Happy half birthday, Jaden!
I can't believe you are halfway to the big FIVE! That's right, buddy - you are thhiiisss close to being able to fill up a whole hand with the number of years that you've been our silly goose.
Who are you as a 4 1/2 year old?
...you are a smarty pants only getting smarter. You're obviously soaking it all up, and I think we're all a little anxious for you to get back into preschool in a few weeks so you can start soaking up even more.
...you are SO energetic. I call you our little energizer bunny. It's amazing how the MINUTE you wake up in the morning, you are on full alert and ready to tackle the day. You are always moving, "bouncing off the walls," and are never interested in just relaxing. Yes... this gets exhausting. But you just love life and don't want to waste a minute of it. I love you for it.
...you are becoming braver. No longer afraid of the water, you have surprised us this summer by having a blast jumping into the pool, dunking your head under water, loving the rides at Adventureland, and tackling those water slides head first on your tummy. You have come a long ways from your first swimming lessons when we had to drag you kicking and screaming into the kiddie pool!
...you are thriving as a big brother. I think this might be one of the ways I'm most proud of you. Though you can be bossy and aggressive at times, you are so very protective, are always asking Brandon to join you in any activity you're doing, and can often times understand what your brother is trying to say before we can. And I think you love that he looks up to you... evidenced by the fact that you are always asking him to watch you do certain things so that you can show off a little bit. I love that Brandon has you.
...you are a goofball, and you LOVE to laugh. You ask people to tickle you, and once you start giggling about something, it's hard to get you to stop!
...you are sensitive. There are times where you don't request it, but I can sense that you need a hug... and when I come to you with one, you instantly squeeze on tighter, rest your head on my shoulders, and let out a big sigh in appreciation. Though you try to act like you're "so big" and grown up now... I know you're still my little boy inside, and I hope this lasts for quite a while longer!
...you are Daddy's sidekick. You want to do everything he does... whether it's mowing the grass, helping take out the garbage, learning how Daddy flips the meat on the grill, or pretending to "drive" from your booster seat... you are eager to learn how to become a man. A couple weeks ago, you begged your daddy to let you go to work with him. I think a few years from now... he'll let you. (Though he probably WILL put you to work!)
...you are learning the ways of the world a little bit more. The other night, the discussion at the table was where our meat comes from. Daddy finally told you how we got our pork chops that night, and for as sensitive you are and for the animal lover that you are, you surprised me by not caring at all that in order to eat meat, we have to "die it." You can't wait for your first hunting trip.
...you're becoming more interested in sports. You told me the other day that you missed playing soccer like you did in the spring, you love to shoot hoops in our driveway and you ask us all the time to play baseball with you. You get impatient with yourself very easily... and though we are trying to teach you what it means to have to practice something, I think you will have an inner drive as you grow up to be the best that you can be at whatever it is you choose to take on.
...you still love music. You are constantly humming. It's like second nature to you... most of the time you don't even realize you are doing it. You sing yourself to sleep every night and wake up singing every single morning. Though I don't always appreciate that at 6 a.m. -- I think we should probably all approach life this way, and the world could learn something from you.
...you are a true sweetheart. Example: this morning you were playing Mario Kart on the Wii with Papa Bob. You beat him in several races, and eventually turned to him and said, "You're not very good at this game, Papa. BUT... you're a good person!"
...you LOVE to eat. I swear you are a bottomless pit. You could eat all day if we let you, and you are always asking for snacks. It's a good thing we don't keep junk food in the house. Your favorite foods are pizza, noodles, fruit, crackers, fruit snacks, juice, chocolate milk and cookies. You also do pretty good with most soups, and I think you might have your mama's love for Fall/Winter foods because you've been requseting soup a lot lately.
...you love going to parks, and you're getting better at trying to make friends when we go places. The problem is that you're so big for your age, that you try to blend in with kids your own size... and they usually turn out to be a couple of years older than you are. You'll get there!
...your favorite shows right now are Sesame Street, Higgleytown Heroes and Bubble Guppies. I secretly love that you have found a new passion for Higgleytown Heroes. This was a show that used to be on Disney when you were a baby, and your daddy and I remember watching it a lot in the early mornings at our old apartment before we bought our house. It hasn't been shown on the regular Disney Channel for a few years now, but we recently got a new channel that shows old Disney cartoons. You have us record it every day, and whenever we watch it, it brings back memories of your first year.
...you like to look at books and pretend you're reading them out loud to yourself. You take a book with you to bed almost every night even though you can't really see anything as it's getting dark. You don't have a favorite book... we have lots of them!
...you love to play the Wii. As long as we let you play a little bit, you're okay with us telling you when it's time to stop. We usually give you about a half an hour a day... because there are many days where we don't have time to play it at all. It's definitely an activity we try to restrict you to when we're not able to be outside. Luckily, you love to be outside so we have no trouble keeping you active.
...some of your favorite activities: driving your John Deere tractor around outside, listening to your little music player in your bedroom where you can have it as loud as you want, wrestle and play chase, play at the pool and play with anything that has any sort of button or mechanical feature.
...you are in the Pre-K Sunday School room for the next year, start your second year of preschool on August 20th (three half days a week) and will be starting kindergarten in just one more year! (In one year we are pulling you out of daycare completely since Mommy will be able to be home with you before and after school. Our bank account can't wait!)
...you still take naps. Mainly because you have to at daycare so we like to keep it consistent when you're at home. That will obviously be going away in a year!
We love you so much Jaden, and it is so much fun watching you grow as a brother, friend, student and person. Happy half birthday!!