This is a few weeks late. Or.. a month and a half late.. same diff! I know.... very unlike me! Last year, I am fairly certain your birthday novella was written and saved in draft a week or so before your birthday. This was when your sister was safely contained in my uterus. Things are very different now, as you know!
Son, the last year with you has been quite the ride. QUITE. Months 36 through around....42? They were hard. For you. For me. For innocent bystanders in Super Target parking lots. You were fully capable of making your own decisions about PRETTAY much everything. You were fully verbal. Combine them and you get a volcanic reaction of 3-year old tantrum molten death lava. Old enough to tell me where to stick it, yet too young to really get why that is not a cool thing to say. Enter: your sister. A sweet little nugget of NEEDINESS. You cashed in on this neediness at every turn, waiting until my boob was firmly in her mouth until you decided to get royally pissed off about something, requiring me to disarm whatever bomb you activated while breastfeeding at the same time yaaaaaysooofun! I really honestly thought we were going to need to look into family therapy/counseling.. it was that bad. You really were affected by the vast life change called Avery. You were so used to our relatively easy-going VERY predictable lifestyle, the new unpredictablities that a new baby introduced were not very welcome by you. Don't get me wrong, you were always very sweet and loving and just doting to her, but you treated ME vastly different. I got a lot of flack. A lot of glares and new unhappy tones and defiance. Time passed though, as it does. Something happened. I don't really know.. the new-ness wore off, perhaps? You realized you still lived a charmed life? Whatever happened, I am glad it did.
You are such a joy. Just really, an absolute joy. The things you say!! You make me want to gush to total strangers with your overt politeness. I don't, but oh how I want to. You are such a little pleaser. You love to be praised. One time, I don't remember the exact wording you used, but it was made abundantly clear that you thrived off our praise when you point-blank told us that 'when you say you're proud of me, I feel happy!' Directness that you only get from a preschooler.
We try to reciprocate when we can, as far as being direct. We still do a lot of spelling around the house.. such as 'are there any more c-o-o-k-i-e-s left?'.. and sometimes you'll ask us 'hey, what does that mean?' And we'll say that it means we don't want you to know what we're talking about. And you process that very matter-of-factedly, saying oh okay!
Lately, I've been trying to wean you off the ketchup. Not all the way, of course, is IS a harmless condiment. But I do want you to be able to actually TASTE more of the food we give you, un-drenched in ketchup. So you get one (or 1.5..) refill and it goes back in the fridge. Once it's in the fridge, it doesn't come back out. Tonight, you asked for a refill, I told you it was already back in the fridge, and you very pleasantly said 'okay then, I'll just eat my food without it like a big boy!' Rewind a year ago, and denying you a ketchup refill would assuredly have resulted in Dinnertime Throwdown 2011. It wouldn't have been pretty. And now? God I love 4.
You love to remind us just how much you love us. I don't mean this in an abstract way, I mean that exactly how I said it. You will do something, anything, from putting your dirty clothes up to finishing all your applesauce, and you'll say 'ya know why I did ___? Because I love you so much!' with the sweetest of smiles. It's really just too much.
You help out at every turn. You get the door for me coming and going, you put all Avery's used bottles in the sink, you pick your clothes up, you fold the rags in the laundry basket, you pick up your toys, you are 100% independent when it comes to most all self-help tasks... I am telling you, 4 is what I've been waiting for! I want to just write every cute little thing down on a scrap of paper, pack them in a jar, and leave on the doorstep of strangers bringing home their first baby... to tell them that these first weeks/months will seem to break them, physically and emotionally, but 4. It's coming. And it's AWESOME.
Thank you for being so awesome. For being such a sweet sweet boy, for making me so very proud to be at the forefront of it all. I feel privileged. Happy BIG 4th Birthday, sweets.