Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Porter’s Birthday! July 26, 2017

Filed under: Family Life,Growing up,Third Baby — leighj @ 9:19 am

Porter turned three last weekend! We celebrated, of course. One night we invited our neighbors over for cake, since their son was having a birthday soon too. It turned out to be a lovely evening: very low key, but nice to see them mid-summer, since I think we won’t all be in town again until school starts!

We celebrated with grandparents, and Porter got some practical and silly gifts. He is very into imaginative play and building, so even though he doesn’t need it, he got a new Duplo set to play with and build. Harlan took the train off its track, and Porter lost his mind. I said, without expecting much, “Harlan, can you please give Porter his train back?” And he did! He understands and ca do way more than I imagine.

He also got a backpack so he’ll be ready for school (preschool, and only two days a week) in September. He got some fun games and a puzzle. He was really excited about his big day(s). In fact, right now he’s blowing a paper favor and singing happy birthday, and it’s several days past his birthday. We went to Burke Lake Park to ride the train and celebrate with his friend Max. The train there was so cute and fun. Seamus and Gilbert and Patrick played mini-golf while we rode the train.

Porter is getting slightly less cooperative, but he still has a pretty good attitude. He loves Sesame Street characters, Thomas, Franklin, and Drakestail. He will be any of these characters if you give him the opportunity. He arranges games in his head, and he will play by himself quite well, but of course, if you play with him, he’s over the moon!

Porter is ready for school now!

We have to wait on growth stats until we get back home, but I think he’s growing fine. He loves to read (look at pictures) and do whatever the older boys are doing. He’s starting to hate taking a nap, but he can be coaxed into it with a book and a snuggle. The other day, he said, as if to remind himself, “I’m a big boy.” Smile.

Roar! He’s a very scary bear!

Happy Birthday, Porter! Way to make it to three years!


Life with a 2 year oldĀ  May 2, 2017

Filed under: Family Life,Food,Third Baby — leighj @ 4:45 pm

Porter: I would like a quesadilla. 

Me: You’re having noodles for dinner. (having made neither) 

Porter: I really like a quesadilla please. 

Me: Ok. 

Porter: I like it cold. 

Me: Well, I have to hear it up to melt the cheese. 

Porter: I don’t LIKE cheese. 

Me: That’s what a quesadilla is. 

Porter: No. 

five minutes later 

Porter: Nice quesadilla Mama. Thank you. 

(So easily and 50% chance of going the other way!)


Porter’s Speech April 27, 2017

Filed under: Growing up,Third Baby — leighj @ 9:29 am

I can’t believe we ever worried about Porter talking.

  • Today, he climbed into bed with us and said we were a family of blue owls.
  • His favorite song is a Spanish song, and he sings it all the time: “Manos, manos, manos, dedos, dedos, dedos, brazos, brazos, brazos, Baila baila baila!”
  • He has an active imagination with his toys. A few days ago, he told me his little dinosaur was sad and that the little dinosaur was lost. Then he went back over to the couch to resume the game.
  • He gets pronouns confused and will say things like “Harlan is playing with her car.”
  • He asks permission for everything. “Can I go outside?” “Can I have some more?” “Can I play with that?” It’s so nice to have him be polite and reserved. Unlike some brothers I know.
  • He gives compliments. Nice shoes Mama! Good soup Dada! Oh, good basketball Seamus!
  • When he’s upset, he does give us the NO! It’s mine. Let me have it.

His nonverbal communication is also strong. We’ve seen many moments lately of smiles and eye movement, but also as observed by others, “He can make the downturned mouth very effective!”


Potty Training April 22, 2017

Filed under: Family Life,Third Baby — leighj @ 8:42 am

All of our boys (with the exception of Harlan) have been potty trained around their second birthdays. We’ve learned a few things over the time, and honestly, after potty training is done, it’s so easy to forget they ever wore diapers. Patrick made a video with tips and tricks, and he was playing with fast motion.


The Things I Forgot Last Time December 31, 2016

Filed under: Family Life,Third Baby — leighj @ 4:23 pm
  • Porter says when something scares him. The first we heard of this was the Monster Truck toy with teeth, which admittedly was a bit scary. Also scary: the dark, Gilbert making monster sounds, and dogs.
  • Porter “parks” his toys under his bed before nap time and bed time. It’s a great way to get him to stop playing and go to bed.
  • The house was a big hit for Christmas. Both Harlan and Porter (and Gilbert) love to move all the pieces around.
    Aaahh, the monster baby is here.

    Aaahh, the monster baby is here.


  • Seamus learned how to play Rook, and he is obsessed with it.
    Should I bid for the kitty, even though I have no good cards? YES!

    Should I bid for the kitty, even though I have no good cards? YES!


  • Gilbert is having a successful visit to Nana and PopPop’s. We all miss him; it sure is quiet around here.
  • Porter had to get new clothes (out of the attic). A drawer full of size three shirts now fit over his head. He has short little legs though, and still wears the size 2 pants. Seamus claims to need long sleeved shirts. We’ll see. I think he just doesn’t like wearing button downs, or sweatshirts over short sleeves…
    Porter's new favorite shirt. He thinks he's hiding his face in his hood.

    Porter’s new favorite shirt. He thinks he’s hiding his face in his hood.


  • Happy New Year!

Porter December 8, 2016

Filed under: Family Life,Third Baby — leighj @ 2:56 pm

Porter is hilarious. And also two. Since he talks a lot now, we have a good idea what goes on in his head. However, he does still have his moments in which he’s very two (meltdowns for no reason, dragging his feet when he doesn’t want to go somewhere).

  • At Zoolights, he was very excited about the train. He also loved riding the carousel. “Ride ZEBRA!! Porter ride Zebra, Mama!” It was fun because the only other time we’ve been was when Seamus and Gilbert were small like Porter. They also loved the train and carousel, so it was very much a redo. We packed a picnic and enjoyed the lights, festive atmosphere, and change of scenery.
  • He notices things now. Driving around, he points out stuff and talks about it. Lights and trees are pretty important to him. He also can tell the difference between an airplane and helicopter from inside the house.
  • He makes fun of Gilbert. Gilbert groaned the other night, and Porter followed up with a scarily accurate impression of Gilbert. Last night, Porter did something naughty, and Patrick and I asked him about it. Gilbert wasn’t here, but he said, “Boop Boop did it.” I can see that this might get to be a problem…
  • He is very independent. He likes to climb on the step stool to brush his teeth, wash his hands, wash his face. He wants a lot of control over his body and space. He does sometimes take it too far, and he’s been not wanting to use the little potty seat because he’s a big boy. But yesterday, he fell in. That freaked him out and he’s been using the little Elmo seat again.
  • He likes emotions and describing them. He looks at pictures and asks if the person feels sad or happy. Crying or laughing? Then he likes to talk about Elmo’s feelings about Grover.
  • Cars and trains are a big hit for Porter. He also still loves Elmo and all Sesame Street characters. Big Bird and Snuffy are popular. He likes to read and occasionally, he declares that he’s reading to himself. He gets pretty happy if Seamus will read to him.
  • “I do it” and “I got it” are important phrases for him. Unlike the others, he’s happy to express delight in the food. For instance, he’ll come in and ask for water. He glugs it down and declares, “Water good!” And lets out a big sigh, as if his world is now complete (and to be fair, it probably is, in that moment).
  • He plays with Harlan (peek-a-boo) and he plays with Seamus (the baby game and tag) and he plays with Gilbert (everything–they really are friends and rivals). He does have some possessiveness issues right now. Like he doesn’t like Harlan to come into “our room” and he really doesn’t like anybody (including me and Patrick) to touch his stuff.



Happy Birthday, Porter! July 23, 2016

Filed under: Events,Family Life,Growing up,Third Baby — leighj @ 8:34 am

Porter turned two yesterday!

Blowing out his candles!

Blowing out his candles!

At the birthday celebration, we relit his candles multiple times, since he liked blowing them out so much. Seamus sighed, saying that wasn’t appropriate activity. We told him that at his second birthday, he had more candles and he spent a long time blowing them out. Porter was pleased with his cake (I think he had two pieces, asked for a third, but couldn’t eat it). He also was a little afraid of his presents. I think Tickle Me Elmo was a little overwhelming. Especially when Gilbert was brandishing it at him.

We swam, he had breakfast at the Marriott, and he had his two year old appointment at the doctor. He got a shot (no tears, no fussing even), and he weighed in at 26 pounds, 34 inches. A little small, but no problem with his giant head. We’re ready for our newest two year old!