It was almost five years ago that we were anxiously awaiting your arrival. And, here we are, just days away from meeting your newest sibling. We can’t wait to see you become a big brother all over again.
You have grown so much since starting preschool in September. Not only did you master your ABCs and 123s, improve your attention span, develop your art skills, and learn to follow directions and take turns, you became more independent confident and learned to ask questions and share your ideas. Your teachers say you are a good listener and a good friend. “Everybody loves Sam,” they say.
We feel so fortunate to have found an extended family in your preschool classmates and parents. Our weekly social calendar often revolves around your park picnics and play dates. We meet friends for frozen yogurt after school on Thursdays and join a big group at The Creamery for lunch every Friday. I love to watch you interact with your friends, even if it involves WWF wrestling in the mulch.
Most of the stories about your mornings at school involve “my boys” and “my team” and who was captain of the playground that day. For about two weeks, you insisted on wearing a superhero ribbon that was attached to an old birthday card. When I asked why you wanted to wear it every day, you said because it means you get to be captain.
You are also very impressionable, like most boys your age. This means that you have picked up quite a few potty words at school. Your favorite is “poopy” and is used to describe just about anything. Fortunately, you recognize when silly words turn into hurtful words. Twice, I’ve witnessed you back out of a conversation when you realized it was making a friend feel sad. And I was so proud of you.
You are stubborn, strong-willed, and spirited. But those words can be used to describe most almost-five-year-old boys. We are trying hard to teach you patience and the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes time-outs work, sometimes they don’t. Sleep helps, but you usually don’t get enough of it.
You exhaust me. You frustrate me. You entertain me. Days with you are never dull.
You are a natural athlete, and it’s been fun to watch you try new sports this year. You did a five-week trial class in tae kwan do. Not surprisingly, you loved it. The karate kicks and chops and “hi-yas” were right up your alley. But you also learned control and discipline, and it may be an activity we pick up again later down the road.
You played fall soccer and spring soccer, and we plan to join a more structured league in September. You are agile and fast on the field, but not aggressive. You also recently expressed an interest in baseball and request to walk to the diamond down the street for batting practice. Though I think your favorite part is running the bases.
Finally, you just completed ten weeks of swimming classes. This has been my personal favorite because I have seen an incredible amount of improvement! You started off not able to hold your breath under water for more than a few seconds. You were timid and clung to the instructor when she asked you to float on your back. But now you can swim underwater, using your arms and legs, the width of the lane. You can float on your back. And jump into the water and swim under your instructor’s legs. Amazing! And I love that after each skill you complete, you look up at me and give a big thumbs up.
You love the outdoors, and after spending a weekend with Uncle Steepie, you became obsessed with fishing and hunting turkey. I try to control the “gun” talk, but I also think it’s inevitable. You are naturally drawn to swords and light sabers and sneak around the house in pursuit of the bad guys. You build weapons out of LEGOs and create elaborate battles between your little figurines. You get Nora involved, too. You collect all of the pillows in the house to build secret hideouts and protect yourselves from intruders.
You are currently obsessed with ninjas and often set up “ninja training” in your bedroom, which includes a circuit of one-armed push-ups, high knees on the blow-up mattress, and pull-ups on your dresser. And then “activate super powers” or “engage muscles.”
You thrive when given a mission or a task. Like when I sent you on a mission to hop the backyard fence and fetch the key from under our mailbox because we got locked out of the house. And when Daddy asked you to help him to demolish the old swing set in our back yard. You live for these things.
You are also very interested in science, which makes Daddy so proud. I suspect we’ll spend a lot of time this summer working our way through our science experiment book. But let’s try to avoid another explosion like the one that occurred when you shook up the beaker that contained vinegar and baking soda. I’m still finding tiny splatters of green in the dining room.
You and Nora have a typical sibling relationship — one minute you’re playing nicely in your pillow fort and the next minute you’re trying to push each other off the bed. I can’t tell you how many times every day I hear Nora say, “Bubba isn’t being nice to me,” followed by you declaring, “Nora isn’t my best friend anymore.”
As much as you drive each other crazy at home, you always include her at play dates and school events. You taught her to play hopscotch with your classmates and kept your arm around her shoulder while the two of you waited together in line. You checked that she got her five eggs at the Easter Egg Hunt before you filled your own basket. You always take her hand and make sure she can climb every ladder and rock wall, and you encourage her to go down the biggest slides.
One day, when Nora fell asleep beside you on the couch, you said, “Nora is beautiful.” Which turned into “Nora is a booty butt” as soon as she woke up. Another day you came to me and said, “Nora is super in love with me.” Then, “Do I have to get married when I’m 5?” After thinking for a second, you said, “Maybe when I’m 65.”
While walking home from school one afternoon, you told me that you want to be a policeman when you grow up. Then you changed your mind and said you want to be Batman. Because “I know that the Easter Bunny isn’t real, but Batman is.”
Overheard while playing with Nora, “You can be the Mommy, Nora. You have to know everything. And you have to clean the dishes all by yourself.” Thanks, buddy!
I admire your innocence and your imagination. How you use “ice” pillows to construct a frozen city in your bedroom. How you transform a hanger into a hook for the imaginary zipline in our backyard. And how you really do believe that you can be a ninja. The Golden Ninja, of course.
I love that you ask Daddy to tell you a story every night and ask a million questions about the characters and plots. I love that you lay your head on Lucy while watching cartoons. I love that you hold Nora’s hand while crossing the street and open her fruit snacks. And I love that you can barely fit in my lap, between your long legs and my very pregnant belly, but you still ask to snuggle with me.
Love you to the moon and back, kid.