My beautiful, darling boy, you are 5 years old today! I never cease to be amazed at how the time flies, how big you get, and bigger. You have grown a lot in this last year, it has been a really big one for you in terms of finding your place in the family, learning to express yourself better.
You are a very typical second child. Gregarious, adventurous, daring even, loud and boisterous, confident and sharp as a tack. You wear your emotions on the outside, everything you feel is broadcast to the world through the amplifier of your enormous heart. You are soft and sweet and cuddle with your whole body, arms and legs wrapped tightly around us. Sensitive to moods around you, the slightest scolding sends you into a spin of dejection and upset but you also notice when others are sad, or tired, and need some extra love and care and you give it wholeheartedly. You burst into tears when something sad happens in a movie, real sobs of genuine sadness, you FEEL so much and so deeply.
Last year you finished your first year of preschool and it was a hard one for all of us. You found it hard to express how you were feeling and this often resulted in explosive moments of anger that spiralled out of control. We tried so many ways to deal with the behaviour but nothing worked. Your tantrums were EPIC. We made so many mistakes, especially when you were even smaller, giving in and letting you have your way for a quiet life. It got to the point where we felt like one of those families on Supernanny, where the house is ruled by the toddler and his emotions. When I started getting treatment we realised we would have even less emotional energy to deal with it, not even starting with how you might be effected by the potential changes in the house. So we sent you to play therapy for a few months and it was marvellous. I still don´t know how she did it, or whether it was just you growing up a bit more, but the change was remarkable. You started this new school year happier and so much calmer. You still have moments, when you are happy you are ECSTATIC and when you are cross you are a force to be reckoned with. But you calm down quicker, you are easier to reason with and we handle it better, giving you firmer and clearer limits which make you feel more secure. It is not perfect, WE are not perfect but we are a very happy family, you are a very happy child, I couldn’t ask for more.
This last year you finally gave up ‘ti-ti’ (pronounced tea-tea).
Quick aside: this word has no connotations at all in spanish, it wasn’t until my sister asked why on earth we had named the dummy ‘titty’ that I even made the connection. Hey ho. When mixing languages this can happen. I often shout ‘Basta!’ instead of ‘Enough! and more than one friend/family member has asked if I am really calling my child a B*****d*!!! Hahahahaha. No. I am not.
So giving up Ti-ti was a big deal. You were very attached to it and though we did wrestle (greatly) with worries of dental problems, speech delays etc etc in the end we really felt you had to be ready to give it up yourself. As such a highly emotional kid it was the one thing that calmed you down and as such VITAL. In retrospect yeah I recognise that maybe that was partly the problem, that you didn’t learn early on to regulate your emotions by yourself, you just dampened them by sucking. I don’t know. I am sure I read an article that suggested this, and it did worry me, but weighing it all up we decided to wait. So we did. Halfway through the school year there was some pressure from your teacher for kids with dummies to bring them in. You weren’t stupid, you knew it was in order to throw them away. A couple of times you steeled yourself and then, at the last minute, lost your resolve. By the time you turned 4 I was starting to despair a little that you would still be carrying it around on your wedding day (what is a mother without some dramatic exaggeration?!). Then one day you declared you didn’t need it anymore. And that was that. No tears. No tantrums. No dummy fairies or swaps with santa for presents. Just no more dummy. It was amazing. You expressed once or twice that you missed it but only in a sad nostalgic way, you never asked for it back.
Last summer you also cracked that Holy Grail – night dryness. Woohoo! This was major. You tried so hard, so so many times since you were 2 years old and after a week of nightly (big) accidents we would encourage you to wait a bit and try again in a while. It wasn’t for lack of wanting to, you just weren’t ready. And then you were.
So this really has been the year you moved away from more ‘babyish’ things and became a not-so-little boy. Last year you hung on your brother’s coat-tails, preferring following him and his friends around than being with kids of your own age. Now you have a core group of friends and are very popular. You like having friends but you are very independant. You will play with them if you want to but if you don´t you are more than happy to do your own thing, or find older kids to play with. You are not a follower.
You have a lot of qualities that are difficult for us,as parents, to deal with in a preschooler but which I can see are going to serve you well as an adult. You are confident and stubborn – if you want something you will not stop until you get it. And not just ´things´ like sweets or toys but learning a new skill or sport. You learned to ride a bike with only two wheels when you just turned 3 because you wanted to and no matter how many times you fell you got up and did it again until you had it. At the same time you learned to swim purely because you refused to let us hold you in the water, or wear wings. Scary times.
You do a gym class twice a week and the instructors rave about how physically strong you are, you have amazing coordination and just great awareness and control of your body. You do somersaults and a mean cartwheel (this is new). You hang on bars and can use your abs to pull your knees almost to your chin, over and over. When you run you look like a little powerhouse.
You love animals, particularly Birdie, and babies. Birdie, for her part, is not the friendliest cat and you do both get into scrapes when you want more love than she feels like giving. BUT she tolerates you picking her up and lugging her around more than you realise, and certainly more than anyone else in the house. She does nip you when you make her cross but she could do it harder (you usually deserve it).
In the picture above it was a roasting hot, 39 degree day in August but your cousin had a wetsuit and you were going to wear it, heat be damned! You also swam to the shore and back unaided. At 4! Your sheer willpower is going to get you far in life my love. You are a total clown and love to make us laugh, which you do, a lot.
Parenting you is not a walk in the park, you challenge us and keep us on our toes. But that does not mean we do not enjoy you because we do; Oh how we do.
Happy Birthday gorgeous boy. Molt d´anys!