Because of the cold weather recently there has been talk of snow. Ivan has been eager for the flakes to fall and cannot contain his excitement over the idea. Everywhere we go of late he will ask everyone he makes eye contact with, “When is it gonna snow?”

People usually look at him sort of weird before answering that they don’t know.

I just love his innocence and curiosity.


Ivan is coming out of his threes beautifully. I am still stumped on some days, as to what it will take to convince him of how important it is to stop what he’s doing in order to go to the bathroom. I have been frustrated beyond words in some instances. It will seem as if he is perfectly on top of it and then we’ll have a day or two where if I do not MAKE him go, he will wet his pants continuously. I cannot give an accurate list of events or tell you what has transpired on those day specifically but I am confident, none the less, that his stress level is directly related to the amount of dirty Lightning McQueen and Elmo underwear in the laundry.

I have been studying him for over year now in hopes of conquering the puzzle that is Ivan’s thought process. I told Kris last week that I think he feels the need to complete things before he can move away from them. For instance…if he sees the potential for a perfect loop he can build with his toy train tracks, no matter how badly he has to go potty he cannot emotionally leave that train track. It would be like allowing the train to crash in his mind…disaster…so going to the bathroom has to wait. Yesterday during the morning church service Pastor Davis was talking about the functions of the different lobes in the brain. He quickly described them as it was not the total point of his sermon, but one of them is much like what I described in Ivan. Pastor said that some kids cannot leave their video games or the activity they are in because it is not complete and they are unable to CHANGE what they are doing. It is not so much a matter of finishing what he is doing, he simply cannot make the CHANGE in his brain activity to go to the bathroom. Understanding it all is part of the victory I suppose. I will continue to work with what I know and what I learn. Ivan has made me much smarter.

Despite the continuing potty issues, he is coming into his own in so many other ways. His desire to sit down and learn letters and numbers has become more evident and his joy in recognizing the letter “I” specifically is a new passion for him. He and Aron get along pretty well. They often do their own thing but seem to have developed a bond of late that keeps them on the same “team” during toddler type hardships.

He seems to be stepping away from his obstinate nature, or at least realizing more accurately when it is appropriate. I would never wish it to be gone completely. I love a stubbornness toward what is right and wrong. May that never leave him. I cannot promise that he will act on what I want every time, but I see that he is understanding more and more the joy in cooperation and pleasing others.

He has always been affectionate, responsive to touch and needy for a counter and positive attention to negative things like spanking. Owen will leave a discipline with a desire to leave it behind completely, learn the lesson and move on. Ivan has been the one who will carry the weight of his misfortune much longer and has come to me to sit in my lap and confess that he got a spanking from daddy hours earlier in hopes of getting the counter hug and comfort from me. I know that Kris always hugs the boys after spanking them so I think he just digests those punishments longer and needs more attention to overcome his own feelings about it. Whether it’s guilt, shame, misfortune or completely unfair in his mind, he simply tells us that it makes him sad.

Lately he has been more expressive in his desire for affection whether he is happy or sad. He just wants to be loved and has learned to ask for it unashamedly. I love that. There are a few people at church that he will run to when he sees them and is eager to hug and even kiss them when he sees them.

I need to begin a new list of quotes for him and post them here soon. I related his reaction to the Amish men surrounding us at his great-grandmother’s funeral on my blog. So I won’t tell it again here but I will say that I love realizing what his raised eyebrows mean when he speaks up his concern, surprise or delight. The facial reaction is always first and sometimes the only indication of what he is thinking. When he verbalizes what the reaction has meant I am always delighted.

Just G’nore Him?

During nap time I often put Ivan and Aron in the same room. Ivan is used to the routine and is pretty obedient, but Aron has a little more trouble settling down some days. His first few days in a big boy bed were especially frustrating for him as the novelty of being in the same room as Ivan and the new bed were tempting him to play instead of rest. I specifically told Ivan not to talk to Aron. “Even if he talks to you,” I said, “don’t answer him, just be quiet.”

As I turned to go he had a last minute question. “Mommy, should I just g’nore him?”

He meant ignore of course, and without batting an eye, I nodded and said, “absolutely! Just g’nore him.”

He has said it again several times and I am too tickled to correct him.

His “r” and “l” sounds are still coming out as “w” and that’s been the source of some confusion. When he says “pway” is he wanting to pray or play? I have had arguments with the poor kid because I thought he was wanting to pway when it was time to pway.

Stuff I Shouldn’t

Last night as I was getting Owen ready for bed I chatted with Ivan who had already brushed his teeth and used the bathroom. He was sitting at the top of the ladder of his bunk bed and patiently waited for his brother to finish up so we could pray together and go to bed. Seemingly out of the blue he confessed to me, “Mommy, I like to eat stuff I shouldn’t eat.”

I looked at him with sympathy, completely understanding the desire for cookies or Cheetos or candy of some kind I responded, “Me too.”

He looked at me with surprise, so pleased that I dealt with the same temptation. He raised his eyebrows and with brightened eyes he asked, “You like to eat boogers too?”

Don’t Forget the Shovel

Tonight Ivan and his brothers were enjoying their dinner of smoothies and crackers and it was decided that we should call Grandma and Granddaddy since she had called earlier and we weren’t able to talk. Ivan asked to talk to them first and his phone skills have improved so much I was happy to let him have his shot at communication. He was into the conversation whole-heartedly and still able to suck down smoothie with a straw while he listened.

After a while his excitement was too much to keep to himself and he pulled the phone away from his ear and yelled to the rest of us at the table that Grandma had said she’s coming for a visit! He went back to talking and then pulled the phone away again in excitement to tell us something else that Granddaddy said. I was humored by this reaction. I knew that Grandma and Granddaddy could still hear him well enough to enjoy his enthusiasm as he pulled the phone away.

At one point his excited outburst was met with laughter from me and Owen because after several one sided comments about gifts that were to be brought to him and his brothers he shouted excitedly, “He’s going to bring me some dirt!”

Before we could react beyond a chuckle he quickly brought the phone back to his ear and mouth and made a request that any quick thinking boy would make. “Can you bring me a shovel too?”

If Only

I wish I could step inside the mind of my Ivan. He is wonderful to be around daily and a mystery to keep up with.

His actions are almost always a surprise to me but I understand and even relate to them afterward. I am realizing more and more how much like me he is. I see his stubbornness and I hate it with him. I know he hates it too, because I react the same way he does to so many things. “Just Say No.” This is not a motivational speech for us…it is our theme in life. If there is any reason to lack faith in something, if there is reason to believe injustice is at work, if things do not line up as they should we do not move forward. He and I have the same bent toward what is right and perfect.

While Madison was with us last week, she was very frustrated with him at times. He loves her…adores her even…but would not obey her. It was not that he thought she was leading him astray, but rather that he did not view her as an authority. At one point I told Owen to help Ivan find some clean shorts to put on. Madison got to him before Owen and her eagerness to help was met with a cold shoulder and a refusal to acknowledge she was speaking to him at all. Had I told her to help him, he would have been fine with it, but because the scene played out differently than my direction…he refused to play his role at all.

I am learning more about myself as I watch him and my hope is that I can help him to avoid some of the areas I did not fare so well in as I matured.

He is becoming more interested in numbers and even a little math in the past few months. He likes to count things and seems to understand addition and subtraction to a degree. The alphabet and reading are of little interest right now, but he has time for that.

His enthusiasm, his affection and his compassion are fully alive and I enjoy his passion in life. He is a bright and beautiful boy.

More Ivan Phrases

Last night in the van Owen was asking about multiple births. What do you call it when 5 babies are born at the same time? That sort of thing. After we went through all the labels and numbers he began making up names. What if there were gintuplets? What if there were fintuplets?

After a lot of silly words, Ivan piped up from the back…”what about monstertuplets?”

Pretty much any amount of “tuplets” would be “monstertuplets” in my opinion.

Ivan the Close Talker

I love to hear Ivan talk. He’s full of emphasis and his face lights up when he has something exciting to relate.

Recently he announced to his friend Ethan at church that he was coming to his house. His eyebrows were up into his hairline as he nearly shouted the good news. He was so close to Ethan in his exuberance that Ethan had to back up a bit. Ethan’s dad and I laughed a little and both realized at the same time that Ivan is a “close talker.”

Ivan’s vocabulary is growing but as with any kid, it’s more fun to talk about the things he says wrong.

I love it when Ivan tells me that he’s going to eat his dinner regardless of the fact that he doesn’t like what I’ve served. He gets a very determined and responsible look and tone and announces…”mommy, I’m going to eat my dinner, even I don’t like it.”

This morning he told me in the van that he has the hiccups. He explained to me how it all came about by saying, “I was at home and I was upstairs, and I was hiccing up and hiccing up and then I went downstairs and I didn’t have hiccups, and then I got in the van and I had hiccups and I was hiccing up and hiccing up again!”