|Scooter. Gumboots. Rainbow Dash dress.|
My first baby is four years old. FOUR. He says things like, "Actually I need to use a different piece because this one won't allow the crane to swivel properly."
Excuse me? Weren't you, like, a zygote fifteen minutes ago? Who said you could grow up? Now you're talking about things swiveling "properly." (He also says "eh?" all the time. Moving to New Zealand has turned him Canadian.)
|Officially the first time he was more interested in the presents themselves than the wrapping/boxes.|
As requested by the birthday boy, we celebrated with "a cake with a train on it."
A bit of back story: My mother-in-law is a professional baker and has made two birthday cakes for him with trains on them - the last one had frosting grass and a little hill that the train was on (a toy Whiff from Thomas the Tank Engine). It was a work of art. So basically he was asking for a reprise of this. Unfortunately, we decided to move half a planet away from our entire network of family and friends and that includes the amazing grandma/cake-artist.
So we made the cake ourselves - and a work of art it was not. It was not so much an homage to the original grandma cake, but to pintrest fails the world over.
Bear LOVED it. You see, it was chocolate cake and there was a train on it. So, actually, #NailedIt.
And I loved it, too. Because even though we didn't have the grandmas to help us, Benjamin and I made his fourth birthday special for Bear.
|We has the skills of an artist.|
Seriously, isn't there some sort of FoodNetwork reality show we should be in right now?
Bear was curious to know what privileges came with turning four. As everyone knows, when you turn five you're allowed to chew gum. But what do four year olds get?
He's been four for a few weeks now, and it seems that what he gets is his sanity back.
Three was rough. There were a lot of transitions - we moved four times (not even including the two months we were nomadic), he started school, and became a big brother.
He reacted by becoming hellspawn.
I mean, I love you, grown-up Bear who may be reading this in the future. I love you and I have always loved you. And three was rough.
Three was the year Bear became a runner. In a crowded public place, ideally near obstacles such as busy streets or open water, he would look me in the eyes, flash a devlish grin, and run. This was especially great when I was massively pregnant or newly postpartum. I will never forget holding my belly and waddling with all the speed I could muster as he darted towards the four lane secondary road that borders my parents' neighborhood. (We survived this incident thanks to the help of a quick-thinking landscaping contractor.)
Three was also when he picked up the charming habit of threatening to kill people. Everyone from his parents to his sister to the extremely sweet student teacher at Nature Preschool. Occasionally he would pair this threat with spitting on me, narrowing his eyes and growling darkly, "I'm going to KILL you!" before spraying a wad of mucus into my face like some sort of demonic, poorly socialized llama. And lest you think I somehow deserved it, these threats were brought on by such offenses as not offering the appropriate type of cracker for snack.
In general three year old Bear was simply committed to doing whatever it was that people did not want him to do. We enrolled him in MyGym and rather than learning to 'socialize with his peer group' and 'follow directions,' he treated it like training for the Hunger Games, pushing other kids into the foam pit and then holing up under the trampoline and refusing to come out. He once kicked the back of the driver's seat for the entire drive from Baltimore to Charlottesville. Another time he earned twenty-two time outs in the space of three hours. He's taken marker to the wall in two separate rental properties - and it was not because his art cannot be contained by lease agreements, it's because he knows it gets a rise out of me.
|Don't let this cute smile fool you.|
Then, the other day, I watched him snatch a toy away from his sister and said, "No, Bear, you have to offer her another toy if you want the one she has."
"Oh, ok, Mom," he said. And he picked up a toy giraffe and put it in Pax's hand before taking the tinker toy she had been slobbering over. I blinked several times to clear my head. "Ok, Mom"? I wasn't even sure these two words were syntactically allowed next to each other in English, they sounded so strange next to each other.
And just like that, my kid is back. He's still ... "spirited," but no longer demonic. And when I'm not deflecting death threats and trying to lasso him to keep him from charging defiantly off of cliffs, I can actually see and enjoy him as he builds a lego "snow blower that blows sand," or makes a nest for all his "cuddlers," or pretends to be a "doctor taking care of allllll the patients in the hostable."
I can't wait to see what four has in store for us.