My sweet, crazy, smart, handsome, funny little man -- today you are 4 years old. Four years ago tonight you burst into our lives and made us parents. When I saw you for the first time, I didn't think I could ever love you more and then you turned 4 and I realized my love for you grows every day.
In the last year you have changed so much I don't even know where to start. You're taller, thinner, faster, smarter, more articulate and more interesting. You carry on the most fascinating conversations about your day, your friends and random things you see out the window. Your new favorite thing is to ask me what the street signs say, and then you remember and tell me what intersections we are driving through days later. You're freaky like that when it comes to memory -- you don't miss anything and it's all stored in the vault.
You started all-day school in the fall and you adore it. When we get to school, you're so excited to get in the door that you literally jump out of the carseat or the stroller, shrug your backpack on and hurriedly kiss me goodbye before running up to the door. You go in all by yourself, walk down the hall to your classroom by yourself and put your things away in your locker all by yourself. A locker! You're 4, what could you need a locker for? You love all your friends and your teachers and you always come out in the afternoon with a huge smile on your face. And that is my favorite part of my day -- no matter what, you look for me and when you catch my eye, I wave and you light up. But you're also a typical 4-year-old boy when it comes to behavior and we've had to remind you to keep your hands to yourself and try to keep your mouth quiet. Some day you'll figure it out. Hopefully.
You've grown so much I swear you get bigger overnight. Just last week all your 4T pants were suddenly too small in the waist and too short in the legs, so we had to get all new jeans. You love to eat, always asking, "What else can I have?" Some of your favorites are smoothies, spinach salad, tikka masala, almond butter sandwiches, yogurt, cereal bars, apples and pizza. Like your father, you would eat pizza at every meal if we let you. Thankfully, you are pretty open to trying new things and love fruits and veggies, so we hope that continues.
This past year you became a big brother for the second time and this time, it's been a completely different experience. You genuinely love Maeve and are so gentle and nice to her. You always want to know where she is and what she's doing, and you ask to hold her quite a bit. You love it when she smiles at you and have a great time playing on her little play mat with her. You give her lots of kisses and gentle pats on the head and I love to watch you interact with her because it's so sweet. Your interaction with Emmie isn't always as sweet, however. You do get along more and spend more time playing together, but she's normally the target of your aggression. You can just be walking around the house and out of nowhere, boom, you hip-check her for no reason, sending her wailing to the ground. But then you can turn around and be completely nice, sharing a toy with her or asking if she wants to watch "The Wiggles" with you. I suspect this hot and cold relationship will continue for many years, hopefully with less violence.
Some of your favorite things right now are playing at the park, watching "The Wiggles" and "Go, Diego, Go," playing Uno, playing with your train set, pretending to be a veterinarian with your stuffed animals, playing video games on your Leapster, reading books, riding your tricycle, going to the park, playing soccer and swimming. You want to do everything yourself from zipping your own coat to carrying your own milk and food to the table. If you can't get something after a few tries, you're getting much better about asking for help instead of throwing a huge tantrum and screaming. Not that you don't still do the tantrum thing, but they're usually shortlived and not very often.
When you take a shower, you wash your "armhips." You like to go to the nature "nuseum" and you won't eat salads without "yummy screwtons" on them. You like to help Daddy make "smoovies" and you're getting ready to celebrate "Valentime's Day." There are a million more cute things that you say, but your speech is getting more adult by the day and soon, you won't say any of those cute little things anymore.
Yesterday, I took you to a birthday party for one of your friends and there was a magic show. As an adult, I usually roll my eyes and get annoyed by things like that, but watching it through your eyes was a whole new experience. Your eyes lit up and grew wide as he made doves appear out of thin air and you clapped with obvious delight when he changed four birds into a poodle. As I watched you watch the show, I saw unabashed joy in your face. You don't know how to be cynical or doubt what you see. You live in the moment and wear your heart on your sleeve. It makes me so happy to see you enjoying yourself. It makes me sad to see you disappointed. It makes me crazy when I think someone has slighted you. I only want the best for you and while I know disappointment is part of life, I wish you would never know it.
In the last few months, you've been a little wary of Daddy and I being gone. It started when I went to the hospital to have Maeve and has gotten a little worse since Daddy started traveling for work. Every night you get a serious look on your face and ask me, "Mommy, are you leaving? Are you going to leave me alone?" And I always tell you that I would never leave you alone, that someone will always be here with you. I've never experienced this kind of thing with you before, so it's been a little surprising. There are nights when you ask me for the 20th time, when you are supposed to be in bed, and it's a little annoying. But mostly, it makes me want to scoop you up and hug you tightly. Don't worry Jackie, in 10 years, you'll beg me to just leave you alone already, slamming the door to your room. And then I will remind you that when you were 4, that's the last thing you wanted.
When I think back to the tiny baby you were, with your wrinkly brow and skinny arms and legs, I am amazed at the big boy you are now. How did you get from there to here? How did I witness all these days yet miss you growing up? I love the baby in you, but I can't get enough of the big boy you have become.
Labels: Jack, pictures