Always moving. Always asking questions. Always telling stories. Always making us laugh. You seek adventure and challenges and, sometimes, trouble. You are confident, but not aggressive. You are polite (with the exception of the very dreaded and very typical preschool potty talk). You are impressionable (hence the preschool potty talk). You are stubborn and opinionated, but sensitive and considerate. This is four.
The past six months were quite eventful. We sold our house in Pittsburgh, moved in with Nini and Poppy for three months, and finally settled in Morristown, New Jersey (which you often call “Nora’s town”). It’s quite different than our old house — in a cute and cozy kind of way. This is how you described it to our family: “It’s a tiny, tiny house with a playground in the back yard and a big road with police cars.” Long ago are the days on our quiet cul de sac, bud! But you really do like it here — you especially love the fact that we can walk to the park, and the bakery and the library … and to school.
You are excelling in your new preschool. After an unexpected meltdown at orientation and a few tears on the first day of drop-off, you easily adapted to our new routine. You are quick to make friends, and your teacher says, “everybody loves Sam.” Nobody would guess that you are the youngest kid in the class (almost a full year younger than some of your classmates!). You are proud of the artwork that you bring home and are excited to share the new songs that you sing.
Behavior is improving, though you still tend to get crazy and cranky around 5pm every night (probably because you don’t nap and insist on waking up around 6:45am and are exhausted by this time of day). We implemented a token reward system for a few weeks, which seemed to help. And sometimes we take a 2-5 minute timeout on the steps, and Nora almost always joins you because she thinks it’s a game.
Not surprisingly, you don’t get into any trouble at school. Though you love to tell me about the behavior of the other kids. One day, you said, “I don’t want to tell you what happened on the playground today.” Then you proceeded to tell me which two kids got into trouble for wrestling. And less than a minute later, you said, “Maybe I should tell you the truth … I got in trouble for wrestling.”
Imaginative play has become more elaborate. Good guys and bad guys have evolved into ninjas and knights, zombies and aliens, spies and intruders. You construct detailed stories about spaceships, missions, battles, explosions of hot lava. Every object has the potential to become a sword — an empty paper towel roll, a glow stick, a spoon. You put on your Spider Man suit at least every other day. Then you help Nora into her pink princess dress so that you can “rescue” her from the bad guys. And sometimes I have to be the dinosaur or monster that chases both of you around the house.
You like to build forts and set traps, and you are constantly creating problems to fix — like the loose boards on the swing set or the legs of your art table.
You love art and will spend hours in the basement with Nora — coloring, cutting, gluing, and constructing “decorations for the house.” You were especially proud to frame the family portrait that you drew at school — complete with clouds and grass and sunshine.
You also still love your LEGOs. You got a few new sets for your birthday and were really excited to help me to build the Star Wars ships and the garbage truck and the Spider Man hideout. Then, within a week, you had disassembled almost everything and created your own versions. I cringed just a little bit, but I also had to celebrate your creativity.
You recognize about half the letters in the alphabet and can write your name, though you sometimes ask that I “dot the S” for you. We read at least three books every night before bed. Favorites are: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider Man, and the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series (which you have mostly memorized).
Favorite TV shows are: Miles from Tomorrowland, Creative Galaxy, and Paw Patrol (since we finally put the nix on Scooby Doo). And favorite songs are: “Shake it Off” and “Up, Down, Funk You Funk.” You also sing quite an interesting rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” that involves the spider falling off the wall and into the mud.
Some days you can’t seem to eat enough and other days you barely touch your meals. You are always excited to see what Mommy packs in your school lunchbox — favorites include jelly sandwiches, pepperoni, cucumbers with Ranch, pretzels with hummus, and oatmeal raisin clif bars.
You have grown almost five inches in six months and weigh 40 pounds. You wear size 5T/5 clothing and size 11 shoes. You still insist on wearing “soft” pants (as opposed to jeans) and Under Armour shirts almost every day. If I’m able to convince you to wear something else, like cargo pants and a striped shirt, you change as soon as you get home from school.
You played soccer in the fall and insisted on wearing your hand-me-down cleats to every practice (even though some of your teammates played in jeans). You were a fantastic listener and followed directions from the coach (even though some of your teammates spent a majority of the hour playing tag and wrestling in the grass). You are pretty skilled, and I think you’ll be ready for real “games” next season.
For your birthday, you got a scooter, and it took just one time around the park to master it. You also love to ride your bike (with training wheels). You are just a little hesitant on hills and around corners. But no complaints about that from this momma. You are also obsessed with your hand-me-down four-wheeler. Unfortunately (or, fortunately!), we had to leave it at Nini’s and Poppy’s house because we don’t have enough yard space to ride it here. But every time we visit, you shine it up and take it for a few laps around the yard.
Some of the funny things you’ve said recently:
To Nora: “Come on, babe, let’s be adventurers.”
To Mommy: “I like how you smell. I could eat your hair.”
“You’re the best daddy. I need to write a letter to you and ask for a motorcycle.”
“Super Poppy is the best builder man. He can build me a boat.”
“I’m packing up and going to Nora’s room. This is not a good life for me.”
“Sometimes I wear spy goggles, and I can see through people.”
“Sometimes I x-ray people.”
“I’ll give you some of my imagination.”
“Are these Halloween M&Ms? Do they taste like mummies and zombies?”
Never a dull moment with you, kiddo. And I still melt every time you ask me to snuggle or sing a lullaby before bed. Love you to the moon and back, buddy!