The Jack Man

I think it's time for an update on my little men.  They are growing up so fast, I just don't want to forget all the great things they are doing at this point in their lives.  First, Jack.  He will be four in August and is quick to correct you if you say he is three.  He is three and a half!
He has great fashion sense...this is how we played outside the other day.
The biggest new development in Jack's life is that he switched to a new classroom at school on May 20.  A few months before that, most of his friends in his last classroom (Cardinals) switched out to a new room and the same day a bunch of new, younger kids started in his class.  These are the kids he will be starting school with, since he misses the kindergarten cut-off by a few weeks, but at this age, it seems like there is a big difference developmentally between a new three year-old and an almost four year-old.  I started asking about him moving but didn't push too hard until I had his parent/teacher conference in the middle of May.  His Cardinal teachers said "Jack is doing really great.  The only feedback we have is that you need to see if he can move to the next classroom.  He's going to get really bored really soon and that's when kids tend to regress and/or act out."  SO, I talked to the administration the next day and the following week Jack became a Blue Jay.

His first couple days of transition were a little difficult for him - he had a blast once he was in the Blue Jay room those days, but it took a lot of coercing to get him to agree to go there.  Now he loves it and hasn't looked back. This classroom has weekly lessons and they do circle time and centers to reinforce what they are learning.  We love it!  They send out (almost) daily sheets describing what they learned that day, and each week it's something that I don't think Jack knew before!  For example, the first week they learned all about opposites.  I quizzed him that week and he knew ALL the opposites I asked him.  Impressive!  The last few weeks they've been learning about mixing colors (what do we get if we mix blue and yellow?) and doing lots of different fun experiments.  Each day they graph what the weather is that day (sunny or cloudy) and at the end of the week they talk about which days they had the most of and which they had the least of.  So much fun learning for our big guy!

Here's an example of a daily update we've received:
What month are we in?
What is June’s Special Letter?
What day is today? What day was yesterday? What day is tomorrow?
What is the weather?
READING: “Warthogs Paint” (a book about mixing colors) and “Mouse Paint”
-What do you think Red and yellow make when mixed together?
Let’s experiment together!! We took Yellow water and Red water and poured it into the same container and made the color Orange!
*(Book and experiment are on display by classroom door)
*anything Red and Yellow mixed together makes orange…not just colored water: we experimented with crayons, paint, and water too!

Art – Paint one hand Red, Paint one hand Yellow, Now, rub your hands together…what color did you make? ORANGE!
Science- Red water in a spray bottle and Yellow water in a spray bottle, two friends spray it into one container and make orange water!
Block Area- Marble Tower
Dramatic Play: Restaurant/Dress Up

Jack's new teachers, Miss Marcie and Miss Erin, have told me several times how happy he is all the time.  They also said he's a really quick learner; they said they like to quiz the kids on things they don't expect them to know, and Jack knew the answers to everything they asked.  Not exactly sure what the questions were, but if they were impressed, then I'm impressed.
Checking out his new snorkel gear from Grandma Clayton
Jack has a huge vocabulary these days.  It seems like weekly he surprises me with a new word or expression that I'm surprised he knows.  My favorite is "Aha!"  He also picks things up from TV.  For example, he often says "Hey! What's the big idea?" which I learned that Donald Duck says.  His pronunciation is pretty good for most words.  He still replaces most of his "Ls" with the "W" sound, but I think that's somewhat typical at this age.  He also says "cake" instead of "take."  He sometimes mixes up when to use "tell" vs "ask."  He usually says "Mom, I need to tell you a question" and often his questions are statements.  Our favorite is at night when he's in bed, he will call one of us in there.  When we get in there he says "Mom, I have two more questions to tell you."  And his "questions" are always so simple and funny, like "I love you" and "Can I wear my new shoes tomorrow?"

He is definitely a chatterbox, so when I saw this sign at The Magic House I had to take a picture.  I have no doubt that this is true of our boy:
Jack LOVES his sports.  We have mostly been focused on baseball this time of year.  He was still too young to sign up for a team - he had to be 4 by the time the session ended on July 31, so he missed it by a few weeks.  We pitch to him all the time and he is really getting good at hitting.  Sometimes the ball hits our roof! And other times he hits a line drive back at the pitcher.  Ouch!  I have a few welts and bruises to show for it.
We play catch sometimes but not nearly as often as we hit.  We need to get some more catching practice in before next spring when he joins a team.  Here's another demonstration of his hitting skills from a couple months ago:
Jack has started making up songs.  He will "sing" in a sort of rambling sentence sort of way for a good 10-15 minutes on the way home from school and then he'll ask me to sing it back to him.  Ummm....I'll say "I don't quite remember all the words, can you sing it again so I can remember them?" And he says "Well, I don't remember all the words either."  Quite a conundrum.

Our big guy has gotten really good at riding his bike.  He has a Cars bike with training wheels and he rides it REALLY fast.  Luckily he's pretty good at using the brakes too and ALWAYS wears his helmet.  Since the weather has gotten warm, we've spent a lot of time up the street at the Asher/Mincher/Scally court riding bikes with the neighbors.

Jack is still working on his manners.  He was really great at saying please and thank you for a long stretch there, but lately it has become less automatic for him.  We give him LOTS of reminders.  Often when we remind him to say thank you, he responds with "Where have my manners gone?"  I think he's heard us say that to him a few times....
Just looking like a big kid eating lunch.  I think he looks 6 years old in this picture!

The last few weeks we've been struggling with some rebellion.  It seems like EVERY time we tell him not to do something, he automatically does it one more time.  Oh man, does that irritate me!  He's been having a LOT of timeouts lately because we are so frustrated with that behavior.  Hopefully we can nip that in the bud soon and get back to our (mostly) good listener.

Overall Jack is a happy guy.  We are having a lot of fun watching him learn to things and his stories and facial expressions are keeping us well entertained!

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