MK–the dress

The seamstress was a little late getting Maggie’s dress finished. It made me nervous, and to tell you the truth, I considered asking for my deposit back. But we had planned on a slumber party with Cora and Shaye, and I thought it would be fun to save the dress to give it to her for the slumber party. She was thrilled, and I think the seamstress did a great job. It is a little too big, but extra room to grow means that she can be Elsa for Halloween this year and next. 🙂

So… presenting the $125 Elsa dress turned into a $25 dress (made in Peru):

seeing it for the first time. She squealed with delight.

2014-07-28 07.54.29the front
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the back (I love the sparkly sheer fabric that she used). It definitely has a “snowflake look” to it.

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One day I let the kids color pictures from Frozen. Is it any surprise that Maggie chose this one? For the record, Ana chose Olaf, and Cohen chose Marshmallow. It really does show their personalities. 😉
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the Peruvian Elsa

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Let it go, peeps.2014-07-28 08.11.22 2014-07-28 08.12.02 2014-07-28 08.13.25

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MK–the dress

MK––5 years old

Maggie Kate, you are our beautiful Peruana. Your life pretty much marks our timeline here in Peru. It is hard to believe that this is your last birthday to spend in Peru for this chapter of our lives. You are a lovely, sassy, big blue-eyed, princess-lovin’ Kindergartener. We wouldn’t change anything about you.

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the best we could do for an "Elsa" hairdo
the best we could do for an “Elsa” hairdo

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This year we didn’t celebrate your birthday with a party.  We celebrated with a birthday extravaganza! You have been talking for 6 months about the Frozen party that you wanted. Well, you got your wish… plus more.

Step 1: Go with Momma to look for Frozen party decor in the center. The party stores were ready for us.

 

one store had the huge version of all the main characters
one store had the huge version of all the main characters
but Elsa is definitely your favorite
but Elsa is definitely your favorite

Step 2: Have a school party (something that your daddy and I despise, but I thought that it would be a nice gesture since it is your last year in Peru).

ice blue jello cups
ice blue jello cups

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an Elsa princess cupcake dress
an Elsa princess cupcake dress

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edible pearls and edible glitter (Momma had a lot of fun decorating these cupcakes)
edible pearls and edible glitter (Momma had a lot of fun decorating these cupcakes)
Holly Richardson (TA mentor) is kind of like an adopted missionary grandmother to these kids. She was here for the party!
Holly Richardson (TA mentor) is kind of like an adopted missionary grandmother to these kids. She was here for the party!
the sugar high buffet
the sugar high buffet

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They ate Cheesitos, popcorn, cookies, jello, candy and limonada all while watching Frozen in Spanish
They ate Cheesitos, popcorn, cookies, jello, candy and limonada all while watching Frozen in Spanish

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making the first wish of many
making the first wish of many

3. Step 3: Family party on the actual day. Maggie requested her favorite for lunch, Tortellini Soup. She wanted cinnamon rolls for her birthday dessert. She’s got good taste if you ask her parents.

birthday cinnamon rolls
birthday cinnamon rolls
Mat even played "Let It Go" for you
Mat even played “Let It Go” for you

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everybody but the photographer in the pic
everybody but the photographer in the pic
if the first wish didn't work out...
if the first wish didn’t work out…

Step 4: Mustaches in the park. One of our interns from last summer brought the girls fake mustaches (Thanks again, Lisette!). I had put them away, and Mags found them a few months ago. She got it in her head that on her birthday she wanted to go to the park and take pics with the mustaches on. Her dreams came true. Ha!

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Ana got in on the action, of course
Ana got in on the action, of course

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Step 5: Slumber party with Cora. Pictures to come…

Whew. We are done celebrating. chica. And I am sorry to say it, but I am all Frozened out. You got an Elsa dress (previous post), and we invited the Smith girls over for a good time. Cora and Shaye spent the night, but Aria was in on all the fun. She even wanted to stay the night with you (the last pics). You asked for cheeseburger sliders for dinner, and we made another birthday dessert. Your Gram had sent a princess party pack with Daddy back when he went to the states. We were able to use it along with our Frozen items.

You loved the princess birthday banner. You and your siblings added the extra Frozen pictures by coloring free pages off the internet.

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We made blue jello again, served the left-ver galletas from your school party, and put out the cake. That is your Elsa dress hanging in the background.2014-07-28 08.34.31

Tia Areli gave you a gift of these Frozen characters. I couldn’t believe that she could find something from Frozen! I looked. What is funny is that they are generic, and they still don’t have Elsa in the grouping. Luckily, we found a funny-looking Elsa candle in the party store downtown, and she ended up being the same size as the rest of the characters. Your sister hand drew a little Olaf and attached him to a long toothpick. Isn’t he cute?!

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Edible pearls and sprinkles are my new favorite cake decorating tools. 🙂2014-07-28 08.35.10

waiting for the guests. It was like waiting for Christmas.2014-07-28 09.10.25

the crew. Ana and Shaye (7), Maggie (5), Cora (4), Cohen (3), and Aria (2)2014-07-28 09.17.352014-07-28 09.18.20

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Aria is not picking her nose here, but it looks like it. See the cute cheeseburger sliders?2014-07-28 09.34.33

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I mentioned the Elsa candle coming from the party store. The wick fell down and it looked like Elsa had a torch sticking out of her back. Ha!2014-07-28 11.32.14

 

Cora insisted that I take a picture of her blue mouth. It was much bluer before I got this shot.2014-07-28 11.40.38

This little stinker wasn’t hungry for her cheeseburger, but she ate every bite of her piece of cake. 🙂 She also drank lots of “leemohdada” (limonada). 2014-07-28 11.40.53

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Aria is all ready to stay over.2014-07-28 12.26.47

Sweet girls. Sweet memories.2014-07-28 12.26.59

MK––5 years old

Elsa Costume for Mags

It is absolutely ridonkulous how much people are making off this Frozen craze. I tried to get my mom to buy an Elsa dollhouse figure, and she was told by the stores that they sell out within 15 minutes of getting a new shipment. Maggie’s birthday is coming up, and she requested a Frozen slumber party with her best friend, Cora.

Back in April, I went downtown to the area that rents costumes. Peru is a rental culture. I am talking everything… school plays, Halloween, what to wear to a wedding (they are super formal here), wedding dresses, graduations, promotions, etc. I personally love it.  Why did I pay over 100 dollars for a prom dress that I knew I would only wear once? See my point? Well, in April, I decided to ask who made the costumes, and I got a lady to make Cohen a fireman  and Zorro costume for under 30 bucks.

Since Maggie wants a Frozen party, is in love with the character Elsa, and adores playing dress-up, she is going to get a Frozen dress for her birthday. This morning, I went down to Siglo XX, I found the lady that makes princess dresses, and for $25 she is going to duplicate this picture that I found on Pinterest…

elsa

and just like that… a $120 handmade dress just turned into $25. 🙂 I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Elsa Costume for Mags

CT—3 years old

Look who is three years old!

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And look how much you have grown…

Baby newborn Cohen
Baby newborn Cohen
one year old Cohen
one year old Cohen
two year old Cohen
two year old Cohen

It is hard to believe that you have gotten to be such a big boy.  We are planning your 3rd birthday (a bombero party–pictures to come) party, but the 19th is THE DAY.  We will have a mini-celebration with our teammates on your special day.  I made sugar cookies and peanut butter bars to celebrate.

Here are some of the pics I have taken of you recently…

You started school in March with your two big sisters.  You and Maggie leave for school every morning to arrive at 8:30.  Your Spanish is getting better and better.
You started school in March with your two big sisters. You and Maggie leave for school every morning to arrive at 8:30. Your Spanish is getting better and better.
You are crazy about yogurt and apples right now.  Anytime you can get away with a snack in between mealtimes, you go for one of those food items.
You are crazy about yogurt and apples right now. Anytime you can get away with a snack in between mealtimes, you go for one of those food items.
You are still crazy about transportation vehicles.
You are still crazy about transportation vehicles.
We have been so impressed with your puzzle skills.  It is one of your favorite activities to do right now.
We have been so impressed with your puzzle skills. It is one of your favorite activities to do right now.
Your big sisters sure do love you.
Your big sisters sure do love you.
And we wouldn't have it any other way!
And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Cohen Timothy, we adore you, little one.  You have matured so much in the last few months—starting school was a big part of that.  You are go-with-the-flow most of the time.  You love being outside on the patio riding your bike or out in the sandbox getting dirty.

We really need to set you up with play-doh.  We don’t have any currently, and you have found some of the play-doh toys to play with.  You tell us, “I am playing ‘adobo.'”  Adobo is a famous Arequipan dish.  🙂

You love cee-wee-ul (cereal).  You could eat it for every breakfast and every dinner I believe.  You are usually the first to wake up in the morning.  I will find you playing with your cars in your room or in the playroom, and the first words out of your mouth are, “I want some ceeweeul, please.”

You call most everyone by name correctly.  But one of my favorite names that you mispronounce is Areli’s name.  You call her “Ah-lah-lee.”

If you get to choose a show to watch, you ask for “Thomas the Train,” “Go Gabba Gabba,” or “Monster’s Inko” (Monster’s Inc.!).

You sleep super well at night, and you no longer take afternoon naps.  We find you to be pretty cranky on school days, so it is no surprise that your napless afternoon leads to a 7 pm bedtime.

I have plenty of pictures to blackmail you one day.  Most of them involve princess dresses, tutus, and purses.  You might be receiving some costumes for YOU so that you don’t have to only use your sister’s stuff to play with.  😉

You have shown your stubborn streak and your defiance in the last few months.  You are learning to test the waters.  These occurrences have gotten less and less.  When you are mad, you like to show you are super mad.  But when you are loving, you are super loving.  I guess that makes you a passionate little boy.  I prefer sweet Cohen, though.

Cohen, we love you.  This is your last birthday in Arequipa.  You were born here, and we will never forget the first 3 years of your life spent in this beautiful country.  You may not have many memories because you are so young, but we pray that the memories are kept alive in these photos.  To our little Arequipeño, el príncipe de la casa, ¡Felíz Cumpleaños!

CT—3 years old

Birthmonth 2014

I am a social butterfly, and if I have an excuse to host a party or schedule an outing, I jump on it.  That is usually the case with my birthday, but this year it just didn’t work out that way.  With Granny’s passing and new teammates coming in, life was pretty much a whirlwind during this time.

What happened instead?  I was greatly blessed to see the fruit of beautiful Peruvian friendships in action.  This will be a mish-mash of photos, but that is the most perfect way for me to document my last birthday here in my home of Arequipa.  I remember Greg and me talking about moving to Peru.  At the time we were talking, we were planning to move here with two of his best friends in tow.  It may sound selfish, but I felt that it was so unfair to not be moving here with a best friend as well.  I will never forget Greg mentioning to me in this moment, “maybe you will meet a Peruvian that will become a best friend.”  Almost 6 years later, I have been abundantly blessed by friendships that have cultivated in this time.  I couldn’t see it six years ago, but I know that my heart will ache for these dear friends that I shared this chapter of my life with in Arequipa.

I give thanks to God for beautiful friendships, and I give him all glory for providing a circle of people that have loved and cared for me in our time here like sisters and brothers.

January 15… my actual birthday.

Greg usually teaches his theology class at the cafe in the early afternoon.  He walked in the house a little early with a huge bouquet of flowers, my favorite chocolates, and a new wallet (I had lost my wallet in a taxi earlier in the week).  What a guy!

they were HUGE
they were HUGE
Coral is one of my absolute favorite colors.
Coral is one of my absolute favorite colors.

I went to a Bible study in Sandra’s home that afternoon.  I always meet up with Etelvina and Bethany to walk over to her home.  Etelvina not only surprised me with a wonderful “snack” of Papa a la Huancaina, but Areli showed up (in the pouring down rain) with my most favorite cake in the city, La Tradicional (from Capriccios), chocolate cake with manjar and chocolate icing.  What fun!

rain drenched Areli and my cake
rain drenched Areli and my cake
sweet Etelvina
sweet Etelvina
Sandra was a little sneaky in this pic
Sandra was a little sneaky in this pic

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Sandra and Harold
Sandra and Harold

I need to mention that in the middle of reading a chapter in Mark, my phone rang twice.  I decided to take the call, and what was on the other end?  Emilia’s sweet voice singing “Happy Beerthday to you” all in English.  I loved it.

The next day, Emilia called me and gave me strict orders to not make plans for Friday lunch.  Areli, Paty, and Emilia were scheming behind my back.

Friday came, and the girls took me to eat ceviche (a favorite of Peruvians and a favorite of mine).  I missed Paty (family emergency).  With Ana in tow, I enjoyed a lovely lunch with my two Peruvian besties: we shared an appetizer, ceviche, and crab empanadas.  It was out-of-this-world-good.

they put a candle in my empanadas!  Ha!
they put a candle in my empanadas! Ha!

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Ana lovin' on Emilia (who moved to Canada this January as well)
Ana lovin’ on Emilia (who moved to Canada this January as well)

 

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Manuela loves to make us a lunch for our birthday present.  One week after the 15th, she brought Adobo to the house.  It was perfect planning considering I had delayed my plans to make my birthday dessert for this day.

the delicious Adobo
the delicious Adobo

Chase and Briana were sweet to offer and make me a birthday cake.  I quickly responded with a “no,” and explained to them that baking is a hobby of mine.  I love nothing more than to try a new recipe for my birthday.  This year, it was Bakeorbreak’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake that caught my eye.  I couldn’t resist… (pretzel crust, peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate syrup and toffee crumbled on top).  I will save my review for a later blog post, but I had a ball making the cheesecake, and I was blessed to share it with Manuela, my family, and my new teammates.  (I missed sharing with Kyle and Larissa and their family.  Thanks Sissa for the cheese cake pan!)  Oh… and CUDA employees might have benefitted from the left-overs the next day as well.  🙂

Delicious!
Delicious!

See what I mean by mish-mash?  🙂  Greg always laughs at me when I refer to celebrating my “Birth Month.”  It actually felt like such a celebration this year!  Bring it on Year 33…

Birthmonth 2014

CT—2 years old

April 19 is your birthday. I am writing your post late, and I plan to write your big sister’s birthday post after this (her’s will be more than one month late!). And that, my son, is a sign that life is just a bit more full with three little people instead of two and most definitely one. I have quite a few pictures to post here. I hope to shed light on you as a two-year-old by describing what is going on in these pictures…

It is hard to believe that you have gone from this little face on Day 1…

April 19, 2011
April 19, 2011

to this cute little 2-year-old face this month…

April 20, 2013 (your birthday party)
April 20, 2013 (your birthday party)

Here is a little bit about you:

1. You LOVE anything that has wheels, and you especially love the sounds they make. You ask every day if you can “Play” (draw out the “ehhhh” in that word) which means the sandbox. You will spend hours out on our little patio shoveling sand and moving your dump trucks around (your Xmas present). It was very appropriate that you had a “transportation” theme for your birthday party.

I hate that we don't have a yard in this city life, but this sandbox on our tiny patio has been a blessing for little boy energy.
I hate that we don’t have a yard in this city life, but this sandbox on our tiny patio has been a blessing for little boy energy.

2. You are showing the true colors of a “Terrible Two” here lately. Neither of your sisters ever threw fits so this is a new arena for us. You tend to throw punches when you don’t get your way, scream out when you don’t get what you want, and you are a pro at body contortion so that it is hard to hold you. We are working on that. You spend way more time “in your room” because of this, and I have a feeling you will be having more “stern talks” from your daddy and momma than your sisters needed. You look really cute in this little shopping buggy, but I have come to despise them. You throw a fit going into the store if I don’t put you in one (they don’t hold very many groceries), and the one time I put you in one (here), you r.e.f.u.s.e.d. to get out when it was time. Let’s just say we have had our share of times when I was “that mom” in the grocery store and Plaza Vea. You are VERY passionate about your wheels.

pretty cute, but not in the after-story
pretty cute, but not in the after-story

3. You are my little buddy. I have chosen to grocery shop on Sunday mornings so that you can stay at the house with big sisters and Daddy. But you are my shopping buddy on Monday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Friday mornings when I stroll you to the café. Ana isn’t usually with us, but this is your get-up: the stroller and your little sombrero (the hat Ana wore at her very first jardín).

you are usually happier than this photo shows.  You delight when I ask,
you are usually happier than this photo shows. You delight when I ask, “Cohen, are you ready to go ‘Chau?'”

4. You are the stereotype for “boy.” Nature definitely wins the argument, because we have not encouraged the things you tend to like. As your Daddy reflected the other day, not only do you love things with wheels, you prefer “chucks” (trucks) to “carrrrrrz” (cars) and you prefer “chactoors” (tractors) to trucks. No one has taught you these things. You just know. But having two big sisters still gives you a sweet, gentle side. It is a common scene to see you pushing the stroller around, cooking in the play kitchen and bringing me something “Hahhhhhhhttt” (hot), or pretending you are going to the market with your purse and cellphone.

pushing the Smith girls' stroller around with a dump truck instead of a baby doll.
pushing the Smith girls’ stroller around with a dump truck instead of a baby doll.

5. You annunciate the ends of words so well. If a word ends in a consonant, you pronounce it very clearly. I know your Aunt Katy (the speech path) would enjoy listening to your speech development. You are talking more and more. My favorite short phrases that you say right now are “Ahh-own-no” (I don’t know) and “Top itt!” (Stop it). Our favorite word that you say is milk. You sound a little bit like a cow and ask for “Mee-ehhllll-kkk.” Ha! You also speak a lot more Spanish than your sisters did at your age. You are home every Thursday by yourself with Manuela. She has taught you so many words, and you respond correctly in your actions when she asks you to do something in Spanish. One word you act on very quickly is “baile” (dance). You shake it like a real latino. Manuela takes credit and is very proud of you. You have also just recently come up with a breakdance move where you spin on the floor off of your hands. 🙂

6. You love “bahhls” (balls) and to “tump” (jump). You have just recently been getting some air on your jumping, but it has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Your mother can be heard giggling a mile away when you are showing off your “tumping” skills.

7. You are still taking a mid-day nap (around 2 hours) and you sleep from 7 pm to 7 am. You are a fantastic sleeper and every baby-sitter that puts you to bed tells us that you are super easy to lie down. Your routine is still paci, blanket, and monkey, but you have started going to bed with a few trucks lately. We have not transitioned you to the big bed (your sisters were sleeping in big beds months before turning two) because you are too good of a climber and you just won’t stay in the bed (we tried one night). I am happy with you being in the pack-n-play for now. You can reach the plug to your fan and the switch to the lamp, so there are many late nights that I come in after you have fallen asleep to plug the fan back in and turn the lamp off.

8. You have this thing right now where you act like a cat. If we say the word “cat” you transform. You get down on all fours, meow, and answer in a high-pitched cat voice. Many mornings I come in to get you out of bed and I pick up a cat instead. It is very helpful when you desire for me to chase you. All I say is “hey there little kitty-cat” and you transform and crawl over to me. Ha!

9. You treat Ana like a second mom. You go to her when you are sad or want to be comforted. You ask her for help. You treat Maggie like your twin sister. You guys fight, hit, and bicker with the best of them. But you also love chasing each other around in laughter.

Can you even tell who is older?  You are two, and Maggie is 3 months from turning 4!
Can you even tell who is older? You are two, and Maggie is 3 months from turning 4!

10. You love getting a hold of “lellows.” I am not sure why you call “markers” that, but you throw a fit when I catch you with one that your sisters leave out. You think you are so big when you get to color with markers.

11. You are affectionate. You have no problem with the Peruvian greeting and good-bye of kissing someone and hugging them. You say so many of the Peruvian names. Your favorites are “Dita” (Anita), “Vina” (Etelvina), and of course, “Lela” (Manuela).

12. You LOVE Manuela. You run down the stairs when you think you hear her coming in. You show her all of your trucks, lining them up in the kitchen for her, and you always want to eat breakfast with her (even if you have already eaten). You prefer “pan” (the Spanish word for bread) like a true Peruvian. Again, she takes great pride in teaching you these things. She planned to come to your birthday party (which is huge because she usually won’t come to activities I invite her to on her day off), but she ended up being sick. But the next day she worked, she brought you a complete set of tractors with a trailer. You love them, but not as much as she loves you. 🙂

Can you see the joy Manuela is getting in the background?
Can you see the joy Manuela is getting in the background?

Here are some pics from your birthday party. We invited all the boys from the church, but the Peruvians couldn’t make it. You had an all kids-gringo party…

your invites.  I splurged and bought the
your invites. I splurged and bought the “Cars” themed invitations.
dump truck cake
dump truck cake
we had
we had “Choo-Choo Chicken,” “Vroom-Vroom Verduras (veges),” “Semáforo (stoplight) Fruta,” “Hot Rod Salsa,” “Spare Tires,” “Nubes (clouds) Popcorn,” and served drinks form the “Pit Stop.” Can you tell I had fun with it?
my traditional birthday display of you in every year you complete.
my traditional birthday display of you in every year you complete.
Daddy set up part of your gift as a ramp for all the kids to play with.  It was a big hit, especially with you!
Daddy set up part of your gift as a ramp for all the kids to play with. It was a big hit, especially with you!
all the kids that came
all the kids that came
Daddy had as much fun as you setting up your new truck ramps
Daddy had as much fun as you setting up your new truck ramps
the boy-equivalent to your sisters' doll house
the boy-equivalent to your sisters’ doll house
the collection has begun...
the collection has begun…

Cohen Timothy, what a joy you are. You are not our little baby boy anymore. We love you, and I want you to know that your momma treasure all of these things in her heart.

CT—2 years old

AG—6 years old

She picked out her special dress to wear for her
She picked out her special dress to wear for her “party.”

This year Ana requested a slumber party with her two friends, Shaye and Baylee (her swim class amigas).  Baylee was unable to come, but Shaye is here.  They have had a wonderful time this evening.  I cannot believe how much these girls have grown.  I am typing while they watch the movie.

cheapest decorations ever!
cheapest decorations ever!
best friends.  Ana hasn't known a day of life without this girl.
best friends. Ana hasn’t known a day of life without this girl.
little sister always thinks she is one of the
little sister always thinks she is one of the “big girls”
personal pan pizzas
personal pan pizzas
Salud! (Cheers)
Salud! (Cheers)
cupcakes and milkshakes were served after the pizza
cupcakes and milkshakes were served after the pizza

They are currently watching _Mulan_ (Ana’s choice).  Blueberry pancakes are on the menu for breakfast.  My girl knows how to pick a delicious birthday menu!

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AG—6 years old