Friday, October 12, 2012

That Crazy, Adventurous Four Year Old

Time passes so quickly. It seems that yesterday, you were a tiny baby. You were our miracle baby, born two months early, and you called a tiny incubator in the NICU your home for six whole weeks. You have always wanted to stay close to mom and dad, and I think this is partially because a small part of you remembers being all alone for the first month and a half of your life.

I am so proud of the growing little man that you are. Sometimes, I am astonished at your courage. There is an old man in our town who likes to yell at you and chase you when you walk by. For a while, you were terrified of this man. Then, one day, you surprised as all. The man was getting ready to chase you, but you stood you ground and smiled at him. You kindly said "ola" (hello in Spanish), and extended your hand in greeting. Upon seeing this, the man threw up his hands and walked away. A few days later, we were in town again, and there was that old man. Once again, you greeted him kindly. This time, he laughed, looked at your mom and dad, and exclaimed "Me gano!" (he won!).

You have transitioned well to life in another country. At first, it was hard for you to not speak the language here. Now, you like to greet all the people you pass when we have church or when we walk through the town. You have a friend who comes to play with you a few times each week, and you and she have worked out an interesting way of communicating, partly in English and partly in Spanish.

You are certainly an introvert. Dad and I have learned that when you are "maxed out," you worry about everything. You worry that kids will take your toys when they come over; you even worry about the dog messing up your stuff. In these times, we have learned to help you take a break in your room, playing alone (with one of us in there if you are really worried) until you feel better. Usually, you emerge from the room happy and rejuvenated.

You used to really get upset with your baby sister. You were afraid that she would wreck your things (and sometimes she tried to). Mom and Dad had to make strict rules about toys, and stick to them. You had to keep important toys in your room. If toys were lying around the house, they were free for anyone, and if you wanted one Emma had, you had to trade with her (if she didn't mind trading). Sometimes, we have to revisit this rule, but more often than not (unless you are really tired or hungry) you talk to Emma and ask her for a turn, waiting until she is ready. You have also discovered that she makes a wonderful playmate, and often beg for her company.

At four, you are a very sensitive child. You do not fully understand the meaning of "wait." When mom and dad say "wait" you sometimes cry, believing that "wait" means "no". You do not always like it when we tell you not to do something; sometimes, you scream and cry. We understand how you feel: it is hard to not always get what you want, but when we stick with what we say, you seem more secure. Some days, emotions run strong: you are so fiercely happy one minute, and upset the next. When you are fearful (if you think mom and dad are arguing), you will become aggressive towards the dog. We have learned to have you sit to calm down, and to talk you through your fears. Talking calmly once you are breathing normally again really helps you feel better.

You absolutely love helping around the house. Mom tries not to push you into chores, as this would make you strongly resist them; instead, I often invite you to do chores, exclaiming, "Hey, Aydon, you are now big enough to.....". So far, you have learned to pour water and coffee into the coffee maker, and then start it, fry your own eggs (with mom's help), hang a bit of laundry, feed the animals, and help daddy fix things around the house. You LOVE to fix things.

You have the best imagination. You could play one "game" all day, sometimes all week. For example, you play police: you have a computer that you find robbers' locations with, a police car that you drive, and a jail. When Emma plays with you, she is a super ninja baby warrior. You play airport all the time also. You check your bags, walk through security, board the plane, and ride a bus to your hotel. You also imagine really silly things,  like that you are a super hero who can shoot fire out of your fingers. A few days ago, you shooting would turn villains into different articles of clothing, which you would then wear (while you were turning villains into clothing, you wore a pair of daddy's jeans on your head, making you look like you had long blue hair). If I am having trouble helping you listen (you daydream a lot sometimes), I play a pretend game with you that helps you do what you need to (I like playing pretend too).

You are swiftly approaching five. Dad and I have noticed that you are becoming more independent, realizing that listening to what we say is a choice that you could decide not to listen to. Dad and I stay near you when we tell you what to do, so that we can easily redirect you to do it. We keep our directions simple, and our tone calm, and often you comply. We have taught you that when we are asking you to do something, you may say "no, thank you," but if we tell you to do something, there is no option but to do it.

More than anything, we want you to have a relationship with your Father in heaven. You already understand, and have expressed gratitude, for Jesus' death on the cross for your sin. You understand many things about the character of God; you understand that the Bible is His word, written for you, so that you can know Him. You have a few verses hidden in your heart; you and mommy are working on learning more in the Sunday School class she teaches. You have a capacity to love and care for others, but mom and dad know that we must nurture and guide that generous, compassionate spirit as we transmit to you a vision for how you can love and serve God by loving and serving others.

I love you, Aydon. I make many mistakes as your mommy. Sometimes, I am not gracious or gentle or patient with you, especially when your emotions are strong. Like you, I would not make it outside of a relationship with our loving Father in heaven. I pray that I will let Him guide me as I disciple little you. With Him, neither of us will go wrong. I am excited to watch and see the man that you become, Aydon, for I know that he will be wondrous.

Love you always and forever,

ps. Next post, I plan to write a letter to your baby sister

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