Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Nicholas!

Today, Nicholas turned four. I will post some more pictures of his party tomorrow.

This post is for Nicholas to read, someday, when he is older. You are welcome to read it as well. This is a little something I'd like to do for my children each year as they grow up.    :)

Dear Nick,

Today was your fourth birthday, and I spent some time thinking about the boy you are becoming. I love your curiosity and energy. I smile when you wash your hands somewhere new. I know that you will climb underneath the sink to listen to the water go down the pipes, and ask questions about the plumbing and drainage. When we went to the store today to get your balloons, you specifically asked for a purple one with a number "4" on it. I am proud that you can recognize so many of your numbers now. You can be sneaky as well--I had to have you show me both of your hands because you tried to sneak some tootsie rolls from a display. 

While you are constantly getting into trouble, in retrospect, your adventures often make me smile. Last week, I got home from work while you were still napping, and when I went into your room to wake you up I was blasted with the smell of diaper cream as soon as I entered the room. The smell was so strong that I followed it to the source, and I was astounded as you showed me your "art." Nicholas, you had flattened a fabric box (one we used to store your socks) and used it as a canvas for a 3D collage. With some purloined scissors, you cut up a straw. Then you used an entire tube of diaper cream to glue at least twenty small toys, papers, and socks to the "canvas." 

We had a family party for you today, and I sometimes envy you your confidence. Unlike your father and me, you are extremely extroverted, and always seem eager to greet any new visitors with a big grin. I admire how you start conversations with waitresses, cashiers, and strangers in line behind us in the grocery store. You also question everything, especially about my driving. "Mommy, why are you turning here? How come you aren't going on the road with the bumps? When you turn to Henry's side, is that right or left? Are we going to go on the expressway?"

It's not so easy to get you to smile on cue anymore, though. At one point today we had to bribe you with a sucker to get you to smile for a family shot. I think you must get your stubbornness from me. Due mostly to your tenacity, you are still only partly potty-trained at age four. I think that you will have a strong personality, and will be able to stand up for what you believe in as you grow. Obstinacy can be a double-edged sword, though, so I hope your father's influence mellows you out a bit. 

You are becoming more independent, and you proudly helped snap your car seat straps in the minivan this morning. We played a rhyming game in the car, and you kept trying to take over the game and have me be the student instead of the teacher. While I don't love the whining that I often hear, I do recognize the creativity inherent in your words as you begged for a treat from Starbucks because your "tummy growls and it is hungry and only a cake pop will make it feel better." I also felt extremely proud of your ability to empathize. When closing the balloons into the minivan, some of them started to float out the door and I fell as I caught them, bumping my knee rather badly. Instead of being worried about the balloons, you wanted to know if I was okay. I want to nurture that empathy and willingness to care for others.

We watched the movie Shrek for the first time today and you got a little scared, especially during the scenes with the fire-breathing dragon. Nick, you are not usually a snuggly kid, but I loved how you sat right next to me so I could protect you. "Mommy, you have to sit right here so I won't be scared of the dragon!" 

I smile every time I think of our nightly storytimes, where you beg for book after book. Lately, one of our favorites is Mo Willem's Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, mostly because you like to wag your finger and tell the pigeon, "No!" as he begs to stay up late. You do not, however, grasp the irony when, not five minutes later, you yourself beg to stay up later. 

I love you Nick, and I am excited to see what the fifth year of your life will bring. Love,  Mommy.

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