Hooper @ 4 years, 8 months

You insist on sleeping in your underwear. Anytime we’d put you in actual pajamas, you’d wake up in the morning with them on the floor. It’s made getting ready for bed that much easier, so cheers to that.
You’re more rambunctious than ever. Sometime within the past few months the top of the energy jar just flew right off. You’re like a bull in a china shop these days. The thought of getting anything done in the hours that you’re awake has become a joke.
With that said, you’re no longer napping. I wrote about it here. We’re still adjusting…
You started at a new school. When asked about your day, you said, “Felix (your best bud from your old school) wasn’t there, but I didn’t cry”. You seemed to enjoy yourself and participated right along with everyone else.
Disciplining you has been a challenge. Most of the usual techniques have zero impact on you, some you even find humorous. It can really make my blood boil. The other day you spit in my face. Another time you threw a rock at me that landed right on my jaw bone. We’re still figuring out this parenting thing… Times like this make it very trying.
When writing your name, you almost always leave out the ‘e’ and the ‘r’, so it just reads “Hoop”.
Even with that, you’re equal parts sweet and sour. You still love to cuddle and if there were cuddling competitions, you’d certainly have a shot at winning. You can curl your body into the smallest, most fetal position while on my lap. You caress my arm often and tell me you love me numerous times throughout the day.
You can take your clothes off but haven’t figured out to put them on. You’re like a slutty teenager.
You write mostly with your left hand and strum the guitar with your left hand, too.
All things associated with your butt are humorous. You think it’s funny to back up into us with your pants pulled down just enough so we can see your crack. You also like taking off all your clothes and referring to yourself as a “poo butt”.
You tell lots of stories and have a great imagination and a noteworthy memory. You were able to direct the babysitter all the way to Nina’s house.
Books about reptiles, dinosaurs, or sea creatures hold your attention most these days. You’re not particularly into sports, but you like climbing and digging and building.
You go to bed around 8:30pm and wake up anywhere between 7:15 and 8:30am.
You have a natural six pack and can do push-ups with impressive technique. The other day I punished you by making you do 10 push-ups. It felt good.
You’ve switched from hating swim lessons to loving swim lessons. Probably because you now know how to swim, though I’m not sure you’re entirely pool safe yet. And some days you get asked to leave class for not listening.
American cheese is your jam. You ask for the individually wrapped kraft squares constantly. You pronounce it “‘merikan”. It goes without saying that a grilled cheese sandwich is the one thing I can serve you and not have to hound you to sit down and finish your food.
Other things I love that you say: Popsicle is “pa-sickle” and lobster is “womp-ster”.
You’re in size 4T clothes but can still fit into size 2T underwear.

Hooper @ 4 years, 2 months

Growth & Appearance: We took you to a barber to have your hair cut. We love it and yet we’re still eager for it to be long, again. You’ve grown a lot it seems and while you fit into many 4T or even 5T pants length wise, the waist is too big, so many times you have to wear a belt. You wear your g’paw Jeffer’s old cub scout belt. The vintage pants fit you just fine in the waist, so I do my best to buy you those instead. 
You like to take you footie pajamas off by yourself, which leaves them in an inside-out mess and added hassle for when we put them back on at bedtime (but whatever, right?). You refused to wear hats for a long time but now agree to wearing beanies when it’s cold out. You have one of Papa’s old watches and insist on wearing it at all times of the day. It’s much to big for your little wrist. You don’t really care what I put you in; you have no preferences when it comes to picking out clothes. I’m gonna ride that wave as long as I can. Dressing boys has proven to be more fun than I ever thought.
You had your 4 year check-up and you are 36lbs (51%) and I think just under 40 inches tall (71%). You’re in size 4 shirts  and size 9 shoes. 
Eating: You’re such a better eater these days. Like night and day. You still need some coaxing here and there, but more times than not you feed yourself and enjoy eating. Did I just say that?
You love pizza. You eyes light up when we tell you we’re lazy and ordering pizza. You also love bacon. And french fries. You’re so obviously my kid. Despite these unhealthy-ish preferences, you do eat a considerable amount of healthy foods; you love nuts, apples, oranges, carrots, and avocado sandwiches (begrudgingly, at times).
You pick your nose and eat your boogers. The other day I caught you eating one of your scabs.
Sleeping: You sleep pattern stays fairly consistent, though daylight savings has made you get up a little earlier than normal. You’re also having a hard time holding your pee and ask often for us to “let you out” to go to the bathroom. Typically you get up between 7 and 8, closer to 7 the majority of the time. Then you nap from about 1:30-3:30, sometimes 4, and rarely not at all. We have hopes of getting you to bed before 8 but you have yet to be in bed before 8:30.
You wake up most mornings in Van’s bed. I think there are times you fall asleep with him in there, but without a video monitor I can’t say for sure. You request to nap in Van’s bed since Van still naps in the pack-n-play.
Twice you’ve taken off all of your clothes and I’ve found you in your birthday suit. That’s new. Insert big eyes with raised eyebrows here. Talking: You call park rangers “grangers” and I don’t correct you; “Mama, waz dat granger say to you?”
You pronounce ambulance with a ton of extra syllables. It sounds something like, “am-ba-tu-la-ence”.
“Spicy” is pronounced “ficey” and I also don’t correct you.
When you see a cat or a small dog, you say, “I want to pick up her”. I don’t correct you because according to the grammar police, you’re actually grammatically correct. 
Development: You got scolded at the dog beach by a stranger for hitting her dog. You were upset because the dog took your stick. It was really embarrassing, for me. It had a big impact on you, too, because you wouldn’t stop talking about how you no longer like dogs. Jimmie, you say, is an exception.
You love the letter H. You draw it often and point it out all around town. You don’t seem the least bit interested in any other letters, but you really hold that letter H in high regard.
Each morning at preschool you are supposed to trace the letters of your name. I stick around to watch you every now and again and have yet to see you actually trace the letters. Instead, you like to color in the inside of the letters… you scribble the inside of the “o”s and the inside of the “e” and “p” and call it a day. I have no intentions of correcting you, I like that you do it differently than everyone else.
You teachers say you genuinely like to help. I think this is a very firstborn, people-pleaser, trait of yours. It highlights your sweet and gentle side so well and obviously is a nice thing to hear.
On the flipside, you still come out of preschool each day with ragging aggressiveness toward Van. It’s like groundhog day; you come out the door, sock Van, and then proceed to chase each other all the way back to the car. Same thing. Everyday.
Your feelings get hurt if I tell you you’re not my friend. I realize this lets the I-stoop-to-my-kids-level cat out of the bag, but sometimes no time out or scolding seems to affect you. But, if I tell you that you’re not my friend, you cry. It’s my only leverage.
Felix is your best friend from pre-school. You talk about him at the most random times; like driving through Joshua Tree, “Felix would like this town”. Or the morning when you peed in your bed, “Felix doesn’t pee in his bed”. You guys send each other little videos back and forth confessing your love for one another. It’s sweet. And I dig his mom, so nice pick, Hoop.
You make the ugliest face by scrunching up your nose and showing your teeth and refer to it as your “mad face”. If I’m telling you something you don’t want to hear, you make your “mad face”. Or if you’re in attack mode and going crazy or pretending to be the “bad guy”, you better believe “mad face” comes out in full force. It’s unattractive, to say the least.
You go through phases of spitting. It sucks.
You have a love hate relationship with Jimmie; you love when he’s curled into a ball and you can cuddle him but you hate him when he’s going crazy and chewing up your toys or taking your stuffed animals off your bed.
Your imagination is on fire and you can be quite the storyteller. You’ve been known to tell tales of giraffes in our living room and that super great story you told Nina about Papa hitting you, which had no truth to it.
Favorites: You’re still, after all these years, into your cars. You now like to fill your bed with as many cars as you can and refer to it as a “carnival”. You give me a ticket (usually some sort of scrape piece of paper) and invite me to come. You love watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. It scared you, at first, but you didn’t want me to turn it off and now I think you’re so stoked that you conquered whatever fear you had that you want to watch it over and over and over again. It’s  a nice break from Cars and was fun to watch during Christmas. You love to read and you love to flip through books on your own and study the pictures on the pages. You go a book for Christmas that has close up pictures of lots of different insects and animals and you love flipping through and studying each page. You recently found a container of tinker toys and that’s been your favorite thing for the last few days. We went to the Natural History Museum and ever since then you’ve been into dinosaurs. There is an educational program you like to watch on Netflix over and over. The narrator has that really old man monotone museum-esque voice so I haven’t quite figured out how he holds your attention, but he does.

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