Saturday was your fourth birthday. You are four years old now. It doesn’t matter how many times I repeat those words to myself, that shit is still blowing my mind. You are four – in just a few months you will be starting what you refer to as “big kid school.” You’re practically in college, doing a double major in Kicking Ass and Taking Names.
I want to tell you a bit about who you are right now as a person. First of all, you are hilarious, often intentionally. You’ll play just about anything for a laugh, especially if you think it will get you out of trouble. You have the cheekiest grin I’ve ever seen. Best (or maybe worst) of all, you seem to have a preternatural gift for sarcasm. I often share your bon mots on Twitter and Facebook, and honestly, there are times when I’m pretty sure you’re more popular than I am.
You’re still the type of person who just rolls with whatever comes your way. We’ve had some pretty stressful times in our family this year, but you’ve been so happy-go-lucky through it all. Your daycare teacher mentioned a few months ago how remarkable it was that you always seem to be in a good mood, and it’s true – no matter what’s going on, no matter how little sleep you’ve had, your disposition is pretty much always sunny side up.
Speaking of sleep, I should probably mention that you still hate it. Your bedtime-delaying tactics are impressive – just another glass of milk, just another cuddle, you just need to tell me something, you don’t want your nightlight, no wait now you do want your nightlight, nope actually you don’t want your nightlight and you have to make two trips to give it to me because the first time you forgot to bring the charging cord that was still plugged into the wall. You also hate sleeping in your bed, and for some reason seem to prefer the floor – especially “the crack,” a space that you create by pulling your bed away from the wall.
One of the things I treasure the most about you is how compassionate and empathetic you are. You take the time to consider what other people are feeling; if someone is sick or hurt, you like to go check in on them to see how they’re doing. When you go to the park, you always like to bring two toys, so that you can share one if you happen to make a friend. If you’re eating something, you always like to offer everyone around you a taste. You have your moments of complete self-centredness of course – I mean, you’re only four after all – but in general you try to be aware of everyone else around you, and I love that.
This past year saw you gaining more awareness about social issues, both on larger and smaller scales. You came with me to the local Take Back the Night rally in the summer, and more recently we went to the Black Lives Matter protest. You accept the fact that girls can love girls and boys can love boys as a matter of course, and you’re better about trans issues than some of the grownups I know (“Mom, a boy can have a penis or a vagina, and a girl can have a vagina or a penis, right?”). We talk a lot about gender and race, and you’re very enthusiastic about the idea of equality. I’m excited to see what new social justice mountains we’ll scale this year.
Three was a big year for you in terms of milestones. For example, you finally learned how to use the toilet, much to the delight of everyone who has spent the past few years changing your diapers. You also weaned, quietly and very much on your own schedule, this past summer. You learned how to write your own name – both backwards and forwards, which I suspect means you are a witch – and you’re starting to sound out words. You still suck at drawing and have no interest in creating pictures of actual things, but hey, illustration isn’t for everyone I guess. You seem to prefer making sculptures, most of which are variations on the theme of “space shuttle.” You’re like the Claude Monet of space shuttles.
Your interests these days cover a spectrum from “emergency vehicles” all the way to “multicoloured anthropomorphic ponies.” You love doing puzzles – you’ll do the same one over and over until you’ve perfected your technique and can put all the pieces in place without much effort. Your current favourite toy is the Playmobil ambulance you got for your birthday, and I can’t get enough of hearing you prattle on about “emergency services.” You’re still obsessed with space, and you recently wondered aloud if the fact that Jupiter and Saturn were gas giants meant that Earth was a “gas baby.” Your current favourite show is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and I am absolutely delighted because a) it’s way less annoying than pretty much anything else you like to watch and b) IT ACTUALLY HAS FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO AREN’T REDUCED TO ANNOYING PINK-N-PIGTAILS STEREOTYPES.
Your favourite pony is Rainbow Dash, and you are over the moon about the Rainbow Dash hat we got you for Christmas.
You’ve been asking for a baby brother for the past few months, and lately you’ve really amped up your campaign. You approach the subject like a Reasonable White Dude on twitter who just won’t stop trying to logic his way into being right. To wit:
Theo: If you just have two more boys and then a girl, that’s only four kids in this family! Four is a very small number. And then if you just have one more baby, that’s only five kids!
Me: What would I even do with five kids.
Theo: We could all watch shows together!
Theo: We need more boys in this family. We don’t have enough boys.
Me: But we already have more boys than girls! If anything, we need more girls.
Theo: Um… I think your two cats are girls?
Theo, completely in earnest: You’re going to have a baby soon. Two babies, actually.
Me: You can’t just state things as facts and hope that makes them true.
Your apparent investment in the Baby Industrial Complex is admirable, but unfortunately it’s just not going to happen anytime soon. Take comfort in the fact that you would probably really hate sharing me with a tiny, screaming bundle of poopy diapers.
You are such a great kid. I don’t think you’re objectively any more amazing than the average four year old, but in my subjective opinion you are the best thing that’s happened since sliced anything. To use your own words, I love you to Mercury and back and that’s a very, very long way. You make me so happy. I am incredibly stoked to see what the next year brings for you, and to continue watching you grow into the amazing human you’re bound to become.
Love beyond all reason,