In honour of the "almost" four year old.
Your legs stand strong and tall, they have lost all semblence of "baby fat". You breathe deeply as you concentrate on the Lego creation you are preparing to show me.
I am overcome with how NOT a baby you are. You refer to yourself as my "Big Kid" and you clearly are. When peopple ask how old you are, it's "I'm almost four." Always looking to the next.
You have grown and changed in this last year almost as much as you did your first year. You are not a baby, you are not a toddler (I keep correcting Daddy). You will be going to school in September. You are a big kid.
Part of the growth comes from being the "Big Brother" for the past 11 months. It is still a work in progress. Sharing your parents, sharing your space, sharing attention from doting grandparents, sharing sharing sharing.
You get the law laid down - you are the first born of two first-borns. The expectations are high, you are our guinea pig.
I think we're doing okay, all things considered.
You are smarter than smart. Your vocabulary rivals that of kids twice your age. This is partly why we are so hard on you, we forget that you're *just* (not even) four. The words you pronounce incorrectly, or grammatically round-about sentences are reminders that you are still learning. And we should be gentle and kind. Two words you hear so often from our lips.
I keep explaining my opinions and experiences of this phase we refer to as "The Fournado"; it is as though you are experiencing ALL emotions at maximum capacity and maximum volume. The mood swings are swift and violent. If you are happy and excited, you are practically manic with squeals and giggles. If you are sad or angry, the screams and tantrums will ring through the house. You give it your all, all of the time.
You make me so crazy. Let's just be honest. There's a lot of button-pushing, and limit-testing, and some days I think I'm losing my mind. I'm not sure whose mood swings faster, yours or mine. How can I be completely overcome with love one minute, and exploding with rage the next?
In crowds and large groups, you hide behind me, you hang off of me and it drives me nuts. But I forget that you are shy, you are a little bit introverted, and that's okay. You'll warm up, you'll find your way.
You also make me so happy. You are my Sweet Pea. You can be so sweet, and thoughtful and funny. Your brother thinks the world of you. On days you aren't home, he knows that something just isn't quite right. It's too quiet. You want to s snuggle him and hug him and lift him. The first pictures of you kissing his head still bring tears to my eyes. I can still hear your voice when you came to visit us in the hospital and asked "Can I hold my baby?"
Seeing you with Nathan just reminds me of how you used to be that size, and now you aren't. And a part of me is sad, because you can't go back. But then you want to show me a new trick, or tell me something you learned, or show me a bug, and I realize - the fun is just beginning.
We're learning and growing and stumbling through this together. I love you fiercely. I simultaneously want time to speed up, and slow down. But never doubt my love for you. And know that I am desperately trying to do the best I can for you.
Happy 4th Birthday Thomas