Thursday, August 21, 2014

Caleb 4 years

Dear Caleb,

How can I possibly summarize the essence of you at 4 years old in one measly letter?  I honestly won't be able to and will miss a lot.  I always hope that I will remember everything to be able to share with you someday...but since I can hardly remember to take something out for dinner these days, I am sure I will forget a lot.  What I will never forget is just how much I love you, how proud I am to be your mom, how kind and thoughtful you are, and how lucky I feel to be your mom.  So here goes....

One of your biggest strengths right now is your imagination and creative play.  Nothing is what it seems in our house these days.  Today, your otter beanie baby was a dog.  Notebooks are tablets, remotes are phones, basically your mind is always working and creating new ideas and you are using your imagination to show us what you are thinking.  You continue to amaze me with your intelligence.  You have known every letter, upper and lowercase, for a long time and you also know the sounds that each of these letters make.  You are beginning to sound words out and do well with rhyming and alliteration.  Your vocabulary continues to amaze us and others.  You also are not shy to correct us if you feel we use a word incorrectly.  You can identify the numbers up to 20 and can count to 30.  You have started to wonder "why" everything happens and have been asking us a lot!  You are wonderful at organizing and know where all of your toys belong...I'm sure your type-A mom has nothing to do with that!  You also love art and love doing any type of "activity".  You need to work on writing and drawing more instead of scribbling...but we will get there I'm sure.  You are getting very good at following directions for activities and completing ones that have multiple steps.  You also love to play games, though you often want to deconstruct the pieces of said games afterward and use the pieces to play with instead.  Your favorite games are "Go Fish", "Don't Rock the Boat" and "Uno Moo".

Enjoying a Kiwi Crate activity

You had a lovely 4th birthday party with a superhero theme.  Of course, right before the party you decided that you wanted a princess party...but, alas it was too late to change it.  The party went off without a hitch and honestly it was super easy and fun to plan and execute.  There was a good mix of kids and adults and most importantly you had a great time!  We served fruit and veggies, meatball sandwiches, taco dip and chips, soda and juice boxes.  Your cake turned out adorably and was super easy.  Typically I make all the birthday cakes, but this one was semi-home made.  I got a layer cake from Target frosted with just white frosting and decorated it at home.  We used ribbon and home made decorations.  You insisted on being part of the decorating process so how it was all arranged was up to you.  You loved it and that is what makes me happy!  You made out like a bandit on the superhero front...getting lots of super fun presents even though we told everyone not to bring gifts.  When we asked you what you wanted for your birthday your response was, "nothing, I just want the toys I already have".  I love that about you.  No fuss, no muss.  However, I am certain you also like your new presents!

Your new bike, our present to you!

You say the funniest things, sometimes on accident and sometimes on purpose.  You are sensitive and sometimes get upset and ask us to, "stop laughing" if you say something funny that wasn't meant to be.  I always feel terrible when this happens because I never want you to feel sensitive about things you say or feel made fun of.  We are becoming more aware of this and try to make sure we only laugh when you are being intentional.  I teeter on the edge of validating your emotions and helping you to regulate them appropriately.  You sometimes try to cope with being upset by starting to laugh, but it is clear that you are still upset.  I always feel sad when I see you do this, but I am sure it is just a way for you to figure out your strong emotions.

Speaking of emotions, you are so loving, caring and protective.  This mostly shows up with your sisters.  You love them and always want to be near them, touching them, and making them happy.  You are very affectionate some of my favorite times are when we are reading stories together and you squeeze up next to me and put your hand on top of my arm while I am reading.  Though you are affectionate, you are picky about who you are affectionate with.  This can be hard for people outside our immediate family, like your grandparents and such.  They want hugs and kisses but you will not usually give them out.  I refuse to make you hug and kiss anyone so typically they leave kind of disappointed, sadly.  However, I feel that your body (and your sisters') are your own and you get to determine who to give affection to.  I never want you to feel that you have to give physical affection to others if you don't want to, so I do not encourage you to hug or kiss anyone if you have shown that you do not want to.  You are confident enough to say no to them when they ask, and that is such a great skill.  I hope you always feel confident enough to say no to things you don't want to do, despite the pressure you may feel.

You love your sister(s) so much!

You are extremely helpful and I often feel badly that during the day when I am here alone with all three of you little munchkins that I need so much of your help.  I know this is a season, and that I will not be so tied down with what your littlest sister needs (especially with nursing) forever.  Right now it just feels like something happens as soon as I sit down to nurse!  Thankfully, you like to help (most of the time) so you hopefully do not share my same concern and will not have negative memories of this time when you are older!

When it comes to things you don't like as much, I would say sports and more physical things like riding bikes are high on that list.  I think it has more to do with confidence.  You tend to be tentative and cautious when trying new things and it is a goal of mine to help build your confidence with trying new things.  We enrolled you in two "camps" this summer to help with this.  The first was a farm camp at a local farm.  It was two mornings at the end of June.  It was a drop off camp, and was your first experience doing something completely away from me (other than daycare).  You did great and I think you really liked it!  You still talk about it two months later.  At the end of July we sent you to a "sports camp".  This was four mornings and was another drop off camp.  This was not your favorite.  I think you preferred the art activities and the games more than the actual sports.  Overall, you seemed to enjoy going and also seemed a little sad when it was over.  This fall you will start an evening preschool two nights weekly.  I think this will be great for you, though I am sad that I will barely see you two days a week.  You start this the week after I go back to work.  However, you have been excited about "school" and love your new minion backpack!  When you are playing outside on our swing set you tend to be pretty cautious.  You are nervous to do the monkey bars by yourself and though you know how to pump your legs on the swing you prefer to be pushed.

First day of camp

You have become a lot more confident with dressing yourself, putting your shoes on, and playing outside by yourself in the backyard for a few minutes.  You have also been playing by yourself more often in your bedroom, especially when your sister messes with your stuff.  Though you have had the skills to do many of these activities for a while it seems your confidence is now matching your ability.  I try to praise you often just for trying something new and for accomplishing things on your own.  I want you to know that I believe in you and love when you take a little risk every now and then.  Recently, we went to the Como Zoo and you agreed to get your face painted.  This was huge for us.  For well over a year I have been asking you if you want your face painted every time we pass a place where they do it.  Every time you say, "no".  This time you said, "yes".  I was stunned!  You chose a Spiderman face and loved it when it was done!  You even said you would do it steps my cautious one!

Your favorite toys by far are your stuffed animals, and the each take a turn in your rotation of play.  You love animals and every animal you spot (wild or not) is deemed ours.  You have asked us for many new pets from hamsters to dogs to birds.  We tell you that we are filled to capacity for pets and so far you have taken that answer in stride.  You seem content just pretending that every animal you see is ours instead. 

Well, I am sure that I am missing a ton but I think this captures your essence.  You have been such a blessing in our lives and I am so lucky to be your mom.  You were the first and always will be.  You are my first four year old and I am loving every minute of it (mostly)!  You are the best big brother and I know your sisters love you just as much as we do (and I promise we will all emerge from the newborn fog soon)!

Meeting Hazel for the first time, love at first sight I think.

Love always,


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