Today is The Boy's fourth birthday. He is officially a little dude. When he woke up this morning I sang Happy Birthday to him, he listened carefully, then he looked up at me, stroked my cheek and said, "Tat Tu Singing to me Mommy. I love you." He is so unbelievably sweet he kills me. When I left him in line for his class at his (still relatively new) school today he turned and looked at me and said, "I not gonna cry today Mommy. Because I am four." Indeed he is.
If you had asked me about a week ago what I thought about his third year I would have said something like, "I feel kinda bad because his third year was probably mostly about my own pregnancy and having his sister. I'm afraid he kind of got lost in the shuffle..." But yesterday I sat down to do his yearly video (every year I put together all my favorite pictures and videos in iMovie and put captions and set it to his favorite/appropriate songs and make a DVD out of it--gotta love the Mac!) and I realized that isn't the case at all. He had a full and wonderful year. Made even better by the addition of a sister whom he loves dearly.
A lot of the things he did this year signify the ending of his baby/toddler hood and the beginning of life as a little boy.
He went on his annual vacation to Hawaii in January (we leave in three weeks for this year's trip...) and had a BLAST. Loved it. He spent his last night in his crib and moved into a big boy bed. He said goodbye to his beloved Binky. He got potty trained. He started a new, real school (as opposed to in-home daycare/schools that he was in previously) and he is about ready to graduate from speech therapy. For the first time in his little history I can tell you that he had a relatively healthy year and finally topped the 30 pound mark. No he didn't gain a ton of weight, but he also didn't spend the entire year sick either. That is HUGE.
He also went through his normal obsessions. Started out the year with all things cars and trucks. Just any ole car or truck would do. Then that morphed into the movie Cars and all of its players. Then we wouldn't play with just any car. It had to be Lightening McQueen, or Sheriff, or Mater... At some point he moved onto Bob the Builder. I think this was when The Ex bought her new house and every time she had him over she gave him some sort of (really dangerous if you ask me) sharp tool to play with and he loved it. So then he was obsessed on Bob the Builder for a while. That somehow morphed into Handy Manny. That was a big one. He loved all of them and learned to count in Spanish (bonus!). Then we ditched all things repair related (Mom sold her house--Ex is Mom, I am Mommy...) and started getting into the things he was learning at school. The Planets were his first big obsession. He loved them. Still does. Not only can he recite them in order, but he can tell you what color each one is and if it has moons and if it is "tilted on its side" or has rings etc... He really got into the whole solar system. Then he somehow got into all things nature. And from that we got into bugs. Bugs of all shapes and sizes. Toy bug, real bugs, play bugs on TV, movies about bugs... So many damn bugs. He loved them all. But that led into what was decidedly the biggest hit of the year: Spiders. He still loves Spiders perhaps more than life itself. And of course, as I have blogged about many times, that morphed into Spiderman. That was true and strong right up through Halloween. It slowed down a bit when the Holidays came around because he became obsessed with all things Holiday. Specifically Rudolph. Loved Rudolph and the song and the old-school movie; all of it. He loved everything about the Holidays. He is now a kid that understands that when people start talking about the Holidays, it means presents are coming. And what is better than that? Now that the holidays are over I am trying to think of what is his favorite thing right now. He has been watching Pinocchio lately and is now into the whale from that movie and therefore all sorts of sea life. That has been his big thing lately. That and asking me for a "rescue helicopter" over and over and over. Doesn't seem to matter that he has a rescue helicopter, because apparently it isn't just the perfect one. He has also gone back a little bit to Handy Manny and Bob the Builder because Mom/Santa got him a tool bench for Christmas and he loves to work on it.
I remember when I would post on my yearly summaries the words that he was saying. Now, after years and years and thousands of dollars spent on speech therapy, I can't get the kid to shut up. Seriously. My parents constantly laugh because he is just like I was. They say it is payback. He will talk just to hear the sound of his own voice if he doesn't have something constructive to say. And if you happen to say something to him that he doesn't understand he will ask what the specific word means. For instance, this morning when we were driving to school he said to me, "Mommy, Spiderman shows are boring." I said, "Really? You think they are boring?" He said, "Boring means something you don't let me watch anymore." I laughed and told him that no, that wasn't exactly what it meant. I then explained to him that I don't let him watch Spiderman anymore because it is too violent and he acts like a crazy child after watching it. He said, "What is violent?" I said, "Violent is when people are mean and harsh and when they use shooter guns and bad things to hurt other people." And he said, "You mean like how you hurt my feelings cause you don't let me watch Spiderman anymore?" Um, no. Not exactly like that. But he wants/needs to know what everything means. He likes to use things in the correct context and he loves to have all sorts of different vocabulary to choose from.
His personality hasn't changed much in the past year. He is still sweet and sensitive. He is shy when he first meets you but then the life of the party once he warms up. He is compassionate and caring. He always has time for hugs and is sincerely upset by the injustices of the world. He is truly the greatest big brother I have ever witnessed. Not once has he ever raised his voice or hit his sister. And he was pretty upset when she Godzilla'd his marble game to pieces. He talks to her sweetly and says hi to her when she wakes up in the morning and now that they are in different schools, he can't wait to get home to see her in the afternoon. He will go up and give her a hug and tell her he missed her and tell her all about his day. It makes me cry pretty much every day.
I can't believe how much he has grown up in this past year. And I can't imagine the little boy he is going to become in the year to come. All I know is that this little red head is like an extension of my heart walking around on the outside of my body. I am SO proud of him and all he is becoming. He is one of the greatest little human beings I have ever met and I am privileged to have him in my life, much less to get the opportunity to raise him. Happy 4th Birthday my love! May all your wishes come true!