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05.03.2006
Happy Fourth Birthday!

Dear Victor,

Today I checked the forecast for the rest of the week to make sure we'd have clear weather for your birthday. Your fourth birthday. Fourth. You're really a kid now, not a baby, not a toddler, an honest-to-goodness kid. An independent, thoughtful, energetic, indomitable kid.

In the last year you've mastered potty training and dressing yourself completely on your own. You're strong enough now to walk the half mile home without getting too tired - you don't need the stroller most of the time. Your speech has improved drastically both through normal development and with the assistance of weekly therapy.

One of the best gifts I've gotten for your birthday, is the gift of conversation with you. You're also beginning to show interest in some things that your Dad and I both like. Harry Potter for instance, though your introduction to the Potterverse has been through the movies and not the books. I did try to read to you a little bit the other night, but even read aloud, the books are a little bit to much for you. We'll save them for next year or the year after that and in the meantime we can watch the films together and whoop over Quidditch and Hungarian Horntails.

Every day your imagination expresses itself more creatively and I'm amazed by the stories that are playing themselves out in your head. I don't always like it when those stories feature Power Rangers and ninjas, but I love to listen to how you weave different elements together, proof of a rich inner world that only you see and hear.

You still have tantrums on a regular basis, but they're no longer a daily feature and their intensity has diminished a great deal. I think that you've outgrown them partly, but we've also gotten better at helping you to redirect and express your frustration in other ways before you get stuck in a tantrum-cycle.

You've had a lot to contend with this year since your brother was born last August but overall you've really handled this big change in our lives like a champ. You love your brother and try to involve him in everything that you do, even though he can't keep up with you yet and more often than not, gets upset when you're trying to show him how to make the toys work when all he wants to do is chew on them. You're as patient as any four year old can be with a nine month old infant and I love watching how you're growing into the role of big brother and protector of Julien.

This weekend we'll be having your party and next Monday, you turn four "for real", but for now I'm just thinking about celebrating and how much fun the next year in your life will be.

Love, Mommy

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