Tonight I attempted to put a four year old to sleep. It’s 10:44 pm, and you’re still wide awake. I have left your room several times saying, “Good night 4 year old, next time I see you, you will be 5.” That just doesn’t seem to be your plan tonight. And that says a lot about who you are, a child with his own plan, a kid who marches to his own set of rules.
At this very moment in the last hour of being four, you are milking it for all it’s worth. And why not, FOUR has been a wonderful year for you.
Kid, we knew it early on, but you are our funniest child. And definitely our most clever child. And the most inquisitive. And definitely the silliest. And the sneakiest. And you have the biggest twinkle in your eye.
I never tire of seeing that twinkle. Ever. Sure, I get a bit worried about what might come out of your mouth next, what you might be up to, but that twinkle is such a part of who you are, I never want it to fade. Sometimes, you get a wild look in your eyes, like when you are running or chasing your brother. It’s hilarious especially when matched with your loud voice. But at night, when we’re snuggling or during the day when it was just me and you, there it was: the twinkle, that look that always showed me the wheels were constantly turning.
I can’t imagine being inside your head. Seriously. You ask more questions than any child I have raised, and three came before you. The topics vary, but a small sampling from tonight: why do we have bones, why can’t we just be pumped up, do you blow smoke (cigarettes), can I have some of my cake now, what is 20 plus 20, what is 40 plus 40, what is 80 plus 80, what is 160 plus 160, what is 320 plus 320, what is 640 plus 640, what is 1280 plus 1280, why do you know so much, do you think we will see Mason’s friend John because we haven’t seen him in a long time, what do you think God looks like, why is Mason crying…
That was a small sampling. It lasted less than four minutes. You question like that all. day. long. literally. every. single. day.
And that’s fine. You are curious, and you want answers. I like that about you. Sure, it gets tiring at times, but I wouldn’t trade your need to know answers to every little thing for all the money in the world. I want you to always question things. Even though I know at some point the questions you will ask will make me nervous or upset me or cause worry. It’s okay, smart people question things.
And boy are you smart. You could say that your father and I often wondered how this year might work out with you as my student. More like we worried. I had read enough books on homeschooling to focus on the “better late than early” line of thought. First, it really does make so much sense, but second, I knew better than to force anything with you. And so we went slow. Patterns, me reading to you, coloring, learning numbers, cutting, true pre-school stuff. You could sit still for over an hour of me reading to you. And you wanted it. It was like your mind was begging for food, and of course, books are food.
And then it happened…In January, you said you wanted to read.
Read!!! And for the past six months there has not been a sound that has made me happier than listening to you read. You still read out loud, and it is so good. You rarely miss words, and you underatnd the story. We went from Bob books and Starfall, to the few early readers I owned, and now you pick your own books at the library. You loved Splat the Cat, Marley and Stuart Little books. But now you read whatever you get your hands on; I got a meaty picture book about basketball and there you were sitting on the couch just reading by yourself. And that’s how I know you’re just like the other boys, I find you reading even when you don’t have to be reading. I just can’t get enough of the sound of your vioce.
You still want to hear me read to you. You get pouty and mad when I don’t have time to read at night these days. You don’t understand that I’m substituting daytime reading for night reading. Your favorite books this year had to be: Thunder Birds and Looking at Lincoln. I’m excited to share the new books I got for your birthday. They are new ones, but I think you’re going to enjoy them.
Snax, you are such a good brother. Sure, you tangle with the boys, and I’ve found you pushing your sister at times, but overall, you are such a great brother. Watching you explain something to Sunshine is so sweet, you bend your body to her level and talk right in her face raising your voice a bit to sound nicer. I wonder what she’ll do without you next year. You are excited about school for one reason: recess with your brothers. Me, I’m slightly worried about all the calls I’m going to get due to fighting between you guys on the playground.
I’m proud of a lot of things about you Snax, but probably most of all is your love for God. With the amount of questions you ask, I know what’s coming in my future from you, but for now, your questions are all about love. Well, and how to defeat the devil: with alligators or guns? I catch you reading the children’s Bible daily. And you love stories of the Saints. You can answer tons of questions about God, Jesus and the Church in general.
You also love Mary, as in the Mother of Jesus, and often let me know that she is indeed a much better mother than I am. You are right. Even when your brothers tell me I’m the best mom, you don’t let the illusion stand. “Mary was better, she never yelled.” And her son was Jesus, so there’s that. Amen.
Other than snuggling on the couch while Sunshine napped and reading to you, my favorite thing this year was Audubon and Storytime with Miss Natalie. You loved Audubon and learning about nature. You still play with the crafts you made there. And Miss Natalie~ Bible Storytime was a huge hit. You loved her and always had a shy smile on your face when saying hello and goodbye. Every week you would ask on the drive out there, what are we talking about today? What are we learning about? Again, that mind always working and wanting to know.
Snax, you are such a sweet, stubborn, sneaky little boy. I always want you to be your own person, the person who wears a Christmas sweater in the middle of July or costumes just because or a sports coat with shorts…always be yourself and don’t conform to what others want.
I just remembered my favorite thing about you this year: it’s when you come into my room in the mornings to snuggle. First, you snuggle so well, that alone is near perfect to me. But the best is when you walk into the room and I’m already out of bed. You scream or grunt loudly, run from the room and slam your door. I’d like to say I worry you will wake someone up, but I can’t. I love that you want to snuggle with me so badly, that you get that upset and run from the room. You don’t always show emotion, so I know I’m lucky that you always tell me how much you love me and that you are upset when you don’t have mommy time.
Kid, I love you so much, way, way more than you will ever know. I thank God for you daily, I pray for you daily, I love watching who you are becoming, I love hearing the things that come out of your mouth. I just love you for the perfect gift you are to me.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy with the twinkle in your eye. God Bless you always. Mary, St. Sebastian and all the Saints, pray for my boy!