Friday, February 28, 2014

Moving FOURward

Four.  Wow.  Four?  Really?  Four.  Already?  Four.  Only?

Today Charlie turned four years old.  And like every birthday post I've written, thinking back about the last few years leaves me in some sort of wrinkle-in-time/ head shaking/ confused state.  In some ways, I can't believe I have a four year old.  And in other ways, I cannot believe that Charlie has only been part of our lives for four little years.  How can that be possible?

Four sounds so much different than three.  As Charlie has been on the verge of four, I've glimpsed how things are changing with him.  Four is not Three.  Four means thinking more independently and taking more risks.  Four means gaining confidence and mastering physical tasks (like pretending to snowboard from the couch to the ottoman to the floor, and sliding like hockey players across the slick hardwood floors).  Four means mastering independently writing his name and taking the first steps toward actually reading.  Four means watching a little personality blossom and hearing uniquw and original thoughts on his lips.  Thoughts that were not repeated phrases he heard from his parentes, but real original Charlie thoughts.  (And just for the record, these thoughts are often profound, sometimes hysterical, and occasionally probably should be cause for concern)  Four means saying goodbye to the phrase "I have a toddler" and practicing the words, "I have a little boy".

I LOVE having a little boy.  I thought I loved having a "1"-year old.... only to have the "2"-year old phase blow me away with enjoyment.  And then "3" came around. And while "3" was challenging in ways that "2" wasn't, it was also gratifying.  In my experience, children are like wine-- they seem to get better with age.  (Don't worry, I work with school aged kids and I have served some time in a middle school so I know this will come to a screeching halt at some point.)  So while I will always have a soft spot for the little baby that came into our lives four years ago, I'm so glad he didn't stay a baby and has turned into an amazing little boy. 

This is a bit of Charlie during age three:
* was very independent

* would cry for a looooong time if doesn't get what he wants.

* learned that crying doesn't lead to what you want-- tantrums lessoned a LOT

* didn't understand that wanting something doesn't make it appear.  For example, he wants tape when we're out of tape.  I mention, "we're out"-- so he cries with the hope of it appearing.  So I do this rain-dance type thing and ask for the tape gods to drop tape out of the ceiling and he looks all hopeful but then cries when nothing happens.  Same with cereal.  Same with Applesauce.  We've had this dance many times and you'd think he'd learn.

* DID learn that wanting something doesn't make it appear!

* Plays well independently, but also sometimes needs interaction.

* Is still attached to Mama-- which can be slightly annoying when we play with new friends, or ones we haven't seen for awhile.  It takes a good 30-60 minutes for him to 'warm up' to everyone.

* Still has some separation anxiety--  After missing 10 days of daycare over Christmas break, he cried for over a month every-single-morning at daycare drop off.  It was heart breaking and maddening and annoying for both of us.

* Is super imaginative. Will play with craft puff balls forever.  Personifies everything-- like cars, little people, trucks, the farm animals.

* Is really into making "ah-ventions" out of Tinker Toys.  And they are pretty innovative if I do say so myself.

* Loves "guys".  Action heros, football guys, Smurfs from the McDonalds Happy Meals.

* Is obsessed with Minions.  Obsessed.

* Loves playing with anything having to do with rescues, dinosaurs, and super heros. Or Minions.

* Has sensitive eyes & often wears his sunnies during breakfast because "My eyes haven't dajusted yet."

* Is very strong willed-- aren't all three year olds?

* Tried a stint with being bossy-- especially to Mommy and Daddy.  This didn't end well for him and we think he's catching on.

* Loves playing rescue.  Often puts on his fire chief helmet and runs around shouting "Wee-ooo-wee-ooo... I'm on it!"

* Loves watching Diego.  Insists that he says, "Edimaday" instead of Activaday. Runs around the house with Mason's belt on rescuing people and things.

* Had some favorite tv shows, such as: "Paw Patrol" "Diego" and "Team UmiZoomie".  Then his parents downsized the Dish Network subscription and Lost Nick Jr.  So now he's into public tv shows like Wild Kratz, Curious George, and Word Girl.  And he watches the occasional Antiques Roadshow which happens to be one of his father's favorites.

* Has said goodbye to afternoon napping, except for on the rarest of occasions.

Phrases and Charlie-isms:

Recent Charlisms:
* Uses the word "Totally" and "Definitely" a lot.  As in, "Does Ama play the violin as well as that man on TV?"  "Definitely.....Not."

* Says, "I'm on it!" when playing rescue or anything involving his attention.

While eating spinach salad at dinner:  "I never knew humans eat leaves! I thought only caterpillars ate leaves!"

Watching Despicable Me 2, a minion is in a coconut bra on the beach with a cocktail in his hand.  "There's you, Grandma Carol!"

* Has a heart of gold, and could quite possibly be the most tender-hearted little boy I've ever met.

After having a day of tantrums and being tired, I was tucking him into bed.  He scooped my face into his hands and looked me straight in the eyes.  He said, "Mommy?  Even when I'm sad and crying all day and being mad, I still love you in my heart.  My heart loves you all of the times."

Painting his dump truck craft together: "Mommy, yours looks really pretty!"
"Thanks, Charlie!  Do you know what that's called?  When you say something nice to someone else?"
"It's called a compliment.  So you just gave me a compliment."
"Yeah.  And some people just call that love."

This morning we enjoyed sprinkle cake donuts and will feast on noodles for supper. Tomorrow we will celebrate with family, friends, and minion decorations.  Sunday we're headed to Cedar Falls to catch flying pancakes at the Maple Syrup Festival.  I think I already have perma-grin.  All is well.

Cheers to my little boy.
Love, Mama

Couldn't resist adding this one.  Introducing my babies to each other, four years ago.
We had lots of snow in 2010, but didn't experience the "Polar Vortex" like 2014, which meant plenty of walks-- the first at the tender age of five days old.  

Does anyone else think he looks exactly the same?  And I love that this is still his favorite sleeping position.  

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