Two years ago in the depths of challenging three, I was overwhelmed and pulled in so many emotional directions. You were HAPPY then you were SAD, quickly followed in turn by MAD, FRUSTRATED, INDIGNANT, AND HYPER. You were a roller coaster, kiddo, a careening (Thomas) train zipping up and down tracks.
A year ago, upon turning friendly four, which I still found to be a madcap rollercoaster, except perhaps with a few less insane loops and much more dips and curves, you set yourself some goals. They were: to learn how to ride a bike, to learn how to tie your own shoes, and to learn how to wipe your own bum.
Well, the first you’re not there yet, and I’m not really surprised, but what you don’t know is that in the basement, hidden carefully under my old backpack, two spare bike tires, and a bag with ski boots, your new bike waits for you. Tonight, when we give you your presents (the bike, a new pair of rainbow slippers, and a camp blanket with your first patch sewn on) you will lose your mind. You didn’t really get the run bike we bought you for Christmas a few years ago, and now your long string bean body is too big for it, so we’ve passed it on.
You haven’t learned to tie your own shoes, but you keep trying – my gosh, you are so full of try – and I suspect it won’t be long. One of the challenges is that you aren’t permitted to wear your lace up shoes to preschool – we are tasked with making sure you wear shoes you can manage yourself. So now the shoes with the blue laces that you love so much have become nearly too small. We’ll work on laces this year, I promise.
And the bum wiping? You have no idea how pleased I am you figured this one out. You also brush your own teeth (with guidance and supervision from us), get yourself dressed (and wow are you a picky dresser), do your chores without complaint (putting dishes in the dishwasher and setting the table), can print your full name in proper case (all letters and numbers, actually), and are so so so close to reading sentences. You are looking forward to kindergarten (and I’m so happy you are going into Montessori kindergarten), and love school.
This past few months you have been charming. You are gregarious, incredibly social, and very resilient. This past March, when our house got broken into, you completely processed what happened with hardly any input from us. You are extremely curious, love nature, rocks, camping, sharing what you learn, Mooki, and cuddling. You respect rules, order, and routines. You are such an extrovert and love laughing, this hilarious, infectious belly laugh.
This year for your birthday we are going camping with a group of friends, including your BFFs (because you have a whole bunch of them, according to you) and you’ve requested Capture the Flag so I’m going all out – with a huge Capture the Flag showdown, sack races, horseshoes, watermelon, hot dogs, s’mores, star watching… you name it. You are so easy to please, and so easy to get along with. Seriously, Kale, even if you weren’t my kid I’d like hanging out with you.
I love you always and forever, Kale. Happy birthday. You’re the best.
A gallery of pictures from the last year: