You're four years old today. I know I say it every year, and also all the time, but it is unbelievable to me how fast you have grown. We talk about how big you are all the time. How you used to be a little baby like Finn used to be. How you used fit into that shirt that Finn is wearing today. How you used to take off your shoes in the car just like Finn does. I think you like hearing about little you, but you also refuse to stay little. I ask you to please stop growing and you say, "No, Mom. I want to grow up. When I grow up I will go to work. And where will I work, Mom?" Then we have a long chat about all the things you could be (usually you ask if you can be an animal of some sort), but I keep reminding you that you are not growing up THAT fast and you still get to be a little boy (my little boy) for a long time.
Our conversations have become a lot more meaningful and a lot more fun this year. Your imagination has always been incredible, but this year it has really blossomed. You can play by yourself with your toys and books for hours and hours, making up story lines and becoming many many different characters along the way. The pretend play is obviously much more exciting when you have a friend or myself or your Dad to play with. You really like to mix stories lately. You'll come up to me and say, "Mom, you be C3PO and I'll be a T Rex and scare you, okay?" Or, "Mom, you be Hamm the Pig and I'll be an imperial battleship and I'll chase you, okay?" I try really hard to be able to drop things when you ask, "okay?" because I love to play with you, little boy.
You started preschool this year and you've really taken to it well. You go three mornings a week and there have been very few mornings when you haven't wanted to go. I feel lucky for that because it would be SO hard to make you. Your teachers love you. We had a little conference with Ms. Sheri last month and she told us how great your imagination is, how sweet and obedient you are, how smart you are, and how well you express yourself. We, of course, think all those good things about you, but it was nice to hear them from your teacher. You know all your letters and the sounds they make and you're working hard on recognizing your numbers. Those nines and sixes are so tricky.
You are such a kind boy. You share your toys with your friends, even the special ones that are hard to share. You are so friendly and just light up when you are around other people and especially other kids. You are never very shy about approaching new people and always have something to tell them. Usually it's sharing something going on in your life or something you're excited about. Lately it's, "I was sick last week." Or, "We got the second Star Wars movie from the library." Sometimes it's just, "That's my baby, Finn. He's my brother." You get that from your Daddy. Never afraid to start a conversation with someone new, and it will serve you well Tate. Just as it's served your Daddy well.
I think I can say with some certainty that this year has been your most difficult yet, Tate. We moved to Denver and into an apartment just a few days after your last birthday and then moved again into this house soon after that. For the first several months of living here Glenn was traveling a lot and all the big changes really took a toll on you for a while there. It was awful to watch you struggle and worry. It broke my heart when you got frustrated and confused. I know that it's one of those things that you might not completely understand until you're a parent too some day, but my little boy, your Daddy and I love you so so much that every time we see you ache, we ache too. We are thinking of and worrying about you and your brother all the time but when you struggle it's just plain awful. Luckily those really rough patches eventually smoothed over and the peace and adjustment that we knew would come finally came. But it was a shocker for us, little Tate. You have been such an easy boy. A happy, tender, kind, perfect little guy to raise and it was a hard first look at how your trials will rock our world in the future. Because you will have them, my Tate. I hope that when those rough patches come, you'll remember that we are an eternal family. We love each other and take care of each other and I hope that you will always know that we are here for you and desperately want you to be happy.
You're still a pretty picky eater. This year you might have become more so. You like most all breakfast foods, peanut butter sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, mac and cheese....and that's about it. We can convince you to eat a few other things but only if they're pretty familiar or varations of the foods above. Consequently, you skip dinner at least a few times a week when we make something that you don't want to try. We don't force it. We can't really because it just makes you gag and throw up. No fun all around. Your limited diet has not affected your growth, however. You're a tall, skinny boy and it looks like you may have both of your Grandfather's height in you.
You still love books. You love getting new books from the library and reading them over and over at bed time until you have them memorized. You also love music, but have become much more shy this year about singing in front of people. You've just started singing along with music in the car, but only once in a while, and only to your favorite songs such as, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Lately you can be found humming one of the theme songs from Star Wars to yourself as you play with your toys.
This year you've discovered Wild Kratts, and love watching their shows and memorizing facts about animals to share with us later. You still love the Cars movies and playing with all of your cars toys. We went to Disneyland before Christmas this year for the first time and were lucky enough to visit Cars Land. You were in heaven meeting the characters, riding rides, and playing with your cousins Mya and Sadie. It was a wonderful trip and one of your conversations starters has become, "I went to a magical place called Disneyland!" A few months ago you watched the first (episode IV) Star Wars movie and you were completely enthralled. Star Tours was one of your favorites at Disneyland and a lot of our pretend play lately has been Star Wars related.
You are a wonderful big brother to Finny. He adores you. When he is grouchy and nothing else will fix it, you yell (over Finn's yelling) that you're going to make him happy, and then you give him a big hug and a kiss on top of his head and somehow he always stops. Then if you hug him again, he smiles and looks up at you with these adoring eyes, and although he can't say it yet, we know he loves you and looks up to you so very much. He follows you around every where you go and tries to copy every thing you do. You're very thoughtful and careful with Finny. When you play together you try not to play too rough and you try to be a good sharer. Usually that means, when Finn has something you want, you ask him nicely to give it to you and then get him something else to play with. That's pacified him so far but that may soon change.
You are a great boy, kiddo. We couldn't ask for a better first son. You have so many wonderful traits that are just in you, that you came with and your dad and I pray all the time that we can just help nurture you the way you are and not mess up all the good you have already going for you. You're a pretty good balance of being kind and gentle when you need to, and standing up for yourself when you feel challenged about something that matters to you. You're affectionate and still love to snuggle with us, especially at bed time after your book and song, or when we're watching a movie. I know our snuggling days are numbered so I'm soaking up every second that you still want me to hold you, because that's how we began, my baby Tate. Just you and me and Daddy and there was a LOT of holding you. We miss it now that you're big and always on the move but really appreciate that you still like us to give you hugs when you're sad or hurt, or just need a snug. I love being your mom. I love that I get to stay home and spend every day with you and Finn. It is the best job in the world, playing with you guys every day and I'm going to miss you dreadfully when you go to school every day.
Your birthdays are a big deal around here. Mostly because you're old enough now to actually get excited about fun things we do for your birthday, and that makes us want to do fun things for you because we love to see you and Finny happy. But also, because you were our first baby. You came and we became a family. Four years ago today your dad and I became parents, because we met you. I'll never forget the way I felt looking at tiny baby you for the first time. I loved you then and I love you and your brother now with a kind of love that I'd never felt before I met you. You changed our whole world, Tate. You made us a family, and every time you have a birthday, we get to celebrate that too. We're so glad you're in our family. So glad that you're the big brother that little Finny has to look up to. We couldn't love you any more than we do.
Happy Birthday, my Tate. The world is yours.