Thursday, February 26, 2015
Four Years Old.
My little man, the baby of our family, turns four today. Four years ago today I was big and pregnant with sore hips and a voracious appetite. I felt old, tired, and READY for this baby inside of me to make his grand entrance.
And grand it was.
My little baby boy was not a typical hospital birth. We flew into the ER in the middle of the snowy night and I literally popped out a baby sitting in the wheelchair at the nurses station, waiting for my room. Honestly, if you have to birth a baby, this is the method I recommend. It certainly beat the hours and hours of natural childbirth and fruitless pushing that I endured when my daughter was born. The hospital probably frowns on this (due to the fact that the wheelchair is likely out of commission permanently....) but I still say fast and furious is way better than slow and laborious when it comes to childbirth.
OK, enough about birthing. Back to the birthday.
So our little guy is four. Here's what I will remember about four....
He loves all things bulldozer. Actually anything excavator, dump truck or race car is also at the top of his list.
When I sing along with the radio as we drive around town, he often says, "Mommy, I like your singing."
Piggie and Gerald are his favorite literary characters and he can listen to those books over and over and over.
He still calls his big sister "Ra-Ra", even though he's perfectly capable of pronouncing "Clara."
We have to store toothpaste out of reach, because he is completely incapable of controlling the urge to squeeze out a half cup of toothpaste on his toothbrush.
He refers to the dentist office as the "tooth hospital" because we had to rush him there one evening when he fell and smacked his face on the coffee table.
He does not sleep in. Ever.
He still naps 1-2 hours every day, which must be our consolation prize for his habit of rising early.
He begs me to paint his toenails. And I do.
His favorite game to play with his sister is "Mom and Dad" which I think is basically what we used to call "Playing house" in my day.
The sandbox is his happy place.
On the weekends when he's the first one out of bed, he comes to my bedside and puts his face right in front of mine until I wake up and pull back the covers for him to climb in with me. He snuggles for 10-30 seconds before asking about breakfast and moving on to other more interesting activities.
His curiosity does not quit. He wants to know the how and why of everything.
He likes going to the doctor and has never shed a tear when getting a shot.
He loves being a helper. That is my go-to solution for times when he is pestering his sister or just not able to find a productive outlet for his energy. I ask him to help me with something and it usually works.
As a result of previous statement, we spend a lot of time together in the kitchen cooking dinner.
This little man challenges me every day. He pushes the limits, challenges the rules and tests the meaning of "No" and "Stop" on a daily basis. He has occasionally brought me to my knees as a mother and made me recite desperate prayers for "Just one easy day." Or, "Just one morning without a power struggle." Or, "Please Lord, just one nice toy that we don't have to donate to the thrift store because he used it to hit his sister."
He has also taught me about love. And strength. And growth. I have learned (Many times over) that I am far from being a perfect mom. His challenges have forced me to give up the facade of perfection and ask others for help. He has given me the courage to be vulnerable in new ways. Do you know how hard it is to admit you don't quite know the correct way to parent your very own biological offspring? It's almost as if you're admitting failure at being human. Isn't being a mom supposed to be natural? Easy? Intuitive?
Sometimes, not so much.
But here's what I do know. Admitting you don't know it all is the first step toward getting it right. Or at least better. Loving through the struggle makes me stronger and teaches me lessons about love and grace that I didn't even know I needed to learn. Being a mom to an active, envelope-pushing, mischief-stirring boy has made me reevaluate, learn, stretch and grow in whole new ways.
When my kids complain about things being hard, I don't try to convince them that it's easy. I convince them that they can do hard things. Because truly, nothing less than hard work has ever birthed anything worthwhile.
And so, my little man, happy birthday. Growing up is not always easy when you are four. (Or 41, for that matter.) You'll try out some new tricks. I'll learn new ones too. I'm sure we both have a few more mistakes to make before we get it all right. But we'll be fine. Because we can do hard things.