at 6:23 pm, my baby, my one and only, turns four. FOUR. that means he’s six years away from ten. fourteen away from eighteen. seventeen away from — aaand you get the idea. naturally, i’m feeling rather emotional about the occasion. the days of toddlerhood are nearly behind us, and the proper “little kid” stage is about to begin, but i often still feel as though it’s been no time at all since his birth.
not true, though. 1,461 days have gone by since we first set eyes upon our babe. first wrapped him in our arms. first kissed his sweet face. first told him we loved him so. first spoke the truth that he was the one we had been waiting for all along, even before we knew we needed him.
to my dearest littlun,
it’s your birthday today. your fourth. you’ve been talking about this day ever since late last summer — telling us how old you were going to be, and planning all the things you wanted us to do to celebrate — and it’s finally here. that went a whooole lot faster than i think i was prepared for, as it always seems to. i want you to know that while there may still be moments here and there where i mourn the loss of who you were at age three, as it had been my absolute favourite stage of yours to witness so far, i know greatness lies ahead. it always does with you, my littlun. and if you’re ready for it, i promise i will be too.
the amount of growing you’ve done in the past year is downright remarkable. i scrolled through the thingslittleliamsays hashtag on instagram last night and read through your quotes i had saved. just last year, you were still referring to yourself as “baby.” you said things like, “baby like this place,” and “baby is okay.” now you say things like, “i just want to hold you,” and “i’m sad about that.” your creativity has strengthened and your vocabulary has expanded so much, you speak in near monologues now. i could listen to you go on and on and on about anything and everything all day long (and believe me, i do).
a few months back, i reminded you that your birthday would be here before you knew it so you needed to start thinking of what you wanted us to get for you. you said, and i quote, “mama, i want a lot of records for my birthday, and a record player, and coffee, and a coffee table, and a coffee filter. that’s what i want for my birthday, mama. we got to get me those couple things. oh, and pancakes, too! and balloons! i’m gonna be four for my birthday, mama. i’m not going to be one – two – three anymore. i’m going to be four!”
since then, you’ve asked grandma debbie for a camera, and grandpa tony for a cleaning set, so you could “be like mama and papa.” you’ve even asked for a car of your own, but i think that one may have to wait a few (or quite a few) years. now, i can’t be sure, but i think the whole lack of a license and still legally needing to be in a car seat thing might pose a bit of a problem, y’know? sorry, littlun.
at almost age four, you remember e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. from your own experiences to the stories we tell you to the books we read. earlier this week, i asked you to retrieve my purse for me while i was busy in the kitchen. you saw my wallet resting beside it, opened it, and found my
invalid license held inside. you brought it over to me in a hurry, and you recounted the tale i had once told you about a show i attended before you were born in a rather shady part of town, and the purse i foolishly left unattended in the back floorboard of my father’s car, and how some lowlife had shattered the window, reached inside, and stole my belongings — some of which were regrettably irreplaceable. you told me that’s why i had a “mad face” in the photo on my replacement id — someone had been mean and taken my things, and it made me mad.
you’ll randomly blurt out days from our past that you loved. our last christmas gathering with the cousins and all their toys at cj and nicole’s. apple picking with grandma debbie and grandpa john, and eating bags of freshly made kettle corn at the picnic table by the barrels of hay. swimming with uncle patrick on the last day of summer. riding in a wagon around grandpa tony’s cul-de-sac. trying bruschetta and pizza for the first time EVER after a chilly afternoon walk to and through the river market.
you now know how to spell ikea, liam, mama, and papa — and you unsurprisingly learned them in that order. you can use the restroom almost entirely on your own these days, though you do still ask for assistance in the bum-wiping department. you still sleep smack dab in the middle of our (what is now starting to feel like a full size) bed, and i still love it. papa not so much because you do twist and turn quite a bit, and mid-sleep distractions like that seem to really bother him. it’s a good thing you’re as cute as you are, otherwise he might kick you out. just kidding. kind of. don’t worry, he wouldn’t really. we’d kick him out first, anyway. but not out out, y’know? just to the couch. we’re not completely heartless.
helping out around the house is rarely something i have to ask you twice to do. if you see me heading out the door to start some laundry, you ask to tag along. when i bring the clothes back from the dryer, you start folding them straight away. if i’m washing the dishes, you’re by my side with the towel ready to dry. when i’m dicing up vegetables for dinner, you bring your plastic play knife over to try and assist. if we pull the broom and mop out of the closet, you start looking for dirt and dust for us to clean.
to say you have a BIG personality would be the understatement of the year. you’ve mastered the fake pout and the fake cry. you’re currently working on the fake anger, but you usually end up cracking a smile and making us laugh. i see bits of us in you, like my sass and papa’s goofiness, but you are entirely your own person. and what an absolute dream it is to watch you grow into yourself.
it’s your birthday today, littlun. your fourth. and as per your request, we’re going to blow up the twenty brightly coloured, polka-dotted balloons you picked out just last night from the store, and open your (surprise! record-y) presents, and whip up a batch of our now traditional blueberry birthday pancakes. we’ll see your “animal friends” at the zoo, and grab a pizza or two for lunch over in the river market, and fly star wars kites and kick your new manchester united ball around at the nelson.
happy birthday, liam. we love you to the moon and back.