With their 8th and 4th birthdays drawing closer, Misha and Sebby are drinking in information at an amazing rate. Misha writes and reads (in English and Russian) better than he ever has, and his violin lessons are even starting to translate into some pleasant-sounding music. He loves robots, dinosaurs, ushu, superheroes, and any projects having to do with those themes. Sebby excitedly points out English letters on signs and cereal boxes, reads stories to himself from memory in Russian, and constantly admires nature, whether it's raining or sunny.
Since the weather is becoming mild and inviting, I decided to get a small flower project going this year like we did last year. I thought that all the obstacles - such as Sebby yanking out the new shoots in curiosity - were out of the way now, but I forgot one important fact: we have cats.
I was astonished at the enthusiasm of both Misha and Sebby to plant seeds. When I asked Misha if he wanted to come to the store with me, he said no, but when I clarified that I was going to buy planters, soil, and seeds, he immediately jumped on board. The first thing he did when we arrived home again was fill up two planters with some flower seeds and beans. When I went to pick up Sebby from sadik, I mentioned that he could plant some seeds with us when we got home. He gasped in eager anticipation and got his shoes and coat on much more quickly than normal. While walking, I asked him if he wanted to eat something, and he replied, as if I had no idea how to keep my priorities straight, "No, mom! I'm going to plant flowers!"
Sebby and I planted the third planter, then we set them all on the windowsill. The brothers lovingly sprayed their seeds with the mister. Sebby was quite sure they would start growing immediately. A few hours later, after I had tucked them into bed, Sebby popped into our room exclaiming breathlessly, "My seeds are growing!"
So you can imagine their intense disappointment when, the next morning, they discovered that the cats had tipped over two of the three planters. We spent the next half-hour with the vacuum and dustpan. The one planter that remained was the one with beans, not flowers, and we put it up on a high shelf and forgot about it. However, a week later, we pulled it down and to the boys' delight, little green sprouts were poking out of the dirt. So all is not lost!
Other recent projects include making cornstarch-and-water goop, which was just as fascinating for the boys as it was a huge mess for me.
Big box "legos" to make forts:
More building creations:
Letter games for Sebby: I cut out cardboard squares, which Sebby colored with crayons, and then a wrote lower-case letter on each. The possibilities are many. We spread them out on the floor and he jumps to the sound I say, or he collects the letters as I call them out, or we put them together to create words, or we match them to corresponding pictures. He thinks all of these are the most interesting games, and not work at all.
We also sound out three-letter words together and match it to the pictures we created. He loves this game and he knows an impressive amount of letters and their sounds. Whenever he sees a letter P, he shouts, "Pufferfish!" - thanks to an Ocean-Writers app I have on my iPhone. When you correctly trace the P with your finger, the pufferfish puffs up. He recognizes his own name, plus Misha and Mom. When he sees the letter M, he usually says it's for Misha. When he sees a T, he says it's for Mom (Tammy).
Sebby has also become a master memory player. If you don't believe me, I challenge you to play him. Just don't let him cheat.
Misha practicing Ushu in the park:
Fun with modeling clay, making aliens:
Sebby relaxing in bed with his Tag (talking pen which reads stories and adds funny sound effects) books from Grandma Kate:
Fun times with a cheap and functional plastic train set ($5 plus a battery for each of two trains). Our whole family has spent hours rearranging the tracks, adding Lego props, and experimenting.
Misha has continued his twice-a-week violin lessons, and his teacher compliments him on his progress.
|Misha with his teacher, Kulia, focusing on the correct way to hold the violin and the bow.|
Sometimes Misha improvises and Sebby dances!
Whenever it rains, Sebby gets a huge thrill from holding the umbrella.
In other news, Misha has lost his other front tooth after wrestling with Daddy on the bed!
A present from Grandma and Grandpa: yo-yo kits! First they painted, then put them together and started yo-yo-ing.
To help Sebby manage his yo-yo better, I cut the string slightly shorter. I asked Misha if he wanted me to trim his a bit, and he replied as if it was completely obvious, "No! I'm gonna grow - and be 8!"
Sebby asks me every day when he will be 4, and I always reply, "in the summer."
Then he asks, "And when will I be five?"
"After one more year."
"And then 6."
"Because every year you get one year older."
"But when am I gonna get little again?"
That made me laugh because when Misha was 3 and 4, he also assumed that eventually, people would get younger again. I remember several of his comments about him waiting for mommy to get little.
Sebby sounds more and more like Misha in his speech. He has picked up several phrases that Misha tends to say, such as "actually" and "the coolest." My favorite expression of Misha's now is "Great Heavens" - something I think he picked up from Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin's mom often says this). If we're playing a game and I do something unexpected, Misha always says, "Great Heavens!"
Sebby is a natural observer. One day he asked why Daddy has little nipples and Mommy has big nipples. It was Misha who answered matter-of-factly, "Because, Sebby, you used to drink milk out of those big nipples."
While getting his toenails cut, Sebby said, "You're making me shikotna! (ticklish) You're hurting me with your nokti! (nails)"
At night, after I tuck him in, Sebby often asks, "Can you come for one minutka? (minute)"
Frustrated with his Lego creation, Sebby scolded it, "Chto takoi ni rabotaet! Davai! Rabotai! (Why is this not working! Come on, work!)