While most of what I've written lately has been either about me and my running or about Gabe, I haven't forgotten about Dante and Carmine, and have been meaning to jot down some things about them, but it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my endless to-do list.
Unfortunately, we're pretty sure Dante's been feeling like he's at the bottom of that list lately, too. With all of the Gabe issues we're dealing with - the palate expander, the upcoming 10th birthday, the medication - Dante has been feeling a bit left out, and as a result, has been acting up a little (sometimes a lot).
Thankfully we were wise enough to realize this after not too long - the fact that he was completely and totally flying off the handle and screaming and sobbing at the drop of a hat tipped us off - and we have been pretty deliberately giving him some extra attention. Not so much that Gabe and Carmine feel slighted, but enough to make Dante realize that he's just as awesome as ever, and that we're not ignoring him. And since we've made that effort, his freakouts have all but disappeared.
Being the middle child isn't easy, especially when you're sandwiched between an almost-ten-year-old brother who's going through a lot of big transitions all at once and an impossibly vivacious, outgoing, adorable 4-year-old who refuses to be ignored, and will often yell very loudly "I'm waiting to say something here!"
Dante is growing up in his own right, though. He's obsessed with science shows, and all manner of building/cooking/exploring shows. He and I both watched an Ernest Shackleton show that was on PBS last month, and he could binge watch episodes of "How Did They Do That?" I personally love this, as I'm a fan of all those shows, too, and I'd much rather he watch that than Pokemon.
As of right now, he wants to be an architect when he grows up - partially thanks to another show he likes to binge watch, called "Epic Homes." I think he was especially enamored of the log cabin house. Can't say I blame him - it looked pretty cool.
Going back a bit to when the yard was still covered in snow (a sight I hope I don't see again until next year!), he took to snowboarding like a natural, and spent hours going down the tiny hill in our backyard after school. He and Gabe (who also did really well with it) would throw on their gear and slide down over and over again, and one time I heard Dante say to Gabe "Dude, we're shredding some major powder now!"
Because of the snowboards, they were particularly interested in the Winter Olympics, and we recorded and watched a lot of the events. Dante at one point mentioned how he wished we had a halfpipe in the backyard. And Gabe, while watching the figure skating, commented to me that "I bet you and Dad couldn't do that." I didn't take him up on that bet.
February was a long month (and March is proving to be even longer, as spring seems to have forgotten to arrive), but we filled it up with as many fun activities as we could, including a visit from the Theriault cousins, complete with a snowstorm and an outing to see the Lego Movie.
School vacation week was busy, too, with a trip to CT to see Grammy and Grampy and more cousins, and two more trips to CT - one to the Pequot Museum, which we all loved; and one to Mystic Aquarium. So glad that we have so many fun places within close driving distance, and now that we caved and bought a membership to the Aquarium (and already have a membership to the Seaport), I'm sure we'll be spending even more time down that way.
Dante was beyond thrilled that the Titanic exhibit was still up at the Aquarium. He was a major Titanic buff a few years ago, and we went to see the exhibit right after it opened, but I didn't know it was still going to be there, so we all had fun going through and exploring it again.
There were too many snow days this winter, but we managed to survive them, with a mix of sledding, crafts, projects, tortilla snowflakes, and probably more screen time than recommended, but once the nice weather hits, I know the screens are going to be forgotten, so I'm ok with that.
Dante and Carmine are best buds these days, and spend so much time hanging out together. They both have incredible imaginations and love to create elaborate setups in the garage and in the yard - their favorite is to create a "boat," and then have adventures on and around their boat.
This usually involves making an enormous mess and taking out almost every toy they own, which results in me having to stand over them and make sure they put each and every item away, but it's worth it, because it really is the best kind of play, and I love to eavesdrop on them while they're talking - they get along so well, and it makes me so happy.
The three of them play together fairly well, too, but Gabe is definitely in a bit of a different place, and it shows sometimes. He spotted my Athleta catalog on the table one day, and the cover model was wearing a (very modest, athletic) bathing suit, and he turned it over, saying to Dante "We can't look at that - it's too sexy!"
Gabe has been on his medication for two weeks, but neither we or his teacher have seen very much change in his behavior, so we'll be talking to the pediatrician to see if the dosage needs to be adjusted. The good news is that it isn't affecting him negatively in any way, either, so hopefully that will continue to be the case even if the dosage changes.
Carmine, 6 months after he moved to a big-boy bed, finally started getting up all by himself. It was pretty cute the first few mornings, the way he'd come downstairs and peek around the corner, as if he still wasn't quite sure he should be there. We've all adjusted to it now, but I think Gabe and Dante kind of miss going in his room to get him.
So far there have only been two nights that he got out of bed after we put him in for the night, and when we told him to go back to bed, he listened. Fingers crossed that that continues.
A couple more Carmine goodies - if we have to talk to him about something he's doing wrong, or are telling him he can't do something, he puts his hand up and says "I don't want to talk right now." And if I tell him he can't do something, he'll ask Scott - but he'll ask him while I'm still standing right there, and if I try to interrupt to tell him that Daddy is going to say no just like I did, the hand goes up again and I'm told "No, Mommy, don't talk - I'm talking to Daddy right now." The kid has got some nerve, for sure.
In addition to his habit of yelling out "I'm waiting to say something over here," he has another way of trying to get a word in - he'll tell us (with the hand up - always) that "I'm having an answer."
And his last few mispronunciations - which I love, and which I'm going to be sad to see go - are bullZoDer and lawnmoMer and Nuseum. He always gets those ones mixed up, but he can pronounce the word excavator clear as day.
Every day is challenging, and every day is exhausting, but every day they make it worth it.