Wow, kiddo. How is it that you are four? I know I said that when you turned three... and two... and one. But you are my baby, and though I am so grateful you are healthy and thriving, it gives me a small ache in the pit of my stomach watching you grow up. You are still so attached to me, a unique bond the two of us share and a relationship I cherish. I don't know how much longer I have of you wanting to hold my hand everywhere we go, wanting to sit on my lap and cuddle on Saturday mornings, wanting me to kiss you goodnight a dozen times before letting me leave your room at bedtime. I'm not sure how much longer I'll hear, "I love you SOOOOO much Mommy." I think if God had made you any cuter, my heart would literally have burst a long time ago. When your brother was just a baby, I was already longing for you, and I'm so grateful my prayers were answered. It's true -- God had plans for you before you were even a part of me, and that ache I had to bring you into this world was meant to be. It was put there by Him. You were meant to be. We all love you so much.
You are doing a lot of growing lately, and so is your mommy. It's amazing how time and years and life experience will do that. While you are learning how to navigate through this world, I have learned to cherish the unique story of your birth even more. I have noticed a change in myself over just the past few months. Maybe it's that I'm facing the last year in my 20's, maybe it's sending your brother off to school and awaiting the moment when you do the same. Maybe it's just maturity and an inner peace with myself. But I have fallen in love with the scars that remind me of you. Those stretch marks formed around my stomach. The C-section scar that will be with me forever. The imperfections marked by giving you both life and that tell the story that only we can tell. Those constant reminders every time I look in the mirror that I am a mommy. That God blessed me with that privilege by allowing me to carry you and your brother. The gratefulness for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies and healthy boys. I'm learning to truly love myself and those imperfections, and I have you and your brother to thank for that. It's been a journey I've been on, and it's safe to say I'm getting there. Thank you for being you. Thank you for calling me Mommy and loving me the way you do.
A little about you at four...
...I call you my little architect. You are constantly building something. Whether it's with Lincoln Logs, Lego's, builder blocks... or anything else... you are always creating something. You can turn any toy or item into some kind of building structure. You have a lot of creativity built up in that little mind of yours, and I'm so excited to see how you use it.
...speaking of creativity, you are a lover of arts and crafts and coloring. Outsiders marvel at how well you color, how creative your colorings are and how much time and detail you put into any piece of paper set in front of you. You can spend hours crafting a masterpiece to your liking and love to show it off when it's completed. You come home from daycare every day with several drawings, and lately you tell me that you make them for me because, "You're special to me, Mommy." Melt.
...aside from any kind of building toy or coloring toy, you also love your Ninja Turtle toys and love to be outside. We cannot wait for Spring. You ask me every night... is Summer almost here?
...you know how to spell your name and can write it all by yourself, although you are still quite inconsistent with your d's and your a's. Sometimes they're backwards, sometimes upside down. You know what street, city and state we live in, when your birthday is, and whenever someone says, "Brandon Ubben," -- you correct them by saying, "It's Brandon LOUIS Ubben."
...you are still my picky eater. Your best meals of the day are breakfast and lunch. Supper... you can take it or leave it. You seem to be plenty full by that time of day. You love mac and cheese, hot dogs, bananas, fruit bars, poptarts, chocolate milk, juice and of course -- cake and cookies. You like pizza but don't want any "green things" on it and usually get full after just one piece. Where Jaden will eat pretty much any vegetable we put in front of him, we have to push you to do so. You'll work with us as long as we give you a set amount of bites you have to take. "Four more pieces." (And then you'll take as small of bites as possible). ;) You just are not the food lover that the rest of us are!
...you go to bed at 8:30 every night, following story time. You love story time. You make bedtime so easy. You always want Daddy and I to lay with you for just a few minutes before we shut the door, and after that, you seem to fall asleep within minutes. You wake up more often than Jaden does, and every once in a while we have to go in and comfort you after a bad dream or you wake up having to go potty... but that's rare. You have to sleep with a sippy cup of water in your bed and your blue blankie. Average wake up time is between 6:30 and 7:00.
...at daycare, you made the move from the three year old room to the four year old room in January, and you are loving this new arrangement. You seem to be happier in this older room, and although you are always happy to see me at the end of the day, it takes a very long time to get you to walk away from the activity you are involved in to come home. You do well in preschool, but like "no preschool" days better. Right now you are attending preschool two mornings a week.
((oh, that twinkle in your eye... such a mischievous one, you are.)) ;)
...your favorite shows right now are Curious George, Sophia the First, Peter Rabbit, Ninja Turtles and we still watch Bubble Guppies, Sesame Street and Paw Patrol. You have lots of favorite movies, but you cannot wait for Frozen to get released on DVD. You love that silly Olaf.
...unlike your brother, you haven't shown any interest in video games yet. You like to play with balls but also haven't shown much interest in sports. Jaden didn't really show much interest until he got to be four and five and after he played soccer the first year, so we will see how that develops for you. We plan on signing you up for soccer this spring, and that will be very interesting. I'm not sure we'll find shin guards small enough for you! ;)
...you have finally outgrown your 2T stuff, and are starting to outgrow just some of your 3T stuff. In fact, we measured you last night, and you've grown three inches since September! We're kind of in between sizes right now, with most 4T stuff still being a bit too big. You have worn the same winter coat for three years, but it's finally getting too short and will be retired at the end of this winter. Jaden wore the same coat when he was little. We have gotten a lot of use out of that thing! I'm anxious for your upcoming doctor's appointment to find out where you are on the growth curve. You seem to be growing a bit faster lately, and I'm interested in seeing whether you're still just in the 10th percentile for height, as you've always been in the past. Your daddy and I have noticed that your tummy is thinning out even more, but thankfully, you still have those cute baby cheeks!
...you are incredibly opinionated and are really starting to spread your wings under your brother's eye. You are coming more and more into your own and don't have much time for Jaden bossing you around anymore. You want your voice to be heard in that relationship, and Jaden is having a tough time adjusting to it. He takes it personally when you disagree with him or don't care to hear what he has to say. We're working with Jaden on how to handle that, and we're working with you on how to do it in a kinder manner. ;)
...you are a mommy's boy. You definitely gravitate towards me, although you and daddy have your own relationship, as well. You are such a lover -- giving out countless kisses, hugs, and "I love yous" throughout the day. You can be such a stinker and such a handful, but you have the sweetest side to you, as well.
We love you so, so much little buddy. Though there are so many times a day when you make me want to pull my hair out, I wouldn't change a thing about you. From your smile to your infectious laugh, from the way you hug me tight to the way you like to literally smother me in kisses, from how much care you take to perfect anything you are working on to how much you LOVE animals. The list is long on what makes you uniquely you. Happy birthday sweetheart. Proud to be your mama.