Category Archives: Oliver

Introducing Piper

The latest addition to our family is Piper, an eight-week old goldendoodle puppy. We picked her up on Monday, June 15. Griffin and Maggie describe her like this:

We just got a puuuuuppppy!!!! She is a goldendoodle and she is a really great sweet dog. We named her Piper and she loves to play but doesn’t really like her crate yet. Piper loves outside, especially the bush. And she loves digging besides the house. She sleeps a lot and she rarely barks unless she’s scared. She is the cutest thing ever!

Piper’s phlox lair.

The “bush” that they mention is a clump of phlox at the edge of our yard; she likes to nap in the shade there, nearly invisible.

We had been idly considering a dog at some point in the next few years, but were in no rush. Like many people during the pandemic, however, we realized that the requirements of social distancing and a summer without many of our usual activities is an excellent time to focus our energy on a new project. Puppies are a lot of work, but we’re enjoying the journey so far.

Pictures from our first few days together followed by two short video clips:

Playing in the yard on a hot afternoon.

More backyard fun.

The Day After School Ended

Hi there. Today was an awesome day! We woke up at 7:30. We did our video games. Then we had an awesome breakfast of waffles, eggs, sausage, and raspberries. After that we went to SPA (my dad’s school) and my dad went into the building while we played in our hammocks. Then my dad went home with Oliver and made a picnic lunch. Then they came back and we had made a caterpillar home! Then we rolled down the big hill and went home 🏡.

The hammock. When Andrew found the kids here, they exclaimed, “This is paradise!”
The caterpillar home.

Oliver 3.5

Oliver is nearly half way through his fourth year. As such, he is changing even more rapidly than his siblings. This post is a summary of things we have observed recently.

  • He talks. A lot. A tsunami of words at all times, often preceded with, “Hey Mama!” or “Hey Daddy!”
  • He likes to tell stories that meander from place to place with very little rhyme or reason.
  • He says “last night” to mean anytime in the past. For example, when referring to a trip we took in December, he might say, “Last night when we were at Grummy and Grandpa’s house.”
  • He prefaces many sentences with “I think so.” For example:
    • “I think so, Mama’s at the store.”
    • “I think so, tomorrow is a school day.”
    • “I think so, we need to buy some more bananas ‘cuz I like bananas.”
    • “I think so, we need to buy a new house because we have a hole in the wall.”
  • He regularly comes up with linguistic gems that we imagine we’ll remember, but then can’t quite reconstruct. I recall one from this morning when I think he was trying to describe something evaporating: “Maybe it just winded away…”
  • He loves it when we set timers. Before bed, he will often ask for a timer so that he can have “five more minutes!” to play. Usually, when the timer goes off he is happy to go upstairs.
  • He has ups and downs with emotional regulation. Sometimes he is easygoing and chill with changes of plan. At other times, he is stubborn and gets wildly upset over minor things: “But I wanted to put my toothbrush away MYSELF!!!!”
  • He loves to help in the kitchen and is getting better at it. He can often pour things into mixing bowls, stir things, count things out, or chop vegetables with his special chopper.
  • He is entirely potty trained except when he isn’t. We have trouble understanding what the key factors are. Sometimes he has no trouble for many days in a row. At other times, he’s on his third pair of pants before lunch. He can’t quite clamber up on the big potty yet, but loves to use his little one.
  • He still naps for 1-2 hours in the afternoon. Naptime and bedtime routines are straightforward: read a few books (or chapters from longer books) and then say goodnight. He often asks me to stay for “a little bit.”

Some additions from Griffin and Maggie:

  • He’s really annoying.
  • Maggie: He hits, kicks, and pinches a lot for no reason. (Griffin adds, “Actually, for a reason, because you do it.”)
  • Maggie: “This morning, Oliver was kicking me on the bed while I was doing HouseParty. I didn’t do anything!”
  • He interrupts a lot, saying, “But I’m talking!”
  • He’s a DUPLO master and is pretty good with regular legos too.
  • The Mandalorian was too scary for him. She-Ra is just right.
  • He often doesn’t finish his food and says that he wants us to “save it for tomorrow” but then never eats it.
  • He always wants to play with you in the least convenient times.
  • He always touches the screen when me and Griffin are playing on our iPads.
Oliver chopping rhubarb for rhubarb-vanilla jam.

Coversation evolution

The following is a conversation that I had with Oliver as I was helping get him ready for bed tonight.

<I’ve just brought in the top to the pajama bottoms he picked out>

O: Oh, Mama! You found the match! How did you find that?

M: It was in your pajama bin at the bottom!

O: I LOVE those pajamas. They look like a Christmas tree. Hey, Mama. Why did you take down the Christmas tree?

M: It was dead, and all the needles were falling off. Plus it’s not Christmas anymore!

O: When will it be Christmas? Tomorrow?

M: No, it’s a loooong way away.

O: On Thursday?

M: No, it’s many months away. Let’s count: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. That’s 9 months. That’s a long time.

O: So next Saturday?

M: No, months have about 30 days in them, so that’s 270 days away! That’s a lot!

O: Like this many? <holds up both hands>

M: No, that’s only ten. See, we’re only in spring, which is a season and another way we mark time. Spring is when all the plants come alive. Then it will be summer, which is another season, when it’s warm, and we can go swimming outside. And then it’s fall, when the leaves fall off the trees and we get to pick all the food we grew in our garden over the summer.

O: <squeals> I LOVE OUR GARDEN! Can we have an ONION TREE?!?

M: Wow, an onion tree?

O: <excitedly> YES! It will grow and grow and then we’ll get to pick the onions that are hanging!!

M: That would be really great. But onions don’t grow on trees. They grow in the ground!

O: <surprised face> Oh!! Then we will just grow them in the ground, and then hang them in the trees, and then we will pick them from the trees!

M: Alright! That sounds like a plan.

O: Can we also plant a sausage tree?

M: Well, sausages don’t grow. 

O: How about a hot dog tree?

M: Also not a plant.

O: Ok, then we will grow a bunny cookie tree that will have bunny cookies hanging from the branches, but it will just be pretend.

M: That sounds good, honey.


<30 minutes later as I’m saying goodnight after tucking him in>


O: So will we plant our garden tomorrow afternoon?

M: Not quite, love. In a few weeks.

O: In the afternoon?

M: We can do it in the afternoon.

O: I love you, Mama.

M: I love you, too, Bug.

Third Pass Around the Sun

It was this little guy’s third birthday today. Griffin and Maggie lavished love and attention on him all day, making it feel extra-special.

Quote from Maggie right after Oliver woke up:

Oliver, do you know how many times you’ve gone around the sun? Three times! You’re going to go around the sun many more times. Lots and lots! You’re going to keep going around the sun until you, um, until you  … pass away. [Whispers to me: I think that’s nicer than saying he’s going to die.]

And, from Sarah’s lovely Instagram:

Happy Birthday to this bright star. I feel like this is such a great picture to capture the moment this three year old is in: independent, capable, and confident. He’s also silly and curious and loves his older brother and sister so much. What a light you are, Oliver Louis ❤️