Last night, before you went to bed, I told you that when you woke up this morning, you would be 4.
This was a thrilling thought for you. I watched it take hold, the very IDEA that you could go to sleep as one thing and wake up something completely different. And maybe you won't want to give me hugs anymore, since you won't be 3, I told him.
Don't worry, Mommy, I will still give you hugs when I'm 4. But no kisses.
I'll take what I can get.
I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with this particular birthday. Maybe it's because when you turned 1, I was just so relieved we'd survived the first year. When you turned 2, we already had Sage, so I didn't have much energy to think about it. Then last year, we were so DONE with you being 2, I couldn't wait for 3.
But now, suddenly, you're 4. FOUR! I remember being four. I remember parts of being three, too, but definitely four. There are things that will happen this year that will stay with you the rest of your life.
I hope I don't mess up too badly.
There have already been signs that things are changing.
It started a couple weeks ago at swimming lessons, when you figured out how to flip over on your back and breath, and how to keep you head in the water while on your stomach so you don't sink. It was like something just clicked, and you went from being scared and unsure to supremely confident, like you knew how to do it all along but just wanted to stress out your Mom a bit first.
It continued with you finally showing interest in reading and knowing your letters, instead of refusing to try because it was Too Hard.
But the other day, when we went to the bike shop after swimming lessons, is when it really, truly sunk in that you are no longer my baby.
You jumped on a tricycle to tear around the store while I was busy talking to a sales person. Then, I saw a flash of orange go by, and heard you yell "MOMMY! LOOK!" and there you were, zipping around on a big-boy bike.
On a bike.
And the look on your face was like you'd just had your first taste of sugar and knew it would change your life forever.
We continue to marvel over you. Your preschool teacher said you have "feelings," something she doesn't see much in boys your age. You have a bouyant spirit and are, generally, easy-going.
You aim to please. Most of the time, it's a good thing. But we are waiting for you to come into your own as an independent thinker. You are a fabulous kid with a limitless imagination (what other kid can make "robots" and "airplanes" out of half of a paper plate?) and you can entertain yourself - and us - for hours.
That being said, you enjoy testing limits. You don't want to hold my hand in the parking lot anymore because you are a Big Boy. You don't even use a booster chair at a restaurant.
You're sassy. My heart cracked just a bit when you said "You're a Bad Mommy" until, after you emerged from your stint in time out, you threw your arms around me with an urgent "I love you, Mommy!"
I love you too, Buns. You are my light. Happy Birthday, big boy!