a letter to my son on his fourth birthday
GB, Geebs, Geebo–
Happy Fourth Birthday, Champ. It’s been a transformational year for you in a lot of ways: moving to the three’s classroom at York Day Nursery while your sister moved on to a new school; becoming fully potty trained (finally!); and moving into your own big boy room.
It’s also been transformational kind of in the way Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk.
The metaphor works on a few levels. Firstly, you are still super obsessed with superheroes. Spider-Man is, of course, your favorite, but you really favor the entire Marvel Universe. You’ll allow some Batman (especially Lego Batman) into your realm. You know all of the Avengers’ real names. Your favorite colors are red and blue (“like Spider-Man”). You literally only wear clothing that has a superhero on it. Often, you’ll wear your Spider-Man onesie pajamas under your clothes to school. Or you’ll just straight-up wear the pajamas; depends on how tired Mom is that morning.
The metaphor also works because, quite honestly, you’ve turned into somewhat of a jerk this past year. You’ve gotten significantly more defiant, sometimes even aggressive, and we’re working on trying to use your words more to express your emotions… and not curse words, thank you very much. A lot of times your jerkiness is directed squarely at me. I say sometimes that you’re like an abusive boyfriend–you go from yelling at me one second to asking me for a hug and a kiss the next.
So, we’re trying to figure out our way through that and encourage you to use your powers for good (we frame a lot of our life lessons in Superhero analogies).
Miss Lisa at York Day Nursery said that you’ve really come out of your shell this year, especially because you’ve had the opportunity to not just be “Holden’s little brother” now that she’s at York Academy.
Like much of the rest of the country, you’ve been experimenting with civil disobedience in 2017-18. You don’t care for singing or dancing, so you stage peaceful sit-ins during morning song and dance time… and even during the Christmas Concert. You find “spirit days” to be pedestrian and refuse to wear crazy hair, mismatched socks, silly hats or even green for Saint Patrick’s Day. We signed you up for Little League and so far you’ve spent the first three practices sitting squarely on the floor or choosing to help me “coach” first base.
Deep down, it makes me proud. I hope you keep that strong sense of self and nonconformance… but what’s the saying? “I Want My Kids To Be Independent & Strong-Willed… Just Not While I’m Raising Them.”
Your appetite has improved somewhat this past year, especially for spaghetti and “pie pie” (chicken pot pie). You’re still obsessed with breakfast bars and “white milk.” Your favorite candy is Hot Tamales and you will sometimes sneak down to the kitchen in the middle of the night and steal them from what I thought was a carefully-chosen hiding place. Yes, I know everything you do… never forget that.
Your sister is your best friend but you guys fight like cats and dogs. You’re at each other’s necks (sometimes literally) and just recently we’ve split you into to separate rooms. Your room is obviously Superhero-themed.
You still sneak over to your sister’s bed most nights. Or up to mine (please stop).
You enjoy making art, coloring, and drawing… usually Spider-Man, of course. You’re curious and thoughtful. You ask a million questions and talk a mile a minute. You’re sensitive and empathetic. You’re funny and like to make people laugh (hence the frequent curse words).
You’re turning into a big boy right before our eyes.
Happy Birthday, Buddy. We love you… so much so that we’ll even wear adult Spider-Man onesies for you.