at the end of the summer, I’ll basically stand there with the boys, wracking my brain, while begging them to think back, to remember what all they read this summer so we can fill out that bless-ed log.

Reading is the perfect start to keeping our minds active all summer long, but there are other skills to focus on in school too, and for that I have been looking for a good phone app that I can put my younger boys on!

After years of hearing of ABCmouse.com, I finally decided to download it and let my younger boys (ages 6 and 4) try it out.

I am happy to tell you it is everything I had hoped for, which means that they cover both letters, numbers, and other topics, and they can even play it unassisted.

You do need to help them at first, so they know where to find all the different things the app or website can do.

Actually, if your child is new to iPad games or is preschool age, I would help them the whole first week that they use it, just so you can guide them to less frustration and point them to the games that they could benefit the most from.

John David is 4, and I sit down and basically just watch him use it, and say things like, “Great job!” as he zips through a map (which is like 6 mini-lesson activities). After that, I turn him loose on it, and he can play with it however he chooses.

It’s a big deal to him that we do it together, and he cuddles in my lap while he works on his activities.

Daniel is 6, and he requires no supervision on the app at all.

My favorite thing about it is the sight word games. I also appreciate that each lesson is age appropriate. Too often, game makers over-estimate the finger dexterity or involvement of the parents.

Daniel’s favorite thing: Getting to play games on my phone

John David’s favorite part: Puzzles!!!

I went through today’s lessons for John David and Daniel and screen-shotted to show you what to expect with this app, a sneak peek if you will.

Actually, I should clarify that ABCmouse.com is not just an app. This entire program can be done on a mobile device or on a computer.

What to Expect

 

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This puzzle sentence was on a K4 lesson. John David had no trouble dragging and dropping the words into place.

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This is found on the initial preschool/kindergarten screen. Once you past this puzzle, you get a new one. We focused on puzzles because they were JD’s favorite.

 

Both of my boys love an app where you can color.

 

I forget what section this game was under, but Daniel had to choose the starting letter of each picture to spell the word.

 

There are many books in this app, which they read to your child. As the story is read, they highlight words as they go. This particular one was a lesson on the letter b.

 

In this sight word game, you get to smash the bugs with the correct sight word. I thought this one was so fun that I could have played it myself. Not even kidding.

 

An important lesson!

Choosing Your Kids’ Level

I goofed when I signed Daniel up, and I started him on Kindergarten lessons. When he opened it up to a lesson on “Aa”, he got insulted and put it down, so be careful what level you choose! Haha!! He is in 1st grade now, so I switched it to the 1st grade level.

It was very simple to sign in as the parent and switch his level up one, and then he had better lessons.

John David, on the other hand, is not accustomed to playing games on an iPad, so I put him  on K3 so it would be super easy while he learned how to use the app. Once he got used to it, I upped him to K4 lessons.

John David LOVES these games. He’s already amassed hundreds of tickets, which he can use to buy all sorts of little digital things for his ABCmouse avatar and room. He was even excited to earn his avatar a pair of blue pants. “Oooooh! Blue pants. I wike blue pants!”

I know you’re wondering, and I was too! How much does this cost???

The first month is FREE. Afterwards, it’s $7.95/per month. Nice!

 

me and my little scholars

 

“Mom, can I pway dat game on your phone?” Batman is quite a fan of ABCmouse!

I wish had discovered this website years ago because I feel like it’s truly going to help the boys to keep ahead this summer!

Now, y’all, if you decide to try it out too, PLEASE click on my links in this post or on my website to take you to the ABCmouse.com website because I do earn a small fee for each referral I send them who signs up.

Let me know if you try it and what you thought! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!!

 

 

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