Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday, Reed

Oh my heart!

Wow!  Four years old, Reed!  As you've been declaring recently, "time flies when you're having fun."  And at four, you sure are a bundle of fun.  You are smart, cute, funny, and full of energy, ideas, and big emotions.

Let's start with the basics.  You are 40 inches tall, and weigh 34.5 pounds.  Those were your official numbers from your 4-year-old well check... the same appointment where you emphatically answered the doctor that if a stranger offers you candy and tells you to come with them, then "You go!" (Duh, right?).  Oh boy-- we will have to revisit our tricky people discussions!  You nap about four times a week, sometimes staying up for "room time" instead.  It's hard to say how many hours you sleep at night because it is not unheard of for you to be awake and/or still coming out of your room hours after we've said goodnight.  You are not a fan of taking baths and showers, but you get yourself dressed every morning and are great at brushing your teeth.  (Lots of times you get Molly's tooth brush all ready for her too!)  You have a real sweet tooth, but are good at eating nutritious foods as well, always announcing when things are "good for our body." :)  Some favorite foods are quesadillas, almonds, apples, peaches, carrots, and fruit snacks and donuts.  And candy of any kind.

What?! Was I supposed to stay in bed?

You love snuggling ("See you in the dark morning") and quality time, and you are a great big brother.  I love when I overhear you telling Molly that you love her or when you announce that she is "so cute."  You and Molly are starting to play together a lot.  It is so funny to watch you communicate and conspire together.

Right now you're really into superheroes, forts and climbing, and anything shooting-jumping-wrestling-fighting.  And of course movies /shows (sigh).  You especially like to play with your Imaginext sets and your crane.  You often pack bags of toys in your room to take to other parts of the house.  You retired from gymnastics in the fall (you cited fear), but you just started your first soccer season, so we'll report back on how you like it.  You sure do look cute in your soccer gear!  You love to ride your 4-wheeler in the yard, and your scooter around the neighborhood when we go for walks.  You continue to enjoy dancing to music (especially for an audience), dressing up in costumes, and making people laugh.

In your fourth year we've started learning a lot of new things, including the days of the week, weather, and manners.  You can quote our three meal rules like it's your job, but speaking of jobs... you are a stellar helper when you want to be but you have a (low) limit and exclaim "no more jobs!" when you are done.  You're also becoming very heart smart, learning to name and respond to your feelings.  This is great because you think and feel deeply, and I'm always praying for wisdom to shepherd your big heart well.  What else?  We've been learning some new games too, like Go Fish and Memory.  You are really good at Memory!  Sometimes when you find a matching card that you weren't certain about you exclaim, "Phew!  I didn't lose my memory!" :)  We're still working on being a gracious loser.  You are also a puzzle whiz, and you like to paint.

Your favorite places to go are jumpy places, hiking, Moe's, Panera, the train store (aka Barnes and Noble), and to Papa and Grammy's house.  Some of your friends you play with often are Grant and Mason, Max and Jack, Cameron, and Jonathan.  You always value our time as a family.  You still don't like having babysitters, but we've perfected a bribery system where you wave to us from the kitchen window and as soon as we're out of sight you get to go find a surprise we left for you.  Whatever works.  Just before your birthday you stayed with Papa and Grammy for nine days!!!  I was so proud of you, but missed you and Molly like crazy.  You did some really fun things, the most talked about of which was your animal safari at Callaway Gardens.  You made Papa and Grammy leave the giraffe hair by the sun roof so that daddy and I could see it.  (*It may or may not still be there).

This past year you traveled to Mississippi, Indiana, Myrtle Beach, Destin and Athens.  It snowed twice in Georgia.  We had multiple visits from your cousins on both sides, as well as from Grannye, the Macalusos, and your beloved youth/college buddies.  You were in your first play on Christmas Eve.  We weren't sure you were going to participate until the day of because you had gone on strike when you found out you were an animal and not "the singer."  (I half expected a cow to rise up out of the stable ensemble and break out in "Go Tell it on the Mountain," but you just calmly sucked your thumb while wearing your cow costume.)

You had your first short haircut this year.  (It was all the rage on Instagram.)  You've had several colds, but no illnesses or injures to note.  You have an affection for bandaids.  We're also keeping an eye on this strange condition that causes you to grow teary and too weak to climb the stairs at naptime and bedtime.  It comes on very suddenly, but is quite debilitating and sometimes affects your stomach too. ;)

You have a tender heart, and you take in everything.  Oftentimes after a meltdown--sometimes days later--you will apologize with a sweet sincerity and even express how you want to behave differently next time.  You take a looooong time to make a choice (a treat, which show to watch, etc)  Your moods can be unpredictable.  You insist on comfy clothes, but can sometimes be talked into a handsome get-up.  You love to snuggle and cuddle.  I know it won't last forever, so I'm trying to soak it up!  When Daddy goes out of town, you love to sleep in his spot, even knowing that you will suffer a "tickle attack" if he finds out!  A couple of months ago you got very worried that when you turned four you might be too big and I might not be able to hold you anymore.  (Rest assured, I will hold you as long as you'll let me.  And you'll always be my big strong baby!)

I love how you pronounce girls as "grils," and it is just now starting to fade but your "k" sounds still come out as "t" sounds.  Oh, and tank tops are "tater tops"!  Sometime this past year you stopped "don't wipe my tears!" when crying.  You prefer trees to toilets (and sometimes church signs at busy intersections! But that's another story...)  Off the top of my head, some favorite anecdotes from the year are your first magazine puzzle, the crazy hair story, the time you got lost at Grammy's, and the bird you let in the house.  Your most infamous story, though, will I'm sure be our visit to Macy's pink pig at Christmastime.  Here's a funny recent one: A few weeks ago you were not being the best listener at a lunch out with Papa, Grammy, Aunt Bri and your cousins.  I had you look at my eyes, and we had a lengthy and serious discussion about obeying, showing kindness, etc.  I also mentioned that Papa wanted to get everyone ice cream later (again, I'm not above bribery) and said if you couldn't be kind you wouldn't get any.  After our dialogue, you leaned over the table to Cameron and said, "Did you hear what my mommy said Cam!?  She said 'ice cream!'"  {<That moment ushered in much clarity.}

You survived a half day at gymnastics camp last summer along with Max.  You had a huge smile when I came to pick you up and said you had so much fun, but that you were never going to do that again. :)  So we didn't.  You also had a swim lesson gone awry.  I hope you don't remember that!  You like the water, but aren't interested in going under or jumping in.  You've just switched from your puddle jumper to water wings.

There are so many things to celebrate and remember about your fourth year, but one thing that really stands out is your growing spiritual awareness.  In the fall, you started to ask a lot of questions about Jesus, life, dying, heaven, sin, fear, and eternity.  I remember laying in your bed talking about these things one night and marveling at the privilege of sharing the Gospel with my son.  How beautiful and soulful that you are becoming such a big little guy.  We began reading through your Jesus Storybook Bible every day, and talking through the Big God Story.  I am so thankful to be your mommy, Reed.  God made you special and loves you deeply.  He teaches me so much through you.  The world will offer you a lot of distractions and lies, but there is only one way to life and wholeness, and that is through Jesus Christ.  I pray you will know that You are His in the deepest part of your inner being.  Nothing will bring Daddy and I greater joy than for you to grow to know and love Jesus with your whole heart and life.  He is life.

Happy, Happy Birthday my sweet son!  I love you!

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