Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Braden is 4!!


Today you are 4 years old...and it makes you sooo happy...and it makes me feel a little sad. You reminded me that you were growing up when you marched into our bedroom early this morning and said, "I'm 4! I'm not 3 (free is how you say it) ANYMORE!" You had so much passion and declaration when you said it. With every year passing it means a year less that I have to protect you and swaddle you in love, kiss your boo boos away, scare away the monsters or in your case the owls, read you bedtime stories, and be your hero. When I look back on this year I see how much you have grown. In many ways you were still a baby when you turned three, but now at four you are a boy.

This year brought a major change to your life- a little brother which meant that you weren't the only- the only one to get all of the attention, all of the time, all of the adoration. However, I think you adjusted just fine and I have seen you grow into a wonderful big brother. You love to run into Parker's room in the morning to get him up and if he gets hurt you go to him and pat him on the head and say, "It's ok brother, it's ok." You love to play with him, but you are still learning to share your toys with him. You always have a watchful eye and alert us if Parker gets into any drawers or pulls something out. I know that you are going to be the best big brother and I pray that you and Parker will always be the best of friends.

Let me tell you that you have some of the nicest manners around. We hear that from all of your teachers. You give the best compliments and will just come up, offer hugs and give me or your dad hugs and kisses for no reason. Hours after we have taken you somewhere or done something special with you, you will walk over to us and say, "Oh thank (fank) you for ____." You can melt my heart like no one else! But, boy oh boy, we have had some struggles with your behavior this year. Not anything too major (mostly concerning your eating habits), but enough that I spent a lot of times on my knees praying for patience and understanding. You have so much spunk and you're so extremely opinionated and strong willed. These are actually qualities that I admire in you, though they do make it challenging at times. Daddy and I have spent lots of time this year finding a balance of discipline and love to suit who you are and who you are growing to be. We are not always perfect, but we are always trying. My favorite time with you is when get to cuddle before you go to sleep at night. Daddy puts you to bed most nights, but on the nights that I get to spend with you I just eat it up. You love to talk, talk, talk and you always want to talk about going to the beach and staying at the white house. You have so much fun when we are there.

You are so very smart. You are already rhyming words, counting by tens to 100 and spelling your first and last name. You are working on your middle name. You can identify all basic shapes, including octagon. You can identify all of the letters in your name and also s, t, z, v, c, and p. You can recognize numbers 1-9. You tell me which direction we are driving on the interstate (east bound to our house, west bound to Grrr and Palpaw's). You were the only child in your class who could tell your teacher your birthdate. And you are so articulate with your words. You have just gotten interested in coloring and drawing pictures, but you hate practicing writing, though you have learned to write your letter "B" and you can type your whole name on the computer. You have become so independent, which makes me both really happy and a little sad. Last week you wanted to make you own peanut butter sandwich and I couldn't believe it! Go Braden! You are also a wonderful helper. You love to help with the laundry, put away the silverware and you have gotten very good at picking up after yourself and putting your dirty clothes in your hamper and picking up your toys before bedtime.

Braden and his teacher, Ms. Melinda, at his school party.

You love Thomas the Train and have been really into it for 2 years now, which has really surprised us. You love cars and trucks and the color red. You prefer to play outside than inside if you have the chance. You can pedal a bike, but still refuse to unless we tell you to get off until you will pedal. You love your new power wheel truck and think you are the coolest kid around when you are driving it. You just watched Toy Story 2 and 3 for the first time and your favorite character is Buzz Lightyear. You love to play in inflatables, "jumpy things" as you call them and we are going to see if you are up for playing soccer this spring.

B, you are one of the funniest kids I have ever met! Around Christmas, you were playing with a kid friendly snow globe that Grr had gotten you a few years back. It plays a lot of different songs, but your favorite was The First Noel. You were having trouble finding it and said, "Can you help me find the first noELF?" I said, "Do you mean the first noel?" You replied, "Noel? Never heard of him." The other day your father and I asked you to clean your room. As you were walking out you said, "Ohhh, this is exasperating!" Today you asked Uncle Chad and Aunt Erica to sing Happy Birthday to you. When Uncle Chad sang it he said you look like a monkey and you smell like one too. You sang it the right way and then announced to him, "THAT is how you sing the song!" Oh Braden, you keep us smiling.
My sweet little picky eater....you have come so far this year. Yes it may have involved many frustrating nights at the dinner table, some threats, and even some vomit, but you are doing SOOOOO much better! You now love hot dogs, will eat fish sticks, but prefer bacon. You have eaten bbq, hamburgers, quesidillas, pork chops and chicken. You don't mind eating green beans, though you are still not a huge fan of mac and cheese. This may not sound like a big deal to you 20 years from now when you just finished scarfing down a porterhouse steak , but this is HUGE in our lives right now!

refusing to eat your potato soup

I think about today, about how excited you were about your birthday. About the impromptu hugs and kisses and how you told me tonight while you were getting ready for bed that this was "the best birthday ever!" in your sweet little voice. One of our favorite books is about a bunny and his father who are comparing their love to each other. One of the new things that you are doing is spreading your arms as far as they will go and saying, "I love you this much!" Sometimes I tell you I could just love you to pieces and you are quick to tell me that I should love you "whole". I don't even know how to explain my love to you except to say that I love you as far as the ocean is deep, the earth is wide, to the moon and back, and I'll love you forever and always and even when you are 44, my sweet baby Braden you will be.


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